Boston Globe opinion: minority awards are condescending
"The ad in USA Today wasn't headlined 'For blacks and Hispanics, these kids are pretty smart' -- but it might as well have been. The full-page layout trumpeted the 32 college students selected as finalists in the American Advertising Federation's annual 'Most Promising Minority Students Program.' That program, the AAF says, 'connects the advertising industry with the nation's top minority college seniors.'"
"It doesn't seem to have occurred to the American Advertising Federation or its corporate sponsors that it is insulting to tell a group of students that, for minorities, they are hot stuff. It doesn't seem to have occurred to the students, either. No wonder: They're winning at the game of racial double standards that for years has reinforced the stereotype of black and Hispanic inferiority -- the degrading myth that members of certain racial and ethnic groups can succeed only if the bar is lowered for them."
"Fortunately, there was no affirmative action at the turn of the 20th century to give members of 'beaten races' a leg up in the competition for education and jobs. They had to rise on their own merits if they were to overcome the stigma of inferiority -- and rise and overcome they did. Black and Hispanic Americans would rise and overcome as well if only they could be liberated from the condescending mind-set that thinks it's a compliment to tell a group of college seniors that they show great promise -- for minorities."