As a 1994 Duke alumnus, I take issue with Dave Nigro's column about "affirmative inaction." Like so many, he reflexively equates "diversity" with a "lack of merit." This is ludicrous on its face. In fact, you can't have real excellence and merit without diversity. Just to dispel one notion-I was an African-American student at Duke who was on the Dean's List or Dean's List with Distinction for six semesters in a row. Many of my friends that were minorities similarly excelled, with one African-American graduate in the Class of 1995 clerking with the Supreme Court.
The fact is that all students who are admitted to Duke can excel academically. Naturally some excel more than others, and the range cuts across racial lines. I know it's hard for Nigro to believe, but I had to do better than at least a few white students to achieve Dean's List with Distinction.
More importantly, Duke is an environment of well-rounded students, where many form life-long friendships through extra-curricular and residential experiences with people both similar and different. This is the true meaning of "education," a lesson Nigro would do well to learn.
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