Does affirmative action cause mental illness in black and Hispanic students?

There have been a lot of protests from minority students on college campuses who are angry about the alleged racism they feel from the schools they have chosen to attend.  But when you read this article in the Times about minority unhappiness at Amherst, a lot of it sounds like mental anxiety, even illness, created by affirmative action:

Hundreds of students crammed into Amherst College's Robert Frost Library for a sit-in against racial injustice that turned into a confessional, as one black or Hispanic student after another rose to talk about feelings of alienation and invisibility on campus. They wanted the administration to apologize for "our institutional legacy of white supremacy," among many other forms of discrimination, like "heterosexism, cis-sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, mental health stigma and classism." Irisdelia Garcia, a Latina sophomore from New York, said she could feel lonely.

Mental health stigma?  Feelings of loneliness?  What does that have to do with racism?

Andrew Lindsay, a senior from Kingston, Jamaica, who is majoring in law and political science, said he felt like the title character of Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man," a book he had read on his own in college. "You're here and you're seen, but maybe you're not seen for who you are," he said.

Why does this black man feel this way?  Could it be because he feels looked upon as an affirmative action student, one picked for his race despite lower grades?

Students said that as they gathered at Frost Library on Nov. 12, emotions poured out. One young woman said she went to sleep at night wishing she would not wake up. Imani Marshall, a senior pre-med student from Chicago, who is black, felt a shudder of recognition and started to cry.

This is clearly mental illness, clinical depression.

Ms. Marshall, who went to a selective public school in Chicago and came to Amherst on full financial aid, said she had felt unprepared academically and socially for Amherst. Yet she felt that by asking for help, she would undermine not just her own standing but that of her entire race.

Ah-ha!  This is admittedly conjecture, but if Ms. Marshall were let into Amherst with lower grades because she is black (statistically speaking, a fairly common occurrence), then her failure to cope with her courses would be quite understandable.  By letting in less qualified minorities, schools are setting them up for failure and causing them great mental distress.

"I feel like an impostor," Ms. Marshall said the other day over lunch at the central dining hall. "I close myself off a lot of times from help. I always feel like I need to prove to other people that I do belong here."

If Ms. Marshall was admitted with substantially lower grades, then she may well be an imposter.  That feeling of having the need to prove herself is the legacy of affirmative action.

Sanyu Takirambudde, a sophomore from South Africa, who is black, said she felt like a token. "I never felt so stupid," Ms. Takirambudde said of her experience in her science and math classes at Amherst. "Even when I say the correct answer, no one's going to listen to me."

One wonders why Sanyu came to school in America from South Africa if she didn't feel comfortable around white people.  The feeling that no one listens to her is coming from within herself, a nugget of self-doubt and anxiety fostered by racial preferences in college admittances.

Although Dr. Martin rejected the students' more ambitious demands, the administration has promised to hire a chief diversity officer, increase the number of faculty members from minority groups, tailor mental health services to students of color[.]

Again, we get back to mental health.  It is clear that affirmative action is causing minority students to feel self-doubt, lack of self-worth, anxiety, aggression, and paranoia.  I think they need to all be put on valium, or else schools need to admit students without taking race into consideration.

This article was written by Ed Straker, senior writer of, the conservative news site.

If you experience technical problems, please write to