The United States is 77.35 percent white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
For someone to believe being white classifies themselves as an underrepresented minority would be grossly inaccurate. Unless your name is Samantha Niemann.
The Southern Utah University student is of German, Irish and Italian descent. She applied for The Getty Foundation Scholarship, which is an internship program geared toward assisting underrepresented minorities. She was allegedly denied entry based on of her race, and has filed a lawsuit against the organization.
From the outside looking in, doesn’t it appear she is making a big fuss over something so stupid? Websites like boingboing.net didn’t take the entire situation seriously with headlines like “White woman wants minority internship, sues Getty Foundation.”
However, the seriousness of this case can’t be ignored. Some suggest if the case were to be decided in court, it could be precedent setting, affecting the ways that private foundations approach issues of diversity.
The issue here is what’s right versus what’s legal.
Legally, the Getty Foundation can’t come out and say they only accept certain races when it comes to the internship program. That would be illegal on the basis on discrimination. This is similar to how a Pacific Islander can attempt to join the Sonoma State Black Student Union.
Though he or she may not identify with the club in nationality, they can’t be rejected on the basis of race.
Legally Niemann can apply for the internship. And afterward, if they deny her access to the internship with no reliable reasoning, she can sue. She can pull the race card, and unfortunately is well within her rights to draw up a lawsuit against the Getty Foundation
Yet, is it right?
In my opinion, she is doing what’s usually done with many minorities nowadays, by playing the race card and relying on how she physically appears as well as how she appears on paper. With a 3.7 grade point average backing her, who is going to deny her? We live in America, where a good background and the color of your skin can be enough to get you through situations that you have no business in. She knew full well that the Getty Foundation would not accept her, and now she’s making a mess of it.
So if Niemann wins, justice prevails in the court system viewing. Yet if she loses, justice also prevails in the sense what she did was morally wrong.