As a Hispanic American, I rejected getting into Harvard Law school by affirmative action

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For me, last month’s Supreme Court argument in the Harvard affirmative-action case was personal. Growing up poor in Los Angeles, as the son of Colombian immigrants, I faced my share of racist taunts and stereotyping. In high school, I recall my White French teacher asking where I wanted to go to college. I said the Naval Academy. In front of all the other students she blurted, “You can’t go THERE!”  

And you know what? She was right. I went to Harvard Law School instead. 

But how exactly did a kid with my background get to Harvard, and what did affirmative action have to do with it? As with many things in life, the answer is complicated. 

Between high school and law school, I went to the University of Southern California and encountered a veritable cornucopia of affirmative action programs for Black and Hispanic students. I became an INROADS intern and scored four straight summer internships at Bank of America. As a McNair Scholar, I got privileged access to free summer housing, professors and research resources to boost my chances of becoming an academic. 

The Supreme Court cases deal with the admissions policies of Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  (Fox News)

These opportunities and more were all laid out for me on a silver platter — but I was always uneasy about it.  

I had a Chinese American girlfriend at the time who was raised by a single mom and came from the same city I did. She was bright and ambitious

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