Op-Ed: I’m an Asian American Harvard grad. Affirmative action helped me get there. — John D. Dingell (@JohnDingell) November 1, 2016
The comment, which was published by The Wall Street Journal over the weekend, was quickly picked up by other outlets, including the Washington Post and the New York Times.
Dingell, who is the longest-serving member of Congress, has been a champion of the civil rights and liberal causes for more than three decades, including during his time representing Detroit’s 13th House district. As he explains in the op-ed, his path to success in the world of politics began with the help of affirmative action.
“The nation’s first affirmative-action program was established in New York City in 1968 by Mayor John Lindsay during the same time period as the first federal affirmative-action admissions program was proposed and implemented in Michigan in 1966,” he writes.
Dingell continued, “The national college board adopted a plan to increase the proportion of American-born minority students admitted into science, mathematics, and engineering programs, and I was elected to Congress to represent the 13th District in the Michigan delegation on a platform to end racial discrimination in education.”
“I am pleased to see the progress made by our nation in the fight for racial equality, and with this in mind, I am writing today to share my own experience. While I am deeply honored and grateful for all that the program has meant to me, I am now especially thankful for the role it played in my professional life.”
At the time, Dingell was the dean of the law school at the University of Michigan, and was running for Congress to represent Michigan in 1968. While his chances of winning were slim, one of his biggest assets was his background in the field of school admissions.
“I was admitted to the University of Michigan School of Law because of my minority student status. I had a lot of school-acceptance