Affirmative action is a program based on ending discrimination, but in realty, it has only made discrimination worse. It has caused segregated dorms and many minorities to be compromised. Since skin color instead of academic achievement is considered, many students are not being admitted into their school of choice. Instead, grades, test scores, and extra-curricular involvements are being pushed aside in lieu of a person’s race.
Affirmative action has actually caused more segregation. Colleges are claiming that through the use of affirmative action; their campuses can be diverse campuses. So, what actions are they taking to promote this type of campus? In The Case Against Affirmative Action, the author states, “This same push for ‘diversity’ also has led Stanford to create racially segregated dormitories, racially segregated freshman orientation programs, racially segregated graduation ceremonies and curricular requirements in race theory and gender studies” (Sacks/Thiel 1). In the name of diversity, campuses are actually becoming more segregated. It seems it has created a whole new cycle of discrimination.
Supporters for affirmative action may argue that it helps the economically disadvantaged. Students who are too poor to even consider college can now have a chance for admittance into some competitive colleges. However, studies have shown that “…preferences primarily benefit applicants from middle- and upper-class backgrounds” (Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institution 1). It is a noble thought to desire in assisting the poor. If this is truly the goal of affirmative action then the color of ones skin should not even be a consideration. Income and lifestyles, such as single parenting or large families, should be.
Affirmative action causes deserving students to not be accepted into a college that they applied for and were very qualified for entrance to this particular school. Sure, if someone doesn’t get into their first college, then they still have a chance at getting into another. Should that rejection be based on their achievements or skin color? The kid who goes to a college preparatory high school, earns good grades and who is involved should be admitted into college, but with affirmative action, the less knowledgeable kid gets accepted in his place even though he isn’t educationally ready. He does have the appropriate skin color, though.
In conclusion, colleges should not continue using Affirmative Action. Affirmative action may have been implemented over twenty-five years ago to promote diversity but instead has actually kept discrimination going strong. I am against affirmative action because it denies the person who deserves to go to their first pick college and allows a less educated person to go because of their race, and not their accomplishments. Affirmative action not only causes segregation, but it also has caused minorities to become compromised. At one time, it may have lessened the severity of discrimination, but now there is no need for it because affirmative action is making discrimination worse.
"The difficulty of overcoming the effects of past discrimination is as nothing compared with the difficulty of eradicating from our society the source of those effects, which is the tendency -- fatal to a Nation such as ours -- to classify and judge men and women on the basis of their country of origin or the color of their skin. A solution to the first problem that aggravates the second is no solution at all."-Justice Scalia's judgement in the case City of Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co.: January 23, 1989
Arguments FOR Affirmative Action:
- Affirmative action is a way to ensure that diversity is obtained and maintained in schools and in the workplace. In so doing it also helps create tolerant communities because it exposes people to a variety of cultures and ideas that are different from their own.
- It helps disadvantaged people who come from areas of the country where there are not very many opportunities be able to advance where they otherwise could not. In other words, it gives everyone an equal playing field.
- Affirmative action is a way to help compensate for the fact that, due to many years of oppression, some races "started late in the race." Again, it helps level the playing field.
Arguments AGAINST Affirmative Action:
- Affirmative action is reverse discrimination. The past discrimination against certain minority groups does not justify present discrimination against non-minorities. All people are equal under the laws of the United States of America and should be treated accordingly.
- It destroys the idea of a meritocracy and instead puts race as the dominant factor in admissions and hiring procedures. The best people for the position should be put there, regardless of race.
- Students/workers who are put into a position through affirmative action often are not fully ready for the task. Not only is this not good for the university/company, but it is also not good for these students/workers as well because it lowers self-esteem.
- Affirmative action reinforces stereotypes and racism because of the previous point. People given a position purely because of affirmative action often are not qualified, and the idea that all people of that race must be "stupid" is perpetuated. Also, it presupposes that all people of the same skin color are from the lower class, and therefore need help. This also reinforces stereotypes and even embeds them permanently into the system.
- Simply having people of different races or ethnicities in the workplace/university does not necessarily mean diversity of opinion. People with the same skin color are not necessarily the same in opinion or even culture.
A short article containing a typical argument against affirmative action.
The Government on the whole, however, has maintained a position somewhere in the middle. On the one hand, the Supreme Court has banned the use of strict quotas in universities. However, affirmative action still remains a policy supported by the Federal Government and legal everywhere except for California and Texas, where other policies have been adopted. Still, the debate continues on how we as an American society can truly embrace diversity.