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Affirmative Action: The Not so Fair “Fairness” Policy

A review of the issues within the system of affirmative action.

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By Addie Mae Villas | USA

One thing that minorities always ask for is equality, yet this equality may come at the expense of others, or by giving them special privileges. Affirmative Action has always emphasized diversity over equality many believe that by increasing diversity on college campuses than all will be equal in the world. But as many of people know, nothing in life will ever be equal. Affirmative Action has two main problems, it reinforces the thought that college is a “right” and sends unqualified students to universities.

Before assessing the fundamental flaws of this policy, one must know the full scope and history of Affirmative Action. John F. Kennedy first coined the term Affirmative Action on his Executive Order 10925 where he stated that contractors will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin. But as seen with universities all across the country, Affirmative Action is only taking in account racial background, defeating the whole purpose of JFK’s executive order. Yet, in today’s society, it has only had the goal of increasing minority representation even if it means giving government instituted racial boosts. This leads me to my first main grievance with Affirmative Action, the increased thought that people are entitled to certain privileges.

First, one thing everyone needs to get straight is you do not deserve anything and college is not an entitlement. Affirmative Action creates the thought that because a student is a racial minority they deserve to go to college. But, this does not help anyone when we are handing out boosts to racial groups. Minorities on campuses who worked to get where they are living in an age where they fear that they will be deemed unqualified because they only got to the point they were at because of Affirmative Action. Also, Affirmative Action is only increasing discrimination and stereotypes of minorities. Although there is no denying that minorities have received their fair share of hardships in the past, giving them special treatment is not pushing anyone forward. But, it is also not representative of all minorities. Just look at Asians. The Asian Americans, in a lawsuit against Harvard, claim that Harvard effectively employs quotas of the number of Asian students and holds the Asian students to a higher standard when determining their qualification to attend Harvard. A Princeton study showed that Asians are almost “deducted” fifty points on their SATs while blacks receive 230 bonus points and Latinos receive 185 points. Even with this discrimination, Asians are not helped, but rather are hurt by Affirmative Action.

Affirmative Action has actually not helped many. From a study of top law schools, over fifty percent of African American law students were in the bottom ten percent of their class.  Many of these students benefited from Affirmative Action and were sent to these top law schools, even if they were not qualified. This is supplemented by the fact that African Americans drop out of college at a rate that is almost twice the rate of whites (19.3 percent versus 8.2 percent). The reason behind many of the dropouts was not because of financial hardship, but rather poor performance. Schools are accepting unqualified students into their schools in order to achieve diversity on campus, but by doing these students are not able to succeed at these rigorous schools. Affirmative Action is hurting the people that it is made to help.

Affirmative Action is not making the country anymore equal. Instead, it is requiring schools to judge students off of their racial background in order to achieve the diversity of the utopian world everyone strives for. If we truly want to balance the playing field and giving everyone an equal shot, then we need to work toward ending Affirmative Action and determine the character of a student on their hard work and character.

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