What should we Know about Affirmative Action

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Affirmative Action (Value)

Claim: The current implementation of affirmative action values are detrimental to impartiality within the college application process

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Organization: Monre’s sequence

Argument Essay: Affirmative Action

Let’s all take a moment to imagine what our lives may look like exactly a year from now. A lot has changed. Perhaps you have a different hairstyle or even a new car. And of course, the dreaded university transfer applications. You’ve worked non-stop to get into your college of choice, but soon realize that an uncontrollable force could influence your acceptance. Your racial background. Today I aim to inform you all on why the current implementation of affirmative action values is detrimental to impartiality within the college application process. The data and claims I have collected originate from personal accounts, court documents, and the CCC database. Since we are all community college students, if and when we intend to transfer to universities it is critical that we are aware of the application process. I will be discussing three components of affirmative action: why it exists, how it hurts minorities, and how it can be corrected to help create a more equal college ap process. In order to understand the determinants of current affirmative action values, we must first understand why the fundamental ideas of affirmative action are necessary.        

CQ Researcher Tom Price defines affirmative action as policies that seek to compensate for racial…discrimination and to diversify campuses by admitting more…minorities  It is no secret that the U.S. has a long history of systematically barring minorities from equal opportunity. According to the US Department of education Black…universities…were established to serve the educational needs of black Americans. Prior to… establishment, and for…years afterward, blacks were generally denied admission to traditionally white institutions. Since affirmative action helps the disadvantaged, how can it be harmful to students?        

Current affirmative action values are harmful since they play into racial stereotypes, set unprepared students up for failure, and is used as a wedge for a division amongst minorities. Harvard University is currently embroiled in a class action lawsuit which claims they have an unspoken quota that permits only so many (of a particular race) can be accepted. Bret Stephens, a columnist for The New York Times summarizes the court documents saying  An analysis…of student records found that the Harvard Admissions Office consistently rated Asian-Americans lower on personality traits such as likability and kindness, even when they hadn’t met with them in person. and that those rejected …by Harvard are outstanding candidates being penalized by hoary stereotypes about having ferocious work ethics but not much else. Affirmative action also perpetuates the false belief minorities cannot succeed based on their own merit and need outside reliance in order to achieve. Jeff Jacoby, writer at the Boston Globe, states that it’s a system rooted in the belief that…minorities can’t hope to win if they have to compete on a level playing field.        

In addition, affirmative action sets unprepared students up for failure. If a student is accepted based on diversity reasons, and not merit, they will not be accurately prepared for the future curriculum. UCLA law professor Richard Sander argues Affirmative action can harm minority students by admitting them to programs for which they are not prepared  Rod Newhouse, affirmative action recipient, and MIT graduate shares his personal experience saying that he was academically unprepared for the elite university but, with tutoring and other help, he was able to travel the hard, brutal road to graduation.         With different minorities being affected in contrasting ways, current affirmative action values creates a further divide in what is an already a disunited country. According to a Princeton study conducted in 2009 in reference to SAT scores, Asians must score 140 points higher than White students, 270 points higher than Hispanic students, and 450 points higher than Black students in order to have an equal shot of admittance in the top ivy league universities. Additionally, Asians are put on a pedestal and used as evidence that minorities have no excuse to lag academically. However, according to the Pew Research Center, Asian Americans have the largest income inequality gap amongst any racial group, and being perceived as the model minority erases any sign of struggle. This creates a wedge because Asian Americans may feel bitter that they have to work even harder to be admitted, and other minorities may feel like their struggles are being devalued and are simply being written off as lazy. Now that the issues of current affirmative action values are clear, what can be done in order to ensure fairness, while simultaneously continuing to boost the typically disadvantaged?        

Affirmative Action should not utilize race, but financial status to help disadvantaged students. Meaning that in order to ensure fairness while still granting opportunities for all walks of life, admission offices should disregard racial background, and instead, consider taking into account the financial status of students. Holding minorities to a lower academic standard as a means to diversify the campus only puts a band-aid on a much larger issue. The cause of why colleges are so racially disproportionate is neglected. Referring back to Tom Price he believes that the United States must address social and cultural issues such as poor-performing public schools in low-income neighborhoods. As proved by the U.S. Census Bureau, ethnic communities face some of the highest poverty rates. Considering that minority communities and low income is often intertwined, they would still have a boost in the application process without relying on such an arbitrary factor. In the words of John A. Farrell, Contributing Editor at US News and World Report, When minorities flunk examinations, the cause is less likely to be discrimination than the appalling educational conditions to which most economically disadvantaged…minority…children are consigned. Considering the solution to the current broken affirmative action system, what does this mean for the future?       

 Imagine if nothing is changed. Reliance on steroypes, a plethora of unprepared students, and an increasing division will continue to ensue. Additionally when a minority does succeed their achievements will constantly be called into question. Bret Stephens, New York Times writer whom i mentioned earlier, is Jewish and not a recipient of affirmative action. He shares some unnamed colleagues opinions of him, writing Whatever I had accomplished, through talent or hard work, wasn’t enough. I was just fulfilling a misbegotten mandate for ideological diversity. The financial crisis of youth education in inner cities will continue to be forgotten, just as minority children everywhere will continue to be let down. However, it is not too late to make a difference. Imagine what a fairer community would look like. Poor racial groups would see their local communities drastically change due to an increase in financial government support. Students will feel secure in the fact that when they put the work in to attend their dream college, their future will not be at stake due to their heritage. And minority success will not be accused of being given, and not earned. Now that we are aware of problems solutions, what can each of us personally do to amend current affirmative action values? In closing, today I articulated the reasoning for affirmative action, how it hinders minorities, and how it can be remedied. The current implementation of affirmative action values are detrimental to impartiality within the college application process. It is already illegal in the state of California, however, it is still in practice amongst universities on a national scale. I encourage you all to keep up the current case of Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and to write to the current acting DOJ Matthew Whitaker, (who is investigating Harvard) about the significance of eliminating race-based acceptance, and why financial status based acceptance is more efficient, I leave you all with a quote from Mr. Blum, leader Students for Fair Admissions in Arlington, Va, “Having your race as an element in your admission to a college is something that continues to polarize not only our campuses but our nation as a whole. The sooner we get race out of the equation   the sooner we can move past this burden that we all carry around,”

Works Cited

  1. Business Insider. Does Affirmative Action hurt Asians? Online Video Clip. Youtube. February 14, 2018. Web. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ixzZYxM7Hc&t=163s
  2. Carlsen, Audrey, and Adeel Hassan. How ‘Crazy Rich’ Asians Have Led to the Largest Income Gap in the U.S. The New York Times, The New York Times, 17 Aug. 2018, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/08/17/us/asian-income-inequality.html.
  3. Price, Tom. “Affirmative Action and College Admissions.” CQ Researcher, 17 Nov. 2017, pp. 969-92, library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2017111700.
  4. Stephens, Bret. The Curse of Affirmative Action. The New York Times, The New York Times, 20 Oct. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/10/19/opinion/harvard-case-affirmative-action.html.
  5. (N.A) Does the US Need Affirmative Action? – ACLU Pros & Cons – ProCon.org. Is the ACLU Good for America?, aclu.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000697.
  6. (N.A). Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Higher Education Desegregation. Home, US Department of Education (ED), 26 Sept. 2018, www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq9511.html.
  7. (N.A) Poverty Rate by Race/Ethnicity. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 22 Sept. 2017, www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/poverty-rate-by-raceethnicity/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22%3A%22Location%22%2C%22sort%22%3A%22asc%22%7D.
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What Should We Know About Affirmative Action. (2019, Dec 18). Retrieved May 20, 2022 , from
https://studydriver.com/what-should-we-know-about-affirmative-action/

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