Affirmative Action: Insult and Injury

January 12, 2010
By David Hansen SILVER, Houston, Texas
David Hansen SILVER, Houston, Texas
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

After years of working extremely hard, keeping good grades, and persistently maintaining excellent scores on all your tests, this was your day to see if the college of your dreams would accept you. You opened the letter, you see that you received a 1500 on the SAT and a 4.0 GPA average. You are so proud and know for sure you will get in. Then you continue reading and things get very bad. You see that the college is using affirmative action to try and increase diversity on the campus. Then your dreams are crushed when you find out a minority student with a 3.8 GPA and a 1480 SAT score got in over you. Is this fair? I know I would feel absolutely terrible.

A very big argument taking place in the United States today is about the pros and cons over affirmative action that colleges are using. It is very debated because people who work very hard at meeting and exceeding standards for jobs and higher education acceptance are not getting what they deserve. “Affirmative action takes race, ethnicity, and sex into consideration to promote equal opportunity and increase other forms of diversity” ( I am here to argue the case against affirmative action. I believe affirmative action is wrong and that admission to school, jobs, and programs, should be based on merit, not your skin color.

Affirmative action can be interpreted as a form of racism in terms of reverse discrimination. In my opinion this is the main reason against affirmative action. Discrimination in any form is wrong. White students are basically kept from having the place they worked very hard for, just so someone from a different minority group or color can get in.

Minorities might have a hard time mixing into other groups once they get in because they would be seen as needing extra help if they used affirmative action to get into a college. “When you give preferential treatment to minorities in admission or hiring practices, you're in effect saying, ‘You're too stupid or incapable of achieving on your own, so let me help you’. It is condescending and insulting to imply that minorities cannot achieve their goals through hard work and ability” (

Having more minorities doesn’t mean more integration between students. It can assure, however, more segregated schools where minority groups do not mix with the white students. Many white students might know they are affirmative action students and treat minority groups in a different way.

Also, because they were let in with affirmative action and received extra points on their entrance exam, this could mean that they might need more help once they are accepted. Extra help would have to be given to these students because they are simply not able to do the tasks other students can do. Students would not be able to keep up with the academic standards that are need to graduate from the schools they were allowed to enter with affirmative action. So that is not fair to anybody.

When looking at the opposite side of the argument that states affirmative action is needed in college for cultural diversity, I think there are some problems. I recently read an article named East St. Luis written by Jonathan Kozol. He wrote the article about the poverty, crime, and homicide that take place in the poor section of East St. Luis. When I read the article I felt very sad knowing that was going on. However you cannot fix those problems by letting the kids attend colleges that they are not prepared for. These problems need political and governmental intervention. It is very unfortunate that slums like East St. Louis are allowed to exist. Affirmative action to allow a few of these students in to colleges is hardly the answer to their terrible problems.

In the past affirmative action was necessary to allow minorities to have access to a higher education. Schools throughout the South were totally segregated and affirmative action was a powerful tool in achieving desegregation. Now however, many minority groups are doing better than some white students in grades and scores. It is not such a necessity in today’s society for minority students to need the extra boost that affirmative action provides.

Admission to schools should be based on merit, not what minority group you belong to. Just put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. Would you like to have the college of your dreams be taken away by a less qualified student just because he has a different skin color? Some people may not care about this subject because they have already gone through college. What they need to know is that it is not only colleges that use affirmative action is also used by many jobs. Also, think about your children. Would you like your children by affected negatively by affirmative action?

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