What's Fair?

January 8, 2010
By kiersten koenig SILVER, Houston, Texas
kiersten koenig SILVER, Houston, Texas
6 articles 0 photos 0 comments

In East St. Louis the majority of the population is African American. On the west side, they are discriminated against. They can’t walk into a bookstore or let alone walk down the street without getting dirty looks and snares. I personally have a friend who lives on the west side of St. Louis, he tells me about what people think of East St. Louis, and it really isn’t good. He tells me about all the names they get called, and that they think that everyone has a gun. Now what if colleges thought of these people that way? Some colleges use affirmative action so that minorities have the same chance as everyone else, but is this fair? In a way I would like to say yes, it is fair. Without affirmative action these minorities would otherwise have no chance at getting accepted. But on the other hand, because they’re getting accepted, the people who aren’t of a different race, but have great test scores, are being denied. Affirmative action is a good concept, but it’s not exactly fair.
What if you didn’t have high scores on you’re SAT and ACT? These days to get into a decent college you must have at least a 2400 on your tests. These days, many applicants getting accepted don’t have this score, and the applicants who aren’t getting accepted do. On the other hand, someone of a different race might not otherwise have a chance at getting in. Affirmative action is a helpful concept, but I think it’s a little unfair to those with high scores. It should only take place if the student has good test scores as well as a different race.
I understand that racism is a big problem in this cruel world, and so it makes sense that these minorities should get the benefit. Colleges use affirmative action to support diversity. Once you graduate and start your career your going to be working with people of all different races. Diversity in college helps prepare you for that. After all, colleges are just trying to make sure that everyone has an equal chance at getting a good education. Colleges that use affirmative action believe that students that have lower test scores should still be allowed the opportunity to go to college. I agree with this to some extent. If they don’t have good test scores that could quite possibly mean that they just didn’t go to a very opulent school. Whether it may be lack of teachers, lack of materials, or any other reason, these students didn’t get the education they needed to succeed. However, the people who did get a good education and worked hard to get good scores on their tests are still being denied.

Affirmative action is good for minorities who are less fortunate. But we still have the people who are working hard at getting good scores. If Samantha has a test score of 3400 and applies to Harvard University, but is denied over someone with a test score of 2200 because that person is a different race, does that really seem fair to Samantha? I mean I grasp that the other student might not have had the necessary resources to score that high, but Samantha did, and she took advantage of that, worked hard, and scored high on her test. If the student with the 2400 wanted to be accepted, they should have done something about it. If getting into college was that important to them, they should have realized that they weren’t getting a good enough education at the school they were at to get high scores on their tests. They should have maybe moved schools or something, because clearly where they were was not good for them. I’m not saying that affirmative action is so bad; I still think it’s a good idea comparatively, but if I made such a high score on my test and was denied, I would be a little vehement.

So how do we make this so that it’s fair for everyone? Students are making high scores and being denied, over people who didn’t have access to the resources they had. Affirmative action gives those students more points because of race, is this racist to white people? Or is it racist to African Americans, or Mexicans, or any other race? Is it racist to both? When a white person is denied because a Mexican person was less fortunate, it may be sending a message to the white person, “We expect you to do well, so we’re going to accept someone of a different race,” is that what message colleges are sending out? If you ask me I think that minorities are perfectly capable of scoring high on tests, they just have to work harder. So basically affirmative action is a good idea, but the student should have high test scores as well as a different race. Then maybe the people with high scores wouldn’t think it so unfair.

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