Affirmative Action Classical Argument

January 12, 2010
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The Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal” and is possibly the most well known phrase in the document. The reasons for this are irrelevant, but perhaps this is so because it is what people want to believe. In an ideal world, all would be equal. They would have the same rights, same jobs, same privileges, but this simply is not so. In an attempt to create isonomy, there have been policies issued. One among these is affirmative action. Affirmative action is the active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups and women. It began in the professional world in the 1960’s to diversify the workplace and gradually seeped into colleges all over the country. The real question that is on everyone’s mind is “Is affirmative action fair?”. After all, the act itself is intended to generate equilibrium among the races and sexes. My opinion on the matter is that, while there are good things about it, Affirmative Action is overall unfair.
Many supporters of affirmative action claim that it is a good thing and it brings up those of lower class and gives them an opportunity to have a better life. This in fact is not so, “Take, for instance, the claim that racial preferences help the “disadvantages”. In reality, as the Hoover Institution’s Thomas Sowell has observed, preferences primarily benefit minority applicants from middle- and upper-class backgrounds (The Case Against Affirmative Action).” This has disappointed many people of lower class because the colleges only offer this opportunity to those who can afford college on their own and are of middle and upper class families. In effect, ironically, an act that is supposed to clear the racism in acceptance to colleges has in fact created more exclusion than there was before within the minorities.
Some people that support affirmative action claim that it levels a playing field that is tilted towards those who created it. In Reverse Racism, or How the Pot Got to Call the Kettle Black, a truly powerful statement is made to counter this saying. “It is undemocratic to give one class of citizens advantages at the expense of other citizens; the truly democratic way is to have a level playing field to which everyone has access and where everyone has a fair and equal chance to succeed on the basis of merit.” This statement is to a degree a summary on why affirmative action is unfair. Although it has been said that the playing field is unlevel, that is a relative statement and is debatable. Through this, it is easy to spot the undemocratic ways of the act and how the over-inclusion of minorities leads to the exclusion of whites.
Affirmative action affects me personally because it makes my chances of getting accepted into a university smaller. The supporters and condoners of affirmative action lift up those of other races and sexes, and in turn push down those who are Caucasian and male. All of the merits that I achieve are turned to nothing. If I were to compete with an African-American woman for a spot in college, and we had equal GPA’s and SAT scores, I surely would not be admitted.
Affirmative action is unfair because it punishes the current generation of whites, as opposed to the generation that treated blacks so poorly. “Why me? Sure, discrimination has persisted for many years, and I acknowledge that the damage done has not been removed by changes in the law. But why me? I didn’t own slaves; I didn’t vote to keep people on the back of the bus…. (Atlantic Magazine)” The statement is a legitimate complaint. It is impossible to control the actions of one’s ancestors. Furthermore, many whites did not even have family in America during the time of slavery in America, so basing affirmative action on this thought is purely stereotypical and somewhat racist itself.
Affirmative action is unfair because it promotes racism. The bonds between the races will sever as the preferential treatment continues. “… the stress on ‘diversity’ has made interracial interaction strained and superficial…(The Case Against Affirmative Action)”. The force and emphasis that has been put on diversity has in fact had a counter-effect on people and has caused even more racial tension than what previously existed. It is almost like forcing two people to become friends, or a person forcing themselves into a group of friends even though they have different interests and personalities; it simply will not work. If this continues to occur, the problems among the races will not be resolved, but just mad bigger and far worse through more racism. The act causes a perpetual fight between the races that has no chances of stopping.
Affirmative action is unfair because it is not merit-based, but about characteristics. There is no getting around it, race is a characteristic. Race is the same thing that is on your application that you bubble in and should not be a factor in one’s acceptance into a school. A perfect example of the wrongs that occur is in a letter sent out to a white applicant on being rejected at Harvard University, “…we give extra points to minorities…. We do this to encourage diversity on campus and have a student body with a wide range…. Because of these extra points, someone who is from and underrepresented group has been admitted over you, despite having [a lower GPA and SAT test score].” The person got rejected from the college he wanted to go because of his racial status, even though he had an excellent transcript. Furthermore, he was picked over by a minority with a lower test score than he, something more than unfair—but is wrongdoing. Many believe that minorities bring additional things to the table just because they are minorities, “The underlying assumption—that only minorities can add certain ideas or perspectives—is offensive not merely because it is untrue but also because it implies that all minorities think a certain way (The Case Against Affirmative Action).” The claim that minorities have different thoughts is not only partisan to white males but also to minorities themselves. By using them for higher thinking, it’s like treating them like something experimental—like aliens.
Overall, I believe that affirmative action is unfair. I think it’s great that diversity is being instated in universities, but it should not be instituted at the expense of any one group. I believe that the white man is the target and enemy, which is understandable, but perhaps not the current generation should be blamed. The acts of one’s ancestry are beyond their control, and minorities should not get predilection over those whose forefathers may or may not have behaved poorly. I believe that in an attempt to create equality, the United States, through affirmative action, has created more problems than solutions. The United States needs to remove affirmative action and let things play out fairly.





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