Race is a College Credit?

January 7, 2010
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There are obvious differences in education. If you were raised in an environment filled with sewage, taught with one out-dated textbook in each classroom, and your teacher took more “sick” days then you did, you probably wouldn’t get into a very prestigious college, especially not compared to the other kid who wore pristine uniforms every day and was enrolled in college preparatory courses. After not getting accepted into your choice college, you just decide to forget about it and become the new employee at the local McDonald’s. Then, you have a baby at the age of 19 and that child begins to lead the same life you did and the cycle continues, getting bigger and more vicious. How can Americans curve this? Many say the answer to unequal education is affirmative action. This is a term referring to policies that try to increase the amount of African-Americans, women, and other minorities in colleges and other educational facilities. However, affirmative action would be more effective if students’ acceptance was based on the standard of their former education, rather than their physical appearance or ethnicity.
Although there are many advantages of affirmative action, there are also many disadvantages. For one, affirmative action tends to only benefit rich minorities. Students gaining from affirmative action are usually privileged minorities. These students and unqualified and don’t try very hard but have a lot of money and just happen to be part of a minority.
Affirmative action is basically reverse discrimination. By looking only at skin color and other physical traits, this betrays Martin Luther King’s vision of a “color-blind nation.” David Sacks and Peter Thiel, wrote, “The basic problem is that a racist past cannot be undone through more racism” (7). Affirmative action is supposed to be a cure to racism, yet it is based off of race. Affirmative action is so discriminatory that affirmative action can even hurt poor white students.
While affirmative action gives black students opportunities to be successful, it also takes away opportunities from majorities. Admission preferences are hurting over-qualified students that are part of majorities because their spots at the institution are being filled by under-qualified minority students.
There are also many good qualities of affirmative action that must be taken into account. Qualifications are usually based on SAT, ACT, and GPA numbers. “In reality, the average disparity between Stanford’s African-American and white admittees reached 171 points in 1992” (Sacks & Theil 4). These scores reflect their students’ parent’s standard of education and their background, not their personal achievements. In addition, lower-class schools tend to not provide very good opportunities. Students are expected to magically get good educations when the only school they have ever known is extremely poor and has bad resources. Some institutions are just not fit for learning. Mr. Solomon, a teacher working in a low-income school says, “I have don’t without so much so long, that if I were assigned to a suburban school, I’m not sure I’d recognize what they are doing. We are utterly cut off” (Kozol 3). Solomon advocates that many poor schools are practically foreign to proper education. These schools aren’t equipped with appropriate teachers or proper textbooks. Since education is so unequal, disadvantaged students are so far behind that there is virtually no way they could get into college without the help of affirmative action. Affirmative action also balances out “legacy kids.” These pupils are incompetent and only got accepted due to their connections. “As many as 15 percent of freshman at America’s top schools are white students who failed to meet their university’s minimum standards for admission” (Pryse 5). These are children of alumni and employees at the university.
However, despite all of this, I believe that admissions committees should come to a compromise. I think that under-privileged students deserve a proper college education. At the same time, I don’t think it is fair to base disadvantages on race. Before accepting deprived students, admissions should consider the parents income and what the types of education the student has gotten in the past, not merits or race. Students receiving special preferences should truly deserve it.





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