Affirmatie Action= Fair?

January 12, 2010
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Visualize in your head that you have sustained a 4.0 grade point average all four of your high school years. A person of the minority who achieved a 3.8 grade point average is awarded a spot in front of you at the college of your choice due to affirmative action. Do you think that this situation is fair? Do you think that he deserved the spot in front of you when he had a lower academic achievement than you? Affirmative action enforces positive discrimination to favor those who suffer from discrimination. I certainly do not think losing your place into college admissions is fair, due to affirmative action, when your grade point average is higher.

While belittling merit, efforts through affirmative action intended to promote diversity and the positive intentions of affirmative actions are, ironically, having the opposite effect on campuses. Under no circumstances should true merit be neglected which is why affirmative action is wrong. Supporters for diversity have led to segregated areas and activities at schools. Stanford University tried to make the campus diverse but it ended up causing segregation:
This same push for “diversity” also has led Stanford to create racially segregated dormitories, racially segregated freshman orientation programs, racially segregated graduation ceremonies and curricular requirements in race theory and gender studies. (Sacks and Thiel 1)
These actions have served to divide college campuses rather than to unite them. Campus efforts to create more diversity are also causing more racial tension. Affirmative action gives the minorities a better opportunity for college enrollment and benefits than the majority, and this creates stress and animosity among the student body thereby creating the motive for racial tension and awkward inter-racial relationships. Affirmative action to promote diversity is causing more racism and segregation.

Additionally, affirmative action is supposed to be helping the minorities because they do not have all the great opportunities that the majority does. People generally think that all the minorities are poor and don’t have any chances at all without affirmative action, and that all the majorities are rich and have a good education. Supporters of this line of thinking believe that racial preferences through affirmative action help the disadvantaged. However, there are plenty of middle- and upper- class minorities that receive a good education at good schools. Minorities shouldn’t be given an advantage because of their race or gender, because they have the same opportunity as everyone else to work hard and do well. Also, there are lower- class majorities that struggle under just as bad conditions as minorities, but they don’t receive more of an advantage:
At the same time, because admissions are a zero-sum game, preferences hurt poor whites and even many Asians (who meet admissions standards in disproportionate numbers). If preferences were truly meant to remedy disadvantage, they would be given on the basis of disadvantage, not on the basis of race. (Sacks and Thiel 1)
What the reader can take away from this quote is that lower- class whites and Asians are subjected to the same challenges and disadvantages that the minorities are, and that is why affirmative action should be based on self-accomplishments and characteristics, not on race or gender.

Supporters of affirmative action believe that students should not be judged on their merits through academic testing because educational systems aren’t equal, “Opponents of affirmative action argue that students should be ‘judged on their merits’, based on academics and standardized testing scores” (Pryse 1). Individual achievements should be the measure for success, not race or gender. On the other hand, proponents argue that the SAT and other forms of standardized testing are unfair because the educational systems preparing the students are not equal. I disagree with the supporters because in many school districts the course curriculum is standardized to allow for a uniform education among students across the school districts. Therefore, education achievement levels have been uniformly defined amongst schools with the intention of giving each student the same opportunity for an equal education. Additionally, supporters believe that standardized achievement tests and other merit-based elements usually reflect parents and background, not personal achievements. In my opinion, the contrarian view is true:
The sole criterion in finding the members of this class (best students) and in defining ‘merit’ should be individual achievement – not just grades and test scores, of course, but a broad range of accomplishments, in athletics, music, student government, drama, school clubs and other extracurricular efforts. (Sacks and Thiel 2)
I further disagree because everybody has the same opportunities in the educational system. Even if they had non-influential parents or a bad background, if they wanted to succeed then they would have strived to do the best they could to make good grades. They could have searched for special tutorials or pursued help from others.

The pros and cons of affirmative action will always be argued, and no clear answer will ever be agreed to and accepted by all. There will always be controversies and conflicting views with affirmative action, particularly in terms of campus admissions. The main question is whether it is right for a minority to be given preferential treatment and awarded a college admission in front of you. I think that affirmative action is unfair, and the requirements to enter the school should only depend on your merits and accomplishments.





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