Should colleges still look at race? Is affirmative action fair?
David G. Savage poses the question: “Should Colleges still look at race?” in a recent Tribune Washington bureau article. Fifteen years ago, then-Governor George W. Bush signed a law mandating automatic admissions to Texas public colleges to all students who graduate in the top 10 percent from the state’s high schools. The legislation was proposed by the first Mexican-American woman, Rep. Irma Rangel, elected to the Texas Legislature. The bill provided better opportunities for suburban and minority students across the state.
Since then, the Texas legislature has added a race-based component to its admissions policy. The Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that a university could consider a minority student’s race a “plus factor” in admissions. University of Texas officials “argue some minority students are more desirable than others.” In 2010, the university announced that for the first time a majority of its freshman class were minorities. Nearly all of the students were admitted solely based on their academic performance. This fact is a benefit to such bills.
When it comes to the topic of affirmative action I oppose it. Affirmative action is essentially reverse discrimination. When you give preference to any group of people because of ethnicity or gender you are subsequently discriminating another group of people. Racism is very real in today’s society. It wasn’t too long ago that segregation was legal in the U.S. I don’t think racism is as prevalent as it was in the 1960s. With each new generation of Americans, racial prejudices are becoming greatly diminished. As communities and schools become more diverse, ethnicities become less of a segregating component of society and more of an inclusive component. Racial inclusiveness is becoming realized.
Regardless of your opinion of racism in America I don’t think a student’s race or gender should play a factor in admissions. When applying to a school a student’s name, ethnicity and gender should remain hidden. Only then can the “best” applicants be admitted. I hesitate to write off all bouts of affirmative action. Somehow a consensus must be instituted to acknowledge students who face personal struggles. Savage states in the article: “In California, students in the top 9 percent of their high school class are admitted to the University of California system, but not to the campus of their choice. UC officials also give extra consideration to students who have faced social and economic hardships.” I would be open to legislative policies that give extra consideration to such students. Students should not be penalized for their social and economic hardships. Obviously, a student in a tumultuous home environment will most likely not perform as great as a student from an environment that is nurturing to academia.
What do you think?
Is affirmative action a good policy? If yes, why?
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate