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Essay on The Ineffectiveness of Affirmative Action in Establishing Diversity

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The Ineffectiveness of Affirmative Action in Establishing Diversity


People generally agree that diversity is beneficial to college campuses. In 1978, in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the Supreme Court decided that race could be used as a factor in deciding college admissions - setting a precedent for the use of affirmative action (Lane A1). Justice Lewis Powell, who belonged to the majority opinion, cited diversity as the primary reason behind his decision. He acknowledged that there are "educational benefits that flow from an ethnically diverse student body" and that "few students...would choose to study in an academic vacuum, removed from the interplay of ideas and the exchange of views" (qtd. in Drehle A11). Powell believed that racially diverse students contributed new perspectives and ideas to universities. These new perspectives and ideas enrich the learning environment for all students. Racial diversity thus is a positive goal for colleges and universities. Unfortunately, the most popular way - affirmative action - of creating diversity is fraught with problems. When affirmative action is used to build this diversity, problems begin to emerge over how it can be implemented fairly and effectively.

One of the inherent problems with affirmative action is that it relies on a limited, race-only definition of diversity, even though diversity is a very broad concept. Earlier this year, President Bush pledged his support for "diversity of all kinds" (Traub 15), acknowledging that the government has an obligation to make sure that public institutions are "open and available to all segments of American society" (qtd. in Drehle A11). However, Bush also criticized the University of Michigan for showing prefe...


... middle of paper ...


...the means of achieving it.

Works Cited

* Ellmers, Glenn. "The Ghost of Diversity." The Claremont Institute. 2 Apr. 2003. .

* Lane, Charles. "U-Michigan Gets Broad Support on Using Race." The Washington Post 11 Feb. 2002: A1.

* Wohl, Alexander. "Diversity on Trial." The American Prospect 7 May 2001: 37.

* Traub, James. "The Way We Live Now." The New York Times Magazine 2 Feb. 2003: 15.

* Drehle, David. "Agreement on 'Diversity,' Split on Means; Bush Stance Shows Dichotomy on Race." The Washington Post 18 Jan. 2003: A11.

* Robison, Clay. "Affirmative action edict may affect how wind blows in governor's race." The Houston Chronicle 03 Feb. 2001: 37.

* Rothman, Stanley. "Is Diversity Overrated?" The New York Times 29 Mar. 2003: A11.

* Winter, Greg. "Study Challenges Case for Diversity at Colleges." The New York Times 20 Mar. 2003: A28.


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