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Putting the Affirmative in Affirmative Action Essay

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Imagine this: it’s 1961, and President Kennedy has just signed Executive Order 10925 into action, forcing government contractors to take affirmative action so that minorities will have an equal chance to find employment. It’s the first order of its kind, and it will lead affirmative action to become utilized in both the workplace and college admissions. But even though Executive Order 10925 was intended as a sympathetic and well-intentioned gesture, affirmative action has sparked many debates across the country. Many declare that affirmative action is necessary and just while others claim that it should be abolished because it actually leads to reverse discrimination. In addition, some opponents of affirmative action go one step further to assert that it actually leads to a perverse phenomenon called “mismatch”, which occurs when underprepared students end up at schools with a far more rigorous and competitive learning environment than they are used to, leading them to fall behind even more. These debates about affirmative action have sometimes climaxed in Supreme Court decisions, with the court constantly deciding and re-deciding what can and cannot be allowed. This shows that many are discontent with what affirmative action is currently achieving and would like to see changes occur in how it is applied. Since affirmative action began with the best of intentions but is not reaching its desired effects, it should be reformed to counteract the negative effects of mismatch. This can be achieved by focusing more attention on reforming the K-12 education system, and on movements to help colleges to release more information about their enrollment.
Mismatch in affirmative action admissions can have both large- and small-sca...


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...up controversy to this day, and rightfully so. To many, the chance for a first-class education represents a hope for a better future. Reforming affirmative action would allow these people to have the opportunity they desire so much, and in a fair, non-discriminatory, and effective way. After all, in the Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger, Justice Sandra Day O’ Connor wrote in her majority opinion that “We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today” (qtd. in Slater). That was all the way back in 2003—11 years ago. Perhaps, if affirmative action is reformed, then somehow in 14 years there will be a way for the use of racial preferences to no longer be necessary--but only because we have found a better way to provide an equal opportunity for all the students in this country.




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