African- American males have been underrepresented among college students and degree earners for years, however the reason for this is often misconstrued. The percentages of white high school graduates “In 1998-2000 had jumped to 46. However, only 40 percent of African-Americans and 34 percent of Hispanics in the same age group were attending college” (McGlynn, Angela Proviteira). The question then to pose, is why minority students are not succeeding in college compared to Caucasian students, “Only 47% of Black male students graduated on time
Affirmative action is an attempt by the United States to amend a long history of racial discrimination and injustice. Our school textbook defines affirmative action as “a program established that attempts to improve the chances of minority applicants for educational or employment purposes, although they may have the same qualifications, by giving them leverage so that they can attain a level that is equal to caucasian applicants” (Berman 522). There are people that support and oppose this issue. Opponents of affirmative action have many reasons for opposing this issue, one of them being that the battle for equal rights is over, and that this advantage made for people of color discriminates against people that are not of color. The people that defend affirmative action argue this advantage is needed because of how badly discriminated the people of color once were. Because of the discrimination that once was these people claim that they are at a disadvantage, and always have been, therefore equality of opportunity is needed. It is also said that affirmative action is used to encourage diversity and integration. This paper will discuss the history of affirmative action, how it is implemented in society today, and evaluate the arguments that it presents.
Though Affirmative Action is a current controversial issue, it is far from new; its decree has been long in the making. Perhaps it originates from amendments 13-15, the series of amendments that outlawed slavery, guaranteed equal protection under the law, and forbid racial discrimination when voting, respectively (Sykes 1). The Supreme Court’s decision in 1896, in the case of Plessy V. Ferguson, mandated separate but equal treatment for African Americans (Sykes 1). However, in 1954, the Supreme Court’s decision from Brown v. Board of Education replaced that of the Plessy v. Ferguson trial. President Lyndon Johnson was the first to use the term “Affirmative Action” in the Executive Order 11246 of 1965 (Sykes 1). This order required federal contractors to use affirmative action to make sure people were treated equally, “without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin” (Cahn 1). Two years later, Johnson amended it to include women (Cahn 1). By 1971, President Nixon issued a Revised Order No. 4 that required contractors to adopt an “acceptable affirmative action program” (Cahn 1). Over the past three decades, many debates continue as to whether or not affirmative action still belongs in America.
Minority groups are given different criteria to meet when applying to college. This is an attempt to compensate for the hardships many minority groups had to face in history. As examined by Hoover Institution’s Thomas Sowell this advantage benefits minority applicants from middle and upper class backgrounds. As a result of admissions using a zero sum game, which is where one person’s gain is another person’s loss, these preferences hurt some applicants who meet admission standards in unequal numbers (Sacks and Thiel). If this predilection were genuinely meant to redress disadvantages, it would not be given on the basis of ethnicity. Supporters of affirmative action claim that affirmative action advocates diversity. But if diversity were the goal, then
The most common question that arises in contemporary debates over affirmative action is, “Does affirmative action still work as intended?” The original purpose of affirmative action in college admissions was to eliminate racial bias in the applicant selection process and provide a helping hand to disadvantaged minority students. Has this happened? The simple answer is “No”, but a more precise answer requires more elaboration. Richard Rodriguez, the Mexican-American author of Hunger of Memory and a direct beneficiary of early affirmative action policies, puts it this way, “I think – as I thought in 1967 – that the black civil rights leaders were correct: Higher education was not, nor is it yet, accessible to many black Americans” (Rodriguez 144).
Last summer, the Supreme Court ruled against the use of race in the college admissions process in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas. Since then, affirmative action has become a big issue in the media; however, many people still do not even know what affirmative action is. Affirmative action is a policy to prevent discrimination on the basis of “color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Overall, it favors minorities that are often discriminated. It might sound like an excellent policy; however, the use of this policy in the college admissions process is prejudice. In the college admissions process, affirmative action lowers the standards for some races, while raising the standard for other races. For example, an Asian might need a SAT score of 2300 to be considered for admission at a top school such as Yale and a white applicant might need a score of 2100, while an African American or Hispanic only needs a score of 1700. While affirmative action provides equality in the workplace, it has no place in the college admissions process and should, therefore, be abolished and replaced. This type of policy can be repealed completely, replaced with a college admissions process that favors first generation college applicants, or replaced with a policy based on an applicant’s socioeconomic status.
Imagine, your walking down the street looking for a job. You see a sign in the window that says, “Whites encouraged to apply.” Imagine the period in time when just being white got you into a college, without any other considerations of grades or athletic ability. Those were the days of the Jim Crow laws. Now these instances have happened in the past 20 years, through new laws called Affirmative Action. The big argument is over these few years of affirmative action. Have they alleviated the pain of the Jim Crow laws? The answer to that question is no. Especially, in the case of the University of Michigan‘s use of Affirmative Action in the acceptance of students. Using race as a factor of admission is wrong and is reverse discrimination.
Affirmative action is needed to create diversity in America. Affirmative action allows people of different races and backgrounds to interact in the workplace and universities. During 1996, Neil Rudenstine, president of Harvard University, explained Harvard's commitment to diversity by using John Stuart Mill, who emphasized the value of people being in contact with people who are different from them (5). Justice Powell who stated "a diversity of opinions, experiences, backgrounds, talents, aspirations, and perspectives" helped college students to feel great intellectual exchange, exploration, and growth (5). With such great advantage to the students with colleges with great diversity the education system itself should have implemented a policy such as affirmative action. According to Patricia Gurin, a psychology professor at University of Michigan, students experience better learning in a diverse educational atmosphere and are more prepared to become active in our pluralistic, democratic society after they leave college (5). In America today, we are already have enough problems with people being apathetic and not involved in society. When students grow up in diverse schools, they can become active and help the democratic society. Affirm...
Recently the merits of a race based admission policy to colleges and universities have come under scrutiny by the American public. Take into account the position of black conservatives, who feel that affirmative action merely perpetuates a system of preference in reverse and does nothing to fix the problems African Americans face in lower educational programs. When looking at the arguments of the Black conservatives and comparing them to the view points of the opposition, a certain conclusion may be reached.
The issue of Affirmative Action, preferences towards persons of racial minorities to compensate for prior discrimination, in college admissions is a quite complicated one. Many sides must be explored to gain a better understanding of the theories and views on this issue. It is not easily answered with a yes or no. Since its inception, Affirmative Action’s use has been a major debate in American society. Many questions are left to be investigated. Many believe that we should live in a society where preferential treatment could be eliminated, and admission to college is based solely on one’s merit and character, yet this view seems quite unrealistic.
Affirmative action has improved the overall life of numerous people. Many minorities, specifically African-Americans, have improved due to educational opportunities acquired via affirmative action. Enrollment of black students skyrocketed because of affirmative action. Blacks had accounted for less than one percent of students entering into universities in 1951. Affirmative action, starting in the 1960’s allowed for blacks to make up 6.3% of Ivy Leagues by 1978, and approximately eight percent of law and medical schools by 1995. The same schools that were less than one percent black in 1951 now had a population consisting of 7.1% black students in 1989. A study d...
Affirmative action has been a topic of discussion for a long time, but only recently has it become such a major controversy. It is generally agreed on that affirmative action became a real topic of debate around 1964 during the civil rights movement. Even the definition of affirmative action is controversial; this is addressed by Antwi-Boasiako, Kwame Badue, and Joseph Osagba. They provide two primary definitions of affirmative action. The first says that the purpose of affirmative action is to right the wrongs of past discrimination. The second is that affirmative action works much like a “quota system,” i.e. schools are required to have certain levels of diversity in their schools. To reach that diversity schools use affirmative action, allowing in less qualified minorities to promote diversity.
Discrimination is still a chronic global issue, and drastic inequalities still exist at the present time. Thus, the Affirmative Action Law is an important tool to many minorities most especially to women, and people of color, for the reason that this program provides an equality on educational, and professional opportunities for every qualified individual living in the United States. Without this program, a higher education would have been impossible for a “minority students” to attain. Additionally, without the Affirmative Action, a fair opportunity to have a higher-level career...
Today there is considerable disagreement in the country over Affirmative Action with the American people. MSNBC reported a record low in support for Affirmative Action with 45% in support and 45% opposing (Muller, 2013). The affirmative action programs have afforded all genders and races, exempting white males, a sense of optimism and an avenue to get the opportunities they normally would not be eligible for. This advantage includes admission in colleges or hiring preferences with public and private jobs; although Affirmative Action has never required quotas the government has initiated a benefits program for the schools and companies that elect to be diversified. The advantages that are received by the minorities’ only take into account skin color, gender, disability, etc., are what is recognized as discriminatory factors. What is viewed as racism to the majority is that there ar...
Affirmative action has been a controversial topic ever since it was established in the 1960s to right past wrongs against minority groups, such as African Americans, Hispanics, and women. The goal of affirmative action is to integrate minorities into public institutions, like universities, who have historically been discriminated against in such environments. Proponents claim that it is necessary in order to give minorities representation in these institutions, while opponents say that it is reverse discrimination. Newsweek has a story on this same debate which has hit the nation spotlight once more with a case being brought against the University of Michigan by some white students who claimed that the University’s admissions policies accepted minority students over them, even though they had better grades than the minority students. William Symonds of Business Week, however, thinks that it does not really matter. He claims that minority status is more or less irrelevant in college admissions and that class is the determining factor.