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Affirmative Action and College Admissions: A Legal and Ethical Analysis

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Affirmative Action and College Admissions: A Legal and Ethical Analysis

I. Introduction

The institution of public education has been one of the most controversial establishments in the United States since its inception. More specifically, equality in the conditions and the opportunities it provides has been sought as one of its major goals. There is little doubt that minority ethnic groups have struggled to achieve educational equality, just as they have struggled for equality in other aspects of life. One way that minorities have tried to achieve equality in education is through lobbying for help in college admissions for their respective groups. This social practice has been debated on many grounds, including necessity and ethical permissibility.

The debate over the necessity of equal opportunity in education for minority groups can be traced back to the post Civil War era. The well-known debates between African-American intellectuals W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington focused on this issue. DuBois believed that the newly emancipated blacks should be slowly integrated into the culture of white America. He argued that the best way for African-Americans to further themselves in society was to embrace their differences and not try to be subjected to the same educational system as the majority population.

On the other hand, Booker T. Washington believed that blacks needed to be declared completely equal to whites in every way. He wanted immediate integration into all social institutions that were available to whites, including public education. Washington believed that this was the only way that equality could ultimately be achieved was to break down the social barriers between the races immediately and ...

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