Questioning the Fairness of Racial Preferences

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Racial preferences — i.e., discrimination — are usually viewed as a way to help minorities. Often overlooked, however, is the harm they cause these same individuals. Since the late 1960s, discussions regarding racial preferences arose out of fairness questions. Supporters saw preferences as a necessary method of ensuring that racial minorities receive equal opportunity in the real world and not just paper promises of fair treatment. Opponents viewed preferences as reverse discrimination continuing racist habits under a disguise. Affirmative Action’s attempt to end racial imbalances in higher education that has burdened minorities creates an immoral and unfair solution: student being admitted to universities for which he or she is barely qualified.

Research finds that students tend to be overwhelmed and move to easier majors after enrolling. “Some 40% of black students entering college, for example, say they expect to major in science or engineering. But when they get to schools where most of the other students are better prepared – with much higher SAT scores and more rigorous high school course work – the chance of failure is high” (Sanders 2). Race preferences ensure that students are accepted into schools where they will have trouble competing. “Another adverse effect is lower incentives for students in preferred groups to work to the best of their ability before college. Knowing they’ll get a boost on account of their race, many are content with high school work that’s merely satisfactory” (Leef 2). In other words, minorities attending elite colleges due to racial preferencing are not likely to remain in the major they originally chose because of the unexpected amount of workload that they are unprepared for. ...

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...m of why so many African-Americans and Latinos are academically uncompetitive; and It involves states and schools in unsavory activities such as deciding which minorities will be favored and which ones (e.g., Asians) not” (Clegg 2).

American higher education offers a place for everyone including those who barely escaped high school, which makes affirmative action and racial preferences in college admissions pointless. Preferences aren't necessary to teach students how to deal with diversity. The Constitution explicitly commands nondiscrimination, meaning that in certain circumstances, it violates the law. Race-based preference produces a population of students whose intellectual strength varies strongly according to race. Many critics of Affirmative Action say that there is at best a weak correlation between race and having a range of views presented in the room.
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