This post comes as a closer to the month of September, a two-part work which will be completed tomorrow. This first part deals with a domestic issue, and the second portion will deal with a more international issue. In this post, I intend to state my stance on affirmative action clearly and provide my reasoning for said stance.
Moving on from that the reason I bring up affirmative action is because, as some of you may have heard, the Supreme Court plans on hearing a case attacking affirmative action by the University of Texas at Austin in October ([link]). This topic is especially important to me, because I am applying to colleges myself these days. Whether affirmative action is upheld, mildly changed, or struck down entirely could affect my admissions, and the admissions of hopeful students everywhere in this nation. As such, I felt the issue prominent enough to bring up. I also plan to further take a look at education next week, when I’ll be looking at why we do poorly, funding for colleges, etc.
To qualify my point of view, I must define affirmative action first. It is the policy by which universities are allowed to consider, but not prioritize race in the applications process in order to promote diversity in higher education. This policy has been intended to combat racism in the applications and admissions processes of the past, and to foster the education of minority groups in our country. I’m glad that we implemented affirmative action in the past to defeat our old habits; without it, we might be looking at an even more disproportionately educated population than we do today.
However, it has been 44 years since the last Civil Rights Act was passed, and things have changed since then. We find ourselves in a much more tolerant society, one where equal opportunity of education is much harder to find between social classes than between races. While we are not perfectly harmonious by the standards of race, we have made many improvements. As compared to the past, lynch mobs are fairly rare these days (read: nearly non-existent). We must confront the fact that we have changed as a country, and that our educational institutions have changed as a result. I think you can see where I’m going with this; I want affirmative action removed.
Let me explain why. We are not the best in terms of education; we haven’t been in a long time, and both No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have done little to change that. Both programs have made standardized tests the basis upon which we learn and are judged, and have shifted our learning towards a very rigid set of what types of learning are considered “valuable.” While the latter program seeks to correct some of the issues the former created, progress has been quite slow and ineffective in most cases. This is why our SAT scores have recently been the lowest in decades ([link]). We are faced with a crisis in primary education where, should too many kids get bad standardized test scores, counties will simply lower their standards rather than take the time to teach the kids better. As such, we are rewarding stupidity in a nation that can’t afford it. Affirmative action is another way we are rewarding stupidity, but in a different form.
By keeping race a factor in admissions, we are doing more to hinder minorities looking for educational opportunities than we are doing to help them. Let me provide an example. Say we have two teenagers applying to the University of Chicago, a notoriously rigorous school that is extremely difficult to get accepted to. These two teenagers have identical qualities for getting in; extremely similar grades for classes of equal difficulty, the same SAT/ACT scores, equal amounts of leadership in clubs and sports, equally good application essays, etc. The only stark difference between these two kids is that one is of Asian heritage, while the other is of Hispanic origins. If both kids are qualified to be accepted and push comes to shove, the Hispanic kid will be accepted over the Asian one. This is accepted fact among teenagers; minorities that are interpreted as being less intelligent as a whole race will be accepted more easily by colleges than minorities interpreted as being “smart.” The problem can be extended further in the previous example; even if the Hispanic student has lesser qualifications to a certain degree, they are more likely to be accepted and given financial aid than the Asian student.
This is not promotion of diversity. This is promotion of inequality of diversity. While not direct, this process essentially forces universities to hoist extra value onto certain races over others, resulting in an unfair admissions process. And while not immediate, this encourages the races which universities prefer over others to be less intelligent as a whole. We are providing a disservice to these people; if we cannot provide a fair process, there is no point in promoting diversity in colleges at all. If students in this age know they can get an equal reward for less work, we will take it. One needs only to walk through the halls of a high school and listen to the conversations to discover just how lazy and whiny the majority of us are. I’m not one to generalize, but I speak the truth when I say my generation is way too lazy for its own good. In classes that are even slightly less rigorous than the norm at my school, whenever a teacher announces an assignment or a test coming up, the entire class groans and begs for extensions. And I sit there, being constantly reminded of how pathetic we can be. And I assure you, should any seniors see an easier way to ensure their acceptance to colleges, they will go for it with their grubby little hands without even a thought. If students in my generation know they can be abuse their race to jimmy their chances of being accepted, they will take that freedom. This is why affirmative action must stop.
I am white, and a religious minority: Jewish. That is how I appear to colleges, and that is how I’ve always appeared, although I no longer follow the Jewish faith. I am part of a minority that colleges consider “smart,” where it is not considered unique for one of my kind to be intelligent and well-involved. The same goes for my Jewish and Asian friends; all of them ride the same boat I do. We have always ridden in this boat, and have accepted that we must work harder to appear unique to colleges in order to be accepted. Meanwhile, other minorities which colleges consider unintelligent have had to do less work to be considered equally good candidates for acceptance. We are propping up a broken system, by which we hurt all races. Races which are considered “intelligent” or “average” must work more and make themselves look better to have hopes, while idiocy among other races which are considered “less intelligent” is promoted, and inequality results.
But why stop this? We’re getting the diversity of ethnicities that we want in schools, so why change the system? Because if we don’t, we are faced with a society polarized further and further among educational lines. Martin Luther King Jr. said that he had a dream, one where all races could look upon each other in harmony. I have a similar dream; one where colleges don’t look upon men and women of King’s race as tools to make themselves look better to potential applicants. If we keep doing what we do now, I see a situation where minorities go to colleges using their race to buoy themselves, but cannot handle the rigors of the institutions they are in. So they drop out. Things become progressively worse for each of them, because without proper training and education they will not receive the jobs they need to prosper. This begins cycles of poverty, cycles that are harder to break than many of you can even comprehend. Those that don’t drop out will transfer to lesser schools, making them appear as though they weren’t good enough for something they thought they were. Once again, due to the poorer education they receive they won’t get good enough jobs, forcing these cycles of poverty. Some will plain flunk out of schools, making it even worse for them. This promotes an inequality based on race.
But this can be solved. However, the process will not be immediate. Let’s say we end all affirmative action starting today, cold turkey. Colleges all across the country have to ignore race when accepting and denying applicants. At first, there will be an immediate decrease in those races which colleges consider unintelligent; namely, African-Americans and Hispanics. This is inevitable due to the fact that colleges are always looking for money, and if diversity won’t bring in money then colleges will turn to test scores, grades, and essays instead. Because of this, we will likely look at a few years where colleges will turn their campuses into swarms of Whites and Asians, unfortunately calling racism into the area. However, as students of all groups learn to accept that they will only get into college based on grades rather than race, we will gradually see a return of all races to universities of higher expectations. And instead of having certain races coast by while others stay up until midnight studying, all races will be doing the latter. All races will truly be equal in this way; we shall do equal work, and receive an equal payoff, regardless of where we come from. This results in further payoffs for our society as a whole. Minority groups will become more educated as a whole, thereby increasing their gross wealth and opportunities for the future. Because colleges will use grades solely as standards for acceptance, the nation’s aggregate educational strengths will increase over the years, to the point where we are competing among the top nations with much more gusto. While we still will have quite a bit to work on in primary, secondary, and tertiary education, we’ll have made the first necessary step.
That is all for this post, and I hope I’ve provided sound reasoning for my proposition of ending affirmative action. If you would like to contact me, I can be reached easily at my email firstname.lastname@example.org. My accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Steam are also always open. And so I bid you adieu, and this is KnoFear, signing off.