Many students believe it is harder for Asians and Caucasians to get into college than it is for minorities. Although this may not be completely true, race has been a consideration in college decisions since the 1960’s. Though this may seem unfair to some, affirmative action is beneficial not only to minorities but to all students.
Affirmative action, created by President John F. Kennedy with a 1961 executive order, was made to counter centuries of racism that kept non-whites from receiving fair opportunities at education, medical care, housing and employment. However, some students, parents and lawmakers believe the practice is unequal and violates the Constitution.
In a 2003 Supreme Court case, the Court held that the University of Michigan’s admissions process violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause by giving automatic advantages to minorities. Now, the Court is reviewing the case of Abigail Fisher, who claims she was wrongly rejected from University of Texas. In Fisher vs. UT, which is expected soon, the Supreme Court may completely remove race from the equation.
Before affirmative action, however, many minorities faced discrimination. This discrimination kept them from getting education and good work, creating lasting disadvantages. Upholding affirmative action is a way to pay back minorities for mistakes from history.
There’s another reason to support affirmative action. By maintaining a ratio of students from different races, schools celebrate diversity among the student body. An experiment conducted by the Higher Educational Research Institute (HERI) in 1990 and 1994 at the University of Michigan showed that students who interacted with racially and ethnically diverse peers showed enhanced “engagement in active thinking, growth in intellectual engagement and motivation, and growth in intellectual and academic skills.”
White students rejected from their dream schools are are wrong to blame minorities for taking “their” spots. Sure, there may be casualties and holes in the system. Though society has made progress eliminating racism, affirmative action is still needed because there’s still a long way to go.