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We have already taken a look at the history behind affirmative action, and we have seen the case that is currently being decided on by the Supreme Court. We know that affirmative action was started because it was necessary to balance out racial prejudices in the workplace and in college admissions. Affirmative Action policies have not changed since. College admissions affirmative action was challenged about a decade ago and is being challenged again. Both sides of the affirmative action argument have valid points at the surface, but if we look deep into the issue, and think about the long term future of this country, it is clear that affirmative action’s time is up and it should be made illegal.


Martin Luther King Jr. once said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” This is the exact opposite of affirmative action. Many schools will say that race is only a minor factor in admissions, but the fact of the matter is that to some extent, no matter how small, college applicants are being admitted or denied opportunity based on the color of their skin. Shouldn’t we be judging people by their character instead? Isn’t that what Martin Luther King Jr. wanted?


I understand the fears of those who are for affirmative action. Many people believe that if you do not have a certain number of each racial group identified in an academic setting (called a “critical mass”) then the one racial group will feel ostracized and will not express their opinions in the academic setting. But don’t we want a future in which people’s opinions are not defined by their skin color? The whole goal of the racial equality movement is to bring a day upon the United States in which people are seen by others as individuals, and not as a White guy, a Black girl or Asian guy. Yet isn’t this what affirmative action does? Doesn’t affirmative action define someone by their skin color rather than his or her character and individuality? Affirmative action only perpetuates the racism that it claims to try to prevent. If you want a racial minority to feel confident enough that he or she is not an outcast, then stop making the racial distinctions in the admissions process that defined him or her as an outcast. If we truly want a future in which everyone is seen as racial equals, as a unified academic body, then we need to stop defining how many people of each race is required in an academic setting.


Simply stated, I am saying that the problem of racial inequality is not going to be solved by affirmative action, rather inhibited. I am NOT saying that killing affirmative action will solve the racial inequality problem in the U.S. I argue that the problem is that in our country’s attempt to be fair to all the races, we have had to make distinctions between the races that have ended up dividing people rather than unifying them. It is a huge contradiction to say that we want a racially fair and unified academic body for a college, and then distinguish one race from another in admissions. If the future of this country is the need to see every skin color in the same light, then we need to actually try to see every skin color in the same light. Affirmative action is past its time. Affirmative action is unconstitutional and does not solve racial inequality issues. Affirmative action is a policy that attempts to counter racism by promoting racial inequality. True racial equality comes in the form of color-blindness where every college applicant is judged by their character, and not their race.




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Civics Issues 2

In the last edition of my civics issues blog, I posed a question that would set up the arguments for and against affirmative action. Affirmative action is an issue that has produced many polarized opinions around it. At the core of the issue is the question I asked in my last blog: Is it constitutional to admit or deny someone to a university ONLY because of their race? This question is very important and has no simple answer. There are many sides to this issue and I hope to cover them all.


Those in favor of affirmative action have many valid arguments for it and raise many important questions. If we look at the demographics of the job markets in this country, we see what many would consider a sizeable problem. Minority groups such as African Americans and Latinos are desperately underrepresented in professions that require extensive schooling.  If we look at doctors across the United States we see that over half of all doctors are white, while less than ten percent of all doctors are African American or Hispanic combined. Proponents of affirmative action see the roots of this problem in the decades of social and political infrastructure contaminated by racism.  Our country has not recovered completely from the pre-civil rights era of blatant educational and occupational racism.  Those in favor of affirmative action believe that by evening out the racial ratio in college admissions, and then the problem of the racial imbalance in the job market will be “fixed”.


The opposing viewpoint of this is one of far less optimism.  I, and opponents of affirmative action, do not believe this idyllic “fix” for the racial ratio problem is the right solution. At the surface, it may seem like a good idea to balance the race problem in universities in order to balance the job market in the future, but I see many problems in this. This solution fails to recognize why colleges and universities would be overrepresented by whites if affirmative action didn’t exist. The reason why the ratio of whites to minorities in colleges is not representative of the population as a whole is because primary education is not available or of a high quality to everyone and minority races tend to be more deprived of a solid primary education base than whites. The way I see it, there are three steps in this race problem; first we have primary education, then college level education, and finally the job markets. The reason why universities are out of racial balance is because in general, and I emphasize “in general”, whites have more access to a quality primary education than minorities. This then means more whites and qualified to enter into universities and then the job markets. I believe this is a huge problem, but does not get fixed at the university level. In order to truly level the playing field for all races, we must invest in our primary education system. Inner city schools are typically majority African American, and have a much higher drop out rate in high school. If we fix the primary education system in this country, then we can work our way up. “Fixing” the problem at the university level doesn’t actually fix anything. It helps cover up the problem, but does not address the true issue here. To change the infrastructure, we need to start at the bottom and work up. We cannot start in the middle.




Another aspect of the argument in favor of affirmative action in college is the notion of university cultural diversity. Those in favor believe that colleges have the right to consider race as a factor for admission because a culturally diverse environment fosters the educational environment, thus promoting the educational system as a whole.


This is been shown to be true in that a culturally diverse educational environment tends to produce more culturally diverse graduates and eventually employees. However, the problem I have with this is the lack of distinction between race and culture. Last blog I talked about the Supreme Court cases and how the Court upheld the right of a college to foster a culturally diverse environment. My question is: Who is to say that racial differences equates to cultural differences? The country is full of many different people from a nearly infinite number of social and cultural backgrounds. Each community and town in the country has a different sub-culture unique to those people that live there.  So is it justifiable to say that my neighbor who is African American and who has had the same upbringing as my white self, and comes from the same cultural subset of this country as me is more “diverse” simply because of the color of my skin? This is my biggest problem. Race is not a reliable indicator of cultural diversity in many cases and colleges should look for other ways to screen out culturally diverse people to admit.


Next blog I will talk more about the Supreme Court case coming up and the details about it. But I will leave you with another question: Do you think, by your own college experience, that racial diversity within a college population creates a culturally diverse learning environment?




Civic Issues 1: Affirmative Action

For this civic issues blog, I chose topic of education. I will focus on mainly secondary education and the racial/diversity aspect of college life. For my “This I Believe” podcast, I spoke about how I am a strong advocate for the abolishment of affirmative action, so I will start off there.


Some background information on this topic is necessary in order to form or express opinions about it. Currently, public and private universities can use race as a consideration factor in the college admission process. This was the case for decades as affirmative action sprung up a result of the civil rights movement, and was unchallenged until 2003 where we had two important Supreme Court cases dealing with the University of Michigan.


The two cases were Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger. Without going into the intimate details about the case, I will explain the effect of each case. It was common at the time for schools and universities to have a point-based admission system. Simply put, if you had a GPA above 3.0 you got a certain amount of points. If you had a 4.0 you got even more. Being captain of your sports team gave you some points while having a disciplinary record may lose you some points. At the end of the day, if you didn’t have X number of points, you would not be admitted. At the time, University of Michigan Law School had this point system, but also gave points based on race. If you were white you simply got no points while minority races received more points because of their race.


Well this bias system of admissions was bound to make some people angry, and it was in 2003 where we saw a movement against it. The first case, Grutter, was simply protesting the use of race as a factor in admissions while the second case, Gratz, protested the point system. The Supreme Court’s decision was one that tried to satisfy the most amount of people it could, but upheld affirmative action. The Court “reaffirmed that universities may take race into consideration as one factor among many factors when selecting incoming students.” While stating that the point system was “not narrowly tailored to achieve the university’s asserted interest in diversity.” ( In plain English, they said that schools can consider race as a factor but not use the point system.


If you are like me, you are scratching your head wondering why this is was ruled the way it was. If schools are allowed to consider race, then why not use a point system? Does that make it less constitutional? The Court thought so. That’s all that matters. The reason why the Court ruled in favor of affirmative action is because by providing a diverse learning environment, a university can provide a better learning environment. And since the primary goal of an academic institution is to provide an education, this was constitutional.


I really do understand this side of the argument and I feel both sides of this issue make valid points, which I will get into in the next edition of this blog.


Today, the issue of Affirmative Action has been brought back into the Supreme Court in the case Fisher v. University of Texas. In this case, a young woman is claiming that she was not admitted into the university because of her race and that it is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment. She claims to have been deprived of opportunity because of her race and that if race was not considered in admissions, she certainly would have been admitted. The ruling on this case could be coming up in the next few months and could potentially change the admissions process for high school students if the Court changes it mind.


Like I said, I will go into the debate of this issue next week, but I do pose a question:

Is it constitutional/does it deny non-minorities Equal Protection if they are denied from a university ONLY because of their race so that the university can foster a diverse and positive educational environment?