According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Affirmative action” means positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded.
Affirmative action was originally developed to correct decades of discrimination and to give disadvantaged minorities a boost, but it has become more than that. It has resulted in reverse discrimination, lower standards for minorities, and forced inferior views on minorities.
Lets face it: the whole idea of affirmative action is wrong. One group of people getting an advantage over another is what affirmative action is promoting. These policies are often instituted in schools and workplaces and use discrimination to end discrimination. The whole point of affirmative action is to level the playing field but it is truly not doing that.
Take Michigan University for example, according to Balanced Politics, the school had a policy of rating potential applicants on a point system. Being a minority student earned you more than twice as many points as achieving a perfect SAT score.
Another example is the New Haven Fire Department. In 2003 more than 100 firefighters took an exam to fill eight vacant lieutenant positions and seven vacant captain positions. Although a number of African American and Latino firefighters passed the exam, only two Latinos and zero African Americans scored high enough to make the promotion list.
The fact that all of the 15 promotions were likely to go to white firefighters caused the city to dismiss the results. That is reverse discrimination at it’s best. The fact that hard working non-minority students who scored perfect SAT scores get less points than minorities, or hard working firefighters not given positions that they are qualified for is what is wrong with affirmative action.
Also under affirmative action rich minority children get into schools over poor non-minority students. Hard work and social status are not taken into account. The non-minority student could be from a lower social class, worked hard his/her whole life, maintained a perfect GPA, and SAT score, but the rich minority kid with mediocre grades will get into school over the non-minority kid because of affirmative action.
If a minority student can get into a top-notch school with a 3.6 or 3.7, why aim for a perfect 4.0 or higher? Why aim for a 36 on the ACT or a 2400 on the SAT? That is the reality of affirmative action; lower standards. With affirmative action minority children can jut make it by high school with mid-level grades and test scores. There is no extra push, no motivation, and no drive for minority students.
Once benefitted from affirmative action minorities have to enter a school or work place environment that can be very hostile. The atmosphere minorities enter can set them to be bullied or harassed because they are seen inferior. The view that, a minority couldn’t get the job or admitted into a college without affirmative action causes problems.
The problems are so big that on March 20 at the Affirmative Action Day symposium, New Jersey State Senator Linda R. Greenstein and State Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsored anti-bullying legislation for schools and the workplace. The laws currently in place offer recourse for certain groups of bullying victims. For example, there are laws that protect those who are harassed or discriminated against based on age, race, gender, sexual orientation. Many of these a product of affirmative action.
Before I begin arguing in affirmation of affirmative action, I’d like to point out that I receive no advantage from these policies. As a male, I do not benefit at all from “gender equality.” As an Asian-American, I am just one of an overachieving mass of model immigrants occupying a much larger portion of the elite echelon of academic achievement than college quotas may suggest.
Though I may very well be cheated out of an Ivy League college or two because of my racial background, I still believe that affirmative action can have positive effects.
First of all, there is a fundamental misconception over the purpose of affirmative action policies. Many still believe that it is an act of vengeance by African-Americans and other minority groups that had suffered for so long under white domination. In reality, affirmative action is meant to make educational and corporate institutions more conducive for a more diverse environment and the nondiscrimination mandate of the Civil Rights Act. The reasoning was that if more minority individuals can be deliberately put into workplace and educational societies, ethnically or gender-charged atmospheres would steadily dissipate. Thus, affirmative action is an intermediate solution for public discrimination.
While it is true that affirmative action can give tremendous and seemingly unfair advantages to affluent minorities, (on average, affluent African-American girls would benefit the most) given the massive disparity in social affluence and educational opportunities between the white majority and many Black or Hispanic communities, minorities often need all the help they can get. There exists a natural urge for minorities to have a natural urge to represent their community; a black doctor has much higher motivation to go back to a predominantly black district that needs the medical infrastructure urgently, while an affluent white doctor more often than not simply becomes another overpriced plastic surgeon in the posh avenues of Miami Beach.
Sure, it is possible for blacks and Hispanics to be accepted to a college with lower test scores than would a white or Asian person. However, that seemingly incriminating statistic is irrelevant. Colleges, as most of you know, have a holistic approach to admissions; they strive to find the most distinctive, motivated, and outstanding people in the world. Colleges also put great precedence in preventing “intellectual inbreeding” which, in the past was a defining feature of prep schools and Ivies flooded with WASP’s – White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
Let’s compare two hypothetical prospective Harvard students; San Francisco Bay Area student, surrounded by all the high-tech industries and bright minds, with access to internships to Google, Stanford biomedical labs, and weekly SAT training sessions to a farmboy from Hickville, Miss. with no real internship opportunities besides driving tractors. Even if the farmboy is so motivated that he takes advantage of every single opportunity around him, the Californian can simply tag along to his school science research club and achieve a more impressive resume. So, who is the better applicant? As long as blacks, Hispanics, women and other disadvantaged minority groups continue to lag behind the national average in affluence and education, the most accomplished members of those groups should be treated with significance because for all we are aware of, they have had a much harder climb to the top.