Anandita California

Affirmative Action: Encouraged Discrimination

Why affirmative action is not helping minority groups and is hypocritical to its own values.

Dear Future President,

Two students apply to the same university with extremely close grades, achievements, and abilities, but one is the obvious selection of the college. The student doesn’t get chosen for an extra skill or interest, or even for giving money, but for their race. In a country where racial discrimination is illegal, the same is used in college and employment opportunities. This is what affirmative action, aka “positive discrimination” is. Everyone at some point applies for a position or spot that their race is taken into consideration for. Then depending on whether they are part of a minority or historically oppressed group, and unequal chance of acceptance is given. This system is unfair to people of all backgrounds and is hypocritical to its own core values.

In college and job applications, employers and colleges are encouraged to favor discriminated races with the purpose "intended to end and correct the effects of a specific form of discrimination." This is hurtful to everyone including the favored. For people who are African- Americans, Latinos, and of other disadvantaged groups, success gets labeled as result of affirmative action rather than their own work or skill. The assumption that disadvantaged groups need affirmative action simply because of their race is also discriminant. Affirmative action furthers hurts favored groups by lowering their needed standards to get in or accepted, which is preventing them to work up to their full potentials and capabilities since when allowed to have the same achievement with a lower requirement, people won’t push themselves higher than that requirement. After negatively affecting disadvantaged groups, affirmative action then goes on to do the same for the rest of us all. White or “advantaged” people who work harder or are more qualified are given a lower chance than the disadvantaged doing the opposite. Not only that, many people who get labeled as disadvantaged because of racial stereotyping have lived better off and are more advantaged than people who may be labeled that way although having lived the opposite. This could allow a poverty-struck white student who worked hard to get passed by a rich minority student who didn’t work as hard for it. We shouldn't reward or punish a student simply because he or she is a certain race or stereotype them with the actions and situations of others sharing their race.

Affirmative action has not effectively solved the racial discrimination it was supposed to in over 50 years of its presence, which clearly calls the need for a better solution. A solution to affirmative action that wouldn’t allow racial discrimination is simply to make application reviewers not be told the race or gender of the applicant. All they would see would be the essay or questions they wrote, their SAT and other test scores, transcript, referrals, achievements, etc. This would much greater prevent discrimination and still present the important aspects and qualifications of the applicant.

Another way to allow more equality in our higher education system would be to not allow admission solely because of family alumni or connections. A reason many top colleges have majority group populations is because of legacy admissions. 10-15% of Ivy League students have a parent or grandparent who attended the school, which shows that race isn’t even always a factor to why schools may have larger "advantaged" populations. This can be solved through eliminating legacy and other unfair preferential admission systems instead of using affirmative action.

Therefore, affirmative action, the system positively discriminating to help disadvantaged groups, is not helping anyone and overlooks the harm it does to all sides, helping of the wrong people, hurting the innocent and actually needing people, and promoting a huge form of discrimination. All these consequences outweigh the minimal benefits of affirmative action. Such a big and often overlooked issue literally affects every student who ever worked hard to achieve their potential and get educated along with everyone doing the same for their career dreams. I urge you, future president, to abolish or at least amend the affirmative action and “positive discrimination” system of America.

Thank you,