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Affirmative Action In The Admissions Process At Universities

1810 words - 7 pages

Why do colleges ask for “race” when filling out an application? Does it really matter? It may seem like a simple question, but it is not. There has been a great deal of controversy over this question and other similar ones. Giving certain groups of people a competitive edge when they apply for schools and jobs is known as affirmative action. There are people who are directly opposed to it and those that support it completely. More often however, people agree with certain aspects of affirmative action and disagree with others. The following introduces a small sample of people who have talked about affirmative action and their views on it. Few of the results are factual but rather they are opinions. The hope is that by combing other author’s thoughts and views it will make it easier for an individual to formulate their own.
Affirmative action has been a topic of discussion for a long time, but only recently has it become such a major controversy. It is generally agreed on that affirmative action became a real topic of debate around 1964 during the civil rights movement. Even the definition of affirmative action is controversial; this is addressed by Antwi-Boasiako, Kwame Badue, and Joseph Osagba. They provide two primary definitions of affirmative action. The first says that the purpose of affirmative action is to right the wrongs of past discrimination. The second is that affirmative action works much like a “quota system,” i.e. schools are required to have certain levels of diversity in their schools. To reach that diversity schools use affirmative action, allowing in less qualified minorities to promote diversity.
To help validate Antwi-Boasiako and colleagues' claims on affirmative action they conducted an experiment. In their experiments they sent 422 surveys to African-American students attending primarily white universities. Four hundred surveys were completed and returned. The responses were meant to illustrate the controversy of affirmative action, specifically among minorities. Overwhelmingly, the results of the survey showed that African American students thought that affirmative action should be used in schools.
Although, she does not conduct her own research Dr. P. Katel expands on how views of affirmative action vary from non-minorities and minorities. In an article from CQ Researcher simply called Affirmative Action, she says that the majority of Americans believe that university applicants should be admitted based on merit rather than race. This is an over generalization though. Katel says that although most whites are anti-affirmative action most African Americans approve of it. So saying that most Americans are anti-affirmative action may be true, but it is not taking into account that almost 75% of Americans are white. Even with her understanding of the skewed nature of affirmative action polls Katel does not support affirmative action. She quotes a man named Ward Connerly when he says, “The time has come to pull the plug...

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