Affirmative Action is Not the Answer
Created in the 1960's, affirmative action programs attempted to
undo past racial discrimination by giving preference to blacks and other
minorities. The idea behind these programs was to help minorities gain the
representation in the job market that paralleled their percentage of the
population (Finley 1). Unfortunately, affirmative action has mutated into
a thirty-year-old policy that places many underqualified minorities in
positions over more qualified non-minorities. Preferential treatment of
minorities has caused problems not only in the workplace, but also in our
universities throughout the country. Due to these current circumstances,
affirmative action policies in college admissions must be eliminated
because of the negative effects they have on campuses across the nation.
There are numerous arguments that defend the use of affirmative
action and advocate its effect on college campuses. Supporters of
affirmative action believe that minorities are still disadvantaged and that
it is "absolutely necessary to level the playing field" (Wilkins 334).
They believe that minorities will never be given a fair chance at college
unless diversity is forced upon the campus. Proponents also argue that
affirmative action is the best solution to past discrimination and color-
blindness, and that without affirmative action the gaps between our races
will never close.
Although these arguments may have positive aspects such as creating
a multicultural campus, affirmative action's many faults cause more
problems than are solved. The leading problem with these ideas on
affirmative action in colleges is that it has completely failed to
accomplish one of its main goals: reduce the color-consciousness of
university students and ease racial tension. On the contrary, it has done
exactly the opposite because affirmative action "poses a conflict between
two cherished American principles: the belief that all Americans deserve
equal opportunities and the idea that hard work and merit, not race or
religion or gender or birthright, should determine who prospers and who
does not" (Roberts 32).
This leads to a series of problems at universities. For example,
we cannot expect college students to see everyone equally unless everyone
is considered equal when applying for college. Affirmative action has
created a situation in which the minority's "society now tells them that if
they will only designate themselves as black on their college applications,
they will probably do better in the college lottery than if they conceal
this fact" (Steele 322). Remove the section on college applications titled
"Race," and consider students by their hard work in school, not by the
color of their skin. And how...