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Affirmative Action Makes Me Sad Essay

1860 words - 7 pages

Every year millions of students apply to college and every year millions of students are forced to come face to face with the evils of affirmative action. Over the last three decades, affirmative action has hurt students, both the minority and majority alike. Thousands of qualified applicants are rejected every year, while unqualified students are set up to fail with placement in an academic environment that is too advanced. Affirmative action is an outdated band-aid approach to fixing problems and it repeatedly proves to be ineffective. Affirmative action should be phased out of use, and students should be accepted to college based solely on their merits, not a biased quota system. Affirmative action should not be used to decide college admission because it is a cover-up approach that fails to fix the real issues, is unfair to almost everyone involved, without even accomplishing its goal.The United States of America has taken up the righteous goal of seeking equality. This was made evident by the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's and its crowning achievement of the Civil Rights Act. Many changes in America took place during this time and the idea of preferential treatment for separate races to bring about equality in the work place was one of these changes (Mills, 11). This preferential treatment, or affirmative action, came to reality in the forms of quotas on racial diversity and other hiring practices. Affirmative action came into mainstream practice starting in 1961 when "President John F. Kennedy's Executive Order 10925 used affirmative action for the first time by instructing federal contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are treated equally without regard to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin" (Griffith). A few years later the Civil Right's Act of 1964 prohibited racial discrimination in various areas of employment. Although never directly mentioning colleges, many universities began to factor race into the equation of acceptance.Affirmative action has for the most part been supported by the national community, but for somewhat different reasons. Some view this programs as retribution for the hardships minorities and their ancestors faced, while others see it only as a way to even the playing field. In 1978, Justice Lewis Powell declared in a case challenging the legality of quota systems "that universities could offer a ''plus factor'' to minority students - not to overcome the legacy of discrimination but to ensure a diversity of viewpoints" (Traub). This ruling was groundbreaking because not only did it specify that affirmative action was only to increase diversity, but it also opened the door for many universities to integrate a point system, creating affirmative action programs, quotas, or preferences.Affirmative action programs started with a noble goal: equality for people regardless of race, religion, or sex. No one can argue that equality should not be sought and cherished, but the idea of...

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