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Affirmative Action: Michigan´S Law That Bans Use Of Racial Criteria In Admissions To Public Universities

1374 words - 6 pages

The Supreme Court’s recent ruling to uphold a Michigan’s law that bans use of racial criteria in admissions to their public universities brought back national attention to affirmative action. It dates back to the civil rights movement of the 1950-60s, a mass protest against historically racial and minorities inequalities and racial segregation. The Supreme Court’s May 17th 1954 ruling that segregation in schools is unconstitutional in case of Brown v Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, which overturned 1896 “separate but equal” segregation of the races Plessy v Fergusson case, became the United States landmark case. President John F. Kennedy established the Committee on Equal Employment ...view middle of the document...

The U.S. Supreme Court decision upheld affirmative action but invalidated the mandatory use of racial quota. This case was the first one evaluating constitutionality of the affirmative action in higher education and because the decision wasn’t unanimous, it created space for further debate over it in the future. Different states adopted different policies when it comes to admissions. In California in November 1996 elections Proposition 209 was approved prohibiting discrimination in any public institutions based on sex, race and ethnicity. Nevertheless the evidence shows that over the years the enrollment of minorities in colleges has been increasing. According to the National Center for Education Statistics from 1976 to 2011 the percentage of African American students enrolled in college increased from 10 to 15 percent, Hispanic American students from 4 to 14 percent, Asian Americans from 2 to 6 percent and Native Americans/Alaska Native students from 0.7 to 0.9 percent.
April’s 2-6 the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the ban, again brought to light the debate over affirmative action. In the 1950s population of the Unites States for the most part was consistent of two races, about 88 percent whites and 10 percent black people. So affirmative action was well suited for the needs of that time. Today in the US, according to Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), there are 62.8 percent white non-Hispanic people, 16.9 percent Latinos, 12.3 percent African Americans, 5.0 percent Asian Americans and 0.7 Native Americans. However, each state’s ethnic and racial diversity dramatically differs one from another and from the United States as a whole. In California, for example, there are only 38.8 percent of white non-Hispanics with 39 percent Latino people surpassing them as the majority ethnic group, 5.8 percent African Americans, 13.0 percent Asian Americans and less than one percent of Native Americans. The question is can this disproportionate racial and ethnic representation of our society accommodate the original intend of affirmative action of the 1960s, specifically when it comes to the college and university admissions?
The supporters of affirmative action argue that it’s not just a policy. Our public institutions get in touch with minority and underrepresented groups by encouraging them to apply and offer them financial aid so that they have a chance to succeed academically. The enrollment applications of minority students have tripled because of it. On the other hand immediately following some of the states’ invalidation of affirmative action, there has been a significant drop in minority student enrolment. It has been evidenced that because of affirmative action lives of those who benefited were vastly improved by getting better jobs and future opportunities. Historically minorities have been discriminated against and therefore have not had the same opportunities to rise up socially and economically as their majority counterparts...

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