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Questioning The Fairness Of Racial Preferences

1372 words - 6 pages

Racial preferences — i.e., discrimination — are usually viewed as a way to help minorities. Often overlooked, however, is the harm they cause these same individuals. Since the late 1960s, discussions regarding racial preferences arose out of fairness questions. Supporters saw preferences as a necessary method of ensuring that racial minorities receive equal opportunity in the real world and not just paper promises of fair treatment. Opponents viewed preferences as reverse discrimination continuing racist habits under a disguise. Affirmative Action’s attempt to end racial imbalances in higher education that has burdened minorities creates an immoral and unfair solution: student being admitted to universities for which he or she is barely qualified.
Research finds that students tend to be overwhelmed and move to easier majors after enrolling. “Some 40% of black students entering college, for example, say they expect to major in science or engineering. But when they get to schools where most of the other students are better prepared – with much higher SAT scores and more rigorous high school course work – the chance of failure is high” (Sanders 2). Race preferences ensure that students are accepted into schools where they will have trouble competing. “Another adverse effect is lower incentives for students in preferred groups to work to the best of their ability before college. Knowing they’ll get a boost on account of their race, many are content with high school work that’s merely satisfactory” (Leef 2). In other words, minorities attending elite colleges due to racial preferencing are not likely to remain in the major they originally chose because of the unexpected amount of workload that they are unprepared for. kkkkkMany recipients are likely to be less self-confident than had they gone to less competitive schools. “Preference for certain groups doesn't enhance "diversity" because everyone is a unique individual in many dimensions. Those who are kept out because they're not in a favored group could be just as valuable to the campus as those who are preferentially admitted, perhaps more so” (Leef 2). Opponents of these policies argue that preferences are detrimental to minority students -- that by placing these students in environments that are too competitive, affirmative action hurts their academic and career outcomes. “Controlling for background and academic preparation, blacks in recent years are 30% more likely than whites to attend a four-year college, but 30% less likely to get a bachelor’s degree” (Weinstein 2).
kkkkkStudents oppose the use of racial preferences in college admissions decisions. “More than 92 percent say colleges should strive toward fair enrollment rather than use racial preferences and oppose giving...

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