A successful failure

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When Affirmative Action was first introduced in the 1960s into the workplace and institutions, it was understandable because the systematic discrimination of minorities over the years prevented minorities from receiving equal opportunities in the workplace. Affirmative Action used in universities is a form of compensation, given to minorities and women, on the pretense of social justice, to right the wrongs of years of discrimination.Today, Affirmative Action is still in use, hiding under the guise of morality and promoting diversity. In the name of Affirmative Action, colleges employ an unfair approach involving “positive discrimination”, a treatment of students that prioritizes admitting certain minorities and women. Specifically African-Americans and Hispanics over other white and Asian students. Colleges essentially lower their standards to allow certain minorities to have an advantage over other students. According to  the Los Angeles Times, to be on an equal playing field in terms of SAT scores, “African-Americans received a ‘bonus’ of around 230 points.. and Hispanics received a ‘bonus’ of 185 points”  whereas Asian-Americans are “ penalized by 50 points”. A lawsuit was recently filed against Harvard University claiming that the university has been imposing a cap on Asian students in favor of other races; thus demonstrating how far the preferential treatment of certain minority students has gone.

While Affirmative Actions was developed to prevent discrimination of minorities in the workplace and institutions, it has evolved into a policy that advocates for discrimination within minority groups and White Americans. The assumption that racial discrimination is the cause for certain minority students to have much lower academic scores is completely false. The gap in the academic achievements between certain minorities and other students is not due to racial discrimination, but rather the difference of socioeconomic status of students.

At the high school level, Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s attack on the SHSAT for being racist and unfair to minority students is an example of a misguided political view that ignores the greater underlying problem in the education system. Despite the fact that the SHSAT score is the only factor that determines whether a student is admitted into a specialized high school, Mayor De Blasio believes that since African-Americans and Latinos makeup 68% of the New York City student population, and take up only 11% of specialized high school seats, that the test system is discriminatory to certain minorities. Attributing this statistic to racism and discrimination is wrong.  How can a “color blind” test, with no other contributing factors as admittance criteria, become a racial issue?The under-representation of the African-American and Latino demographic in specialized high schools is a result of the different socioeconomic conditions that students face, that inhibit them from achieving higher academic standards. DeBlasio’s school diversity plan and race conscious policies are a glaring prelude to the unfairness of Affirmative Action in college. The proper way to solve this socioeconomic gap in education is not through Affirmative Action and playing the victim card.

In an ideal world, a person’s ability to get into colleges would be solely based on whether that person is qualified or not. This political philosophy, known as meritocracy, believes that opportunities should be given strictly based on merit. However, with the rise of political correctness and socially progressive views, the idea of meritocracy is looked upon as a racist principle.  Those who are against meritocratic ideology believe that certain minorities deserve different standards to be applied to them as they have been victims of discrimination and thus deserve preferential treatment in college applications. By promoting preferential treatment of certain minorities in colleges, it only solidifies the notion that African-Americans and Latinos are not able to compete on the same level with other student. It is both demeaning to minorities and unfair to Asian and White students and simply increases unnecessary racial tension in the education system.  

According to apa.org, because African-Americans and Hispanics disproportionately tend to come from lower socio-economic conditions than whites or Asians, they perform relatively worse in an academic environment. Rather than lower the standards for minority groups with an ineffective, short term solution, we should take a meritocratic approach. This long term solution involves the government providing additional resources such as free or affordable test prep and academic tutoring classes to schools with lower academic performances. This approach will assist all students to compete at the same level, rather than the outdated Affirmative Action program that provides discriminatory and preferential treatment to certain minority groups. If we want to create a fair and colorblind society, we need to stop perpetuating racial divides in our nation and call Affirmative Action for what it really is, a successful failure.

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