Affirmative Action

For those of us approaching the end of high school, we are faced with the scramble for college admission and financial aid. A significant consideration in both admission and financial aid is affirmative action. Affirmative action, in its general form, is a method of granting minority populations a higher priority for admission to education or employment. For example, a largely male-populated university may intend to increase its admissions fairness policy by demonstrating a larger enrollment of minority populations. It may then prioritize enrollment of women while being inclined to turn away male applicants.

Opponents of affirmative action in education largely regard the concept as “reverse discrimination,” discrimination against the majority. For example, impoverished students of the racial majority on the same financial and social level as students from the impoverished racial minority would be considered second to the impoverished minority student for admission based solely on their race. While affirmative action may in fact hamper the college admissions efforts of a fraction of the majority population on the same financial, educational, or social level as the minority population, the disadvantaged minority population as a whole represents a much larger number in need of opportunity. Also frequently argued, affirmative action may lower the intellectual standard for colleges’ student population overall; if an underachieving student may enter a college based only on a racial profile, would the student have sufficient motivation to improve?

Proponents agree that the development and implication of affirmative action derived from the seed of historical oppression and systematic exclusion of certain populations – especially in the areas of education and employment. They therefore, regard affirmative action programs as a measure to satisfy the greater good and foster the advancement of a minority population’s socioeconomic status via improved chance for opportunity. Additionally, proponents argue that equal access to opportunity and true diversification – the goals of affirmative action – may fail if left to chance without the insistence of affirmative action, possibly regressing to the segregationist era.

[Various quotes, a la round table]

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