Universities that utilize affirmative action policies grant preferences to members of minority
groups in order to increase minority populations on their
campuses, to extend restitution for past discrimination,
and to increase educational opportunities. The problem is that these
institutions admit minority members using lower standards
than they use on whites. Thus racial discrimination exists
in our American universities as a result of policies that provide unequal treatment among
white and minority applicants.
Nicholas Lemann of The New Yorker reports that the
University of Michigan, for example, utilizes a chart, "A
minority applicant with a 3.5 grade-point average and combined
SAT score of 1200 would automatically be accepted, and a
white applicant with those same numbers would probably be
rejected." Another common practice of many universities
is to add bonus points to applications from minorities.
Affirmative action has no place in our institutions of
higher learning. Treating applicants differently on the
basis of race discriminates on the basis of outer characteristics
instead of considering inner abilities. As African-American
radio talk show host Larry Elder states, "Affirmative
action - preference based on race - is morally bankrupt and
makes a mockery of merit." I too find it appalling
that, in a nation in which we claim all people are created
equal, we regularly and legally discriminate on the basis
of skin color.
As Samuel Fish states, "It is undemocratic to give
one class of citizens advantages at the expense of other
citizens; the truly democratic way is to have a level playing
field to which everyone has access and where everyone has
a fair and equal chance to succeed based on his or her merit."
Another problem with affirmative action is that it draws
unnecessary attention to race and causes tension between
members of different races on college campuses.
Linda Chavez writes, "Racial preferences provide a
diversity of skin colors and a division of sentiments. They
put people of many different races together in such a way
that makes each racial group see each other racial group
as competitors for arbitrary advantage. That's not the way
to produce an integrated, harmonious society."
Likewise, Dinesh D'Souza remarks, "Incidents of racial
hostility on campus seem to be increasing. A new kind of
racism is appearing
one that has been created by affirmative
Furthermore, minority students often feel as though they
are inferior. As a Mexican-American university student,
I felt this way because I knew I was admitted using lower
standards, a process that seemed to me to indicate that
whites were considered intellectually superior to minority
groups. I also feared that others attributed my admission
success to affirmative action policies. These policies lead
many to believe that minorities are unable to achieve without
the help of affirmative action.
Mexican-Americans are not the only ones who feel this way.
African-American professor John H. McWhorter states, "Affirmative
action gives blacks a deep-reaching inferiority complex
that causes them to view themselves as victims. If every
black student on a college campus was admitted according
to the same criteria as other students, it would help erode
feelings of inferiority to whites."
Along the same lines, Daniel Coliman says that minorities
"are now perceived as a group of people who regardless
of how hard we work, how educated we become, or what we
achieve, would not be where we are without the preferential
treatment afforded by affirmative action." Without
affirmative action policies, minority group members would
be given the credit we deserve in our achievements and successes.
Proponents of affirmative action, like the ones in the
above photogaph, believe the policy is still necessary today
to provide restitution for past discrimination. But Supreme
Court justice Clarence Thomas reminds us in Color Blind,
"Government sponsored racial discrimination based on
benign prejudice is just as noxious as discrimination inspired
by malicious prejudice. In each instance, it is racial discrimination,
plain and simple."
The best way to provide educational opportunities to disadvantaged
minority students is to give them incentives to work hard.
Most importantly, we must show them that admissions opportunities
are equal. As D'Souza says, "Equality means 'equal
treatment' not privilege."
We must stop violating the 1964 Civil Rights Act and follow
in California's footsteps. In 1996, the state passed an
amendment stating, "Neither the state of California
nor any of its political subdivisions or agents shall use
race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin as a criterion
for either discriminating against, or granting preferential
treatment to, any individual or group in the operation of
the state's system of public employment, public education
or public contracting."
I propose that we send a similar bill to Washington. It
should read as follows: "No public educational learning
institution in the United States may use race, sex, color,
ethnicity, or national origin as a factor to be considered
in university admissions processes. Racial and other indicators
will be abolished from all university applications, and
applicants will use a number system in lieu of names. All
applicants must be evaluated solely on individual merit
and intellectual capability."
While creating affirmative action initially intended to
dissolve racial discrimination, it has actually propagated
it and, in turn, increased interracial resentments. It gives
minority students an advantage in admissions processes,
but does not encourage them to achieve excellence. It creates
a diverse learning environment, but makes everyone believe
that minorities need pity and are not capable of greatness.
Therefore, we can no longer tolerate the negative effects
of affirmative action. We must overcome this unequal treatment
among races. We must, sooner not later, pass the above-proposed
bill into law.