American Opposition to Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action, Opposing Affirmative Action, Championing Affirmative Action

The majority of Americans oppose Affirmative Action, but the majority of Americans also want diverse college campuses (photo credit: Ad Meskens).

Do most Americans oppose the notion of considering race in college admissions decision-making? The answer, according to a newly released “WBGH News” poll, is a resounding yes. In fact, from a telephone poll of 1,002 adults across America, 72% stood against race conscious admissions decision-making. It also wasn’t just Caucasian respondents who opposed considering race in the college admissions process — the majority of African American, Asian, and Latino respondents replied similarly. But it’s not exactly news to us that the majority of Americans oppose race conscious admissions decision-making. When one is asked if race should be a factor in college admissions, it seems natural to say no. More interestingly, the poll found that the majority of Americans — 86% in fact — voiced support for racial diversity on college campuses. So, essentially, folks want diverse campuses…they just don’t want race to be a factor in admissions. Are you scratching your heads? We are!

Why Affirmative Action is Necessary

We’ve got a news flash to Americans who oppose Affirmative Action but want racially diverse college campuses. Affirmative Action is necessary to create that very diversity; it doesn’t happen out of thin air. Eliminate the practice of Affirmative Action and college campuses will look a whole lot more monotonous — and they’ll be a whole lot more boring. Many underrepresented minorities from low-income families may not have the SAT or ACT scores of some of their Caucasian peers from affluent families. And why? Well, the SAT and ACT are highly coachable exams. If students from low-income backgrounds can’t afford great tutoring, how exactly can they compete? Educational disparities across race in America reach well beyond standardized testing of course — it’s but one example of why race conscious admissions is necessary in order to create that very campus diversity that 86% of respondents to this poll apparently seek.

It’s as though Americans (at least those polled) want the brand new iPhone. But they don’t want to drive to the store or even pay for it. They just want that iPhone in their hands right now. It’s absurd. It’s ironic. Heck, it’s mind boggling. Affirmative Action is certainly not a perfect system. Indeed it’s a deeply flawed system. But, as we’ve long argued on the pages of our college admissions blog from atop our soapbox in the world of admissions, it’s the best system we’ve got to foster equal opportunity for all in the greatest nation on earth.


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