The Practice of Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Affirmative Action, Practicing Affirmative Action, Affirmative Action Under Attack

The U.S. Department of Justice has signaled it intends to support a lawsuit against Harvard University alleging the school discriminates in admissions decisions against Asian American students.

There’s an excellent editorial in “My San Antonio” by Richard J. Reddick entitled “Leave affirmative action policies alone” that we figured we’d bring to the attention of our readers. In the piece, Reddick defends the practice of Affirmative Action, asserting that it was enacted by the executive order of three presidents — John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon. So, yes, it’s a practice that was supported by presidents of both political parties. As Reddick makes the point, it is not as partisan an issue as some may suggest.

He also brings to our attention that the face of Affirmative Action in the mind of so many — underrepresented minorities — are not necessarily the largest benefactor of the practice. As Reddick writes, “The data on the impact of affirmative action show that white women are the population that has primarily benefited, but the popular representation of affirmative action is often a black or Latino person. Recently, opponents of affirmative action claim that Asian-Americans are harmed by race-conscious admissions policies. However, more than 160 Asian-American groups wrote amicus briefs for Supreme Court in the Fisher vs. University of Texas case, warning that affirmative action would not be used as a wedge between communities of color.

And for those who suggest that Affirmative Action, in practice for many years now at colleges across America, has already created parity among races in America, Reddick begs to differ, justifying why the practice should — and must — continue. As he writes, “As much as we would like to pronounce racism dead, economic outcomes and the disparities in the quality of schools in black and Latino communities lead to very disparate outcomes for Americans based on racial background alone. That is not to say there has not been progress. But if one looks at the outcomes, it is clear that many blacks and Latinos are not yet fully accessing the American dream.”
Reddick’s editorial comes on the heels of the United States Department of Justice signaling they’ll throw their considerable weight behind a lawsuit against Harvard University alleging discrimination against Asian American applicants in college admissions. And while we believe colleges do indeed discriminate against Asian American applicants — a practice that should and must end — ending Affirmative Action, a necessary policy for our nation, would bring about an end to that discrimination. And in fact, it would only foster further discrimination. So let’s not confuse attempting to rid out discrimination against Asian Americans in college admissions with ridding out Affirmative Action. While Affirmative Action is absolutely flawed, it’s the best system we’ve got here in America to foster equal opportunity.
What do our readers think of the practice of Affirmative Action in college admissions? Let us know your thoughts by posting a Comment below.

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