Affirmative Action and the Problem With “Reverse Discrimination”

Affirmative Action written on a whiteboard
Affirmative Action || Image from Shutterstock

“Affirmative Action was never meant to be permanent, and now it is truly time to move onto a better approach.” This rather brilliant quote was muttered by Susan Estrich, a Harvard Law graduate and a liberal who is absorbed in the notion of feminism.

Many people have heard of it, but what really is Affirmative Action? It is defined by Google as “an action or policy favoring those who tend to suffer from discrimination, especially in relation to employment or education.” At its core, it sounds like a really good idea, and when it was first implemented, it was. But now it has become an inverse to why it was originally created.

So why did it start? The term “Affirmative Action,” was first spoken by President Kennedy in 1961 as a method to combat racial prejudice at the height of the civil rights movement. It wasn’t enacted until President Johnson took over after Kennedy’s tragic assassination. Johnson is quoted as saying “this is the next and the more profound stage in the battle for civil rights.” Johnson intended the act to be a temporary, “leveling of the playing field” for all Americans, but almost a half century later there are still as many problems as there were at its conception.

Some of the biggest problems came to college admissions. Allan Bakke was a white male that had been rejected twice by a medical school that accepted less-qualified minorities. So amid the good intentions of the plan, there showed to be terrible repercussions. When the case reached the Supreme Court, they wrote as follows: “No applicant may be rejected because of his race, in favor of another who is less qualified, as measured by standards applied without regard to race.”

The court agreed that the medical school’s admission policy violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The court’s writing created the belief that the court itself had no idea how to treat Affirmative Action and was scared to take either side, hoping the problem would just go away. The problem, instead of disappearing, has since multiplied to the point where it does more harm than good. Two problems arise when you allow people to go to schools that they’re not qualified for. First being that if you allow a less qualified minority go to a school where they can’t compete and learn they are inevitably going to drop out this being shown, of course by the black dropout rate in college being twice as high as whites. Also, it discriminates against the, lower income, but more qualified, Whites and Asians who will never be able to get a minority scholarship. This leads to them going to a less prestige college when they should be in another more credible university.

Two problems arise when you allow people to go to schools that they’re not qualified for. First, is that if you allow a less qualified applicant to enroll in a school where they cannot compete and learn, they are inevitably going to drop out. This has been shown by the black dropout rate in college being twice as high as whites. Also, it discriminates against the lower income, more qualified whites and Asians who will never be able to get a minority scholarship. This leads to them going to a less prestigious university when they should be in a higher quality one.

So, a policy written to “level out” the playing field for all races ends up hurting all races? Seems to me that one problem was stopped so another could be started. You don’t see high schools allowing a somewhat average student to take Advanced Placement classes, so why would you allow an average student to go to schools with the top students from high schools? The answer is simple: you wouldn’t. This policy made a lot of sense in the 70’s, but now it is antiquated and must be fixed.

So what do we do now? We band together as Americans and quit letting what’s on the outside define us. We let the valedictorians go to school with the valedictorians, and the average kids go to school with the average kids. As a result, healthy competition will be fostered on college campuses and the dropout rate among everyone will decrease.

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