Barbara R. Manuel
18 November 2012
Affirmative Action Produces Double Standard in College Admission Consider this, President John F. Kennedy or Doctor Martin Luther King Junior would be partial to what affirmative action has turned out to be. President Kennedy would proclaim what someone could do for their country. Doctor King would be in opposition to the discriminatory notions of affirmative action by affirming to Americans to put predilection aside to achieve equality, not preferential treatment. America has distorted and moved beyond the majority of racial barriers of the 1960s. For instance, Barack Obama, an African-American, was elected president of the United States in 2008 and reelected in 2012 in a country where whites and blacks had to use separate water fountains just less than fifty years earlier. Affirmative action is possibly one of the more notorious issues in the United States of American today. Put into action in response to many years of segregation, which marginalized the African-American population of the United States, affirmative action was intended to repeal the unethical decisions of the past, and level the playing field in terms of employment, education and housing. The phrase ‘affirmative action’ was originally used by President John F. Kennedy on March 6, 1961, in Executive Order 10925. The intention was to establish the government's steadfastness to equal opportunity for all qualified individuals, and to take definite action to reinforce efforts to realize equal opportunity for all. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson, superseded Executive Order 10925 with Executive Order 11246, which prohibited “employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin by those organizations receiving federal contracts and subcontracts” (Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity n.pag.). Affirmative action is used to support procedures that achieve non-discrimination. In other words, it is intended to promote equal opportunity. The rationalization for affirmative action is that it compensates for “past discrimination, persecution or exploitation by the ruling class of a culture, and to address existing discrimination” (The Burning Platform n.pag.). Unfortunately, affirmative action is reverse discrimination, which has objectionable consequences failing to bring to fruition its original intentions. Furthermore, affirmative action is a temporary solution and has no place in today’s society, especially in college admission criteria. The moment higher academic institutions incorporated affirmative action into admissions criteria, definite attributes of applicants’ decreased, institutional funding was placed in jeopardy, and bias scholarships were created, putting other minority groups at risk. First, universities modify admissions requirements, which allows for individuals with below average grades and achievements admission into institutions of higher education. This is not only debasing and insulting to African-Americans, but it also gives rise to performance-hindering stigma by “undermining the achievements of minorities” (Friedman 26). Furthermore, affirmative action diminishes the successes of individuals, making affirmative action counterproductive. Affirmative action labels the recipients as lacking ability and mentally mediocre. It often overlooks curriculum differences, which play an integral function in college admission and graduation rates. For instance, “Carnegie Mellon University and CalTech are heavily oriented toward the sciences, fields in which blacks have always had a small presence” (The Burning Platform n.pag.). It obstructs appeasement, replacing outdated injustices with modern injustices, and convinces admission candidates to classify themselves as disadvantaged, even if they are not. Second, the price and financial stress of affirmative action programs should not be forgotten with monetary funding furnished by...
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