Examining Class-Based Affirmative Action

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Examining Class-Based Affirmative Action

Every year, high school seniors are faced with the over-whelming decision of choosing which college to attend. For many, it is a question of finances, location, and true potential of being accepted. For others, it is simply a question of whether or not their prospective school is admitting applicants from lower economic classes. Either way, for many students, deciding which college to attend can be a daunting thing. To help ease this fear, Amy Ziebarth (2005), author of "Solving the Diversity Dilemma," proposes a new method to promote diversity, one that focuses on class rather than race" (Ziebarth, 2005, p. 129). Richard Kahlenberg (2000), author of "Class-based Affirmative Action in College Admissions," proposes "affirmative action programs should be "mended" rather than "ended" so that preferences are provided on the basis of economic disadvantage rather than race or gender" (Kahlenberg, 2000m, p.1).

After reading both articles I found myself questioning whether implementing such plans would truly be effective. If a class-based system is to be implemented successfully, it is crucial to thoroughly examine, the benefits as well as the potential downfalls of such a system.

In her essay, Ziebarth (2005) proposes a shift from focusing on race to focusing on class in an effort to promote diversity. The problem with this proposal is that class and race in America seem to be almost parallel. Ziebarth (2005) seems to offer a solution to the problem of outwardly promoting racial diversity by suggesting a method only slightly more implicit. A change of wording is a far cry from actually implementing a program that will aid those who constantly find themselves the victims of racial discrimination.

Kahlenberg (2000) presents a much more developed proposal. He carefully examines the potential drawbacks as well as the numerous benefits. By presenting both opposing and supporting viewpoints of class-based affirmative...
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