Affirmitive Action in the College Admissions Process

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, Black people, African American Pages: 8 (2797 words) Published: April 17, 2001
Every year millions of high school seniors apply to colleges and universities across the country. Some get in, some don't. These schools have strict policies on the criteria for the acceptance of such students. The criteria involve many aspects of a student's prior academic career, such as their academic standing, extra curricular activities and work ethic. These are criteria that put everyone on the same level because everyone has the ability to work harder or join more athletics. However, no one can change the color of their skin, and colleges base their admissions on these variables as well. So racism, in a sense, affects even the most basic of human ideals, education. If all men are truly created equal, as it is written, then race should not matter. Why aren't college admissions based solely on merit? No person should be given an advantage based solely on the color of his or her skin.

Racism is the belief that one particular race is superior to another. Throughout history people have been persecuted or singled out because of the color of their skin, even in our own country. How can this be in a country that claims that all men are created equal? Racism is so much a part of American culture now that we have claims of reverse racism and programs implemented, such as affirmative action, not just to protect the rights of a different person but to further them along in life and to make things easier for them. When this country was founded, it was believed that people that were born with a different color skin were inferior to those with white skin. They were in fact enslaved before America was actually founded, and this treatment continued until the country was nearly a hundred years old. Since then African Americans and other races have been attempting to reach equality in this country. One such method has been through education. In America, intelligence for the most part is respected, just as much as hard work. College in this country is the epitome of both.

In the university setting young adults are pushed to their limits. Their intelligence is tested on a daily basis in many different ways. Some classes involve heavy writing and still others involve written exams as their form of grading. Work ethic is also pushed. Homework is assigned and the true student does these assignments to maintain their grades. However there are some that have it easier than others do both in college and on the road there. This is due to the racism they experienced many years ago. As a result programs called affirmative action have been implemented to make sure that people of a skin color other than that of white are given equal opportunities, when in fact all these programs do is make it unfair to others.

Perhaps the most important individual event ever to effect affirmative action in schools was passed by the Supreme Court in 1978. The Supreme Court Justice at the time, Lewis Powell, found the attainment of a diverse student body as a constitutionally permissible goal for a university exercising its educational judgement. He also found in the case that race was one factor contributing to diversity. This all started when Allan Bakke, a white male, sued the University of California, for what he claimed was an unfair practice. His grievance with the school was that the medical school held 16 positions open solely for minority applicannot s. The Supreme Court agreed with Bakke that utilizing a specific quota to achieve diversity violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Powell noted that race could be considered a "plus," in addition to other academically relevant factors, in making admissions decisions. The Court in Bakke, however, was deeply split: six different Justices filed opinions, and none of these opinions won the support of a majority. Powell's opinion has been looked upon as the "swing vote," given that he joined in other opinions on particular points (such as the determination that a quota system violated the Civil Rights...

Cited: Altbach, Philip G. and Kofi Lomotey. The Racial Crisis in American Higher Education. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991.
Browne-Miller, Angela
Kleiner, Carolyn. "Wanted: a whole rainbow of talent Colleges are vying for minority students." U.S. News and World Report 18 Volume 129 Sep. 2000.
Marcus, Amy Dockser
Meacham, Jon. "The new face of race" Newsweek Volume 136 Sep/ 18, 2000.
Reisberg, Leo
losing the race" The Chronicle of Higher Education Volume 46 11 Aug.
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