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Affirmative Action

Updated on August 17, 2008

Two people apply for the same college. The first has a 4.0 GPA, scored a 2300 on the SAT, is active in extracurricular activities, and regularly volunteers in the community. The second has a 3.6 GPA, scored a 1900 on the SAT, and has significantly fewer credentials. It should be clear that the first student is better qualified and deserves to be admitted over the second student. However, this is not always the case. The first student is Asian, and the second student is black. The first student's race is overrepresented in colleges, but the second student's race is underrepresented in colleges, so the second student is admitted. This is affirmative action. This is wrong. Affirmative action creates reverse discrimination, is a threat to the American way, and furthers prejudices.

Affirmative action was meant to correct past oppressions of minorities and women, but the way this is accomplished is not fair. Our country is about equal opportunity, but affirmative action forces equality of outcome ("Affirmative" New). The policy creates an unfair advantage for minorities and women. Affirmative action is "turnabout" it oppresses whites, especially males, to correct past mistakes, mistakes that were made before our generation (Yates). So I ask, is it right to force people who had no control over the situation to give up jobs and admittance to colleges? Is it right to punish people for their ancestors' wrong doings (Yates)? This is what affirmative action does.

Affirmative action is most prevalent in college admissions. College applications contradict themselves; they start by saying that race, sex, and religion will not be considered in the admissions process, but then later say that if you are black or Hispanic it may help you get into the university. For instance, the University of Michigan rewards 20 extra points out of a perfect score of 150 to black and Hispanic students just for being a minority. This is judgment based on race, the same thing the program claims to be fighting and protecting against ("Affirmative" New).

The Constitution gives rights to individuals, not to groups. This is because America has the concept that "we are all a minority of one," but affirmative action takes the American way of individualism and places people into stereotypical groups ("Affirmative" Hoover). These groups, however, do not make sense because not everyone is the same just because their skin color or sex is the same (Yates). We are all equals, and as equals shouldn't white males have the same "civil rights" and "equal treatment" as women and minorities ("Affirmative" Hoover)?

Martin Luther King Jr. once spoke the words "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character" (Vaughn). Affirmative action does just the opposite. Minorities are given an advantage because of their skin color. Affirmative action furthers prejudices by creating an inferior view of minorities; it implies that certain people can not succeed without help (Vaughn). This implication allows for more prejudices; it makes whites and Asians believe that all minorities are where they are solely because of help ("Affirmative" New). Affirmative action takes the competitive edge away from minorities. Stripping this "competitive instinct" from minorities and women ruins the "self-confidence in one's ability" to succeed ("Affirmative" Hoover). Defenders of affirmative action argue that there is still a high need for the policy because of the discrimination against minorities and women in "upper management positions," but the truth is that the companies often hold the prejudices against these minorities because of affirmative action ("Affirmative" Hoover). They believe that these individuals "have limited capacity and cannot succeed without" the benefits of the program ("Affirmative" Hoover). The result of affirmative action is "cynicism" and "resentment" ("Affirmative" New).

Discriminations of all kinds need to be eliminated, but affirmative action is not the way to do it. The program is "both insulting and reverse discrimination in its purest form" (Vaughn). Affirmative action is a ‘direct threat" to the equality that defines America as a nation ("Affirmative" Hoover). Affirmative action ruins our founding fathers hope of a nation with equality for all ("Affirmative" Hoover). Affirmative action "directly contradicts Dr. King's dream" of a nation that does not judge by color (Vaughn). Affirmative action is an unfair system in which some people must work hard and have talent and some succeed because of their race or sex ("Affirmative" New). This policy needs to be eliminated so our nation can truly be a nation that sees past color and gender. We need to stop race and sex bases preferences, we need to ensure equal opportunity for everyone, but we do not need to ensure equal outcome.


"Affirmative Action Creates Reverse Discrimination." New Criterion. January 2001.

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thompson Gale. 30 October 2007.

"Affirmative Action Is a Threat to Equality." Hoover Digest. Winter 2001. Opposing

Viewpoints Resource Center. Thompson Gale. 30 October 2007.

Mac Donald, Heather. "Schools and Businesses Should Not Promote Diversity."

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thompson Gale. 30 October 2007.

Vaughn, Fritz. "Affirmative Action Goes Against the Spirit of American Dream." Old

Gold and Black. 23 January 2003. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thompson Gale. 30 October 2007.

Yates, Stevens. "Affirmative Action Programs Are Unjust."

2004. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thompson Gale. 30 October 2007.


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    • profile image

      Dessy Wildwood 8 years ago

      Personally, I think that is more than fair. I believe both should be gotten rid of.

    • oparu profile image

      oparu 8 years ago from Jamaica Plain, MA

      If we get rid of affirmative action, we also need to get rid of legacy admissions, which has been around much longer than affirmative action. Rich kids get into college just because mommy or daddy is rich and went to that school. I might also add that Asians have a higher hurdle to jump to get into college as well because they are over represented.