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Affirmative action is currently one of the most debated topics in this country because of the recent Supreme Court case of Fisher v. University of Texas. People are against affirmative action because they believe that it favors one group over the other and allows for there to be quotas in higher education and employment. As a result of the quotas it leads to more competition for a small number of spots as a result of places that were reserved specifically for minority students in college admissions and employment. It is also seen that with affirmative action students who are qualified do not get in and students who are less qualified get in because of the quota system in college and employment. It also allows college students to be exposed to different cultures. People are also for affirmative action because it and allows there to be more competition, meaning affirmative action equalizes the chances of students of minorities being eligible for challenging situations. I am for affirmative action because it allows there to be diversity in formidable institutions and top positions of corporate America but I am against it when quotas are set in place in higher education and employment.
America has a long history of inequality towards people who belong to minorities. For a very long time, they have been treated as second class citizens and have been discriminated by society by having access to a limited amount of opportunity when it came to college admissions and job search. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Commencement Address at Howard University, “To Fullfill these Rights”, states that “in far too many ways American Negroes have been another nation: deprived of freedom, crippled by hatred, the doors of opportunity closed to hope”. In order to help society, everyone should be able to have access to the same kind of freedom. If there are people who do not have access to the same type of freedom it can threaten the principle of democracy because it can lead to more inequality. Johnson had stated in his speech that, “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of the race and then say ‘you are free to compete with all the others’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.” This point shows that Lyndon B. Johnson was in favor of implementing affirmative action as an executive order across the country. I agree with this statement that a person, who has not had the opportunity to compete, would not be able to because they may not have the resources, or simply do not know how.
Today, the controversy of affirmative action is becoming more of a class-based topic rather than a racial one in terms of access to higher education and better jobs. During the time of the Civil Rights movement until now the goal of affirmative action was to provide equal opportunities to those from minority backgrounds. A recent article that was published on June 27th, 2013, Class Based Affirmative Action is Right Way to Go by Clarence Page, states that “diversity is a necessary goal, but the court appears to be recognizing that our society’s standards are evolving, as they should, from strictly race-based diversity to class-based”. I agree that diversity is a necessary goal in terms of today’s college admissions and access to employment opportunities. Colleges need to have diversity so that students can be exposed to people from different backgrounds, and people of all backgrounds deserve access to college education. It is also an important opportunity for young people to learn about the different cultures that are not their own by getting out of their comfort zone. Affirmative action has evolved from allowing minorities to achieving goals that allows students from different social classes to be able to compete on the same level. Students of multiracial surroundings have a chance to prove themselves in a tough environment that they are not used to. They are at the same time enriching the homogenous student body while mixing in their beliefs that they are taught. Kennedy even wrote that “the benefits of a student body diversity that encompasses a broad array of qualifications and characteristics of racial or ethnic origin is but a single important element.” I agree with Kennedy because a varied student body allows students to exchange ideas and it allows for solutions to be made to the different problems that may exist.
The Supreme Court decision of Fisher v. University of Texas has led to the questioning of affirmative action. The case was about a student who was rejected from the University of Texas because she was white. Students who were less qualified were accepted into the university because of the quota system in the university. This case questioned whether it was constitutional to have affirmative action in place even though it discriminates against a certain group of people. It also questioned that if affirmative action was abolished it would lead to less diversity on college campuses. People are against affirmative action because it is seen as helping the minorities attain higher education and employment over the whites. Josh Barro, in a June 24th, 2013 article from Business Insider, Clarence Thomas: Affirmative Action is Just like Segregation by Josh Barro, states that Clarence Thomas “would have rejected Texas affirmative action program outright as unconstitutional.” I was surprised when Clarence Thomas stated that he would have rejected the affirmative action program. One of the reasons that he stated was because he believed that it hurts Blacks and Latinos rather than helps them because he believes it should be about merit rather than filling the quota of the school because in the long term it may hurt rather than help the student. I do not agree with this because people who have been marginalized by society should have the opportunity to compete as everyone else in higher education and employment. I understand this point of view that Clarence Thomas has because the fundamental right of this country is for everyone to have an equal opportunity without regard to race or gender. “All applicants must be treated equally under the law and no benefit in the eye of the beholder can justify racial discrimination.” I agree with this statement but to a certain extent because the law is supposed to be fair to minority groups. Every person has the chance to an opportunity despite the skin color. The law is slowly creating a problem in society by creating resentment within the one group of people and believing that they received the opportunity as a result of someone else’s sacrifice in not receiving that same opportunity. The majority of the people who are opposed to affirmative action are Caucasians. The reason they are opposed to the affirmative action is because of the unfairness that it creates and the loss of opportunity who are qualifies that do not get in but applicants who are minority do get in because of the quota that has to be fulfilled. However, some people do not understand that they may not have the equal access to opportunity and that affirmative action is just there to level the turf when applying to college and employment.
The Supreme Court was divided over the Fisher case because it was questioning whether it is constitutional to reject someone based on ethnicity. In a recent article from the New York Times, The Liberals Against Affirmative Action Justice Kennedy argued that “race should be one modest factor among many others and that universities were instead treating it as a predominant factor which was unconstitutional.” It is not fair to an applicant if they are admitted just on the basis of race. I agree with Justice Kennedy on the term that race should be one of the factors rather than just the main factor in college admissions. It is not fair to some students to be rejected based on their race. The universities should take into account each student through the holistic measures rather than just to decide based on race. I believe that affirmative action works because it brings in the diversity and allows students to learn from one another.
Fisher vs. Texas Supreme Court case has led to an open question about affirmative action and whether it would be debated in the future. The Supreme Court has decided that it will still consider affirmative action and in some ways both sides got what they wanted. One side is happy that affirmative action would still exist for college admissions in order to enhance diversity. I am fully supportive of affirmative action because it enriches the college students experience different cultures and they are then better prepared for the workforce. Companies would be more likely to hire students who have an understanding of other cultures and who are open minded and accepting of diversity.
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