Affirmative Action: Increasing the Representation of Minority Groups

Caedyn Lipovsky, Editorial/News Editor

Louis Menand states, “We took race out of the equation only to realize that, if we truly wanted not just equality of opportunity for all Americans but equality of result, we needed to put it back in. Our name for this paradox is affirmative action.”

What is affirmative action? Affirmative action is defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as “…positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education, and culture from which they have been historically excluded. When those steps involve preferential selection—selection on the basis of race, gender, or ethnicity—affirmative action generates intense controversy.”

Although affirmative action has sought to include those who are generally been excluded or let down in society, many find that this is extremely controversial due to the fact that it shows preference towards specific minority groups. It has a particular action in employment and college selection where much of college admissions will be geared towards those who have had a disadvantage in their educational careers; this could mean financially, racially, or physically. 

Some states might even go as far as instituting programs that ensure that these minority groups have a place in college. For example, according to an article done by CNN, in Texas, there is an affirmative action plan with a percentage plan that guarantees that the top 10% of graduates from high school have a place in any chosen Texas university. 

Another step in affirmative action, as provided by CNN, has been also in Texas, specifically Texas Tech University where admissions counselors agreed with the Department of Education to stop considering race in the admissions process. A significant controversy regarding affirmative action in colleges has been at one of the nations’ top colleges, Harvard University. On November 17th, 2014 Students for Fair Admissions sued Harvard for discriminating against Asian-Americans. Recently, in October of 2019, the case went to trial but in the end, Harvard was able to continue its admissions process as there was no way to prove that Asian-Americans were being discriminated against. 

In my opinion, I believe that affirmative action is extremely controversial and subjective. It’s difficult to completely define when affirmative action should be used in the admissions process because so many high school students across the nation work extremely hard to find a place in college. However, I do believe that many groups are not as well represented as they should be, so if necessary, a student who has a difficult financial background or is of a minority group, I believe that they should be given more of a chance.