Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Affirmative Action

                Affirmative action was started in the 60s as a way to ensure fair treatment for blacks and minorities in colleges and the workplace. These initiatives were very successful but it's 2009 and America needs to ask itself if these measures are still necessary. After all, the US has a black president, a Hispanic women as a  justice on the Supreme Court and two women have served as the Secretary of State.

                Proponents for affirmative action argue that minorities and women are still trying to catch up to white males . In 1994 one study found that women earned seventy-two percent of men's salaries, even if they had the same education and merit. The same study found the African-American men earned seventy-nine percent of a white male's salary in a similar position. Also minorities and women were less likely to be promoted to senior positions .

                In 1995, the Regents of the University of California voted to end affirmative action in all University of California campuses. Gender, race or ethnicity could no longer be used to judge a candidate for admissions. These programs were implemented in 1997 for graduate schools and 1998 for under-graduate schools.

                Proponents of affirmative action used the results of the ruling to support their case. There was a sixty-one percent drop in admissions of African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans at the University of California at Berkeley and a thirty-six drop at the University of California at Davis.What they fail to mention is that there was decline in the number of applications to all California universities from African-Americans, Asians, and Latinos . Any person that  doesn't apply to a university will not be admitted.

                These racial preferences have also caused minorities to be unprepared for the program into which they are admitted. Richard Sanders, a professor at the law school of UCLA,  has examined law schools and the bar tests in California to see the effect of racial preferences in the institution.  He found that students admitted by racial preference had a higher drop-out rates and lower bar-passage rates than white students at the same school or other minorities at a less prestigious school where they did not need racial preference to be admitted .

                Many opponents of affirmative action believe that minorities are using these programs as a crutch. Linda Chavez, a civil rights activist, believes, that while they were once necessary, affirmative action is now hurting the minorities it is trying to help.  They can send a message that minorities need help in being equal to white students when they are just as capable of going to college and getting a degree . One proponent for affirmative action called some schools, like Harvard's,  policies of offering to give a scholarship to help pay for any poor student's education just a Band-Aid solution. He thought it was nice, but he wondered how many poor kids in Texas would apply.Harvard's policy is the answer to leveling the playing field. This is everything affirmative action wanted. Schools are giving an equal opportunity to all students, no matter their situation. The entire goal of affirmative action was to provide equal opportunities for all men and women, no matter their race or gender.

                Affirmative action worked to level the playing field. Minorities have more opportunities than ever before to get a good education and succeed. The responsibility now lies in the hands of the minorities and women to take advantage of them.
--Miss Eli

Works Cited

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