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MOOR vs. MOOR: Should ethnicity be considered as part of the admissions process for colleges?

CAROLINE REN
Editor in Chief

Affirmative action, the active effort to improve opportunities for minority groups, has upset people for years, especially in education, but it is necessary to some extent. Racial privilege is easily forgotten when the clamor for solely merit-based college admissions arises, but it undeniably exists and pervades America.

No, this advantage does not exist because any one ethnicity is naturally more intelligent than another — it exists because of stereotypes, societal expectations, peer and teacher treatment of students and so on. As much as we might hate to admit it, our perception of others is subtly affected by their ethnicity, try as we might to eliminate any sort of bias. The underlying assumptions we make and the concepts about race society has driven into our minds are hard to forget, and these shifts in thinking create the aforementioned privilege through how much teachers pressure certain students to succeed, varying levels of acceptance of mediocrity and expectations of higher or lower performance.

Why, then, would we wish to engage in affirmative action when it perhaps further separates people based on race or ethnicity? Consideration of ethnicity in college admissions is crucial for this precise reason: the recognition of disparity. When college demographics are widely disproportionate, something is clearly wrong; the fact that an issue resides within society and entire groups of people rather than within individuals becomes apparent.

Though affirmative action laws are far from perfect and have aspects such as racial quotas that could very well be counterproductive, they are at least a step in the right direction in establishing greater equity.

SUSANNA AIGA
Opinions Editor

Affirmative action was first established to solve the growing problem of economic inequality, which is reflected in college attendance. This means that ethnicity would be considered in the college admissions process to give minorities more opportunities for economic success. While this is an admirable goal, this policy is not the best solution to the problem.

It is true that minorities are underrepresented in colleges across the nation, but affirmative action may actually hurt its intended beneficiaries as well as those who are left out by this policy. Creating discrimination in an attempt to make up for past discrimination is terribly ironic, and giving someone a leg up at the expense of others just seems wrong. In addition, affirmative action may place students in schools that are not best suited for the student’s needs. The focus should not be getting as many minority students into “elite” schools as possible, but rather getting students into the schools that will benefit them the most.

Affirmative action recognizes the disparity of college demographics, but there are other ways to ensure diversity without considering ethnicity in the admissions process. For example, the public universities in Texas policy of automatically enrolling students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their class fosters diversity due to the residential segregation that exists in America. No one should be alienated for fitting into a certain category, especially not regarding something as important to students’ futures as college admissions.

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