Affirmative Action has been a policy of the United States for several decades. It allows for a person’s minority racial demographics to become part of the decision process in admitting a student into an advanced learning program. Instead of just being admitted to a college or university program based on grades, Affirmative Action sets some criteria to allow for the best grades of different racial demographics to be admitted, even if the best scores in their demographic are below the worst scores in another.
Is Affirmative Action still a policy that should be followed in the United States? There are some advantages and disadvantages to be considered before making any definitive decision.
The Pros of Affirmative Action
1. It gives everyone a chance to change their circumstances.
Kids that come from a racial minority demographic in the United States have a higher risk of growing up in poverty. That poverty can affect their overall educational opportunities. Affirmative Action helps to balance the playing field so that the wealth gaps don’t have to continue playing a role in society.
2. It stresses education can become a way “to get out” beyond sheer athleticism.
Many kids who grow up in poor households look to their athletic talents as a way to get out of their neighborhoods and change their stars. Affirmative Action gives all kids the hope of a college education by giving those who get decent grades the chance to get out of poverty as well.
3. It creates a diversified college or university campus.
The greatest advantage that the United States has is its diversity. By creating learning environments that are diverse, people can learn from each other’s unique strengths and see different perspectives that can develop their own personal strengths over time.
The Cons of Affirmative Action
1. It could create circumstances of reverse discrimination.
For students who are denied college entry because of Affirmative Action, it usually means that their grades are good enough to get in. Those grades may even be higher than those being admitted because of Affirmative Action policies. In other words, a racial minority may get accepted with lower grades because of the color of their skin.
2. It doesn’t really change the core problem.
Although Affirmative Action does balance out educational opportunities at one end of the learning spectrum, it doesn’t solve the root problem of poverty affecting the circumstances of learning. This is evidenced by the fact that states which have removed Affirmative Action have seen dramatic decreases in minority enrollments.
3. It may divide communities instead of bringing them together.
Many people on both sides view Affirmative Action as an unfair way to level the playing field. Some see opportunities being taken away from them. Others see not enough injustice being solved with this program.
Affirmative Action has helped many be able to pursue a career that they may never have been able to pursue in the past. There are costs with this program that must also be considered. By evaluating the pros and cons, we can all come together to decide if Affirmative Action should be kept as it is, updated to reflect modern needs, or simply cast aside.