Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Affirmative action is a policy that favors certain members of a society based on the color of their skin. It does the exact opposite of what Martin Luther King, Jr. hoped for. The original intent of affirmative action was to make organizations free of racial bias and prevent them from discriminating against minorities. Unfortunately, college admissions have taken affirmative action too far.
Time and time again, racial preferences in college admissions have given minorities an advantage at the expense of the majority. In 1978, Allan Bakke was rejected twice from the University of California despite having significantly higher scores than minorities who were accepted. After these incidents, the Supreme Court ruled that colleges can no longer use “strict” quotas in their admission processes. In other words, admissions programs could no longer use numerical requirements for admitting a specific racial group. However, the Supreme Court ruled five years later that it is okay to use “modest” quotas.
Thus, the issue of reverse discrimination in college admissions remains a problem. If a minority applicant happens to be less qualified than a white applicant, why should the minority applicant be accepted before the white applicant solely because of his or her skin color? That is an exact illustration of unequal treatment. It is wrong for college admission programs to either accept or not accept people due to the color of their skin. That being said, college admission programs should not even know the race of their applicants. If this were the case, they would not be able to discriminate against any group whatsoever. Rather than worrying about the race of their applicants, college admissions should be putting more consideration into ACT or SAT scores, grade point averages, and extra curricular involvement.
Affirmative action policies generate issues for people of color as well. If a minority student is perfectly qualified to attend the school, as long as racial-based preferences are being used, others may falsely believe that he or she was only accepted as a result of affirmative action. On the other hand, if a minority applicant is not as qualified as the average student yet they were still accepted due to their skin color, he or she may not be able to keep up with the academic pace.
Racial-based preferences send minority students the message that they were only accepted because they may have been held to lower standards. Instead, college admission programs should be sending minority students the message that they are just as qualified to be there as anyone else. College admission programs that use racial-based preferences should be ashamed for putting forth the idea that minority students are not capable of achieving success without special treatment.
As a nation, we should not be telling any group that they need special treatment in order to advance in life. If we really want equality, then it is time to get rid of this as soon as possible. We should not be favoring certain groups due to their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and so on. America, we are better than this, and it is time for change.
*The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the FFL organization.*