We Need To Revamp Affirmative Action

By: Aedan Sara O’Connor

Many universities choose to implement some form of affirmative action policy. This means they admit students who may not get in on the basis of merit but, on the basis of these students being part of a minority group that in underrepresented in academia. This  is problematic as it discriminates against students who otherwise would get in; Asian students now need a significantly higher standardized test score as supposed to white students applying, and in turn these white students must have a higher score than black or Hispanic students.

This also affects minority students who are admitted to top schools, who tend to not do as well as white or Hispanic students. At Duke there is a .5 GPA difference between the average white and black first year student. This hurts smart minority students. A smart black or Hispanic kid could go to a school like Cornell and be quite successful, but because of affirmative action they get into Harvard. Since they got in on lower standards, they are not as successful, but they could have been top of the class at another school and have better prospects based on top marks.

Supporters of affirmative action argue that it levels the playing field and that a given student of a supposedly oppressed minority would achieve scores that are as high as the white or Asian kid if they were in different circumstances. I would counter that as affirmative action policies currently stand they foster racial tensions but I do believe that there is some merit to the idea of there being extenuating circumstances that could lower a student’s grade or test scores.

So I wish to propose a holistic solution to affirmative action. I recommend reserving a certain number of spots (say  5%) of the entering class to students who may not meet the grade/standardized testing criteria, and come reasonably close to it, and have some form of extenuating circumstances. This could be struggling with racial discrimination (which would be the nod to those who favour the current system) or a host of other factors. One could be growing up in a single parent household (the largest correlational indicator of intergenerational poverty), growing up in a low income family, a difficult family situation (such as a sick parent) or a host of other factors. This could also apply to parents and mature students with interesting circumstances. This would add diversity to the class, not racial but diversity of experiences which would objectively make a class more interesting.

Supporters of affirmative action proclaim that its policies provide opportunities to backgrounds that would not otherwise be able to achieve them, but I find that condescending and patronizing to minority groups. It sounds like the supporters imply that black and hispanic students cannot gain admission without the help of government mandated policies. This implication that minority groups are incapable is quite frankly racist; it is the bigotry of low expectations. It also reduces people who have had diverse experiences to their race or ethnicity, something that will only inflame racial tensions. Students who are white or asian may believe their black or hispanic classmates did not meet the same admission standards as them, whether or not these particular students benefitted from affirmative action.

While I think private institutions have the right to admit whomever they want by whatever standards they choose, any public university (or private university that takes federal loans) should be subject to anti-discrimination laws, and under those laws I fail to understand how affirmative action can continue. Diversity is important, but that means diversity of thought, diversity of experiences and meritocracy. There are many minority students are smart enough to get in on their own merit.

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Aedan Sara O’Connor is the founder and CEO of Dame Right. While she is an American patriot, she was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. An avid political junkie and nerd, she created Dame Right when she saw a void to be filled in feminine conservative media. Her previous work has been featured in Daily Wire, The National Post, Rebel Media, Toronto Sun and Jerusalem Post.

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