Affirmative action has made its way back into headlines this week, as Supreme Court Justices prepare themselves for a new case on race as a factor for college admissions. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court decided to allow a case involving University of Texas admissions to be put on the docket, scheduled for October and right before the election, which opens up questions about whether or not the 2003 ruling that allowed race to be a positive factor for admissions, may be overturned. It is no surprise that another affirmative action case has come to the attention of the community so soon, since cases like these will continue to come up until race is no longer an issue.
Race should no longer play a part in admissions to places of higher education. By allowing the 2003 ruling to stand, affirmative action creates an advantage to students solely on race, which is what the action is trying to prevent in the first place. Admission into an institute of higher education should be based on students' qualifications, not on the color of their skin. Finally, by using race as a factor for admissions, it creates racial tensions between students that should no longer exist.
The matter of race is a very sensitive issue, and most disagree largely on the topic. However, it is not hard to see that by allowing the ruling from 2003 stand, which stated that, “that public colleges and universities could not use a point system to increase minority enrollment but could take race into account in vaguer ways to ensure academic diversity,” the same problems arise again. If the ruling had said, “could take being White as a factor for admissions,” there would be an uproar. However, the standards should hold the same for minorities. By using race as a factor at all, the problem is just being reversed. There is no real solution found by allowing schools to use diversity to give students a higher chance at acceptance. It makes it seem like these students couldn’t qualify otherwise, which is hardly the case.
Another major issue with the ruling is that students should be admitted because of their qualifications, not the color of their skin or their background. These factors do add a lot of diversity to these institutes, but that should not be the reason why schools admit students. Students should be encouraged to apply not because their chances are better due to their skin color. If two students with the same qualifications apply to a university, but are of different races, there must be other factors from which to choose the best candidate.
Students can use things like affirmative action to create barriers amongst each other. For students that don’t understand how affirmative action works, they assume that students of color are only admitted into a university because they are a minority. This is not how affirmative action works though. On the other side, this could also lead to minority students feeling that they are not as qualified to be in the university they were admitted to, or feel entitled to the spot because they are a minority. The unnecessary barriers should not exist within a school’s population. Students should be working together to learn about diverse backgrounds, about different interests, and to have real discussions about things that matter.
If the Court overrules the 2003 ruling, race will no longer play a major factor in higher education. Students will be able to focus on being well-rounded students with more to offer than the color of their skin. Diversity is important, and will exist in higher education institutes as long as they admit students fairly. By eliminating the race factor, we no longer make skin color an issue. The barrier needs to be dropped to allow education to really move forward.
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