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Leo Morgan
Leo Morgan

Argumentative Essay On Affirmative Action In Higher Education

Here's what we learned in the course of working at the University of Michigan on the landmark 2003 Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger cases, later affirmed in the 2016 Fisher vs. University of Texas at Austin decision as well: all students, majority and minority, benefit from participating in a diverse classroom and exchanging ideas on a richly diverse campus. (While affirmative action opponents are fond of reducing the debate to racial identity, universities define diversity quite broadly in practice and look across the range of human experience, talent and identity to compose an incoming class.) Students learn from the perspectives of others -- especially when those perspectives run counter to common stereotypes. They discover how to work within a cross-cultural team, grapple with difficult conversations and re-examine their own assumptions. At a campus that is truly working hard on diversity in the student experience, students gain a powerful set of skills they cannot get anywhere else, which better prepares them to be successful in a global marketplace.

argumentative essay on affirmative action in higher education

As communicators and educators, we need to work harder than ever to clearly and persuasively convey the educational and societal benefits of a richly diverse university environment, as well as the educational and societal risks we take in severely limiting such diversity. Research suggests that the public understands these arguments. Pew Research Center surveys in 2003 and again in 2014 found that more than 60 percent of Americans support affirmative action programs designed to increase the number of minority students on campuses. But underneath those numbers is a racial and partisan divide that underscores our challenge.

The recent announcement of the Justice Department investigation has restarted our national conversation about affirmative action yet again. There will be a lot of simple catchphrases tossed around, but this much is clear: campus diversity is a tremendously important educational and societal good, and we must find ever better ways to communicate its importance.

Affirmative action has inspired fierce debates and repeated litigation. It is also frequently misunderstood. As a conceptual framework, affirmative action remains relevant for a national racial justice agenda. Its surviving policies are critical for dismantling institutional practices that limit opportunities for highly qualified African Americans and other marginalized racial minorities.

While race-conscious admissions have survived numerous challenges in court, many civil rights advocates have expressed frustration with the current legal limitations of affirmative action and how it is currently practiced. Critics have expressed frustration with the prevailing diversity rationale for centering white students as the intended beneficiaries who extract educational value from minority students. Others, such as Sheryll Cashin and Sally Chung, have criticized the policy for losing its intended purpose of amending structural disadvantages, arguing it fails to adequately assist minority students from lower-socioeconomic backgrounds and ignores structural inequities.

Those in support for affirmative action argues that there are certain groups of people who have been previously discriminated against and this gives them difficulties to compete equally within the society with those from dominant groups occupying most resourceful sectors within the nation. The intention is to administer equality amongst all citizens (Martindale 1-2).

Affirmative action can be defined as a policy that aims at providing advantages or opportunities to people forming minority group against whom have been traditionally discriminated. The discrimination can be against access to social facilities and other resources such as education and health care (Martindale 1-2).

The argument in the case where affirmative action is considered to allow for fair evaluation of candidates is well used as a preferential treatment. The implementation of race-based affirmative action drives towards the general improvement of the society since it creates good social set-ups for children as well as adults.

The case of diverse student body could be supported by the fact that United States is diverse in ethnicity and race as compared to other nations. Hence very crucial to ensure that there is free interaction amongst the groups and clear understanding that leads to creation of strong nation. According to analysis this point of view presents one of the strongest arguments in support for affirmative action (Martindale 1-2).

The application of affirmative action in ensuring that all the ethnic groups are presented may at times place the minorities in situations which are above them hence they are most likely to fail. This encourages fear amongst the minority and may cause them not to utilize their full potential. In this case affirmative action tends to conflict the idea that the most qualified applicant should always be given priority when it comes to selection.

Affirmative action focuses majorly on race which is considered as one of the aspects of diversity. This case on judging applicants outside their merits do not consider intellectual diversity but rather focuses only on creation of racial diversity which also do not support diversity of opinions. This makes the argument appear to be strong against affirmative action (Martindale 1-2).

The argument that affirmative action do not lead to true diversity sounds weak. This is since the emergence of affirmative action led to social awareness within the society and also led to institution of anti-discrimination laws which made race be of less concern compared to social class. The idea of class could best be used to address the issues of disadvantages which could ultimately be used towards promoting equality. Hence the use of class-based affirmative action could well be used to help in the creation of racial diversity (Martindale 1-2).

Attempts to reach the goal of diminishing cases on racial discrimination could be hindered by the occurrences of some negative side-effects brought by different ways in which people view the policy. The issue may at times result in additional stigmatization imposed on those who are considered beneficiaries of affirmative action programs.

The affirmative action at the universities has been found of benefit to blacks unlike other minority races like Asian Americans who happen to be minority in population though quite a number in the Universities and colleges (Martindale 1-2).

We created this page of our Web site to set forth reasons in support of, and in opposition to affirmative action, with the intent that these summaries would be helpful to students who are writing research papers about affirmative action, a controversial topic.

Diversity is desirable, but without a concerted effort to attract students and faculty from different identity groups, higher education communities would not be very diverse. In a diverse setting one can grow from interacting with people from different backgrounds by learning about their cultures and experiences. This knowledge helps eliminate stereotypes. In classrooms with people from different identity groups, students and faculty members can learn new perspectives from each other. For people who have been challenged in their lives (e.g. by economic hardship or by attending schools with few resources), affirmative action provides educational opportunities and a chance to prove that they can achieve. Racial and sexual barriers still exist in our society: affirmative action attempts to create a level playing field to help people compensate for that fact. Overall, people of color are exceptional assets to universities, colleges and employers. Their contribution adds to the quality of a place.

In Opposition to Affirmative ActionSome people say that instead of ending discrimination, affirmative action actually does the opposite. They say that it is unfair to use race as a consideration in admitting students to a college or university. Others argue that many of the students admitted on the basis of affirmative action are not equipped to perform in, for example, Ivy League schools. They say that the possibility for their success is low. Some say that affirmative action discourages students of color from achieving their best: there is little incentive to strive for a 4.0 average if one believes that a 3.2 average is all that is needed for being admitted. Others argue that giving minorities "special treatment" is in essence saying that they are too stupid to succeed in school or to find a job on their own. Overall, they say that minorities are demeaned because they are chosen on the basis of affirmative action: affirmative action then is a way to perpetuate a lack of incentive on the part of minorities to achieve success on their own.

Connecticut College Supports Affirmative ActionAt Connecticut College, affirmative action influences hiring practices but not admission procedures. The College, as an institution, supports affirmative action as a tool for achieving diverse workplaces, although not all individual members of the College community support its use. At times this topic becomes the focus of debate on campus.

At Connecticut College, we strive to create a community that welcomes the individuality of each person who lives, works and/or studies here. While we use the legal tool of affirmative action in hiring, much of what we do to build a vibrant, diverse community go beyond procedures that are defined by law. We are an educational community in which there are many opportunities for dialogue and engagement across all lines of difference. We believe that knowledge and personal relationships are powerful antidotes to prejudice.

Other Web sites of InterestStanford University's Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes the history of affirmative action from a philosophical perspective, paying attention to both support for it and opposition to it: -action 350c69d7ab


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