Should The UC System Consider Reinstating Affirmative Action?

BY JACOB GREENBERG-BELL staff writer Photo by Braelyn Wekwerth

ross the country are hastily stitching together the missing pieces of their college applications, some are checking different boxes than others. At most private universities, those differences can have a profound impact in whether or not somebody gets a spot in that college they dream of attending. In a world where we strive to be equal, affirmative action is a weak way to level the playing field of privilege. It’s an issue that has been a hot topic for so many decades and yet continues to perplex and divide us all.

To be perfectly honest,  I am all for the outcome that affirmative action is trying to achieve. I would love to have colleges and workplaces that are more diverse and represent every gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. However, I do not believe affirmative action is the ideal way to go about this. Affirmative action is basically when colleges or workplaces make it easier for people of color or women to get what they are applying for in order to increase diversity or “level the playing field.” Currently at the UC’s, affirmative action is banned, and many believe it is the culprit behind the diversity problems at many UC’s.

In a study done by the National Bureau of Economic Research, job applicants were more likely to get turned down if their name sounded like it belonged to an African-American. This study alone should prove that without affirmative action at the UC’s there is discrimination occurring; however, affirmative action isn’t the best way to fix the racism occurring. In an article published by Princeton University, they explained how destroying affirmative action would result in a major decline of minority students being accepted. It is clear that affirmative action could correct implicit bias many admission officers have.

I believe that affirmative action is a weak solution to fixing institutional racism. the institutional racism that affirmative action was created to compensate for is much more important. This fix will not come overnight, but through a collective effort it is absolutely possible. We cannot continue to argue about the effectiveness of affirmative action without acknowledging the problems it is trying to fix.

The questions and criteria to determine someone’s privilege must combine race, gender, economic class, geography, and other factors. Once you start to accept people of all these different groupings, then you can guarantee a diverse community.

All in all, affirmative action is a good idea, but a poorly executed plan. With a more thorough investigation into someone’s privilege, colleges will be better at granting more opportunities to those who faced extra challenges.