Is affirmative action unfair? | The Tylt

Is affirmative action unfair?

A University of Pennsylvania law professor suggested minority students are less qualified than white students because they are admitted partially on the basis of race rather than purely on the basis of merit. Critics of affirmative action have long argued it is discriminatory and actually reinforces racial prejudice. But others argue affirmative action policies are necessary to combat centuries of discrimination and level the playing field for people of color. What do you think? 🤔

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A University of Pennsylvania law professor caused a firestorm after she suggested minority students were inferior to white students due to affirmative action. But some have jumped to the defense of the professor, arguing affirmative actions gives people a rational reason to suspect minorities are less qualified.

One of the chief criticisms of affirmative action is that it devalues credentials that minorities could otherwise use to distinguish themselves. If college admissions were purely merit-based, employers would have no reason to discount an impressive degree just because it is held by a black or Hispanic applicant. Under our system of racial preferences, however, it is not merely understandable but rational to suspect that minority applicants are less qualified than their paper credentials imply.
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But Jane Coaston of Vox argues this rationale is both ridiculous and racist. Even if race were a factor in college admissions, it doesn't mean unqualified candidates are admitted nor does it suggest anything about how that student will perform in the classroom. The idea that it makes sense for people to discredit the achievements of minorities due to affirmative action is unfounded.

Affirmative action policies like those at Penn Law (the parameters of which can be reviewed here) would impact admissions, not grades or whether a degree is issued. Meaning that to suspect a minority job applicant would be less qualified, even with a degree from a leading institution, would not be, in fact, “rational” but would be, as Paul Ryan might say, “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”
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Many assert we still need affirmative action policies to ensure a leveled playing field for students of color. Valeria Strauss argues in The Washington Post:

Though affirmative action in college admissions for African Americans has been losing support in the United States for some time, with supposed “colorblind” methods of admissions gaining ground in the courts, there are powerful arguments for why the practice is still needed.
We cannot reasonably aspire to a meritocracy where all children—poor, middle-class, and affluent—have equal chances of landing in adulthood at every point in the social-class distribution. Higher social-class status will always confer advantages on children; we can only hope to mitigate them. A more realistic aspiration would be to assist children of African Americans who have climbed a few steps up the ladder in climbing a bit further, and in so doing providing leadership to the black community as a whole.

In another piece published in The Washington Post, Jonathan Zimmerman points out that it is actually white men who benefit most from affirmative action, with policies in place that actually make it more difficult for women and Asian Americans to get into elite colleges. The myth that only African American students benefit from affirmative action policies is a fallacious one.

Research from Princeton University sociologists shows that Asian Americans need SAT scores 140 points higher than white students — when all other things are equal—to get into elite colleges.
Ditto for teenage girls, who are outpacing boys in our secondary schools. As several recent studies have confirmed, high school girls study more — and, not surprisingly, get better grades—than high school boys do.
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But opponents of affirmative action have recently adjusted their arguments to include the apparent discrimination against Asian American students. The DOJ is reportedly looking into Harvard's admissions practices due to an "administrative complaint filed by a coalition of 64 Asian-American associations." Mark Bauerlein argues in CNN:

When we look at affirmative action policies at selective institutions, though, it isn't whites who will benefit the most if they are restricted. It is, potentially, Asians... Liberals can't absorb the Asian factor. It doesn't fit the whites vs. people of color setup. What is most frustrating to liberals is that advocates can't point to Asians as victimizers of blacks and Hispanics to justify the unequal treatment. The old argument of compensation-for-past-abuses doesn't apply to them, only to whites.

Bauerlein believes if arguments in favor of affirmative action are about issues of diversity and past abuses, Asian Americans should not be left out. To eliminate race-conscious admissions processes wouldn't just make things fairer to white students, but to Asian American students too.

FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Is affirmative action unfair?
A festive crown for the winner
#LevelPlayingField
#NoAffirmativeAction