Affirmative action has once again become an important and controversial issue. This past July 1, a 2 to 1 vote to dispose of the ban on race consideration for college admissions by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has prompted a re-visit of the 2006 decision.
Proposition 2, otherwise known as the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, was passed in November 2006. It was meant to keep colleges from making decisions about college applicants based on race. The appeals court has decided to re-visit the case, which is an extremely rare occurrence.
The reappearance of affirmative action brought me back to the day when I was first accepted to Michigan. I was ecstatic. I felt that all of the difficult classes, activities, and standardized test taking I did in high school had made me amount to something. Not only was I thrilled that I got in, but I also felt that I had earned my admission. I had worked hard to become a Wolverine.
One of my Caucasian male friends was not as fortunate as I was, and was not accepted into the University of Michigan. He was quick to blame it on his gender and race, and told me that it was easier for me to get in because I was “a girl.” I was infuriated. Attributing my success to my gender was not something that I was willing to do.
Affirmative action is a fantastic way to knock people down while building them up. It fosters diversity, a fantastic addition to campus, but it also detracts from hard work. It is a handicap and a benefit, because while it can assist in getting a college acceptance, from that point on, people oftentimes attribute success (at least partially) to race or gender. While it does have this effect to downplay skills, the greater idea of diversity and equality is one that ought to be promoted.
Diversity does not necessarily come from race and gender. Diversity comes from many different aspects of character, background and experience. Affirmative action focuses on one categorization of people. Other social categorizations of people include sexual orientation, social standing, home environment, and religious affiliation, among many other things. Both groups could argue with validity the importance of equal representation in colleges. If social categorizations other than those provided in affirmative action do not have equal campus representation, why is affirmative action such a big deal? Having a multitude of backgrounds, variety of races, genders, religions, and sexual orientations does give students a more well-rounded experience, but the current form of affirmative action is not the best way to approach college diversity.
The idea of having equality in college admissions is very important and that there should be a board to ensure that there is a variety of religions, ethnicities, economic backgrounds, and sexualities to enrich the college students’ lives. This board would be there to ensure that college admissions not abuse their freedom, but rather, that they ensure a more sophisticated and varied diversity in colleges across the states.