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Affirmative Action: Systemic Integration

Eila Fitzgerald



I believe that colleges should use affirmative action. To be fully transparent, I was very on the fence about this topic. However, after our class’s socratic seminar, I decided that I am in support

of affirmative action. I believe that affirmative action provides diversity on campus and allows people of color a fair chance to excel in college. After many years of systemic oppression and people of color living in poverty, I believe that it is only fair for affirmative action to assist in college admissions.

According to the dictionary by Mirriam Webster, affirmative action is “an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups and women to promote the rights or progress of disadvantaged persons.” So how is affirmative action relevant to college admissions? Some colleges use affirmative action as well as student grades when assessing applicants applying to their school. For example, if a white individual and a Hispanic or Latino individual apply to the same college, the student of color may be more likely to be accepted into said school. Affirmative action gives students of color the opportunity to be accepted into an excellent college and the color of their choice. I personally believe that this is a win-win situation. Throughout the years, people of color have experienced extremely cruel discrimination. Many people of color have experiences with systemic oppression. Systemic oppression makes it harder for people of color to get into good schools and get good job

positions because of racism in a white dominated society. The text titled “5 Reasons To Support Affirmative Action in College Admissions,” states that, “In fact, middle income white households typically have twice as much wealth as their Latin-x counterparts and three times more wealth than their black counterparts.” Many non-white children end up going to underfunded public schools that cannot educate them as well as other schools with more funds and better resources can. This is an unfortunate example of systemic oppression. Because of the lack of

quality education in such communities, people of color may struggle to get into a good college. They may also struggle to be accepted because of a possible racial bias in the university staff. Affirmative action can help with this conflict. When a person of color applies, their grades as well as their race will be assessed. If they meet the criteria in terms of grades, they will be more likely to be accepted because they are not white. However, affirmative action is not only positive

for minorities. I believe that more diversity in a classroom is helpful for everyone. The text titled “5 Reasons To Support Affirmative Action in College Admissions,” states that, “evidence gathered by the Century Foundation suggests that racially integrated classrooms can reduce student’s racial bias, improve satisfaction and

intellectual self-confidence, and enhance leadership skills.” To be frank, racists are intelligent, uneducated people. Being exposed to many differing types of people and different cultures helps to prepare students for real life situations and experiences. Having diverse classes helps to fight against racial bias. Racism is

taught, mostly by parents and other guardian figures. It can be unlearned, however. Affirmative action and diverse classes are a great solution. I believe that affirmative action is a win-win situation, benefiting both white and non-white students. After many years of segregation, discrimination, and systemic oppression, affirmative action can be viewed as white individuals giving back to people of color.

Many people are very against affirmative action. I respect their opinions but I feel that I may be able to sway those people to my side in this debate. Firstly, many people who oppose affirmative action action may argue, “well what about white people trying to get into colleges that use affirmative action?” Affirmative action does not does not mean white people can't get into these colleges. It simply means that people of color who apply will have a higher chance of getting into these schools. White people are not out of the picture. The text titled, “Should Colleges Use Affirmative Action,” states, “opponents of these policies say that they are not fair because they will reduce the possibility of white students being admitted into these colleges. They think that using race as a relevant aspect of an applicant is a form of discrimination.” I would not call affirmative action a form of discrimination by any means. As I previously mentioned, due to decades of POC violence and discrimination, it feels fitting to put this policy in action. Affirmative action allows there to be an equal amount of people of color and white people on campus. I believe that it should be in our best interest to move away from a white dominated society. I don't think anymore white dominated schools are necessary anymore. Using affirmative action to implicitly confront this problem and, as the text titled “Should Colleges Use Affirmative Action,” states, “confront the racial inequality that exists in our society,” seems like a good step. Now, does affirmative action really work? People that oppose affirmative

action may also also question how necessary affirmative action is and if it truly works.

The text titled “Should Colleges Use Affirmative Action,” states, “at UC Berkeley, the number of Black students admitted dropped from 562 to 191 after the school stopped using race as one aspect of admissions decisions.” This shows that affirmative action truly does work. Using affirmative action gives so many more students of color opportunities to excel and pursue their personal goals.

Overall, I believe that people of every race can benefit from affirmative action. In my eyes, using this policy allows white people to give back to people of color. Affirmative action provides diversity on campus and allows people of all races to achieve their educational goals.



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