Editorial: affirmative action
May 18, 2014
Poll students at West High and many would likely say that racism is no longer as prevalent of a problem as it was 50 years ago. With a half African American president and minorities gaining more foothold within all sectors of American business, racism appears to slowly be decreasing. But has this progress reached the point that we no longer need to prevent racism within the college process?
A few weeks ago the Supreme Court voted 6-2 to uphold a 2006 Michigan voters’ ban of using affirmative action within public education or employment. The majority opinion stated that the ruling had little to do with whether or not affirmative action was constitutional but rather dealt with whether the courts had the jurisdiction to ban a voter-decided ban. However this ruling, once again, sparked the debate of whether or not affirmative action is necessary in the college admissions process. Like the nation, the WSS editorial board was split on whether affirmative action is needed or not.
Affirmative action is necessary and will continue to be necessary within the college admissions process as any negative aspects are greatly outweighed by the benefits it creates. Many who are against affirmative action believe that the idea of choosing people to attend a school based on race, despite positive intentions, is “reverse discrimination.” However, affirmative action is important because it works to create a more diverse environment so less discrimination may occur in the future.
At West High, we are fortunate to have a diverse student body with students from varying cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Part of the reason why West consistently ranks high academically is through giving students the ability to learn from and learn with people that are different from each other. This creates so many opportunities to learn outside of just the curriculum.
Luckily for us, Iowa City attracts a variety of people due to the University of Iowa and various locally based corporations. This means that West gets a variety of students with little district interference (although the Diversity Policy is trying to increase our diversity even more). However, in the case of colleges, where students must choose to apply, policies like affirmative action are able to enhance the school’s diversity.
Affirmative action also decreases the gap that often occurs between the basic education of disadvantaged versus advantaged students. By using race and socioeconomic criteria, affirmative action encourages students from disadvantaged backgrounds, that may believe they would not compare academically to advantaged students, to apply as there is a greater chance they can get into the school. This encouragement benefits future generations as he will be able to adequately provide for his family and his children, as a result, will gain a better education.
Although it may yield a slight advantage to a minority student in the college admissions process, this advantage leads to a greater standard of living for future generations which in turn benefits our country as a whole. This is why affirmative action works, and why voters should do the opposite of their counterparts in Michigan and keep it as a working practice.