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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The cause and effect of affirmative action

Point: by Rebeka Nop

Affirmative action is the policy where special treatment is given to people who are at a disadvantage and are discriminated against because of race, sex or national origin for employment or education.

Although this policy seems great because it is giving people an even playing field, it completely disregards the qualification aspect of things. It is giving a leg up to people who are minorities, thinking that it will help them in the long run. However, this leg up could cause more damage than good.

A person who falls under this policy can have an unfair advantage over someone who is more qualified for a job or for a spot at a university.This is seen a lot when it comes to applying for college. Most applications that a student fills out when applying for college always asks the question: What is your race?

A top UC school may want to appear well-rounded, therefore they will choose to admit students based on their nationality or race and not how high a gpa is or how qualified they may be for that school. It doesn’t seem fair for those who work really hard to get an outstanding gpa only be turned away because they aren’t part of a minority.

“Some minority students who get into a top school with the help of affirmative action might actually be better served by attending a less elite institution to which they could gain admission with less of a boost or no boost at all,” said Dan Slater on

As a person who is viewed as a minority because of my nationality and the color of my skin, I wouldn’t want to be given this so-called “advantage” if I am not qualified for it. If I was accepted into a university or given a job position just because they wanted to “color” things up a bit, my career or college experience may be limiting and short-lived.

There was an episode of The Simpsons where Bart mistakenly got accepted into a “smart school/class” and it overwhelms him because he was completely unprepared for it. He wasn’t just overwhelmed mentally but also emotionally and socially. He didn’t quite fit in with the “smart kids” and it put him further and further behind on his studies.

One long-simmering objection to affirmative action was articulated publicly by Clarence Thomas years before he joined the Supreme Court in 1991. Mr. Thomas, who has opposed affirmative action even while conceding that he benefited from it, told a reporter for The New York Times in 1982 that affirmative action placed students in programs above their abilities,” Slater said. “Scholars began referring to this theory as “mismatch.” It’s the idea that affirmative action can harm those it’s supposed to help by placing them at schools in which they fall below the median level of ability and therefore have a tough time. As a consequence, the argument goes, these students suffer learningwise and, later, careerwise. To be clear, mismatch theory does not allege that minority students should not attend elite universities.”

Affirmative action seems like a great idea but it’s not something that is necessarily fair or without flaws in the system. Giving someone an advantage even though they’re not qualified for it could cause a ripple effect. It could leave them as a mediocre student or employee because a great opportunity was handed to them; instead of getting said great opportunity because of hard work.


Counterpoint: Christie Garcia

Affirmative action is also known as positive discrimination for a reason: the effects that come as a result of it do nothing but good for minority groups, especially for those who are college students.

The idea of affirmative action is to try to obtain some equality by giving preference to minorities rather than those from the bigger groups.

Affirmative action unfortunately does not guarantee equal results but what it does do is create more opportunities.

Members of these minority groups deserve the extra boost. Simply being white, male and able-bodied, for example, gives them an advantage that other people do not have. Overall people from these groups benefit more

If it starts from college then it could lead to minorities being better represented in the work force in the future.

According to the ACLU, white men make up only 48 percent of the college-educated workforce, yet they hold 96 percent of CEO positions, 86 percent of law firm partnerships, over 90 percent of the top jobs in the news media, and 85 percent of tenured college faculty positions. People of color today make up about 36 percent of the workforce overall.

With the help of affirmative action, more minorities would be given the chance to attend colleges.

It’s not necessarily that this group of people are taking it away from others. Those people from non-minority groups are not being left out and minorities are the only ones being chosen over them every time. There is a system to it, and even though it was challenged, it has still remained in place.

The case of Fisher v. University of Texas came up when a white female, who was rejected at a local college, complained of discrimination because it was because a person of color was who was granted admission instead of her because she was white. The decision from that case reaffirmed the ruling that upheld affirmative action because nothing out of the ordinary was occurring.

Not only does this give an extra helping hand but more minority groups also helps diversify the campuses.

A student’s college experience is only enriched by being exposed to more interactions of students from different cultural, social and economic backgrounds.

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