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The Common Misconceptions Surrounding Affirmative Action By: Andrew LEuciuc

For students, the college admissions process is getting more selective each and every year, and some believe that affirmative action plays a part in this issue for certain ethnicities. Affirmative action began in 1961 as a way for the government to help POC, who usually don't get the same head start in life that whites do, get into college. Though you may think affirmative action is a good thing, some would disagree, as there have been a number of lawsuits in the past, mostly brought by whites and Asian-Americans who claim that affirmative action hurts them. The most recent lawsuit was brought up this year by the Justice Department against Yale, in which they accuse the school of discrimination against Asian- Americans and white applicants. Though the men and women who are bringing this lawsuit may try and trick viewers into believing that affirmative action is a problem, it’s not.

Opposition to affirmative action is not a new thing, as some conservatives have always failed to see the benefits it can have for a substantial amount of the population. Affirmative-action lets universities factor in the race of an applicant when looking at their application as a whole, but contrary to what the justice department thinks, this does not mean that certain universities (Yale and Harvard specifically) accept students simply because of their race. Some Asian-American students sued Harvard a few years ago claiming that the Harvard admissions staff has a soft racial quota, meaning that Harvard keeps the number of Asian-Americans low at its school to let in students of other races. However, the Harvard admission statistics tell a different story; according to the statistics, 24.4% of the admitted Harvard class of 2024 were Asian-Americans, despite the fact that Asian-Americans only make up 5.6% of the US population. Meanwhile, 14.7% of the class of 2024 consists of African-Americans and only 12.7% of the class is hispanic. African-Americans account for 13.4% of the US population and Hispanics account for 15.3% (Harvard Admissions Statistics). These statistics should tell a different story than the one people who are suing these schools try to paint. It’s evident that there is no racial bias among college admissions officers, but rather a need to review an applicants application thoroughly, and in order to do this race is one of the factors that needs to be considered.

By now, it should be very clear that the lawsuits being brought against these rigorous institutions is a joke. There are bigger college admissions issues than affirmative-action, one of them being legacy. Legacy is an applicant to a particular university who had a parent or grandparent attend that same institution. NPR says that around 14% of Harvard students in the undergraduate program are legacy students. If students truly cared about making the college process fairer for everyone, they would focus on abolishing legacy first, as an applicants admissions ticket should be based on their knowledge and extracurriculars among other things, not on whether they have had family there. We should be focusing more on this issue than affirmative-action.

References:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/13/us/yale-discrimination.html

https://college.harvard.edu/admissions/admissions-statistics

https://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/2018/11/the-university-of-california-system-needs-affirmative-action

https://med.nyu.edu/asian-health/about-us/asian-americans-us

151210_supreme_court_asian_american_protest_dc7fc11142e25cdc70f4ef1b0e2572fc.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

https://www.npr.org/2018/11/04/663629750/legacy-admissions-offer-an-advantage-and-not-just-at-schools-like-harvard

Created By
Andrew Leuciuc
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