Affirmative Action

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Chelsea Marlow Philosophy of Gender and Race Affirmative Action One of the most interesting aspects of being a student senator at Coe College is serving on the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee. I am in the rare position of actually having a say in who my college peers will be. The committee meets to look over prospective student applications and then decide if they possess the qualities Coe College is looking for in a student body. After a thorough review of each application, we respond w
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  Chelsea MarlowPhilosophy of Gender and RaceAffirmative ActionOne of the most interesting aspects of being a student senator at Coe Collegeis serving on the Admissions and Financial Aid Committee. I am in the rare positionof actually having a say in who my college peers will be. The committee meets tolook over prospective student applications and then decide if they possess thequalities Coe College is looking for in a student body. After a thorough review of each application, we respond with the appropriate letter notifying each student that they are accepted, should reapply at a later date, or that we wish them the best of luck elsewhere. The dilemma forms when it is time to determine the criteriaoutlining what the college wants and needs. Affirmative action takes place at CoeCollege, but should it?Philosophers, Sterba and Steele, weigh in on the disadvantages of affirmativeaction when factors such as race, color, religion, sex or national srcin are taken intoconsideration in order to benefit a minority group.Sterba believes that affirmative action is just an attempt to correct the lack of equal opportunity by giving preference to candidates who have been disadvantagedby past injuries or offsets.Affirmative action allows the disadvantaged to have an advantage, throughthings like minority scholarships, . It may put individuals in positions that they havenot been socially trained for and, therefore, are not qualified for. When this happens  to a student, the responsibilities and standards in that role are reduced, taking awaytheir opportunity for advancement and development. Relating to collegeadmissions, we may be putting minority students in a position they are not prepared for in an effort to increase our diversity.If one does not buy into the “ unprepared ” argument, Sterba acknowledgesthat affirmative action benefits those in the minority who are already ahead.Regarding merit-based minority scholarships, the students who were able to thrivein their environment, or work to overcome oppression, are then given another stepover the less successful members of their minority group. We should be attemptingto narrow the gap between groups, not widen the gap within the minority.When putting affirmative action into practice, Steele acknowledges thedisplacement of qualifications. Though someone of the majority may be betterqualified, the minority takes precedence specifically for being a member of aminority that is historically disadvantaged. It was up to colleges to decide how muchthey are willing to give up for diversity and the mediocre status that comes alongwith it. Californian’s acknowledged the injustice in affirmative action. In 1996voters passed the California Civil Rights Initiative which made clear that race, sex orethnicity could no longer be a factor in the government’s hiring or public-university admissions. The diversity in admission rates to California’s colleges and universities plummeted; U. C.L.A.’s incoming black student population fell by more than half.Minority students just didn’t have the academic standings to get in without the help of their minority status. Those in favor of affirmative action brought up the issuethat the law does not take into account the background and the circumstantial  upbringing of the students. For instance, affirmative action supporters found that the average G.P.A. of an incoming white or Asian student was 4.2 G.P.A., but it isimpossible for many black students to get above a 4.0 G.P.A as their high schools donot offer advanced placement courses or other programs that allow for collegecredit and, therefore, create the boost in a student’s G.P.A.When we acknowledge the oppressive nature of a minority throughaffirmative action, we are not actually addressing the problem. There is no amount of compensation to a legacy generation in dealing with a historical injustice that willsolve the problem. By holding onto the history and continuing the divide we are not overcoming the issue but making the differences between the majority and minoritymore prevalent. Suffering and injustice can be overcome but it cannot be repaid.
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