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A New Age of Discrimination

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A New Age of Discrimination

Many upcoming high school graduates have aspirations of continuing his or her education at a major university. In order to become accepted into a college of one's choice, he or she must dedicate time and efforts to obtain the grades required. People have been taught that through hard work and dedication comes the reward of a better future. Although this seems to be the ideal and just situation, our nation has made the effort to give more equality to the minority groups through affirmative action. At the time when affirmative action was first introduced, it may have been the most plausible reparation; however, many Americans in both majority and minority groups are feeling the repercussions of the act. Affirmative action has evolved into a road block for hard-working students who strive for a good education more than it has helped the minority groups ("Negative"). Affirmative action was adopted to create opportunities for minority groups but, in turn, has created reverse discrimination and preferential treatment in college admissions.

There is evidence to show affirmative action has not met its expectation, but first, its history will help to give a better understanding. Affirmative action by definition, according to WordNet 2.0, is a policy designed to redress past discrimination against women and minority groups through measures to improve their economic and education opportunities. The United States Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit segregation in public accommodations and discrimination in education and employment. Afterward, on "September 25, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the Executive Order #11246, which required federal contractors to take 'affirmative action' to remedy past discrimination against African Americans" ("United"). Without realizing it, President Johnson took part in a very discriminating act.

The Civil Rights Act passed during a time when minorities felt as though they deserved retribution for the many years of suffering they endured. America's effort to rectify this led to affirmative action, which allows women and minorities not to be overlooked in college admissions. Many see this as a step toward the end of racism; however, many Americans, including those of minorities, view affirmative action as an ". . . attempt to end discrimination with discrimination" ("Affirmative"). Furthermore, it somewhat indicates minorities are incapable of accomplishing such goals on their own.

History tells the purpose behind affirmative action, but does evidence prove its failure? "Reverse discrimination" is often the choice phrase many people use to describe affirmative action. In an attempt to eliminate racial preference through college admissions, the government, unintentionally, created a new age of discrimination. An example of the reverse discrimination is in the case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, in which a white applicant was denied admissions because of race ("History"). ". . . when colleges judge an application by which box is checked under race, this is distinguishing the feature of each applicant's race, which is by definition, racial discrimination, . . ." ("Negative").

Another objection to affirmative action is the research done to prove it is preferential treatment. Before the affirmative action law was passed, the percentage of minorities enrolled in college was 4.9 percent. The percentage grew about 2 percent every ten years after 1970; however, in 1995, the portion of black students attending college had dropped to 25 percent below that of white students (Eisaguirre 93-94). As evidence to show racial preference is used when considering an applicant into college, Lynne Eisagiurre states the following:

A study published in the November 1992 issue of Academic Medicine shows that minorities with low grade point averages and low Medical College Admissions Test scores will in most years find a medical school that will accept them about 30 percent of the time, whereas whites with the same credentials will get in about 15 percent of the time. ( 95)

Not only is preferential treatment a disadvantage to those of the majority group, it affects those among the minorities as well. It has become an ongoing complaint with the minorities, generally African Americans, that "one of the most troubling effects of racial preferences for blacks is a kind of demoralization" (Steele 573). The use of affirmative action sends out a message to all of America that minorities need all the help they can get in order to be successful. This is not true. Minorities are very well capable of possessing a successful future without the aid of the government. As Steele explains it, "preferential treatment is an implied inferiority" (573).




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