Affirmative Action Needs to Stay

Affirmative Action Needs to Stay

By Jaime Melero
Hancock High School, Junior

In a recent Chicago Tribune article titled “US top court to hear university race admissions case,” Affirmative Action was back in the spotlight with Abigail Fisher alleging the policy discriminates against her. In her case, she applied to the University of Texas and was not accepted. According to Fisher, her credentials are better than minorities that got accepted instead of her.

Supporters of her case say that it is time for the Affirmative Action policy to retire.  The opposition says that the policy still needs to balance out the percentage of minorities with the majority. I believe that the policy needs to be maintained, especially since the minority is growing and so is the percentage of those going to college. It is only fair for it to continue for some more time.

Back in 2003, there was a similar case inCaliforniawith another white student saying the policy was discriminatory and sued the school. Of course, this case went all the way to the Supreme Court, too. The result was the Supreme Court defended the policy and voted against the student’s claim. In the Chicago Tribune article it says,” In 2003, [the Supreme Court] reaffirmed that a diverse student population can justify use of race as one factor to help minorities gain admission to public universities and colleges.”  This time can be different though since there are more conservative justices than there were last time.  There is no certain expectation about who is to win this case but no matter what, it will still be hotly debated.  I am sure to debate this in my sociology class.

What can be the solution to this problem?  If we were to take away Affirmative Action, college attendance would be predominantly white. But by 2025, 50% of the population will be minorities.  A commonly known statistic is that 11% of Latinos have college degrees.

Some may say there has to be a time limit for Affirmative Action or minorities will soon overtake white attendance at colleges.  I don’t think so.  This will not happen until the education system is fixed with all schools being equal. Although I consider myself to be an intelligent student, an equally intelligent student at a better school will score higher than me only because his school has better funding than mine. That leaves me with a single thought that the solution is to continue the policy until the education system can effectively make all schools equal.  Only then will things really be equal and not discriminatory to anyone.

The question is "When will the education system ever be fixed?"  In the Chicago Tribune article on the case, Brenda Shim, a senior counsel for the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under Law stated, "We remain confident that the court will reaffirm that colleges and universities may pursue the educational benefits of diversity."

Some people may say that the education system will never be fixed and that Affirmative Action will continue to be discriminatory towards white students. They can also say that the schools are equal already and that it is time for Affirmative Action to retire.

However, they must remember that there are many schools, especially in inner cities, that are having trouble with receiving funding. Also, the policy is not discriminatory considering that the majority of students in college is white and only small percentages of students are minorities.

I hope one day to go to college and with the level of competition from students at better funded schools, I am going to need an edge so I can go to a good college or university. That may sound like it’s unfair, but there is not much else I can do.


Do you believe that Affirmative Action should be retired or not? What are the reasons for your answer?

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  • I admire the respect you have in yourself. Keep fighting for what you believe in and study hard.

    But know this little secret, when you go to college or university you will unfortunately find it almost as segregated as this city. With the various "student groups" based on race and ethnicity, to the "greek system" which heavily cuts along race and religious lines, you will be walking into a system that further separates rather than combines. Quite ironic when compared to what higher education was meant to strive for.

  • So, you are advocating the continuance of one faulty system until another faulty system is corrected? Two wrongs will eventually make a right?

    Race has nothing to do with education, money does. Allow the students who test into the school in, regardless of ability to pay for that, in. Once admitted, minorities (soon to be majorities) still must be able to handle the curriculum. There are no statistics that correlate affirmative action students admissions to them graduating. Affirmative action only accomplishes minority student admissions, not graduations.

    Education and government can learn a lot from the private sector. Move back from the goal. What is the goal? Is it to increase minority higher education graduations? Admit those who are admitted with financial aid and student loans so that they can focus on school and not be required to dedicate additional time to a full time job to pay for school.

  • In reply to Chitown60618:

    This is Jaime Melero. Thank you for commenting on my post.

    I do not believe Affirmative Action to be wrong. As I stated, the majority in college is still white. There has to be an equalizer for the growing minority. The American Dream is to have a house and family but how can that be achieved without the money to pay for it?

    The fact is that without a college degree, our job will most likely be low paying. Everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed in life.

  • I admire when a young person is involved in the public dialogue, but I just want to make one quick correction.
    There are not more conservative justices this time (as oppossed to the 2003 decision). The only substantative change (on the conservative side) was the replacement of Sandra Day O'Conner and she ruled with the conservative majority in 2003. Just a suggestion for the future: don't just reitterate what everyone tells you- think and research for yourself.

  • In reply to montclareresident:

    We actually fact checked this before we posted this. There are four consistently progressive judges and four consistently conservative judges. There is one swing vote. Jaime did think for himself. He researched the issue and decided to write about this on his own.

  • About 30 years before you were born, the Supreme Court said that affirmative action was a temporary remedy to address the effects of past discrimination. So, your argument has to be that 55 or so years later, that effect still hasn't been wiped out.

    Since you post under a CPS image, your statement "This will not happen until the education system is fixed with all schools being equal" is the crux of the point. Mayor Daley had control of CPS for 15 years (or about as long as you are old) and it still isn't fixed, and there are elements in the community, such as the teachers' union president, who have agendas other than students learning something.

    Obviously, you didn't learn much if you posit your hopes on a swing Supreme Court justice. Also, it is fairly obvious that the vast majority of CPS students who don't qualify to get into college on other than an athletic scholarship aren't going to stay there long. There is some percentage of affirmative action students who graduate. Maybe you can do a research study for your social sciences class on what that percentage is, instead of repeating bromides someone else must have taught you.

  • In reply to jack:

    45, whatever. Sorry.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, this is Jaime Melero. Thank you for taking the time to comment on my post.

    No one at school taught me about Affirmative Action. There was a discussion about it in my sociology class because I brought it up. I had my own opinion about it before we discussed it.

    Also, in my class, we do research on several subjects. Currently, we are talking about the city sticker controversy.

    Finally, I'm not betting my college dreams on Affirmative Action. I'm counting on myself and my ability to work hard.

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