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Students of color suffer despite affirmative action

by Kristina Livingston - Executive Editor
Tue, Sep 19th 2017 08:00 pm

Affirmative action: that thing your high school peers informed you was designed to cheat white people out of spots in college, right? This sentiment was widely shared by my peers, until I learned the purpose of affirmative action being to offer disenfranchised groups a favorable position when competing for certain advancement, whether this be in employment or college applications.

So, what has affirmative action done to lessen obstacles in the way of minorities? Little, it would appear, at least in the college scene.

According to a report by The New York Times courts have determined that race and ethnicity are important factors in admissions policies, but are not used as “a magic bullet.”

White students, as well as of those of Asian descent, are extremely overrepresented at colleges and universities, while black and Hispanic students seem to be taking a tumble.The statistics are  represented in rather confusing scientific graphs, so I'll spare you the explanation. The important piece is clear: Asian and white student acceptance rates continue to rise as they have for all of history, while others remain stagnant.

Who, then, is being uplifted by these magical, life-changing affirmative action policies that keep white students awake at night, on-edge, in fear of losing their scholarship to a black student of all people?

Two words that will make you say, “well gee, someone doesn’t know the true nature of what they want to combat” – white women.

On bustle.com, I uncovered one of the more efficient discussions on affirmative action in years. You don’t have to look far to learn that yes, affirmative action was cultivated with the purpose of benefiting women and minorities, but researcher Jessie McDaniel says “the people suing universities for discrimination in the academic admissions process have been white women." 

In the face of misogyny, it would apppear that women with even the slightest element of power to combat social oppressions take the opportunity to do so. A racial social advantage can't hurt when we're talking about discrimination. All we can do is wonder which people are left in the dust as court battles are waged.

White women, I would argue that scoffing at the idea that affirmative action policies are necessary will only hurt you. Look at how far you have been able to come because of it – the presence of women on college campuses continues to surge, with women now outnumbering male students, according to bustle.com.

We only have to look at how the removal of affirmative action harms the representation of black and Hispanic students to understand why it is necessary, and how the ability of white women to fight both for and against it whenever it is convenient to them muddles the situation as a whole. 

The New York Times stated that in 1988, California put a ban on the policy, leading to a plummet in black and Hispanic student acceptance rates within all top schools.

At the end of the day, affirmative action is in place, and it is not doing what it was designed to do. The Trump administration can try as they might to undermine related policy and prevent people of color from attending college, but the insidious beast called institutionalized racism has been beating them to it.

While it is true there is no solving the struggle for proper academic representation easily, perhaps it may benefit you to do some research on the ins and outs of affirmative action. This is a topic many people often  approach argumentatively without really knowing where they’re coming from or where they’re going. Power imbalances exist in social institutions, namely colleges – it shouldn’t take Sociology 101 for this to be emphasized. 

The only way we will know black and Hispanic students have truly broken past the academic barriers is when they are accurately represented on the very campuses which claim to have their backs.

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