Affirmative Action: Good or Bad? (4/24/17)

In my school, each student has to select two minor elective courses to take each semester. The choices range from art to music to sports and various other topics.

So last semester, when choosing electives, I decided to take an Ethics class.

In this class, we usually debate over ethical dilemmas. These dilemmas are wide-ranging. For example, we have discussed everything from the ethics of sexting to the use of drone warfare in the Middle East.

Class is usually a little bit slow, with most of us running out of things to say about 3/4 way into the class period (the class is small, only about 7 or 8 people).

But today, we discussed the issue of affirmative action, and I have honestly never been in a class that heated in my life.  Everyone seems to have a very strong opinion on this topic.

Perhaps it’s because we’re in high school and the college admissions process is imminent. Or maybe some of us had a relative or a close friend who felt that he or she was somehow impacted by affirmative action.   Or maybe the Trump presidency caused some young people to shift to a more conservative view point.

Well, maybe not the last one, but still, there was no denying that affirmative action was a touchy subject for my classmates.

affirmative actions
Protestors in favor of affirmative action waiting outside the Supreme Court in October of 2012. At the time, the Supreme Court was reviewing the UT Austin case which raised the question of the constitutionality of using race in college admissions. (Pic: Getty Images)

As seen from the image above, affirmative action is a hot topic today, with questions being raised over the morality and legality of favoring certain racial groups (underrepresented minorities) over others.

While affirmative action may help promote diversity, I am against affirmative action because I feel it does more bad than good.

It is important for schools, universities and businesses to be diverse, and achieving diversity is a true American value. America prides itself in being the “land of opportunity”, a place where anyone – regardless of race, gender, or religion – can succeed. Underrepresented minorities should believe that they can succeed and should believe that by working hard, great opportunities will come.

However, this is where I feel the problem lies.

In America, we were told by the great Martin Luther King Jr. not to judge people by the color of their skin. We were taught to judge people by their character and their merits, and not on their skin color.  A person’s acceptance into a university or a person’s employment should be based on their qualifications and their accomplishments. This system is fair and affords everyone, of all races, equal opportunity of getting a job or getting into a college.

While it may be true that some groups of minorities have not enjoyed advantages and have not had the same opportunities due to past discrimination that they had no control over, it is also true that the majority did not personally participate in and had no control over the past discrimination against these minorities. It would be unfair to blame the majority for the discrimination of the past that they had no personal part in.

Finally, I feel that affirmative action is racist against the underrepresented minorities.  The policy of affirmative action sends the subtle and insidious message that these minorities are not good enough to get into a certain university or get a certain job.  Rather, they need a “leg up”– the assistance of affirmative policy — to achieve success.  This is not a good message for minorities who benefit from affirmative action.

Fifty years ago, during the Civil Rights movement, African Americans and other minorities fought to be treated EQUAL. They fought discrimination but they didn’t seek special treatment. The goal of the Civil Rights Movement was for everyone to be treated equally and for everyone to be judged fairly – not by the color of their skin.  I am for giving everyone equal opportunity to succeed.   Affirmative action which favors certain groups over others sends the wrong message and goes against the ideals fought for during the Civil Rights Movement.













11 thoughts on “Affirmative Action: Good or Bad? (4/24/17)

  1. Interesting opinions young man. But how do we achieve this diversity you speak of if the minorities who are have tough socio economic backgrounds can’t get these opportunities for great higher ed/jobs? Just food for thought.


  2. You really think MLK would be against affirmative action because of something he said in a speech? Because I would feel that he would b the first in line………..


  3. Affirmative action is very much a personal issue. I remember when I was in high school, and a couple of kids benefitted from affirmative action and got into a school (Case Western) over me, even though I was much higher up in the class rank. Some of my friends, however, are for affirmative action, but they got into their top choice schools and never really had to deal with any anger resulting from affirmative action. So really it only affects someone who is hurt from it.


    1. Just in regards to my last comment here, I also feel that affirmative action does have some benefits, but it is an inherently flawed system.


      1. Why is it inherently flawed? We shouldn’t pay reparation to those who were hurt in the past and now their future generations suffer in the present?


      2. @Jessica Corwin it’s flawed because while the system itself is problematic and probably should be gotten rid of, it can’t be, as since it was introduced and people now rely on it its tough to take it away.


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