Affirmative Action is as it currently stands, is what permits most colleges to consider race and ethnicity when admitting students. It’s designated purpose is not to weed out one race or the other, but to give underrepresented minorities a well deserved entrance to their college campus to receive education.
Race cannot be the ultimate deciding factor, but it can be considered as part of a holistic review. For low income or minority college bound hopefuls, Affirmative Action has been a saving grace in their goals to better themselves, their families, and their communities by attaining success and higher education.
For our country’s near entire history the percentage of minority (or “non-white”) races in well known college student bodies has been drastically below fifty percent. Affirmative Action has been just about the best we as a country can do for these ambitious young adults who aim high despite the hints of institutionalized racism.
Through Affirmative Action, since it was established in 1961, the number of Hispanic college students rose from 4 percent to 15 percent in between the years 1976 and 2012, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The number of college students who were black increased from 10 percent to 15. Still low numbers, but progress is being made.
And whenever progress is being made, of course there are cries of reverse racism. The cry that is threatening Affirmative Action is Abigail Fisher. A white college applicant to the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. She applied under a program where every senior in the top 10 percent of her graduating class were to be automatically admitted. Fisher herself however, was not in the top 10 percent. As perfectly sound result of this, her application was considered with every other applicant.
Through a holistic review process her application was taken into consideration under every same circumstance as every other applicant. Her academic achievements, extracurriculars and her race were taken into account. Fisher was not accepted. She claims this is unfair as some of her minority peers with lower scores were granted admission.
The minority peers she spoke of were one African-American and four Latino applicants. Their academic and personal achievement scores were lower than Fisher’s. But then again, so were 42 denied white applicants whose scores were identical to or lower than hers. As well as 168 black and Latino denied applicants with academic scores as good as, or better than Fisher’s. This is according to the university, said Elise Boddie, a professor at Rutgers. The University of Texas at Austin argued that Ms. Fisher’s application would not have had a different verdict if she were of any other race.
“I hope the justices will rule that UT is not allowed to treat undergraduate applicants differently because of their race or ethnicity,” Fisher told reporters. Yet one is reminded, when the idea of “reverse racism” is brought up, that we still live in a culture that is whether admitted to or not, institutionalized racially. “Every day, a black-name resume is 50 percent less likely to get responded to than a white-name resume,” Jalen Ross a student council president at the University of Virginia said to CNN’s State of The Union. “That’s everyday racism.” According to the 2003 study this is the truth. Resumes with white-sounding names received 50 percent more callbacks than the ones with black-sounding names. While Abigail Fisher is not a UT student, she still has a fifty percent better chance at getting a job than all five black and latino peers that beat her out for the admission.
Fisher doesn’t truly know to what grand extent she is speaking of. Her one turned down application due to whiteness isn’t done out of discrimination. UT turning her down just barely tips the scales in the unbalanced distribution of opportunities the U.S. gives to its citizens, particularly its citizens of color. Yes, people shouldn’t hire or accept hard working individuals based on race. But colleges do have to admit more non-white students to college than they are white students, This is to make a more representative environment that then travels on to create the same environment in important STEM jobs.
To support this fact of racial inequality in the workplace, a number of tech giants such as IBM, Intel, and DuPont, stepped forward to declare that colleges and universities should be allowed to consider race when admitting students as a way to increase diversity. Affirmative Action in college admissions is an “essential step in any serious effort to address minority underrepresentation in the STEM fields,” says a friend-of-the-court brief filed in November by the three companies and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering.
If the Supreme Court in anyway sides with Abigail Fisher or disrupts the Affirmative Action college admissions currently works within the results will, “deal a serious blow to their businesses and their efforts to remedy this critical problem,” the brief by the tech companies said.
Only 24% Intel’s employees were women and merely 12% were underrepresented minorities. However, they plan to change this so their staff is more truly representative of the U.S. as a whole. Silicon Valley is ludicrously of the white and male persuasion. Changing the environment of the colleges which these Silicon Valley employees hail from, will remarkably change the lucrative tech hub in California as well. The products created in Silicon Valley is what connect the entire U.S. and if the entire U.S. is more fairly represented in Silicon Valley we are looking at true and legitimate progress in the right direction.