Justice Dept. Investigates Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Why do academic institutions give and take opportunity based on race?

In a document received by the New York Times, it was revealed that the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division will be looking into “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” In layman’s terms, the DOJ will be examining the legality behind affirmative action.

This is a plus and will receive praise from libertarians and conservatives because it seeks to minimize the ability of colleges and universities to give racial proclivity above academic qualifications in their admissions. Affirmative action has allowed schools to reject admissions to qualified individuals in exchange for lesser qualified people strictly due to their race. When it comes down to it, this has meant that Asian and white students have been declined in favor of black and Hispanic students of a lower caliber. If a school currently receives federal funding, they may soon need to cease their affirmative action policies in order to be in cooperation with federal law if they wish to continue to receive their funding.

On June 23, 2016, the Supreme Court took up a case over the controversial practice of affirmative action and ruled that it is constitutionally permitted. The effects represent not only a contemporary legal milestone, but a major impact on the definition and action of race relations while being a slap-in-the-face to the founding principles of the U.S. With this, the Supreme Court gives approval that people of a certain race should be granted an advantage over those of a different race. Doesn’t this detract from the country’s conviction that all men are created equal?

From that it follows a legal precedent  to racially discriminate. This form of discrimination runs opposite to the old kind in the U.S. This discrimination is obviously not as blatant as it was, say, against African Americans, but it now appears that we are living in the mirrored version of our own history. Welcome… to the Twilight Zone.

Putting the ethics of affirmative action to the side for a moment, let’s examine a concept that you may have read under a similar context in African American history. Affirmative action is akin to the idea of slavery reparations. This idea meaning that since African American’s were oppressed for so long and harshly that they deserve a form of repayment from white American due to their accused liability. The follow-through of this plan usually involves financial reimbursements. Basically affirmative action is a kind of reparations.

The use of affirmative action as a means of reparations would not be a good way to make amends because it does not solve the problems it aims to fix. Through affirmative action underrepresented groups such as blacks and Hispanics are placed into schools where they are unable to meet the standards. If a person is under-educated and unprepared for the level of rigor required by the school then their performance will most likely suffer causing them to do poorly, which leads to a higher rate of dropping or failing out.

While on William F. Buckley’s Firing Line, black economist Thomas Sowell makes the point that this policy is “more preferential in intention than in results.” That quote could be the slogan for any current Democratic policy proposal, but I doubt they’d let it slide. He also said that “those blacks who were particularly disadvantaged have fallen further behind under these policies.” 

In Wealth, Poverty and Politics Thomas Sowell provides an example of the failures of affirmative action. During the tenure of the University of California at Berkeley’s policy of affirmative action in the 1980s there were more black students admitted, but less of them graduated than previously to the policy implementation. When the policy was repealed in the 1990s there were less black students admitted, but more of them graduated. He continues by citing some numbers about the positive aftermath of the policy’s repeal for blacks and Hispanics: “those who graduated with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math rose by 51 percent; and those who graduated with grade point averages of 3.5 or higher rose by 63 percent.” But what does that all matter when the biggest aim of many affirmative action supporters is to virtue signal.

Instead of creating a society constructed from equal opportunity, affirmative action seeks to punish those deemed to have a systemic advantage and ameliorate those at a systemic disadvantage. It essentially turns the tables so that those who originally held the privilege are now the burdened. This country doesn’t have to pull one group down in order to prop another up. We can just do what is more ethical and advantageous for everyone by improving the less privileged without relegating the more privileged.

Former NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks promoted affirmative action when he defined it as “any action taken to ensure or affirm equal opportunity for oppressed or previously disadvantaged groups.” In the context of America, he is making the claim that there are groups that are so currently or historically put down that they need others to bolster them up through the ranks of society.

America is the Land of Opportunity and I find it hard to believe that there are groups here that are so subdued by others that they need such a degree of assistance from an outside force to further them along in society. People should be treated as individuals and not as a member of their group. Even though people may be deeply affected by their group membership, they are still enough of an individual to make independent life-decisions.     

Is it right to inflict punishment onto another just because of their race? If your answer is yes than you must also not believe in the phrase two wrongs don’t make a right. We should not be going down the same route of wrongdoing this country has done in the past. We should realize that what needs to be dissolved is state-sanctioned racial preference.

Why do we have to take and give opportunity based on race? We need to look at how we can help those deemed below us through direct action. Those communities that are not prospering have to learn proper life lessons and have a sufficient network of support so that they can eventually produce individuals who practice behavior that advances them through society. By just providing them with unearned opportunities we are only holding them to a lower standard and teaching them that success can fall into their lap. It takes away from the notion that hard work creates success.

For more from Charles visit frontrowreview.com and follow @realFrontRow

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