Affirmative action—the preferential treatment in hiring or admissions to certain demographics—is a consistent feature of much of liberal politics these days. One student, however, is arguing that such treatment constitutes the “removal of the mandate for individual justice.”
“Race should not be used to determine if an applicant is qualified for school admission,” argues Temple student Varun Sivakumar in The Temple News,
“There is no reason why someone should be rewarded or not rewarded based on what the race that he [or] she belongs to has experienced as a whole,” Sivakumar quotes one student as saying, while another notes: “Programs like affirmative action aren’t set up for justice, individually or socially, unless you define justice as opportunity rather than equality.”
“From the moment that children enter the school system,” Sivakumar writes, “they are taught that if they work hard and achieve good grades, they will be able to attend college.” Yet this commendable message, he claims, is abrogated if students are selected on the basis of skin color rather than academic merit.
“This is a form of discrimination,” Sivakumar declares, “and it is racist.”
Colleges, employers and other selecting processes should never be in the business of correcting previous social wrongs. They should look to choose the individual most fit for the task — regardless of race.
“It’s good for a university to diversify itself to be more representative of the population,” [a student] said. “But when you add numbers and standards, that’s when universities get into hot water.”
If affirmative action is put into play, it should be based on class rather than race. This furthers the idea of helping an individual due to circumstance, and not a group of people blindly as a whole.
If two students applying to college have similar resumes, but one grew up in poverty while the other was raised in luxury, special consideration should be given to the poorer candidate because it is more difficult to succeed while poor, regardless of race.
In a study conducted by the Federal Reserve in 2014, adults were asked if they grew up worrying about having enough food or a stable caregiver. Of the ones who said yes, more than 50 percent reported financial difficulties at the time. Clearly, these kinds of hardships can impact academic success.
“[S]pecial consideration should not be given to people who are in a racial minority,” Sivakumar claims, “and employers and universities should not focus on correcting history’s wrongdoings.”
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