NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

From Different Perspectives: The Immorality of Affirmative Action


Affirmative action used to be a measure to alleviate the real and present threat of racism in hiring, housing, and schooling. However, affirmative action policy has now become a means for class retribution based on the hierarchy that the left has created.

As the logic goes, because African Americans and other minorities are currently being disenfranchised by the broader racist system, benefits in the field of education should be conferred upon them. This is not to suggest that the country did not at one time have a broader racist system when the policy was implemented. However, we currently do not have a lack of sensitivity in the areas of tolerance and diversity.

A Princeton study analyzing the “Admission Preferences for Minority Students, Athletes, and Legacies at Elite Universities” from 1983 to 1997 concluded that, “Being African American instead of White is worth an average of 230 additional SAT points on a 1600-point scale.”

Other things equal, “Hispanic applicants gain the equivalent of 185 points, which is only slightly more than the legacy advantage, which is worth 160 points. Coming from an Asian background, however, is comparable to the loss of 50 SAT points.” The same study went on to say that the racial bias in acceptances widens when measures such as GPA and class rank are considered.

This principle of redistributionism based on race is moral drivel. We shouldn’t confer benefits in education on the basis of racial identity, but rather individual ability. The color of one’s skin has no inherent value in the broader context of one’s upbringing and skills. For example, Barack Obama’s child would never face the same struggle as a white child who grew up in the inner city.

Proponents of affirmative action policies point out that if the policy was revoked, the number of African Americans and Hispanics accepted into elite schools would drop precipitously, with Asian students occupying “four out of every five seats created by accepting fewer African-American and Hispanic students.”

The fact that minority acceptance rates would drop is not indicative of a broader racist system or white privilege, but rather of the spirit of meritocracy in the US. The cultural traits of an emphasis on education and family values have led to the ability to score better on the SAT’s—not “institutional racism” that somehow favors Asian children.

The inconvenient truth that African American and Hispanic students who’ve been accepted into elite schools due to affirmative action policies are more susceptible to failure is something that the left doesn’t seem to recognize.

This phenomenon, known as “the mismatch effect”, refers to the idea that a student with the capacity to succeed at Rutgers shouldn’t be, by dint of skin color, thrown into the severer atmosphere of an elite school because this mismatch will have a detrimental effect on their education. Stuart Taylor Jr., author of the “The Mismatch Effect”, found that “black college freshmen are more likely to aspire to science or engineering careers than are white freshmen, but mismatch causes blacks to abandon these fields at twice the rate of whites.”

Additionally, “about half of black college students rank in the bottom 20% of their classes (and the bottom 10% in law school).” This clearly demonstrates that when children are mismatched, it impedes on their ability to do well.

The entire debate regarding affirmative action in America shouldn’t even be a debate. There’s no justice in conferring benefits upon a class of people based on the color of their skin, just for them to be worse off because of those benefits. Hopefully, those making such egregious policies will open their eyes to the fact that in America, meritocracy is king and given the drive for success, one has the ability to succeed.  


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