Affirmative Action – Henry

Prompt: Given what your own experience, what are common misconceptions of affirmative action?

Our reading last week was all about education.  The reading focused in on the issue of affirmative action.  The major points relating to defining affirmative action as any preferred admissions statues.  This would include athletes, students of color, and legacies.  The biggest winners in terms of scholarship dollars and acceptances are athletes and legacies.  Yet, much of the conversation on affirmative action revolves around race.  Many of the studies referenced in the reading report students who go to top tear schools like Harvard believe in affirmative action, yet seldom mention legacies and athletes in their explanations.  This could be a reflection on the broader conversation and its focus but may also be an insight into a clear double standard.  One were the trials and sacrifices of athletes are valued and those trials and scarifies associated with race are not.  It is also interesting to note, being an athlete is often a choice were as one’s race is not.   I suspect it is a bit of both.

In my own life, affirmative action has not come up in conversation with any regularity, however, in my college process, I believe I was the recipient of another form of affirmative action not yet mentioned: being well connected.  I would put this in the category of legacies as it is something you are mostly born into and yet still quite helpful.  My family new well, two people on the board of my college and I knew a couple of kids who went there one of which was the best friend of the person who interviewed me.  This is an advantage in the college process it’s not easily measurable but in my opinion a form of affirmative action as it is some preferred admissions statues.  Other times that misconceptions about affirmative action have come up when students of color get into prestigious colleges and white students don’t.  Often white students will assume that they got in on the soul reason they are not-white and the soul reason they didn’t get is because they are white.  The assumption is that the white student is some how more deserving to go to a prestigious school.  These assumptions are mentioned without knowledge of the student of colors grades, extra curricular activities, and recommendations.  Is this classic jealousy, or one of the new morphings of American racism?

5 thoughts on “Affirmative Action – Henry

  1. riadas99

    You bring up a good point regarding the Ivy League schools and white people. This is a common problem that I’ve seen happen on our own campus where students of color’s accomplishments are minimized because of their race.

  2. kcmill12

    My mom once said that the only thing i have going against me during the college process is that I am white. I was FURIOUS! I tried to explain how wrong she was, but she didn’t get it.

  3. india.henderson

    I have also seen this a lot on our campus. I do not think this is classic jealousy–not the way that I have heard some students comparing people. They often do not specify race but you can tell that it is embedded into their words. It hurts me to hear my fellow students of color’s accomplishments minimized or disregarded.

  4. Silver Fu

    It is almost paradoxical that in order for colleges to ensure their “diversity,” they make candidates compete among their own race to fulfill certain quota. But isn’t that practice instilled with a sense of separation?


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