Top 5 Ways Affirmative Action Hurts Minorities

Top 5 Ways Affirmative Action Hurts Minorities

by Aya Katz

Proponents of Affirmative Action dismiss criticism of their policies as motivated by majority populations wanting to hold onto an advantage in education and the job market and prosperity and good health. The expressed purpose of Affirmative Action is to give minorities a chance to enter into competitive positions at higher rates than if they were judged solely on merit. But did you know that Affirmative Action also disadvantages minorities who would normally dominate certain fields, if measures were not taken keep their numbers down?

Americans from Asian ancestry have suffered setbacks due to affirmative action programs. While there are no overt quotas at institutions of higher learning, many in Asian communities in the United States are suffering, and they do not hesitate to talk about it openly.

Here are the top five ways in which minorities in the United States are discriminated against by Affirmative Action policies.

1. To be allowed into Princeton, an Asian student needs to have an SAT score of 140 points
higher than a non-Asian.

Affirmative action works by labeling people based on their ethnic origin and then making sure that certain minorities are given preferential treatment, so as to be admitted in greater numbers. What this means is that those not discriminated against affirmatively – by lowering the standards for them – are discriminated against negatively, by being required to meet more rigorous standards. Instead of everybody competing against everybody else and those with the best scores winning, people are set up to compete against others in their group. If you happen to belong to a group that generally does better, then the cut-off for you will higher. At Princeton, Asians have to score 140 points higher on the SAT than everybody else to get in. This is presumably because they score 140 points higher than everybody else on average. But this is not much consolation for an individual Asian who scored just below the cutoff point.

In a study conducted in 2005 at Princeton, it was found that if Affirmative Action were discontinued, the African American students would drop from from 9 to 3.3 percent and the Hispanic students would drop from 7.9 percent to 3.8 percent. But this does not mean this would help “whites.”

Such dramatic changes in policy would have little impact, however, on white applicants. Their admission rate would rise slightly, to 24.3 percent, from 23.8 percent. 

The big gains would be for Asian applicants. Their admission rate in a race-neutral system would go to 23.4 percent, from 17.6 percent. And their share of a class of admitted students would rise to 31.5 percent, from 23.7 percent.

So it turns out affirmative action may not be what it professes to be. It may not be a system to boost diversity and to keep the number of “white” students in check. It may not be designed to hurt whites at all. Right now it appears to be a racist policy directed primarily against Asians.

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