Opinion: Affirmative action in education should be class-based

It has been over a half a century since America was introduced to the concept of affirmative action. In 1961, during the presidency of John F. Kennedy, the United States assumed the challenge of representing the” under-represented”…or in other words, granting more opportunities to those who were usually kept out of the occupational and educational lottery.

The idea faced a diverse range of responses; while many were pleased with this new, revolutionary outlook, others were infuriated by its aggressive dismissal of the old days (in other words, the days before the Civil Rights Movement). Of course, affirmative action has continued to be a source of controversy.

There is no need to go into the specifics here because my point is not to give you a historical background on old legislation, but rather, to re-evaluate how we view the objectives set forth by Kennedy and whether or not they comply with the present needs of the United States.

I hope we can all agree that racism is not what it used to be, especially here, in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Not necessarily in the sense that every race/gender is equally represented, but rather, that in a single classroom interaction, you may find yourself talking to someone from a completely different background, yet, you wouldn’t necessarily care to find out about these distinctions unless it were brought up in the flow of conversation.

What I’m trying to say is that our generation is no longer determined to discriminate or segregate. The postmodern era has brought us to a point where we are more justified in sticking with diversity than going back to days of race riots and boycotts.

I think that America has achieved its goal of civility, for the most part (of course, racism and hatred will unfortunately always linger within every society). So shouldn’t we rethink the whole system of filling quota’s based on color and gender? Should we not put more faith into the idea that at this point, or at some point in the near future, there will no longer be a minority race or sex?

My main issue with affirmative action is that it promotes discrimination as it attempts to fight it. As it favors the “minority” racial groups, it discriminates against those who have sincerely strived to become academically superior.

In addition, “…affirmative action policies do not necessarily help economically disadvantaged students" instead it, "tends to benefit middle- and upper-class minorities” as proven in a study conducted by the Hoover Institution.

The only issue that remains in America is that members of lower socio-economic classes are less likely to be educated in the ways that individuals of the middle and upper classes are educated.  Distinctions of class will always be an issue. After all, education, or, an elite education, for that matter, requires a hefty sum of money. So, our goal should not be to fill our institutions and offices with a rainbow of men and women, but rather, to promote a means by which more individuals of less economic income are granted opportunities to brighten their futures.

Money is the main divider in our society. Affirmative action should be not used to favor racial minorities, rather, it should be more focused on revolutionizing the bottom class. Let’s see if we can sustain the current level of integrity we have established and work together to improve the educational and therefore, occupational opportunities of the poor.

 

 

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