No one is comfortable with Affirmative Action programs. First of all the fact that there is a need for Affirmative Action reflects badly on our society. It reminds us that the racism that was once present for example in admissions to college was so prevalent that it takes providing minorities with preferences in order to correct this past injustice. And no one is comfortable with providing a less qualified applicant with admission to a college over a more qualified applicant regardless of how well meaning and how well justified the policy is.
As early as this summer the Supreme Court will likely put an end to any and all Affirmative Action programs with respect to college admissions. Affirmative Action is already just about illegal everywhere anyway. Yet the problem that has given rise to Affirmative Action, mainly the lack of substantial representation of minorities in major colleges not only continues but has gotten worse.
barred affirmative action in
1996, freshman enrollment of blacks across the UC system fell, from
4.2 percent in the 1995-96 school year to 2.8 percent in 2004-05, UC
says. By last fall, that figure had edged back up to 3.7 percent California
So UC has embarked on programs to try to indirectly increase the number of minorities in its programs.
the system’s 10 campuses have pursued strategies such as wooing lower-income students and those who are the first in their family to go to college, factors that tend to correlate with race. UC has joined with urban high schools to attract undergrads in much the same way it’s now looking for potential graduate students at black colleges. And UCLA and other schools have started working with groups such as the Urban League and the First African Methodist Episcopal Church to find prospective students. “To their credit, they are being creative in trying to promote racial diversity without resorting to racial preferences,” says Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank in
. New York
And UC is recruiting students for its graduate program from predominately black colleges,
Students from any of the 105 schools considered to be historically black colleges were invited to apply, and
received nearly 200 applications from 37 schools. “This would give me a feel
for the Berkeley
system,” says Dorian Kandi, a Morehouse accounting major who was among the
applicants. If the concept works for business schools, UC may expand it to law
and other graduate programs, school officials say. California
This activity would seem to be a reasonable compromise between racial preferences and totally disregarding a history in which minorities were told they were largely unwelcome at top schools. And not to worry, the “Let’s Make Sure White People Get Ahead” police are on the case.
Efforts such as UC’s can raise the same questions as affirmative action, says Roger Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a Falls Church (Va.) nonprofit opposed to racial preferences. “It depends on what your motive is,” Clegg says. “Are you targeting historically black colleges because you want to achieve a particular ethnic or racial background? Or do you feel they shouldn’t be overlooked because they are a good source of well-qualified students?”
And no, don’t be fooled, the Center for Equal Opportunity is looking out for equal opportunity for, well for you know who. (those people whose equality does not need looking out for if you know what we mean.)