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Affirmative action argument ill-concieved


The author of the column entitled “Affirmative Action oppresses minorities” should have more carefully examined the issue of affirmative action (and more carefully read his source material) before preparing his opinion piece in Monday’s edition of The Daily Targum.

First, he seems to think blacks are a uniform model for all intended benefactors of affirmative action. Affirmative action has, in practice to date, most widely and effectively promoted the advancement of women (in particular, non-minority women). The success of college women is, in part, a result of coeducation and affirmative action in American colleges. It also reflects, unfortunately, how such success continues to skew along other demographic divisions.

Further, the author demonstrates little knowledge of affirmative action, and espouses that it outright ignores admissions criteria and admits under-qualified applicants en masse. This is false. GPA adjustments, for example, can be (and are) made carefully, on the basis of factors that actually impact GPA. Considering discrepancies in accessibility to primary education (not to mention widespread grade inflation), adjusting GPAs provides more refined admissions criteria, and is thus essential to fair admissions practices. Admitting under-qualified students is not a universal outcome, especially considering the author’s arguments are only based on one of many demographics for whose advancement affirmative action is intended.

Worse, basing his findings on Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor Jr., he completely neglects or refuses to acknowledge that they support affirmative action — and affirmative action reform. The author seems to cherry-pick Sander’s & Taylor’s expert findings, but ignore entirely their equally expert conclusions and recommendations. Sander and Taylor not a week ago coauthored an editorial for CNN promoting continued use of affirmative action with specific reform and refinement, hoping quantitative analysis of student outcomes will improve affirmative action practices.

Finally, the author forms an … interesting … conclusion (for which not even the most grievous of liars could find substantiation): Affirmative action is a liberal plot to oppress minorities and make them dependent on social programs. Perhaps he should also look into the effects of fluoride on the lower-class groups that cannot afford tap water or Brita filters. It may cause 47 percent of them to become lazy leeches sucking on federal coffers.

People receiving aid, be it food stamps, Medicare, or affirmative action (in the public or private sector), are not lazy, under-qualified, failed versions of their white male counterparts, doomed to continue to fail because they can’t cut the mustard. Writing something tantamount to this, citing studies by proponents of affirmative action no less, is an offensive and incredibly ill-conceived endeavor.

Kellen Myers, is a graduate student in the Department of Mathematics.

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