Students might not think twice when including their race on their college applications. However, for some the act might make the difference between admittance and rejection.
In January, a federal appeals court ruled that the University of Texas could continue to evaluate students’ race and ethnicity in their acceptance practices. The ruling held that race could be a factor in deciding a student’s admission if it is not the only one.
The court’s decision appears to be one in favor of fairness and affirmative action, but it is misguided.
Critics of race-based admissions practices argue that the process should be colorblind and all applicants should be held to the standards of their individual academic and extracurricular achievements. Allowing race to be weighed into the admissions process is simply illogical because no student has control over his or her ethnicity and no race should be held to a higher standard than another.
Abigail Fisher and Rachel Michalewicz filed a lawsuit after they were denied admittance into the University of Texas at Austin in 2008, according to Reuters. The two white females believed that their denial was based on the use of race as a determining factor in the admissions process.
President John F. Kennedy first used the term affirmative action to ensure that all members of society are treated equally despite their race or ethnicity. While affirmative action still holds the same principles of fairness and equality today, using race in the admissions process could paradoxically give one student preferential treatment over another.
Supporters of the practice believe that using race in the admission process simply ensures that each race occupies an equal part of the student population, allowing people from diverse backgrounds a fair chance at post-secondary education.
Promoting a diverse population is not at all questionable or unconstitutional and provides a justifiable measure to ensure that all races are given equal opportunity to excel.
However, this vision of equal opportunity is unfortunately pursued by giving one race preferential treatment over another, in a different form of racism.
Racism is an unfortunate and detrimental aspect of human existence. Over the course of American history, racism has changed substantially from the times of segregation and the civil rights movement to the present.
However, racism will never be fully eradicated until the color of a person’s skin is a nonissue and people are just seen as people.
Robert Scime is a junior majoring in mass communications.