In a major victory for opponents of affirmative action, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals last Friday declared a measure that allows the consideration of race in Michigan’s public college admissions unconstitutional, thus beginning the process of reinstating a prior ban against affirmative action for applicants to public universities.
Many proponents of affirmative action will claim that the judicial ruling is a step back for American diversity and race relations. Such a claim is far from the truth.
Californians have also faced the same issue. With Proposition 209, California voters passed a ban against affirmative action in 1996, which made it illegal to give preferential treatment to women and minorities in public university admissions, contracting and hiring for government jobs.
California Gov. Jerry Brown voiced his support for repealing the ban on July 8, when he questioned the constutionality of the state’s ban on affirmative action in college admissions to public universities.
The bans are promising, but an omnipresent drive for political correctness and Brown threatens the progress California has made toward real equality in the public university system.
Affirmative action is a form of artificial equality — a numbers game which has disguised itself as a method to keep schools diverse and equal. Applicants to public universities should be admitted based on qualifications instead of skin color.
America has always proudly projected an image of an enlightened meritocracy, of a nation where people can advance themselves based on achievement. A return to pro-affirmative action policy in California, however, would do more harm to this already tarnished image, in turn bringing reverse discrimination back in full force.
If a university were to reject a qualified minority student because of his or her skin color, the public would be up in arms. But if it did the same to a white student, it would be called affirmative action and an advancement of diversity and equality.
California and the nation should continue to move away from the damaging mindset supported by affirmative action. In eliminating race from the college admissions process, universities ensure a new generation of hard-working students will positively contribute to society regardless of their race.
Public education, particularly higher education, is one of the state’s most influential means of producing good citizens. It can be just as influential in the promotion of a negative authority of racism masked by the deceptive nature of affirmative action in the admissions process.
Some believe that a causation between race and poverty exists; this belief should not be used to reward or punish people without considering their merits and contributions on a deeper, intellectual level.
This state-sponsored racism should continue to be banned. As a society, we should reward merit rather than look at admissions categorically using demographics.
Sarah Cueva is a sophomore majoring in political science. Her point runs Fridays.