Policy provides needed chance for minorities
My biracial identity has allowed me to have the unique experience of hearing about the two vastly different worlds my parents were born in. My mother grew up literally in the jungles of El Salvador, while my father grew up in the developed country of Canada.
You can imagine my motherâs story was slightly darker than my fatherâs. He transitioned into American society with relative ease as a white, middle-class male upon immigration, while my mother struggled in poverty in El Salvador.
Now, 30 years after my mother immigrated, there are 6.1 million Hispanics under the age of 18 living below the poverty level in the United States.
These are facts that donât surprise us. But itâs not all bad news: In 2010, college enrollment among Hispanics rose by 24 percent, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. This is indeed monumental. This increased enrollment is an indication of the success of affirmative action; as the poverty level plummets, affirmative action still provides opportunities for students to attend college.
The state of Michigan is currently involved in a decision to reinstate the ban on affirmative action, which was struck down in July 2011. The simple reason Michigan shouldÂ maintain the 2011 ruling is that affirmative action diversifies college campuses and assists disadvantaged students in moving up from their socioeconomic statuses.
Preventing a college from ensuring diversity comes at the expense of every student admitted.
Affirmative action has been successful in diversifying colleges across the nation, and it has been since its enactment because of its stipulation to admit people from various racial backgrounds.
And when colleges are diverse, students are exposed to a variety of cultures that expand their knowledge about the world while eradicating ignorance and racial prejudice. Walls break down when students have equal opportunity to perform well in classrooms.
When this opportunity for diversity is unavailable, all students are affected and are at a disadvantage. Compare this to a school like USC, which is a haven for a diverse array of students, I can personally attest to feeling more cultured as a result of being a student here. Additionally, studies have shown that campus diversity positively affects students as it improves their relationships on campus, according to a study done by DiversityWeb.org.
The least we can do after years of discriminating against minorities is take into consideration their often disadvantaged backgrounds and become more sympathetic to their situations while providing them with the means to achieve.
Minority students are at a disadvantage because of a number of reasons: social class, school location and average income, among others.
Affirmative action has proven to help students rise up socially and fiscally. For example, in 1996, the installment of affirmative action helped 5 million minority members move up in the workforce. Since then, the numbers have grown â and itâs a good thing they have because statistically, before a minority child even leaves the delivery room, he or she has a 32.3 percent chance of dropping out of high school. Compare that with Asians â 89.4 percent chance of graduating â and white students â 83.4 percent chance of graduating â and the gap is significant.
Efforts to uphold affirmative action can continue to close the gap in this nation, and thatâs what most opponents fail to realize. Affirmative action isnât meant to segregate; itâs meant to diversify and help disadvantaged students.
Mellissa Linton is a sophomore majoring in English. Her counterpoint runs Fridays.Â