Affirmative Action

Affirmative action has become increasingly more controversial over the past couple decades. One of the more recent examples can be found in the case, Fisher vs. University of Texas at Austin, in which Abigail Fisher sued the university claiming it was not granting her admission because she is Caucasian.

Those who argue for affirmative action claim that it accounts for the additional layers of difficulty that racial/ethnic minorities and women face due to their identity. Additionally, proponents say that it corrects the disproportionate percentages of these groups in schools and industries that has come about from extreme inequality historically. Even though discriminatory actions have now become illegal against these groups, supporters say, they still face social discrimination and the impact of past discrimination is still very prominent and has yet to be corrected. They believe one way to correct such a thing is through affirmative action.

However, those who do not support affirmative action say that society should not be focusing on race or gender when admitting people into a certain school or workplace because it creates unnecessary tension. Instead of taking account these different identities, we should not “see” color or gender when interacting with other people in order to attain true equality. Adversaries also claim that it is reverse discrimination and that one should be admitted based only on merit, not for their race or gender.

Many universities, including Carnegie Mellon, have incorporated affirmative action into their admission process. Last year’s SCS and CIT freshman class set new records for percentage of women admitted- 48.5% and 43.3%, respectively. School officials, such as Michael Steidel and Jelena Kovačević, seem to have spoken optimistically about the results, whereas some students have expressed discontentment with the university’s decision.

So, should affirmative action stay or be eliminated? What are the pros and cons of keeping affirmative action? If it should stay, are there cases where affirmative action is not appropriate?