While affirmative action has a noble purpose, far too often it ends up hurting those it’s designed to help. The goal of affirmative action is to ensure that minorities are represented in equal proportion to their presence in the general population. The underlying assumption is that under-representation automatically comes from discrimination, and that equal representation must occur, regardless of the cost. This can (but doesn’t necessarily) result in a lowering of standards for certain ‘favored’ ethnic groups.
Lowering admission standards to college, for example, doesn’t mean that the standards for completing the coursework will be lowered. I sure wouldn’t want to see a doctor who’d completed medical school based on lower standards! The prestige of attending a top tiered school is fine, and graduation from such a school is an achievement to be proud of it. And failure to graduate, or even get admitted, is nothing to be ashamed of. These are, after all, some of the best schools in the country.
Allowing some ethnic groups in with extra ‘points’ based on their skin color ends up harming all, just as preventing minorities from attending schools in the days of Jim Crow laws did.
First, qualified candidates who don’t have the right skin color are, once again, denied the chance to achieve their full potential. Second, students allowed in under these lowered standards, who may well thrive in a less intense environment, can easily fail to get through, wasting the gifts and abilities they have.
Let’s worry about finding ways of helping people, regardless of their skin color or gender, reach their potential. Don’t hurt people or help people simply because they might be black, white, Asian, or Hispanic. Let’s fulfill Dr. King’s dream of a world where his children might be judged ‘not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’.