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The Affirmative Action Ruling

On June 23 the Supreme Court decided with a majority ruling of 6:3 that affirmative action can no longer be used in college admissions. Why? The majority finds that Harvard University and the University of North Carolina have violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment through affirmative action. To break it down further, the Equal Protection Clause states that no state can “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” This accounts for various individual differences such as race, sex or religion. So, did the majority make the right choice?

Like it or not, we live in a day and age where people are classified and sorted into categories based on where they came from, what they look like, and other outward appearance biases. And that's not okay. I and many others find that method of categorization to be extremely discriminatory. You don’t choose your background, your heritage, or your demographics. What you can influence is your character, knowledge and skills.

For some, it can be circumstantially harder (but not impossible) to improve. But in terms of academic competition, there should be no pandering to race-based quotas. Admission to schools should not have a diversity handicap: it discredits the hard work that some individuals put into their early childhood development. America is known as the melting pot, and calling attention to the differences of all individuals has led to categorization, not assimilation. Schools should not be concerned about the racial diversity of their students taken as an isolated factor, but consider more the backgrounds, perspectives and perseverance that their students can bring—a factor which can lead to racial diversity, but for the right reasons.   

Background diversity is extremely important, as it enables a vastly wider range of perspectives. The differences in experiences people have bolster creativity, learning and innovation within schools and work environments alike. There is so much everyone can learn from someone with a different background. But engendering this diversity doesn’t require an oversimplified consideration of race, which is more a proxy for background diversity than a relevant factor on its own.

You're more than welcome to disagree, but a leading focus on “diversity, equity and inclusion” comes with many additional repercussions. I believe it is important to have an understanding of cultural differences and a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds, but I don’t agree with the ideology—in its right- or left-wing form—that individuals deserve preferential treatment because of their race, sex or religion.

Handicaps do not benefit society: not only do they draw more attention to our differences, but they also lower the standard of excellence by attempting to satisfy diversity requirements. It’s a hard pill to swallow but the idea of not admitting a more qualified individual, whether it be for a job position or a spot in a college, on the basis of not having enough diversity once again lowers the bar.

As a whole, we need to stop drawing lines in the sand and sectioning people into groups. Proving capability for positions is all that should matter and I believe everyone has the ability to apply themselves as best as they can for the path of life. Everyone eventually goes through a form of adversity or hardship, some being harder than others, but we should be positively reinforcing resilience and knowledge instead of driving in a wedge for diversity requirements.

(The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.)


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