Revisiting Affirmative Action


                The question of Affirmative Action in the wake of the election has yet to come to the forefront of political discussion in the mainstream media; however, its fundamental tenets must be reexamined in order to determine the constitution of the future workforce under a Trump presidency.

                The regressive ideological foundation of social justice is inherently self-contradicting.  The collection of policies and legislation known colloquially as Affirmative Action stands as testament to the failures of social justice to address the very real problem of inequality within the United States; rather, the symptoms are masked through artificial mobility, based on race, and the socio-economic factors that breed inequality are conveniently ignored.  This failure stems from one basic misconception: a class issue can be treated with a racial solution.

                According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average SAT score for an African-American was 1278 out of 2400, compared to 1576 for white students.  However, the total number of African-Americans attending college was at 16%, while only constituting 14% of the population.  Even if we were to ignore the overrepresentation of African-Americans at universities according to their population, we would still be left facing the fact that African-Americans are enrolled at universities with test scores 300 points lower than their white classmates.  This problem is exacerbated when minorities such as Asian-Americans are accounted for, who consistently score higher than whites, yet only make up 5% percent of the population of universities, roughly equivalent to their population in the United States.

                The inconvenient truth is that lowering the standard for African-American students is de facto discrimination against ethnic groups who score higher on SAT exams, the primary metric outside of GPA for determining college admissions, (note: the average African-American possesses a GPA of 2.47, compared to 2.88 for whites and 3.09 for Asians.)  This discrimination is not only championed by proponents of so-called equality, but sanctioned by the Supreme Court, most notably in the case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, declaring that student body diversity is of state interest, thereby justifying the use of race in university admissions.

                With these statistics in mind, the following line of logic arrives at a conclusion counterproductive and harmful to a successful society.  First, African-Americans attending college have an SAT score 300 points lower and a high school GPA .4 points lower than whites.  If these two metrics are any indication of a student’s academic merit, it follows that this performance would continue throughout their college career.  This logical assumption is proved by statistics from the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, who state that African-Americans graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree are three times more likely than whites to have a GPA under 2.5.  The transition to the job market is also aided by affirmative action programs independent of higher education that are designed to bring African-Americans into the workforce, while being exempt from the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.  This proves troubling, as it is generally the consensus that a student who succeeds in university is more qualified than one who does not.  Therefore, it follows that African-Americans in the workforce are unquestionably worse students, if the correlation between grades and academic prowess is to be accepted, and thus less qualified employees, if the correlation between academic prowess and quality of work is to be accepted.  Continuing with this train of thought, and having accepted that African-Americans entering the workforce are not as qualified, and thus not as capable, as their white or Asian counterparts, the conclusion can be drawn that Affirmative Action is effectively lowering this country’s employment standards by allowing workers of unequal ability the same, or in some cases greater, level of access to employment.

                The ideology behind Affirmative Action is equally irrational, and based increasingly on misdirected emotions which, coupled with a nascent understanding of history and economics, leads policy to be dictated by a vague conception of social justice, an attempt to right previous wrongs.  The first axiom of this ideology is undeniably true: minorities, specifically African-Americans, have endured discrimination at the hands of white oppressors throughout the course of American history.  These practices have left African-Americans in poor economic standing.  However, the new leftist approach to remedy said discrimination is inherently flawed, as it predicates its validity on the view that success is a ‘zero-sum game,’ where one group must lose standing or success in order to allow another group to gain standing or success.  For instance, the prevailing opinion in leftist policy is that companies, bureaucracies, and other institutions should pursue workplace diversity in an attempt to promote equality, inclusive policy, a diversity of voices, and tolerance, as well as assist minorities in achieving social mobility.  Diversity, divorced from any agenda, can strengthen an institution’s ability to function; for example, a police force that reflects its ethnic environment may be more effective at curbing crime due to racial and cultural camaraderie experienced between officer and civilian, while an overwhelmingly white police force may alienate the civilian community.  Yet there is a fundamental flaw with prioritizing diversity: it is almost impossible to hire the most qualified, most capable, or most proficient employees when diversity is placed above merit.  It is logically unfeasible to create a proportionally diverse student body or workforce and simultaneously pursue the hiring and recruitment of the most suitable candidate, as the preceding argument has established, because the standard for African-Americans has been lowered, and thus the majority of potential job candidates and students who are African-American will not have achieved the grades, or possess the qualifications, of their white and Asian competitors.  Here, the ‘zero-sum game’ is created.  By lowering the standards for only specific ethnic groups, the standards are then raised for ethnic groups who do not benefit from such policies.  In other words, the artificial success of African-Americans in universities and the job market comes at the price of the success of other groups.

                An inconsistency in leftist ideology is also evident under proper examination.  As previously stated, a leading justification for Affirmative Action is the elevation of African-Americans from their social class in order to somehow make up for centuries of persecution.  The reasoning is as follows: African-Americans have endured discrimination, racism, and exploitation, and therefore deserve a leg up in contemporary society, in an effort to remedy these past wrongs.  This effectively renders societal success an equation, forcing vague and often discretionary concepts such as oppression and discrimination to be quantified in order to properly allocate the appropriate resources necessary to right these historical wrongs.  These resources, programs, and benefits are funded overwhelmingly by the white majority, and it is whites and Asians who do not benefit from Affirmative Action programs.  Furthermore, the leftist argument holds the entire white population of the United States accountable, despite the fact that the majority of white Americans are descended from post-Slavery immigrants who played no role in the subjugation of blacks.  Not only does the philosophy view entire racial groups as monoliths, a view long condemned in liberal circles, but holds descendants of those who may have or did commit racist actions accountable as well.

                In layman’s terms, Affirmative Action aims to increase the success of one group while practicing de facto discrimination against another.  The illogical and irrational pursuit of financially punishing whites for events entirely outside of their control defies not only liberal egalitarianism, and is in essence hypocritical, but traditional morality as well.  One tyranny need not be substituted for another.


Ailan Evans

New Data Shows a Wide Racial Disparity in the GPAs of College Graduates

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