Affirmative action prevents access to equal opportunities, treatment; should be abolished

Illustration by Parker Wilhelm

Affirmative action is an affront to our American values. Opportunity, hard work and ambition are under siege when affirmative action is allowed. The policy of affirmative action, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, is for “redressing the injustices caused by our nation’s historic discrimination against people of color and women” and “leveling what has long been an uneven playing field.”

When shall I be forgiven for the sins of my great grandfather? It is time that we stepped into the 21st century and allowed the past to pass. We should come together as a society, stop fighting over our race and embrace what we have in common with one another.

Affirmative action does not create diversity in the workforce or in education. The problem is that the idea of diversity is flawed. How would you define diversity? Does it have a Jewish nose? Does it speak a different language? Race does mean diversity, especially when admissions applications require students to check a box.

There are subcultures within American society that have a high correspondence to race, but that does not mean that every minority is a member of that culture. To say so would stereotype them. People are more aptly labeled based on where they were raised, their economic status or their like of Justin Bieber rather than their race. How then, I ask you, could affirmative action ever impact diversity?

I lived in a country where, as a Caucasian, I was a minority. However, I will never receive any benefits for the diversity and knowledge I bring to the workplace because of affirmative action. A friend of mine told me that he doesn’t believe in affirmative action, nor do his parents, because he doesn’t want to receive something just for being Hispanic.

Affirmative action gives preference to those who would otherwise not have been admitted or hired. Only minorities who outperform their majority counterparts should receive their spot — earned because of their performance.

The U.S. Supreme Court should rule against affirmative action in the upcoming months. This last fall they heard the case Fisher vs. University of Texas, in which a white student who was not admitted sued the university for considering race in its admissions process. The process at UT allows the top 10 percent of students at each high school in Texas automatic admission into the school. The rest of the incoming class is then selected based on consideration of a number of factors, including skills, community service and race.

In Texas, many school districts and zones are separated into areas that correspond with race, already creating diversity in the 10 percent. Many are expecting to hear a decision against affirmative action soon, although an April 2012 New York Times article by Richard Pérez-Peña claims that colleges have a number of strategies to get around such a ruling.

K-State itself pays money to access and be featured on a database strictly for the purpose of hiring more minority faculty members. While I do not fault the university for the stigma that has labeled Kansas an undesirable place to live, that does not mean that we should pay to search for minority candidates.

K-State is a great place to work, and for the sake of students and alumni, we should consider the most qualified candidates, not those who need to be looked at with consideration given to their race.

Affirmative action is unable to create diversity. It dampens opportunities for those who are driven and continues to create differences between races. It is time we put it behind us and treat everyone equally.

Chris Powell is a senior in journalism and advertising. Please send comments to