Race dictates nothing; socioeconomic status matters more

Daphne Yu

Art by Kelly Brucks.

Colleges use affirmative action to diversify campuses. The Supreme Court decided to uphold affirmative action in 2003 because colleges favor “underrepresented minority groups” in admissions. However, affirmative action inhibits overrepresented minorities and has no basis.

The question of affirmative action has returned to the Supreme Court, and proceedings will begin in October. Students of all races should rally for the Supreme Court to eliminate affirmative action.

The idea of affirmative action is that students of certain races are disadvantaged in college admissions. While this may have once been true, it no longer is. Instead, socioeconomic factors have a greater correlation with success. From birth to 18, a middle-income, two-parent family will spend $226,920 raising a child, excluding college, according to Money CNN. Children from low-income households will not have access to the same money pool for books or enrichment programs their middle-class peers will have.

According to the study “The Influence of Wealth and Race in Four-Year College Attendance” by the University of California-Berkeley, four-year college attendance rates by wealth among blacks, whites and Asians were almost identical. In the lowest wealth deciles, all the races and ethnic groups went to college at similar rates. These individuals, the ones with the fewest opportunities, are the ones in question.

If any factor beyond academic achievement or overall well-roundedness should be considered in college admissions, it should be socioeconomic status, not race.

Ending discrimination is a battle worth fighting, but the question of affirmative action is back at the Supreme Court because a white student in Texas was disappointed by admissions results, blaming the decision on affirmative action. This sort of festering resentment exacerbates discrimination. Instead of colleges accounting for race, they should consider socioeconomic factors, unquestionable hindrances in the admissions process determined by something less arbitrary than the race or creed a person is born into.

Not only will underrepresented minorities accepted by colleges face this stigma, regardless of how well-prepared they are for college, those who have fewer achievements than their classmates and who got admitted primarily because of race will not succeed.

Affirmative action is essentially discriminating against overrepresented minorities, individuals who might have exceeded all the college’s standards but had the misfortune of being born to parents of the wrong ethnicity.

Diversity is important. Going to a college where people can bring unique experiences is important. But diversity isn’t skin-deep. As soon as people begin to accept that diversity is in thought and experience rather than a person’s genes, discrimination will end.

Affirmative action has no statistical basis, and it discriminates despite trying not to. This makes it vital to eliminate affirmative action and follow the case carefully to avoid a repeat of the mistake the Court made in 2003, by allowing affirmative action in college admissions.
By The ROCK