September 22, 2023 at 4:00:00 PM
Adwoa Sankah '26
I strongly believe Affirmative Action is necessary, and it creates benefits for our society. To further explain, Affirmative Action is a government-organized policy which encourages and equalizes access to college opportunities for racial minorities, women, and other underrepresented groups. To fully appreciate the importance of affirmative action it's crucial to understand the historical context. Throughout a significant part of American history, highly-ranked colleges and the jobs they unlocked were effectively reserved for wealthy, predominantly white men. Affirmative Action confronts the deep-rooted racism and discrimination that historically made it difficult for marginalized groups to excel in higher education and professional spheres. With this policy, schools were less likely to prevent qualified students from attending their school because of their sex, race, ethnicity, and more.
By enhancing academics and workplaces, affirmative action provides a more inclusive community. In an academic setting, studies have shown that having more diverse classrooms increases creativity by giving rise to new and unique ideas. Interacting with people from different backgrounds improves students' social skills and empathy: learning to relate to others, resolve conflicts, and work effectively in diverse teams. These skills are beneficial both inside and outside the classroom.
In my opinion, Affirmative Action does not disadvantage white and Asian applicants. Instead, individuals are considered alongside their peers, meaning they must meet the same criteria and qualifications as everyone else. The policies are in place to address existing inequalities and systemic barriers, not to target or disadvantage white individuals.
Affirmative Action also yields economic benefits. Giving individuals from marginalized backgrounds better access to higher education and better-paying jobs, they are more likely to achieve higher incomes and improve their economic circumstances. When historically marginalized groups have greater access to education and employment, they also have buying power. This leads to the increase of new market opportunities for businesses to supply to a more diverse consumer base than without this policy.
To conclude, affirmative action is a step in the right direction to level the playing field for underrepresented groups. Originating from a historical era when racial minorities and women were systematically denied access to opportunities enjoyed by others, its active stance against bias and prejudice results in a more equitable educational environment and workplace. Affirmative action also fosters diversity, stimulates creativity, and enriches the collective intellectual capacity of society.