essay3_1 - 1 Professor Hamilton ENG109H-012 21 November...

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1 Professor Hamilton ENG109H-012 21 November 2005 Disclaiming Affirmative Action America is, by most accounts, a very diverse country, home to people of all races, religions, and nationalities. It is in the presence of this diversity that equality comes into question. Even when America was mostly white, economic diversity existed, and those with less money were certainly not “equal” with the rich. Economic diversity continues to exist today, and America in the past hundred years has added a large amount of racial diversity into the mix as well. Even with conflict that arises from a lack of complete equality, a certain quality of diversity is beneficial to all people, and worth maintaining. In places of higher education like colleges and universities, affirmative action policies seek to reinforce this concept of pursuing diversity to the benefit of students and staff. Starting from their first introduction, affirmative action policies have been questioned both in their effectiveness and constitutionality. It is impossible to deny that debate over affirmative action exists. For example, two 2003 Supreme Court cases ended in contrastive decisions - Gratz v. Bollinger, which found point systems that give bonuses based on race in undergraduate admissions to be unconstitutional, and Grutter v. Bollinger , which supports affirmative action when its use of race as a factor in admissions is “narrowly tailored” to “further the compelling interest of diversity” ( Grutter ). And then there is the deceptively simple and often insufficient question - does affirmative action really encourage diversity and “equality” if some people get benefits while others don't? Because an understanding of the world and people around us can allow us to open our eyes, be more tolerant and accepting of cultural differences, and reach a higher level of equality through
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2 mutual understanding and shared experience, diversity in higher education is meaningful and valuable to students and faculty alike. The use of affirmative action policies in college admissions is neither the only nor the best method of obtaining diversity because race and ethnicity are not the reasons why minorities fail to meet admissions standards. Diversity is important and beneficial to both students and faculty of institutions of higher learning, and is therefore worth trying to maintain. As Daryl Smith reminds in his book The Challenge of Diversity , “the founding values of this country were based on shared values about diversity” (31). Even though some individuals are not as open to the “melting-pot” concept of America as others, evident by the existence of racism, the country as a whole has a history of welcoming people of all races and nationalities. This stems from the provision of opportunity for the current population as well as for the immigrant; the latter finding work, family, or a way to start fresh, the former being enriched by the addition of new aspects of culture. In the context of
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