Affirmative action unnecessary at university level

Story by Katie Thurbon

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Last week, the United States Supreme Court upheld the state of Michigan’s law that prohibits public universities in that state from using affirmative action, also known as positive discrimination, in selecting students.

The decision on the case, Schette v. Bamn, essentially made it legal for a state to pass a law saying that universities cannot use race as a factor in accepting students. This decision has resulted in some outrage among proponents of affirmative action.

Affirmative action was initially created after the Civil Rights movement to give disadvantaged minorities equal access to that of the majority population. While this may have been a necessary step at the time to promote desegregation and equal opportunities, I think it is now time to become truly color blind.

Without a doubt, true equality has still not been reached in the United States, but now the question is whether racial equality can be achieved without legislation promoting it. In a perfect world, legislation would not be necessary, but I think the numbers often show that the world is indeed far from perfect.

At the Baldwin City campus for example, more than 75 percent of the students in 2013 self-identified as white. The next largest distribution is African American or black at just more than 9 percent.

It is apparent that there is an overwhelming majority on campus, but to say that diversity can only be achieved through varying the skin tones is ignorant.

Another category people often identify strongly with and that often breeds different points of view is religion. Yet there is no affirmative action laws favoring a religious minority. Why should there be laws allowing positive discrimination for race?

It is true that many minorities still struggle to obtain the same opportunities that are easily available to the majority. But instead of trying to create legislation that assumes racial minorities will need free passes into universities, we should instead work to create better secondary education systems that will prepare all students equally, regardless of race or any other meaningless characteristic such as gender, sexual orientation or religious affiliation.

Now that I am about to graduate, my perspective has changed from how schools select students to how employers might select employees, and I can only hope that any business I go to work for in the future does not hire employees based on their skin color.

To take words from the wise Martin Luther King Jr., I hope to one day live in not just a nation but a world where people “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”