From corporate companies to small town elementary schools, diversity is considered a crucial aspect to any organization. Diversity promotes cultural acceptance and better prepares us to work beyond our own borders. Not to mention, learning about others lifestyles is enjoyable. As a former International Baccalaureate (IB) student, I’ve grown to love cultures that are completely different than my own. However, lately America’s acceptance of diversity has been transformed. Some have even gone as far as calling it a form of discrimination.
Let’s examine the case of a high school graduate who was turned down by the University of Texas at Austin. Abigail Fisher, the graduate, claims that “she was denied because of her race” (New States Man). She believes that other students were granted acceptance because they’re minorities and the school wanted to increase diversity. According to Richard Kahlenberg ”universities [in states in which race-conscious admissions are prohibited] have implemented creative methods of assuring diversity.” In some cases this assurance of diversity seems like thinly veiled discrimination.
However, I don’t think we can label Fisher’s rejection as discrimination just yet. First, we have to take into account other factors that influenced the university’s decision. Grades are the most important factor and Abigail was not in the top ten percent of her class. Also extracurricular activities, community service need to be acknowledged. Although Fisher did participate in math competitions and volunteered at Habitat for Humanity,there is a possibility that Abigail Fisher just wasn’t a right fit for the university.
Hypothetically, let’s say that Fisher was rejected based on race. Is it appropriate to pick students based on race to give minority students a better chance? On one hand, picking students by the color of their skin instead of the content of their character is wrong. However, minorities, particularly African Americans, have been oppressed for far too long and deserve more of a chance at an education than they have been granted in the past. Simply, we need a way to encourage diversity, while eschewing discrimination.
Personally, I believe we can achieve both these goals. First, we need to realize that this problem is based primarily on economic status. Financially stressed families, whether they are minorities or not, need to be aware of the financial aid available to them. If students can expect aid from the government, then they are more likely to do well in school and consider college. In spite of my belief that universities should look beyond race when accepting students, I think scholarships for minorities should remain. This is because white students received about 76% of merit based scholarships in 2011.(Kantrowitz 2011) By providing more private scholarships for minorities we will be able to encourage diversity in colleges. Additionally, schools can promote diversity by establishing more study abroad exchange trips and requiring students to take a foreign language. We can have the benefits of diversity and eliminate discrimination from our system.
COMMENT BELOW PLEASE