In a few months, the use of affirmative action in undergraduate college admissions may become a thing of the past. At least, that’s a possible outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court case Fisher v. University of Texas. Abigail Fisher, a white student, claims that she was denied admissions to the University of Texas, which uses a race-conscious admission practice, solely because of her race.
The use of affirmative action in college admissions results in a number of well-known and often misunderstood outcomes, including the increase of diversity on campus. Equally qualified members of minority groups, who may seem less competitive as a result of socioeconomic status, are given a better opportunity to receive a college education.
Some opposed to affirmative action argue that colleges have enough diversity already. However, when looking at schools, including the University, it becomes evident that diversity will dissipate along with affirmative action. The only way to ensure the maintenance of a diverse college community today is by keeping affirmative action in place.
Affirmative action is greatly useful to minority groups, but these students aren’t the only ones who benefit from the policy. According to the National Center for Institutional Diversity, students who interact with people of different races are far more prepared to enter the global workforce. While the communities that we hail from may not be diverse, the professional world is. Diversity fosters creativity, and students need to be prepared for an increasingly diverse workforce, both here and abroad.
Fisher believes that colleges should be colorblind in deciding whom to admit. However, Fisher and those who support her are forgetting one thing: Our world is not colorblind. Race still plays a major role throughout our lives today, and ignoring it now is ignoring the true issue at hand. We have not yet achieved full equality for everyone. Our laws today have done all they can do to ensure equal opportunities, but we are not yet there. The path to equality begins with affirmative action.
I use the word “begin” because just increasing the amount of diversity on campus does not by any means ensure the creation of mutual understanding and respect. Rather, it’s in our hands as current students and future leaders to create equality.
Affirmative action is the starting point, but the only way to break down the barriers and build a true community is through the utilization of intergroup dialogues on campus. In my hometown, I created an interfaith organization called Face to Faith, after realizing that we were letting the differences on the outside prevent us from seeing how similar we all really are on the inside.
When we participate in programs like Face to Faith and take the time to get to know those who seem different than ourselves, we begin to realize just how alike we all are. The differences that we once thought were so clear, the stereotypes that we believed to be true begin to disappear. The realization that we are all more similar than we are different is something that we will carry with us outside the boundaries of our college campuses. It will be with us in everything that we do, and it is the only way that we can truly create a full equality in our society.
We did not create this injustice, but we have the power to solve it. However, if the Supreme Court sides with Fisher, our hopes of achieving equality in the near future may be lost along with affirmative action.
Josh Morof is an LSA freshman.