Editorial: Race-conscious admissions maintain diversity in college

by Editorial Board

Two weeks ago, Judge Allison Burroughs ruled that Harvard University’s use of race in the college admissions process is legal and not discriminatory against Asian Americans as was alleged by the group Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) in 2014.  In short, the court upheld affirmative action, the legal policy that colleges may incorporate applicants’ racial background into admissions decisions in order to counteract the effects of racially-based educational opportunity differences. 

Race-conscious thinking is often misidentified as a “racist system” that foils a meritocratic system’s success. However, this argument fails to account for the fact that the educational system of the country is not a fair meritocracy; because of enduring systemic racial biases, people simply do not have equal opportunities. In reality, race-conscious thinking, such as currently instituted in some universities, includes race as one of many factors and allows the formation of a diverse student body, which creates a better social and academic learning environment for all students. 

Everyone is undeniably affected by their race whether through implicit biases in their interactions with others or systemic biases and discrimination, so a college admissions process that lacks the ability to include race in its view of applicants is not holistic, fair or effective in creating a racially diverse student body. This case has set minorities against each other seeking an end to a race-influenced educational system, an end that would hurt minorities as a whole and only serve to alienate them from higher education. 

This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on October 17, 2019.