What is Affirmative Action Achieving?
My best friend through undergraduate school grew up in a stable, upper middle class family. His parents could afford to send him to private schools as a child and to pay his out of state tuition to undergraduate school. Though his parents did not have extensive education themselves, they fostered its value in their children. My friend did not have difficulty in school and was accepted into the undergraduate institution of his choice.
My situation was quite similar. Like my friend, my family was upper middle class, I was accepted into the undergraduate institution of my choice, education was important while growing up, etc. We came to know each other while living on the same hall during freshman year.
However, there was a distinct difference between me and my friend- although both of our fathers were white, his mother was Colombian, while mine was white. As a result, my friend received a wealth of benefits as an undergraduate. These included early registration, special study rooms with free tutors, and organizations with career connections for after college. I received none of these benefits. Outside of the racial background of our mothers, there was little discernable difference in our backgrounds.
This is but one reason why affirmative action has failed. Schools like the University of Michigan claim that “diversity” helps the student body. Yet, they have to admit underqualified individuals in order to maintain acceptable levels of diversity. To counteract the lower qualifications, programs such as the ones my friend was allowed to use are instituted to help the underqualified students along. I believe these programs achieve little. The underqualified students struggle through a program that wasn’t designed for them, while qualified "minorities" like my friend free-load on the benefits. Schools would argue that the diversity outweighs the cost of implementation, but how can I agree when my friend gets every class he wants through early registration and I’m stuck taking the crap that no one else wanted but was still open once the registration times for me came around?