The Ineffectiveness of Affirmative Action in Establishing Diversity

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The Ineffectiveness of Affirmative Action in Establishing Diversity People generally agree that diversity is beneficial to college campuses. In 1978, in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the Supreme Court decided that race could be used as a factor in deciding college admissions - setting a precedent for the use of affirmative action (Lane A1). Justice Lewis Powell, who belonged to the majority opinion, cited diversity as the primary reason behind his decision. He acknowledged that there are "educational benefits that flow from an ethnically diverse student body" and that "few students...would choose to study in an academic vacuum, removed from the interplay of ideas and the exchange of views" (qtd. in Drehle A11).…show more content…
"In principle, everybody is in favor of diversity and against discrimination" (Drehle A11). Everyone agrees that diversity is a good goal, but not everyone agrees on how this diversity should be achieved, especially since diversity encompasses so many different aspects. In 1996, judges in the 5th Circuit case Hopwood v. Texas ruled against the University of Texas law school's affirmative action program, saying that diversity should encompass more characteristics than just race (Robison 37). Bakke's decision had applied only to matters of race, but if the goal of affirmative action is to increase diversity, why should other characteristics be ignored? Is a black student with no talent or skill more diverse than a prodigy who plays cello, a whiz kid who understands chaos theory, or a starved child who forms his own hunger organization? Affirmative action may lead to racial diversity in universities, but racially diverse students are not necessarily students of diverse experiences. Furthermore, contrary to what opponents argue, diversity on college campuses (as it is created through affirmative action) does not necessarily improve racial intolerance. A survey conducted on the attitudes of students and faculty members toward discrimination found that racial tensions were aggravated on campuses with more diverse student bodies. Stanley Rothman,

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