Affirmative action is back in the news, and so is the debate over whether universities should consider an applicant’s race when deciding who gets in. Harvard is being sued for that very reason--the plaintiffs essentially argue that Harvard’s affirmative action policies discriminate against Asian Americans in an effort to limit their numbers in order to ensure a racial diverse campus.
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What is affirmative action?
When it comes to colleges and universities, “affirmative action” refers to policies where race and sex are considered in the application process. They’re not the only things colleges look at; they’re still looking at your grades, SAT scores, extracurricular activities, but they also take into account your race and gender in an effort to help ensure women and minorities are getting equal access to higher education.
What are the main arguments for affirmative action?
Many people in favor of affirmative action say that because of historical and institutional sexism and racism, it is necessary to make sure that women and minorities with good academic standing receive equal access to college. Another argument in favor of affirmative action is that racially diverse campuses and universities benefit all students. They are places where you learn to interact with and respect people who are different from you, skills that are essential to living and working in a diverse world.