Figures 2 and 3 reveal that although on average, Blacks are admitted with lower SAT scores than whites, Blacks are as capable as those whites who have higher test scores, and furthermore, Blacks often excel and surpass their own expectations when faced with the challenge of overcoming the rigors of college life. As a result, upon collectively analyzing Figures 1, 2, and 3, it is clear that SAT scores are rarely a legitimate predictor for an individual’s performance in college; instead, other factors must be looked at, in conjunction with SAT scores, to more accurately predict an individual’s success in college. Figure 3 disproves Steele’s idea that diversity provides a false appearance of educational parity between Black and white students. Although, parity is not fully achieved, the gap is narrow at selective institutions and only 18% nationally.
Although Connerly and Steele have some valid points in their arguments against Affirmative Action, there are a myriad of points which made us reconsider the validity of Affirmative Action in college admissions: Connerly and Steele’s implied assumption that a majority of Blacks benefiting from Affirmative Action are not as prepared as whites for the rigors of college, and Connerly’s opinion that college admissions should completely ignore race. The negative stereotypes about Affirmative Action, which include its broad definition and its lack of uniform application throughout the various colleges in the United States, indicate that there is a need for a redefinition of Affirmative Action. If Affirmative Action cannot be redefined, then another system, which has more defined goals and procedures, and better insures the educational equality between whites and minorities, should be implemented. Perhaps an administration system similar to that of Cornell and Stanford, where race is only as important as a student’s athletic ability, which is considered along side a multitude of other factors, when reviewing a prospective student’s application.
The assumption that minorities, particularly Blacks, are not adequately prepared for college and are consequently undeserving of the same college opportunities as whites illustrates a need for our nation to further discuss, and define, race issues. Although the evidence demonstrating Black’s competence and comparable ability with whites exists, stereotypes, which suggest that Blacks are only able to gain admission to colleges through the use of Affirmative Action, remain prevalent on college campuses and throughout the general United States population. A study conducted by Daniel Solorzano from the University of California at Los Angeles, Miguel Ceja from the University of California at Davis, and Tara Yosso from the University of California at Santa Barbara provides examples of these negative stereotypes. A Black female’s experience revealed that “[m]ost of my experience in regards to racism have come from students… Like, a couple of our class discussions were about the whole Proposition 209 issue and affirmative action, and [the White] students really thought that the only reason Black students were getting into these universities was because of affirmative action. A lot of them could not fathom that we earned our way here” (67). As Black students, we can relate to her experience because we have gone through similar situations in our lives. Even at Stanford, we sometimes feel that we have to work twice as hard as other students to prove our worth. Experiences like these, in which Blacks feel as if they are constantly being looked upon as Affirmative Action admits, whether accurate or not, shows that there are misconceptions on both sides of the issue that need to be corrected, and the only effective way to correct these misconceptions is to sit down and engage in an open dialogue.
Ward Connerly’s idea of ignoring one’s race and focusing on the “individuals and their individual humanity, we are creating equal, and thereby inviting those principles present since the American founding to come inside our contemporary American home” (Connerly 24) is flawed to some extent. He feels that race does not accurately define an individual, “predict the fears you will have to face, the obstacles you will have to overcome, and the strengths you will discover along your journey” (Connerly 24). Although Connerly’s ideas are noble, they ignore the reality of the world in which we live. For a majority of people, their race and ethnicity makes up a large part of the light in which they see themselves. Without their culture, the character and personality would be different in a variety of ways. John Ladd agrees that race is an important part of an individual. Research suggests that social “groups only become distinguished and identified, say as races, in contrast to another group, say the majority, who regard themselves as raceless […] it should be obvious that racial identification is a crucial aspect of an individual’s being a member of a race, or, as the case may be, of several races. Therefore, to deny racial identification to an individual is either to deny the existence of that individual’s race or to declare it morally insignificant or morally reprehensible” (Ladd 218). The colorblind approach to college admissions that Connerly proposes, is flawed because in addition to asking one to forget that they are Black, Latino, or any other race, and ignoring a large part of their identity, Connerly’s approach avoids addressing the underlying racial issues in our country. Using a colorblind approach to college admissions not only reduces the chances of increasing diversity in colleges and accumulating the knowledge gained from interactions between people of different races, but it also prevents people from engaging in dialogues that may help to ultimately destroy several unjustified biases. Since college is a period where people grow and change their ways of thinking, it is also an excellent time for people to engage in racial dialogues and attempt to solve the racial dilemma in our country. Although racism has always been, and may even continue to be an underlying problem in American society, people can help to gradually eliminate racism by using casual conversations to better understand other people’s opinions, races, and most importantly, culture.
To conclude, although the African-American struggle for educational, political, and economic equality is not entirely complete, the overall status of Blacks in America seems to be increasing with time, and thus, there continues to be hope for Black progression in America. Prior to and during the Civil Right, most whites discriminated against African-Americans and deprived Blacks of educational and professional opportunities equal to those of whites. Throughout the many years, however, prominent African-American leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, enhanced the ideas of Black Nationalism and education, through the implementation of Affirmative Action, which opened a myriad of doors for Black advancement in America. Before conducting this research, we expected to discover that since the Civil Rights Movement, there has been a degeneration of Black Nationalism and Black education in America. We expected to discover a decay of Black Nationalism subsequent to the Civil Rights Movement because there are fewer outspoken Black Nationalist within today's African-American community. Our research, however, shows that although several African-Americans were avid Black Nationalist prior to and during the Civil Rights Movement, currently, more African-Americans consider themselves Black Nationalist in modern-day America than prior to, and during, the sixties.
Additionally, we expected to discover a decline in African-American education, because in modern-day America, most multimedia products portray African-Americans as lower-class citizens or criminals, who possess a poor education, and in addition to these details, the implementation of Affirmative Action has not greatly benefited the Black community over the past decade. Often times, African-Americans allow multimedia products and stereotypes, such as these, to define them. Thus, many Blacks consider themselves lower-class citizens, who have no chance of becoming influential members of society. Based on these observations, we expected to discover a decline in the success of Black education. Reports show, however, that there are greater percentages of African-Americans in secondary school and college in today's society than there were during the sixties, and with a few revisions to today’s Affirmative Action plan, Blacks should continue to enroll in college and become successful and productive members of American society. Americans, however, must continue to revise, and not eradicate, Affirmative Action in order for all minorities, more specifically Blacks, to have the opportunity to advance in American society. Moreover, reviews show that the tests scores and achievement rates of African-Americans in secondary schools are steadily increasing in many large cities throughout the United States. Evidently, aside from helping the Blacks gain equal rights in America, the Civil Rights activists, more specifically Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X, helped instill ideas of Black Nationalism and Black progression into the African-American populace, which continue to flourish in today's Black community. African-Americans, however, must not become content with their place in society, for the status of Blacks in America remains unequal to that of whites. Instead, Blacks should use the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and other African-American leaders to help Blacks better the conditions of themselves, their children, and the entire nation.
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