I Didn’t Get In Because I’m White?!?!
In 1997, The University of Michigan had a lawsuit filed against her. The reason was because of the use of ethnicity in determining admissions to the university, called affirmative action. U of M prides itself on the diversity of its student body, so much so that it may have given a slight advantage to minorities when deciding who could be a part of “The Leaders and the Best.” Before I go further, I want to point out that I am all for diversity and I think it is amazing that I can sit in the Union and hear 12 different languages (or something like that). Human history has typically not been as accommodating to minorities and, although we do not see full equality, we are getting closer every day. Mill would point out that there is tremendous value in listening to different viewpoints and ideas from different cultures so that we can be enlightened and understand why we believe the things that we do. What I am not so sure about is the fairness the university’s admission process. Using a point system that starts minorities ahead of the pack before any other qualifications are considered doesn’t sit well with me. Now I know that U of M would not admit an unqualified minority just because they were a minority, just as they would not admit an unqualified non-minority, but is it fair to give them a head start? This is similar to an ongoing observation of job salaries and how minorities with the same qualifications are being paid less, on average, than non-minorities. I think most people will agree that this is not acceptable. What is the difference, however, between this and U of M’s admission system? Is it not discriminating prospective students based on their ethnicity, even if all of the other qualifications are the same?
This makes me feel like a minority even though I have not thought of myself as one before. From a Mill-ian standpoint, I guess that this can enlighten me and other non-minorities in the sense that we can feel just some of the discrimination that fellow Americans that are minorities have felt in the past. I wonder if MLK would have thought that it would be slightly advantageous to be a minority in the future, at least when it comes to pro-affirmative action universities? Is this the equality that civil rights leaders were looking for or is this just further pointing out ethnic differences? Before you read on to discover the results of the lawsuits, please vote on the following poll.
In the end, the Supreme Court ruled that ethnicity could be used as a factor in determining admission status. Law School Dean Jeffery Lehman said, “The question is no longer whether affirmative action is legal; it is how to hasten the day when affirmative action is no longer needed.”  If this were true that we only have affirmative action to ensure enough minorities get to college, why do we need affirmative action to be legal if the people granting admissions are aware that they want a diverse student body and consider themselves fair? In short, why do we need affirmative action if the person deciding whether or not to let you in is unbiased? Is this really equality? Through our knowledge of political theory, what would our political theorist friends say about this?