Affirmative Action: The Reason Behind Its Success
Over the past two decades, Affirmative Action has played a crucial role in addressing systemic inequalities and fostering social change, particularly for marginalized groups and people of color. Nevertheless, the recent bold affirmative action ruling by the Supreme Court, effectively putting an end to race-conscious decisions, begs the question “what role does affirmative action play in our everyday lives?”
Affirmative action has allowed for positive change and has changed the outlook in the way we have viewed the world. It has allowed for the building of diverse experiences and viewpoints and has caused people of all backgrounds to forge connections. Affirmative action has continued to promote diversity and create equal opportunity for marginalized groups and people of color. As we further explore the elements in favor of affirmative action we can begin to understand how this policy can affect future generations and the society in which we live.
Diverse perspectives can enhance critical thinking and cultural competence
Through affirmative action comes the building of diverse experiences. As various ethnicities and races enter the adult world they are able to bring new experiences and perspectives to the workforce. Because of their background and level of cultural competence they are able to enforce these practices in the working world and their everyday life, enforcing greater cultural awareness in their colleagues and peers. When implemented effectively, affirmative action can expose people to different cultural and ethnic backgrounds promoting empathy, understanding, and respect for different cultures.
The study, Diversity and higher education: Theory and impact on educational outcomes by Gurin, Dey, E.L. & Hurtado (2002) published in the Harvard Educational Review further showcases how affirmative action can foster intercultural interactions.The study also reveals how diversity on college campuses is positively associated with students’ levels of cultural awareness as well as their ability to interact with people of different backgrounds. Thus revealing the impact affirmative action has in our society.
Forging connections can build relationships with people in power
Through college and the workforce we come in contact with people from all over the world. Whether it be from Phoenix or Portugal, many of us have the opportunity to interact and build relationships with people in power. Affirmative action helps to forge these relations as it gives marginalized groups the opportunities to come in contact with people from various backgrounds.
When thinking about ‘people in power’ our minds often wonder to the Jeff Bazos and Elon Musk’s of the world, but what if it didn’t. What if we learned to build connections with team leaders, investors, managers, supervisors and HR Directors instead. Through affirmative action we have seen how a diverse environment can not only foster a sense of belonging, but it can also bring a range of experiences,problem-solving , and creativity in the workforce.
Equal Opportunities for all people
Affirmative action has allowed generations of marginalized groups to thrive in a world not designed for them. It has allowed for equal opportunities of all races and ethnicities no matter your background or societal standing. With the help of Affirmative Action people of color have been able to look towards a more progressive future and been granted the same chance as their counterparts. With the recent termination of affirmative action we continue to ask the question “are we still granted equal opportunity for all people?”
When looking deeply into affirmative action we have seen how this policy focuses on addressing historical inequalities and underrepresentation of certain groups in educational and employment opportunities. In the study Affirming Affirmative Action; Research from Bok ( president of Harvard University from 1971 to 1991) and Bowen ( president of Princeton University from 1972 to 1988), found that affirmative action in college admissions has led to increased representation of underrepresented groups in higher education. Through affirmative action colleges and universities can create a more diverse student body and offer equal opportunities to applicants from diverse backgrounds.
For most of our lives we have looked at affirmative action as a necessary tool in order to progress in the workforce and further our education. It has proved as a valuable resource in our everyday lives and has helped to create equal opportunity for all people. However, critics argue that there is more to the story. Opponents claim that affirmative action is still considered discriminatory even if it helps to benefit marginalized groups. As a result, many ‘deserved individuals’ are becoming overlooked and neglected in the college decision process.
In the eyes of many others, affirmative action has become an imperative tool as it allows low income students of all races to become candidates of admission and equal opportunity in the workforce. With the help of affirmative action we can learn to create a more inclusive and diverse environment for marginalized groups to learn and grow.