Students Who start in the ‘Dug-Out’ Need Affirmative Action
I am not one of those to brag about my SAT scores. Not because I’m humble rather because my SAT scores were modest at best. I despised the SAT, it had the ability to make me feel well…dumb. I did get into college and I am sure from my SAT scores that Affirmative Action probably had something to do with it. Granted I did have plenty of extracurricular activities, good grades and recommendations but I know that I did not meet the required score for entrance. Do I feel some kind of way about the fact that the college I was accepted into may have considered my race? Not really. In ninth grade my neighborhood was rezoned for a different high school. The high school that I was supposed to attend had many students who, like myself, came from families with first generation (or even no generation) college graduates, parents with cars that were only for work and whose home was a starter and the ender. Imagine my shock when I went to high school and found students driving BMW’s and Mercedes Benz’s to school and taking trips with their family to Mexico and Hawaii for spring break. Then, I was convinced that these kids’ high SAT scores were a product of their great intelligence. Now I know that their SAT scores were more about their parents’ education and money, which means that if reaching college is like making it to home plate, these kids were starting on third base. This week the Supreme Court ruled that a Michigan ballot initiative to ban racial preferences in college admissions is constitutional. Justice Kennedy, who wrote the majority decision, argued that this case was less about Affirmative Action itself and more about whether or not voters had the right to decide if colleges should base admissions on race. Regardless of what some of the Justices claimed, the case brought up old wounds about whether or not we still need affirmative action. While some worry that Affirmative Action for college admissions will only serve to create ‘reverse discrimination (whatever that may be) Affirmative Actions is really a means to provide a level playing field. When college admissions make race-conscious decisions they take into consideration that most students of color start out educationally in the dug-out, without access to parents that can provide expensive SAT tutors and summer camps that allow students to earn college credit and gain experience in their intended majors. If Affirmative Action is argued away (which I believe will eventually happen), as long as we have some people who start out educationally on ‘third base’, those who grow up in ‘the dugout’ will always need some type of affirmative action - otherwise known as some good old fashioned help.