KRAVITZ’S KORNER | The Casual Stereotyping of Affirmative Action

One of the most frequently cited arguments in favor of affirmative action practices at universities is that they help those with societal disadvantages succeed. Yet, by propagating stereotypes about the relative achievement of certain classes of individuals, affirmative action policies have perpetuated discrimination on the basis of race. Affirmative action assumes that groups such as African Americans and Hispanic Americans are uniformly underprivileged and that all other groups are uniformly privileged. In order to correct for these differences in background, affirmative action makes it easier for African Americans and Hispanic Americans to gain admission and, since college admission is a zero sum game, more difficult for all other groups to gain admission. A big problem with this system is that not all African Americans and Hispanic Americans are poor and underserved, and not all other groups—such as Asian American and white American—are privileged.