Con: Race-based affirmative action prompts injustice and inequity

On average Asian-Americans that apply to elite colleges must score 140 points more than a white applicant, 270 points more than a Hispanic applicant, and 450 points more than an African-American applicant on the School Aptitude Test (SAT), according to a study published by Princeton University Press

In 2003 through Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court legalized race-based affirmative action for institutions of higher education to use race as an admissions factor. Recently, the Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) challenged Harvard University and the University of North Carolina to overrule the court case from nearly twenty years ago. Race-based affirmative action should be eliminated due to its injustice toward Asian-Americans and inequities based on race.

 Affirmative action may increase representation from some minority groups like Latinos and African-Americans, but the policy discriminates against Asian-American and Pacific Islander applicants. The SFFA alleged, “Harvard penalizes [Asian-Americans] because, according to its admissions office, they lack leadership and confidence and are less likable and kind.” Statistics show that Asian-Americans are discriminated against under these negative stereotypes. A white student could score 23 on the American College Test (ACT) and get accepted, while an Asian-American student would need to score 27, according to The Heritage Foundation. Regardless of who has a higher academic performance, prestigious universities place too heavy of an emphasis on diversifying their campus that they go to the extent of discrimination.

 Race-based affirmative action has placed Asian-Americans at a disadvantage because of their ethnicity, violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race under programs that are federally funded, according to the Library of Congress. Public schools and multiple private educational institutions are financially supported by the government, meaning that they have to follow through with the Civil Rights Act. For example, Ivy League schools are exempt from paying taxes because they are nonprofit, according to Forbes. They’ve also initiated programs that are funded through taxpayer money. Since schools receive benefits from the government, Title VI applies to them. Race-based affirmative action cannot stand when it contravenes an important civil rights law. 

Schools implement race-based affirmative action because they claim that it increases diversity on campus. Yet, multiple colleges and universities who have already banned the policy have seen an increase of minorities, because they have seeked different factors to welcome them. According to Berkeley News, the University of California Berkeley -which does not have an affirmative action policy due to California law- have been admitting California Dream Act filers, first-generation college students, and applicants who struggle socioeconomically in order to diversify incoming classes. Berkeley’s class of 2021 was the most ethnically diverse in over 30 years and still managed to focus on academic success having a high average GPA score of 3.91. It is a matter of considering alternatives to race-based affirmative action, which can create a diverse environment in schools and keep up academic standards at the same time. 

The significant factors in college admissions should be academic success and extracurriculars because students put a lot of effort and time into creating an impressive resume. However, race-based affirmative action contradicts that by allowing unfair admissions and placing Asian Americans at a disadvantage. Admissions based on race should be abolished in order for qualified applicants to get accepted into their dream school and achieve their lifetime goals, regardless of their racial background.






“I think that race shouldn’t be a factor into getting into schools, or applying for jobs. It’s genuinely unfair to minorities to have their race and gender be a consideration of the opportunities they receive.”

Rojein Mahmoudi, sophomore