TED Conversations

Jordan Stella


This conversation is closed.

Should the U.S. continue to employ Affirmative Action, or should private schools be allowed to discriminate?

Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination. (Wikipedia definition). In the U.S., these policies have led to an increasingly difficult situation for students applying to college; both types of universities (public and private) are being subjected to these outlandish policies which, in my opinion, represent the government overstepping its boundaries.

By definition, a private university is PRIVATE; it exists thanks to the donations of private investors, not thanks to government grants. These types of schools should not be subject to the same principles as public schools, since they are not government-run. Just like every individual is born with certain inalienable rights, so to are corporations or groups formed inside a free society. A private group should be able to discriminate if it so chooses.

Further, affirmative action attempts to make up for past wrongs by committing the same deed. By giving favor to minorities, one is still separating them from the rest of the population, and ultimately is discriminating against those not of the minority groups. Some people call this positive discrimination, but in my book discrimination is discrimination and should be stopped.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Aug 12 2011: I do not know if people have mentioned this, but in order to have a clear stance on the issue one must first look at the foundation that causes these problems. Often students of color come from under-served communities, for example the Los Angeles Unified school district has had massive budget cuts which have done a great deal of damage to the quality of education students receive, therefore they go on ill-prepared for college. These under-served communities have families which live in poverty stricken communities, therefore the students must go on and get jobs during their high school years which drastically affects their performance in high school. How can a student build up a competitive profile for college when this student is often trying to find a way to help his family earn money for rent or other expenses? The struggling student has to be given some kind of break, because that person was not born into a middle class or elite class family that did not need help paying bills, therefore granting him all the time in the world to focus on his studies and create a competitive profile. The reason I focus on students of color is because the majority of these students live in under-served communities.
    • thumb
      Aug 12 2011: Alternatively, we can allow nature to take its course. We do not need to provide for everyone. Everyone has the right to live their life; the government should not be obligated to help some and not help others. We could always let those in underprivileged areas not go to college, and they could go on the become working citizens. Blue collar, but still working.

      I'm playing devil's advocate here.
      • Aug 12 2011: Let nature take its course? Oh please. Social Darwinism is dead and buried thank god. Maybe nature should take its course weed out the "bad seed" huh? Devil's advocate or not, how about you being "blue collar" and allowing someone the privilege then of being educated. That would be nice. People deserve help. Yes, I came from a blue collar background, yes, I struggled and was able to obtain much more. Society is not about nature taking its course, but looking out "for the common welfare". Remember, that phrase is in the Constitution also.
        • thumb
          Aug 12 2011: Social Darwinism is dead? Since when?

          I was not implying that anyone should be "weeded out", I was just saying that the government should not decide who to help and who not to help. Ok, so you want to help underprivileged children, that's fine, but the government should not be the ones funding it.

          Who gets to decide who is underprivileged? At least the colleges I applied to had financial aid brackets set in so if your combined family income is less than $65,000 then you pay nothing for college, since you are underprivileged. How is it fair to just say anyone below that is free, above it you have to pay? I don't believe anyone has the right to label people as underprivileged, privileged, in need, or not in need.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.