Racism is an issue that occurs everywhere regardless if it is at work or in school. It scars the cultural, economic, and political life of an individual whether acts of racism are done subtly or not. In many ways, racial and ethnic discrimination blur the lines of what are accepted and unaccepted norms and behaviors in society. People who have issues about other people’s races or ethnicity usually use violence and verbal abuse to show superiority and make others feel inferior. In schools and universities, one of the issues that confront America now is whether or not to accept students applying for continuing education who belong to another race or ethnicity. Racism in universities must stop if universities want to have a diverse product of students who are equipped to handle life situations after graduation.
There is an apparent division on this issue because one side says admission requirements should be based on academic merit and qualifications and not on racial conditions. This belief is brought about by the idea that everybody must be given equal chances at higher education, instead of making it available only to a few. This means anyone who passes the admission exams should be accepted regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or financial status in life. While this seems a logical way of looking at college admissions requirements, there are supporters who believe that accepting racially diverse student population provides better educational opportunities for students. This is because a racially diverse university population exposes students to various ways of thinking and different experiences that would help them deal with real-life situations in school and at work.
In a Gallup Poll carried out on June 13-July 15, 2013, about two-thirds of Americans who participated in the survey said that academic merit should weigh more than race and gender issues. This means scholastic standing should be the basis of acceptance regardless if only a handful of minority students are accepted into college programs. However, supporters asserted that universities must “promote diversity on college campuses” (Jones) because the possibility of low admission rate for racial groups is high. If universities continue admitting only those who pass admission requirements based on academic standing, then the educational system does not help those who belong to minority groups and will not benefit from a racially diverse student population.
Disregarding racial concerns in university acceptance requirements means lesser educational opportunities for minorities living in America, especially those who do not have strong educational credentials. As an example, a student who comes from another race may have experienced academic disadvantages based on education standards the individual received from elementary to high school. Thomas, Alexander, & Eckland (1979) believe that giving these types of students considerations in university admissions will only result to a difficult college educational experience (p. 136). In addition, there is a general feeling that it is unreasonable and unjust if other students are accepted easily into college programs simply because of racial conditions, while those who are academically qualified will have to slug it out with others to get a university slot in a college of their choice.
Those who believe that acceptance to university programs must be based on academic achievement assert that everyone should be upheld in the same acceptance standards and requirements if the university’s thrust is on quality education. While students do not have a hand or control in their racial makeup, they do have a hand on their academic performance in high school, which should determine whether they will be accepted in a college or not. However, the reality is using race as one of the factors for acceptance have advantages, too, as it prepares students to succeed in the 21st century economy. This is covered in what is known as affirmative action, which was “developed by some higher education institutions in an attempt to diversify their student bodies racially, ethnically, and socio-economically” (Novoa) in order to provide opportunities to students who belong to various backgrounds. For instance, poor but deserving students rarely get the chance to enter Ivy League schools because most of these schools only accept students coming from higher socio-economic classes or who came from a family who also graduated in the same school.
Considering that the trend for economic success is through globalization where economies and countries collaborate with one another (Costello), schools and universities must begin to open the minds and eyes of students as early as during their college education. But because of racial issues, this does not happen as discrimination persists resulting to student segregation. Instead, the focus must be in elevating student achievement and promoting diversity by increasing “racial integration and mix low-income and middle-class students” (Costello) to “close the achievement gap in math and reading” (Costello). Doing so will give more opportunities to high schools students from other races to gain acceptance into colleges and universities.
The root of the problem is in the physical and cultural differences of individuals, involving skin color, language, and religion, among others. To solve this problem means acceptance of the differences as a reality and fact. Race should be a factor in university acceptance in order to give equal opportunities to deserving, but poor students of various races who could help prepare fellow students in their life outside the university.
Costello, M. (2012). Diverse schools are essential for the nation’s success. Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Retrieved from http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/diverse-schools-are-essential-for-the-nation-s-success
Jones, J. M. (2013). In U.S., most reject considering race in college admissions. Gallup Politics. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/163655/reject-considering-race-college-admissions.aspx
Novoa, K. (2007). The pros and cons of affirmative action in the college admissions process. Education Space 360. Retrieved from http://www.educationspace360.com/index.php/the-pros-and-cons-of-affirmative-action-in-the-college-admissions-process-27403/
Thomas, G. E., Alexander, K. L., & Eckland, B. K. (1979). Access to higher education: The importance of race, sex, social class, and academic credentials. The School Review, 87(2), 133-156. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1084799