Should the UC be allowed to consider race in the admissions proces? Why or why not?
No–I do not believe that the UC should be allowed to consider race in the admissions process. While I see that considering race in admissions has the aim to promote diversity and give more access to minorities, I argue that it will, instead, give grounds for racism to fruition. Furthermore, I argue that UC students should educate underrepresented high school students on the admissions process and motivate them to apply to UC’s from a young age.
Let’s start with a definition of the word racism: racism is “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others” (Dictionary.com). Most people focus on the second part of the definition yet neglect the first part. The second part highlights racial superiority; therefore, according to this definition, a racist believes his race is more superior than others. However, what many people fail to realize is that racism also includes the belief that our racial differences contribute to our degree of achievement. For example, some people hold the view that Asians are inherently smart, thus explaining their prevailing presence on top-notch universities in the U.S. On the other hand, some people believe that African Americans or Latinos are inherently lazy or even uneducated, explaining their lack of presence in universities. These beliefs, according to the said definition, are racist.
With that in mind, let’s consider the ramifications of considering race in the UC admissions process. Let’s say that an admissions officer reads over an entire application and has her mind set on admitting the student, but then she sees on the last page of the application that the applicant is African American. In her mind she thinks, “This student has shown strong academic performance at her high school compared to the other students, but I don’t know if she will be able to handle the competition here at UCLA. Being academically successful requires a lot of hard work, and I don’t know if this student is cut out for that.” Then she puts the application in the reject pile. No one would know the true reason she rejected the student; the officer’s reasoning all took place in her head. Thus, there is no clear way to prevent such discrimination from occurring.
Speaking of rejection, I wonder how many minority students do not even apply to the UC system due to fear of rejection. In fact, how many minority students actually apply to schools like UCLA? Probably not as many as there should be because many are indoctrinated with the misconception that they won’t be able to survive here, let alone get in. They are constantly told by their peers, parents, society, people from their hometowns, even high school counselors that they aren’t good enough, which discourages them. Probably a lot of minority students are told that they aren’t smart enough to get into college, so they better focus on sports because that’s the only way they would have the opportunity to go to college. This oppressive mindset inhibits the majority of underrepresented youth from even applying to college.
Instead of focusing on adding race to the admissions process, we should focus on motivating underrepresented minorities to stay focused in school and apply for colleges and scholarships. We should educate and motivate the youth, especially if they are discouraged or are not educated of how things work. We need to educate them about resources like Fee Waivers, FAFSA, and the fact that UCLA, in particular, admits students based on the “holistic review” approach (see http://www.admissions.ucla.edu/Prospect/Adm_fr/fradms.htm). In doing so, not only do we replace the aforementioned oppressive mindset with truthful statements, but we will also significantly increase the amount of minority students that apply to UC’s. And with that, I believe we will further diversify the campuses.
Post submitted by Casey O’Neill