Carolina Day School

Honors Papers 2021-22

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Sprouse 1 Lia Sprouse Ms. White and Ms. Nelson Biosocial Ethics and Motives 23 September 2020 The Ethics of Affirmative Action in Higher Education Race-based affirmative action in higher education, or the favoring of people from historically marginalized ethnic groups for spaces in a graduating class, has sparked decades of controversy in the United States. Its proponents, who are often liberal, and its beneficiaries, minority students that gained entry thanks to its reverse-discriminatory policies, argue that it is only equitable to favor people from marginalized groups because they start at a disadvantage. Its opponents, who are often either conservative, perceive themselves as having been cheated out of a spot at a school or other institution due to reverse-discrimination, or both, disagree and say that societal progress only comes when the best-suited people get the jobs and race plays no factor at all. Both sides wrestle with the idea of whether or not affirmative action policies make for better schools and a better society by extension. Colleges across the country struggle with questions relating to the implementation and balancing of affirmative action in their schools and communities. Thus, a number of questions arise in considering affirmative action in higher education. Is affirmative action damaging to societal progress? Can colleges legally reverse-discriminate in their admission processes, and does the government have the power to regulate that process? And, most contentiously, is it fair to admit students on a system based partially on race rather than on simple merit?

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