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The Unraveling of Affirmative Action

The Unraveling of Affirmative Action is an article written byRichard Sander and Stuart Taylor and that featured in the Wall StreetJournal on October 13th 2012. The article’s main focuswas on the programs that universities adopt to offer preferences tothe minority groups in their admissions. The article focused on theblack Americans and Hispanic as the minority groups who are givenpreferential treatment in university and college admissions despitetheir low performance in high school (Sander &amp Taylor, 2012).Race, among other factors is used as the basis for admission in someuniversities in America. The authors of the article have, however,argued that the admission of people o universities on the basis oftheir races have numerous disadvantages besides the well known andpublicized benefits. According to the authors, the initial objectivesof preferential admission programs in American colleges anduniversities were meant to help the poor black Americans andHispanics to acquire a college or a university education. However,recent studies have indicated that there are numerous disadvantagesassociated with these programs (Welch, S., &amp Gruhl, 2009).

The authors have given various negative effects of affirmativeaction in terms of preferential treatment for the blacks and otherminority groups such as the Hispanics. Through the case of JareauHall, an African American, it is abundantly clear that affirmativeaction aimed at helping the minority groups socially and economicallyhas yielded little fruits (Gerstein et al., 2014). The blackAmericans and the Hispanic students in colleges and universities whowere admitted through affirmative action programs have beensegregated and most of them perform poorly (Sander &amp Taylor,2012). It is also evident that some of the students from the minoritygroups do not graduate and that one in three manage to pass bar examssuch as the one for lawyers. This research by Richard Sander andStuart Taylor indicated that the students who are beneficiaries ofthe affirmative programs are often branded as “affirmative actionadmits” and this isolates them and segregates them. In turn, thisaffects their performance considering that they are not in the sameacademic levels with the rest of the students. According to theauthors, it is prudent to take these students to schools where theyare academically qualified to study. They call the effects ofaffirmative action in admissions a mismatch where the beneficiariesdo not meet the academic requirements of the institutions they join(Sander &amp Taylor, 2012). It is clear that Hall admitted to havingdifficulties handling the amount of academic work that he encounteredat Colgate University. The authors of the article assert that thebeneficiaries of affirmative action either on the basis of race,ethnicity or sporting activities register extremely low grades at theend of their courses.

This article is based on original research through interviews aswell as a review of previous completed researches. For instance, theauthors cited research by Dartmouth psychologist Rogers Elliott in1996 which asserted that preferential students are likely to performpoorly in sciences, mathematics, technology and engineering. Elliotasserted that most of the minority students who choose STEM coursesdrop or change to other lees demanding courses (Orfield et al.,2011). Additionally, the authors have referred to research by StephenCole and the late Elinor Barber on African American students thatfound out that the students of racial or ethnic preferentialadmission were likely to perform poorly and they equally lackedacademic self-confidence (Liptak, 2014).

The authors also relied on their original research to write and makeconclusions with regard to affirmative action university and collegeadmissions. The authors conducted interviews on black and Hispanicadministrators and former students. According to the previousresearch and data that the authors have highlighted, it is abundantlyclear that they expected the certain results with regards to theaffirmative action program on admission of students to universities.Whereas the researchers have not stated openly what results theyexpected it is clear that they have hypothesis with regard to thetopic under discussion. The authors hypothesized that the program wasnot as beneficial as numerous people thought. They held thehypothesis that the program leads to poor performance in science,mathematics and technology by minority students under the program(Sander &amp Taylor, 2012). They also held the hypothesis that thestudents under the program are isolated and segregated by the otherstudents. Additionally, the authors also hypothesized that thebeneficiaries find it extremely difficult to deal with the amount ofwork that they encounter in the elite schools.

The researchers used interviews as a research method to collectinformation. They interviewed administrators and former blackAmerican and Hispanic students. It is abundantly clear that theresults from the interviews were the expected results by the authors.The administrators and the former black American and Hispanicstudents gave answers that the researchers expected. They said thatthe beneficiaries of the affirmative actions were stereotyped incampuses and they performed poorly (Sander &amp Taylor, 2012). Theauthors came to the conclusion that affirmative action that involvespreferential admission of students based on their race had numerousnegative effects. They concluded that the universities should lookfor other strategies of admitting the needy rather than on the basisof their race or ethnicity.


Sander, R. &amp Taylor, S. (2012). The Unraveling of AffirmativeAction. Retrieved from:

Gerstein, J., Severns, M. &amp Simon, S. (2014). Supreme Courtupholds ban on affirmative action in college admissions. Retrievedfrom: court-upholds-ban-on-affirmative-action-in-college-admissions-105893.html

Liptak, A. (2014). Court Backs Michigan on Affirmative Action.Retrieved from: ban.html?_r=0

Welch, S., &amp Gruhl, J. (2009). Affirmative action and minorityenrollments in medical and law schools. Ann Arbor: University ofMichigan Press.

Orfield, G., &amp The Civil Rights Project, Harvard University.(2011).&nbspChilling admissions: The affirmativeaction crisis and the search for alternatives. Cambridge, Mass:Harvard Education Publ. Group.