Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ten Myths About Affirmative Action

University of Wisconsin graduate student Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, a member of the Teaching Assistants' Association, unravels the lies of affirmative action opponents.

STUDENTS OF color in the incoming freshman class at the University of Wisconsin in Madison must have had a disorienting second week of the semester. On September 13, they were greeted by a small group of old, suited white men at podiums, telling them they don't belong here--and over 850 angry students telling those men they're wrong.

Myth Number 1: Students of color admitted under affirmative action aren't admitted on merit.
Myth Number 2: White students are admitted to college solely on merit.
Myth Number 3: Affirmative action hurts students of color by putting them in environments for which they aren't prepared.
Myth Number 4: Maybe affirmative action was important once, but those days are long past.
Myth Number 5: Affirmative action policies in colleges distract attention from disparities earlier in the pipeline.
Myth Number 7: White students are only harmed by affirmative action policies. 
Myth Number 8: Anything that smacks of "quotas" is rigid and suspect.
Myth Number 9: If we had class-based affirmative action, we wouldn't need race-based affirmative action.
Myth Number 10: We have to choose between class-based and race-based affirmative action.
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