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Ramifications of Abolishing Affirmative Action

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Carvis C. Durr
July 17, 2023

The recent Supreme Court decision regarding affirmative action in higher education has brought about significant changes to the admissions process. Previously, it was considered a means to counteract racism against students of color. A court decision against admissions programs could affect higher education nationwide. This ruling highlights the importance of fairness and equality in all aspects of our lives, including our communities and workplaces. There may be questions about how school choice and workplace nepotism affect the current situation. We must continue to prioritize fairness and justice, even without affirmative action, and prepare for any potential consequences that may arise.

Proponents of the ruling believe it will lead to a system that evaluates individuals based solely on their abilities and qualifications rather than their social status. Social stratification involves categorizing people based on wealth, income, race, education and power, creating distinct layers or classes within society. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that these classes are not evenly distributed, with those at the top having more resources than those at the bottom. The unequal distribution of resources and opportunities can majorly impact the well-being and livelihoods of people in different social classes. School choice allows parents to make informed decisions about the best learning environment for their child. It eliminates any limitations on school types, whether public or private and enables allocated education using funds for tuition-based schools through vouchers or savings accounts. The goal is to provide each child access to a tailored education system that best suits their needs and requirements.

School Choice and Gentrification

Research has found that communities with a more significant number of low-income non-white residents face difficulties accessing high-quality resources and amenities. Individuals who fall below the poverty line, particularly minorities, may face negative educational consequences due to limited access, which can hinder their chances of being accepted into college. While school choice initiatives may offer a solution, it is imperative to consider their impact on gentrification and the racial composition of neighborhoods. Schools with non-white students can possess the required materials and support to thrive academically. Unfortunately, these institutions are sometimes perceived as subpar, potentially limiting those students from being accepted into top-tier universities.

Offering more school choices could make it harder for people of different races to afford rent in cities. It might also make white families less likely to move to urban areas. Housing aid can prevent displacement in low-income minority communities due to gentrification. School choice programs may help reduce unintentional segregation in underserved urban areas. Schools are essential for communities, especially those facing socioeconomic challenges, as they offer many opportunities for success. It is crucial to note that pursuing higher education should not solely depend on affirmative action to increase diversity but rather on a comprehensive approach that guarantees equal access to quality education for all.

Nepotism in the Workplace

It is imperative to consider the detrimental effects of nepotism when discussing affirmative action within organizational policies. Despite its negative connotation and unjust approach, there is a tendency to ignore this practice. Allowing personal relationships to influence decision-making can have significant consequences, such as reduced organizational performance, diminished work culture and a decline in employee morale. Furthermore, it can lead to under-skilled employees and management who no longer evaluates workers based solely on merit.

Discrimination against employees based on various factors, including nepotism, should remain strictly prohibited and result in legal action when necessary. Companies must be aware of the potential legal consequences of practicing nepotism. Nepotism occurs when an individual in a position of power or authority promotes personal relationships over the interests and objectives of the company. Ultimately this leads to biased decision-making, a lack of diversity and a shortage of talent, negatively impacting the company’s bottom line.

Therefore, it is in companies’ best interest to establish fair and impartial hiring and promotion practices to ensure the selection of the best candidates for each role. Fostering a positive work culture and boosting employee morale and job satisfaction are all advantages that benefit the company. By genuinely focusing on merit-based decisions, companies can improve their overall performance and long-term success.

Equality of Opportunity and Outcome

Different opinions exist among conservatives concerning government policies on nepotism and affirmative action. Nonetheless, they generally support cases where family members are involved in managing private companies or when minority business owners hire people from their community. Striking a balance in government intervention in such situations can be a challenge. It’s critical to acknowledge that affirmative action impacts a whole group, while nepotism benefits individuals and creates suspicion towards people of a particular race, even if they deserve their position.

Group membership only sometimes determines one’s advantage in life. Evaluating individuals based on their unique qualities, talents and merits is crucial for creating a more equitable and inclusive society that values diversity and individuality. Social stratification highlights the need for a fairer and more equitable distribution of resources in society. It’s vital to note that equality of opportunity and outcome are distinct concepts and not interchangeable.

Author: Meet Carvis C. Durr, a Ph.D. student, and Instructor at the University of Central Florida’s School of Sociology and Statistics. Carvis holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and two Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Leadership/Human Resource Development. Carvis is a member of the Scholar Strategy Network. Follow Carvis on Twitter @Iamcarvis or check out his professional profile on LinkedIn.

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