Affirmative action should help all minorities

Affirmative action lets everyone have the assurance that they were able to achieve something based on their own merit, and not their race.

Kaitlyn Ho '26, Managing Editor of Web

Twenty years ago, when affirmative action was on the line in the case of Grutter v. Bollinger, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner was the deciding vote in the majority decision that allowed affirmative action to continue. 

She made a statement that people come back to time and time again while discussing the most recent Supreme Court cases regarding affirmative action in colleges. O’Conner stated, “We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.” 

Yet, here we are today, with Harvard and the University of North Carolina, two top-tier colleges, being called out for their use of affirmative action in their admissions process. The case was brought to the Supreme Court in November, and the decisions are expected to be made in early summer.

Affirmative action in the context of college admissions is the question of whether race should be considered in applications. While affirmative action is intended to even the field in the admissions process, it does have its cons.

I am speaking specifically for the Asian-American community. There is a fear shared among many of us, a fear we even joke about but never actually confront. Have we become the majority when it comes to colleges? And even worse, does that mean we could be rejected because of our race, if affirmative action is to continue? 

People arguing against affirmative action often exploit this fear for their own gain, touting claims that affirmative action will negatively affect Asian-Americans. After all, there has long been a stereotype of Asian-Americans, and we are too often seen as robotic, over-achieving, emotionless people. 

The people who state that affirmative action will affect us negatively are playing to the trepidation of Asian-Americans all around the world, specifically immigrant parents in the United States. Immigrants have learned, or at least hoped, that as long as they work hard and don’t complain, they will get the desired outcome. So to say that race, this uncontrollable factor, could have a hand in the final decision, is terrifying for them. 

These fears are valid, but they cause us to miss the whole point of affirmative action. Affirmative action is supposed to help all minorities. Furthermore, affirmative action does not simply give a boost to minorities, skyrocketing their chances past everyone else’s. It lets everyone have the assurance that they were able to achieve something based on their own merit, and not their race. We cannot allow these people to divide us between affirmative action and non-affirmative action sides. 

Other minorities are not the enemy.