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The subject of affirmative action in college admissions has been hotly debated since its inception. Although affirmative action was originally supported by the vast majority, that same majority is now starting to wonder if there is a better way. Commonly asked questions include: “Is affirmative action still working?” and “Is there an alternative?” The answers to each of these questions will provide insurmountable evidence that affirmative action in college admissions no longer fulfills its intended purpose and that the only viable alternative is to focus more attention on primary schooling for the underprivileged.
The most common question that arises in contemporary debates over affirmative action is, “Does affirmative action still work as intended?” The original purpose of affirmative action in college admissions was to eliminate racial bias in the applicant selection process and provide a helping hand to disadvantaged minority students. Has this happened? The simple answer is “No”, but a more precise answer requires more elaboration. Richard Rodriguez, the Mexican-American author of Hunger of Memory and a direct beneficiary of early affirmative action policies, puts it this way, “I think – as I thought in 1967 – that the black civil rights leaders were correct: Higher education was not, nor is it yet, accessible to many black Americans” (Rodriguez 144).
In 1967, civil rights leaders …
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