How much diversity on campus is enough? When it comes to the use of race in college admission policies raised by the case Fisher v. University of Texas, that's the question Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wanted answered during the oral arguments recently presented to the Court. I have a different set of questions: How do those who support affirmative action—and race-conscious policies in general—prepare for an America without them? Secondly, would an America without them be so bad?
Some consider a post-affirmative action America a triumph of post-racialism, some view it as the prelude to a racial apocalypse, and still others fall somewhere in the middle. Whether you are for or against it, the future of affirmative action is questionable at best. While it's true that certain sectors of our society such as business and higher education continue to support the practice, it's less popular among the general public.
The spring of my senior year of high school one of my teachers asked everyone in class to share where they'd been accepted to college. I was thrilled that I'd been accepted at my dream school, Northwestern University, but it turned out that a white classmate who'd applied there hadn't gotten in. Although I was acing my honors and AP courses and had stellar SAT scores, I suddenly found myself in the middle of a class debate over whether I had been accepted at Northwestern solely because I was black. The student who hadn't been accepted complained that I'd probably taken her spot at the school.
The number of students taking Advanced Placement exams is up, but according to the latest report from the College Board, a significant numbers of students that should be taking AP tests aren’t. They analyzed the performance of 771,000 PSAT-takers from the class of 2011 and discovered that 478,000 students—over 60 percent—did not take an AP exam even though their test scores indicated they could do well on one. In particular, the College Board found that high scoring students from black, Latino, and Native American backgrounds are "much less likely than their white and Asian peers" to take AP exams.