Legacy-based Affirmative Action does not help minorities

So it is March and as a senior who is applying to college, my fate is now being determined. And before I finally get to decide what school I am going to I want to express my opinion on affirmative action while it still affects me.

I want to talk about affirmative action, but not the racial kind that everyone immediately thinks of, rather the legacy kind. The point of affirmative action is to improve the opportunities of minority groups that are historically discriminated against and to me legacy-based affirmative action does not accomplish this goal. To me legacy-based affirmative action is just affirmative action for the wealthy, and I am pretty sure the wealthy is not a historically discriminated minority group. According to Brian Clark, the overseer of communications at Brown, legacy is used as a tiebreaker for equally qualified students, because the students will have a “natural affinity for the University that often emerges among children of alumni.” So does that mean I have a natural affinity to steal from stores, because both my parents used to steal while they were young, obviously this not true. What your parents do should not determine your character, good or bad.

The majority of people only happen to be legacies because it was available to their ethnicity generations before. Take for example, an African American student and a Caucasian student that both want to go to Columbia. There are definitely cases where the African American student’s parent could have gone to Columbia, but due to their race it is unlikely that would have had access to do so, due to their economic standing. Compared to the Caucasian student’s parent, who more likely had more money to not only afford college, but to the money to better their education.  

This whole discussion makes me worried as a student who is applying to schools. Clearly the reasoning for using legacy-based affirmative action is unclear and does not support the goal of affirmative action in the first place. If the last thing that determines if I am getting into a school over my peer is whether or not my parents went to their school, it is frustrating that it is something that I can’t even control. The only people it helps are those who don’t need it.

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