Unfair Focus on Race in College Admissions

When filling in a college application, students are asked questions ranging from what their siblings’ names are to what their tax returns were in the past year. After the usual interrogation they get to the infamous race question, where applications ask them to designate their race with an electronic check mark.

White, Black, Asian, Hispanic and beyond: everyone falls into some racial classification. And whether we want to admit it or not, race impacts college admissions.

“It is an unfortunate situation, but I do believe colleges are trying to overcome the stereotype that they only allow Caucasians ora�� only allow African Americans,” college/career info coordinator Janet Harris said.

The recent Texas v. Fisher case concerned the affirmative action policy of the University of Texas at Austin. Abigail Fisher is a white girl who was denied admission to this university. Fisher stated to the court that the university’s “race conscious” admissions process was not consistent with the previous 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger case, in which the court stated that race had “an appropriate but limited” role in college admissions.

Fisher lost the case as the court ruled that University of Texas at Austin can continue using affirmative action in their admissions process. According to journalist Jeff Frantz on www.pennlive.com “Texas argues it needs a “critical mass’ of minority students on its Austin campus to enhance the educational experience for all of its students.”

I disagree with the decision in this case as since some universities do feel the need for this “critical mass” of minority students, they tend to look at the typical racial categories. In reality there are many groups of unaccounted for minorities who fall into the “white” classification. Europeans, Middle Easterns, and northern Africans are all minorities, yet they still fall into the white race.

It is very important to consider that people are emigrating to the U.S. from all parts of the world and it is unfair to only give advantages to those from select countries.

For example, if a Middle Eastern or European family immigrated to the U.S., their children would be more foreign to the U.S. academic system than black and Hispanic children who grew up in the U.S. The central problem with this is that those European or Middle Eastern children have to classify themselves as white, which often comes with the implication that they are native to the U.S.

“It is hard that I fall into the majority race in America because I have disadvantages that other American kids do not have. My disadvantage is my English is not that good and that impacts me in school,” senior Valentin Milloch said. Milloch moved from France to the U.S. last year when he was 16 and started as a freshmen at RHS.

This whole race classification system is ultimately unfair as the supposedly “blind” college admissions process is partly based on skin color. This is ironic, as America stands for equality and yet our higher education system is incredibly unequal. To appropriately judge students, colleges should instead look at factors such as their socioeconomic status and whether the student is foreign to the U.S., which is an actual disadvantage as they are not native to the language or school system.

Although I do not experience the burden of this system to the extent of some, I am Middle Eastern and my father was an immigrant to the U.S., which makes me a first generation American.

My central issue is not so much concerned with how high my GPA needs to be, although that is a concern of many students. I am more concerned with the fact that “white” comes with so many implications, one of which is “lacking diversity.” Classifying myself as white masks my cultural identity, which is personally offensive and limiting as colleges are not able to see how diverse I truly am.

This system of defining students with an electronic check next to a limited assortment of racial classifications is completely biased and misleading. Rather than looking at factors that truly impact academic success, students are judged by the melanin in their skin. In this day and age, colleges should consider altering this system, making a student’s race weigh less in the college admission process.