The Fight for Affirmative Action


Olive Spohn, Reporter

Recently, an issue addressed many decades ago has been brought back onto the table. Affirmative action has been a hot subject for a long time, and recently it has been thrown back into the conversation. Most famously, the court case taken to the supreme court in 1977 by Albert Cox argued for the introduction of Affirmative Action in American Colleges, and it won for shocking reasons. This case was not won by the excitement and progress of diversity, but by the idea that affirmative action would prepare students for a diverse society- good or bad. Back in the 70’s, the only benefits of diversity that were acknowledged were those that backed better productivity or learning environments, and building diverse environments was actually not a very popular idea at the time.


Cox, who was fighting for Affirmative Action from the supreme court, backed his case with equality, as he wanted African American, and immigrant students to be able to have a better chance at developing, as they are often faced with more obstacles than others do- especially in education systems. One of the issues that Cox faced was that he was not working against a specific defendant, but against a systemic issue. This made his claim more vague, and he was “fighting with one hand tied behind their back.”


With so many arguments for and against affirmative action, it was certainly an achievement to be cleared by the Supreme Court, although it might not last for much longer. Affirmative Action has recently been brought back up for debate on the Supreme Court, and the decision is expected for this summer. The reason that this may no longer be the norm is that when it comes to college, America tends to care more about income equity than they do about diversity. This has become an issue for affirmative action, as this viewpoint may shoot down the concept all together. This has been brought back into circulation, as it has been viewed as a fight between “diversity and fairness”, and the court is most likely going to make a choice on this basis.


As of the moment, there is a huge mix of opinions on the topic. This is for a few reasons, such as the fact that affirmative action has had a huge impact on colleges for a long time now. If anything, affirmative action is needed more than ever, as huge rises in turmoil, racism, and hate crimes has caused a huge dent in diversity. As of right now, there are lots of issues to sort out surrounding diversity. Despite all of the progress so far, there is still a far way to go when it comes to diversity in education.