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ENGL 102

29 Sept. 2019

Affirmative Action and Its Impact Annotated Bibliography

Inquiry: Why is affirmative action still used by the current education system and how does it

harm the education system?

Proposed Thesis: The practice of affirmative action based on race hurts the current education

system because it undermines the efforts of deserving students and those who fight for

equal opportunity, despite the good intent behind the policy on which it was formed.

Allen, Anita. “Was I Entitled or Should I Apologize? Affirmative Action ...” Journal of Ethics,
Sep 2011, Vol. 15 Issue 3, p253-263. 11p. Article.

Although slightly less than a decade old, this peer reviewed article thoroughly examines

the stance against affirmative action and the experiences of previous beneficiaries of

affirmative action. The author, Anita Allen, is a successful African-American writer and

philosophy and law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She explores the idea of

whether previous beneficiaries of affirmative action should owe any sort of apology or

reparations to those who may have been displaced by the system and includes a personal

apology to whoever she might have replaced during her own college admission that adds

insight into her personal college experience. Allen also discusses and claims to agree with

the work of Professor James Sterba, Affirmative Action for the Future, a book that

defends affirmative action and counters the social-science based arguments against the

policy. Using Sterba’s book to consolidate her beliefs on affirmative action, she claims,
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“affirmative action is not unjust, and certainly not by definition because it bases

preferences on race or gender.” She later goes into many of the popular Supreme Court

cases of students versus Universities that have dealt with affirmative action lawsuits.

Overall, this source clearly stated the author’s bias in favor of affirmative action, but she

also discussed the opinions of the opposing side and reasons for why they might believe

them. The source works really well to develop a rebuttal against the proposed thesis of

this bibliography, since it acknowledges the opposing side yet still retains its argument

and bias for affirmative action. This is a great source to form a rebuttal, but a large part of

the source is the author adding her own philosophical ideas on affirmative action. The

audience and stakeholders include individuals who were accepted through affirmative

action and her apology or explanation to those were not accepted because of it. Allen’s

stakes are also whether someone is accepted into college through affirmative action or

merit. The kind of argument concerning stasis is mainly focused in quality since it’s more

personal and discusses how affirmative action effects various groups of people.

Caldas, Stephen. “The Incongruities of Grutter.” Society, Jan/Feb 2008, Vol. 45 Issue 1, p30-34.
5p. Article.

This peer reviewed source examines the case of Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) five years

after the case was decided, where a lawsuit was filed against the University of Michigan

by a prospective student who attested the University largely favored minorities during the

admission process. Grutter argued the University of Michigan used affirmative action to

racially categorize potential students. The court ultimately ruled affirmative action as

constitutional through it made use of race in the admission process much more difficult.

The source examines how the Fourteenth Amendment figures in with affirmative action,
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how the lawsuit justifying “critical mass” in the name of diversity was vague and

illogical, whether or not certain types of diversity lead to higher academic outcomes, and

how the “undo harm” argument in favor of affirmative action claims the admission of

non-minority students are not harmed in the process. The author’s bias is not in favor of

affirmative action, but plays the devil’s advocate by thoroughly analyzing the arguments

in favor of affirmative action during the admission process and how they are weak.

However, the analysis of the side for affirmative action will help me to form a rebuttal

and build a solid argument against affirmative action. Although this source is a little more

than a decade old, it is great for finding examples of lawsuits against colleges and how

the arguments are formed since the affirmative action is still largely debated today.

Similar to the rest of the sources, the stakes are college admission by affirmative action

and the stakeholders are those who have been accepted or denied through affirmative

action. The stasis theory is more on policy since it discusses the case of Grutter v


Carnevale, Anthony. “Alternatives to Affirmative Action.” BizEd, Sept/Oct 2014, Vol. 13 Issue
5, p55-55. Article.

While this article is a popular source, it was written in 2014 by Anthony Carnevale, a

professor and director at Georgetown University who has been appointed by three U.S.

presidents to chair several commissions. Carnevale discusses the alternatives to

affirmative action and what could possibly happen if colleges used socioeconomic factors

in place of affirmative action in their admission processes after the Fisher v University of

Texas lawsuit. Despite affirmative action ruled as constitutional in the case, the author

reports that “African American and Hispanic enrollments at the 193 most selective U.S.
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colleges in the U.S. would more than double” if socioeconomic factors were used and

emphasized in the admission process based on evidence from the book, The Future of

Affirmative Action: New Paths to Higher Education Diversity after Fisher v. University

of Texas. For the socioeconomic alternative, the author uses evidence from a study in

this book to support his argument. The study compared the effects of three race-neutral

admissions to race-based and merit-based admission models. This source included

several findings and statistics from the book and found that “if schools simply admitted

the top 10 percent of students from each high school class, they would increase African

American enrollments from 4 percent to 6 percent and Hispanic enrollments from 7

percent to 11 percent.” According to the study, these enrollments would double up 9%

and 14% respectively, if family income and education were taken into account. Through

evidence from this study, Carnevale is able to take a stance against affirmative action

while offering alternatives to the policy. Since it is a relatively short article compared to

the peer reviewed articles, it doesn’t hold as much insight into the ethics of affirmative

action, but it still includes a multitude of recent statistics and information against the

policy which makes it a useful and relevant source. With this source, I am able to back up

my claims and stance against affirmative action. It also addresses the stakes, the

admission of under-represented minorities in colleges and the admission process, and the

stakeholders and audience, the said minorities and their families (who are most likely the

ones paying) and the colleges who accept or deny them. This article is also uses stasis

theory through its facts in addressing the issue and what can be done to fix the broken

system, and the definition in defining the problems and how it relates to affirmative

action and the audience.

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Chace, William. “Diversity Dismantled.” Wilson Quarterly, 2011. Article.

Written within the past decade, this is a short article biased against affirmative action that

offers a wealth of information on public universities that use affirmative action in their

admission process and private universities who can afford not to. It compares the “model

commonwealth” that encourages diversity and the meritocracy that education systems are

struggling to pair together. This article analyzes the downfall or decreasing popularity of

affirmative action while it is slowly being phased out. Examples Chace uses include the

University of California, Berkeley where the ratio of Asians to other minorities and races

have been debated. Although it was written in 2011, they information is still relevant,

especially with the latest debates against Harvard in the past year. It is also relevant to

everyone who seeks a higher education since affirmative action has a big role in who is

accepted into college. The examples used in this source against affirmative action is very

useful for developing my thesis. The stakes are admission into college while the

stakeholders include all those who desire a higher education at an American college. This

source focuses more on fact regarding stasis theory, because it explains the problem that

began with affirmative action, its downfall in later years, and how that influences college


Freedman, Eric. “The Admissions Equity Struggle.” Cox Matthews & Associates Inc, March
2012. Article.
This source examines two cases of affirmative action, where one student is for

affirmative action while the other opposes the policy. The lawsuits involve the University

of Texas in 1950 and 2008, before and after affirmative action was applied to the

education system. The Sweatt v Painter lawsuit came first in 1950 when Herman Sweatt,
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an African American, was denied admission to the University of Texas Law School. He

challenged Supreme Court’s “separate but equal” policy when UT created a separate law

school for blacks but was found to be unequal to the main college. The second lawsuit

began in 2016 when Abigail Fisher, a white student, filed a lawsuit against the University

of Texas at Austin for not admitting her because of her race and showing favoritism to

black and Hispanic students. The article posed two different lawsuits when affirmative

action was needed and when it may have been unnecessary years later. This source is

very useful in identifying the struggles on both sides of the argument while explaining

why it was needed during the first lawsuit and unneeded during the second. Although it

discusses a case from the 20th century, it also uses an example from the 21st century to

make it more relevant to the argument. This source has bias against affirmative action,

but discusses using a race-neutral decision process for college admissions. However, this

source mainly focuses on reporting the effects of affirmative action in the past compared

to today, rather than arguing how hurtful or beneficial it is. Still, it was able to offer a

solution for the argument against affirmative action, rather than just listing all the issues

about the policy. It also focuses on policy from stasis theory, because of its analysis on

two lawsuits centering on affirmative action. The stakes include the fairness of college

admission, and the stakeholders/audience are those applying to college.

Hausman, Davis. “How Congress Could Reduce Job Discrimination by Promoting Anonymous
Article.” Stanford Law Review, May2012, Vol. 64 Issue 5, p1343-1369. 27p. Article.

This peer reviewed article describes how anonymous job hiring could solve racial

discrimination in the job hiring process. The article only mentions using anonymity in

certain aspects of college admissions (for example, race and gender), but offers insight
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into how it would operate on a race-neutral process. The authors propose Title VII should

help encourage employers to hire anonymously. The introduction explains the problem

with implicit bias and how anonymous hiring would help alleviate race discrimination.

They explain that the interview process actually allows applicants to face discrimination

from employers whether it is purposeful or not and used evidence from their observations

of real-life hiring processes to back up their claim. Even though it does not discuss

affirmative action with college admissions, this source offers detailed solutions to keep

racial discrimination out of the hiring process as much as possible. What is useful about

this source is that it uses evidence and reasoning to offer solutions that will keep the

hiring process much more equal than it is now, which can translate into solutions to

replace affirmative action. It is also more up to date than some of my other sources,

making racial discrimination and affirmative action relevant. It emphasizes policy of

stasis theory, because it focuses on a problem and provides alternatives to the issue. This

article differs from the rest of the sources with employees and employers being the

stakeholders, and career opportunities and acceptance being the stakes.

Potter, Halley. “Affirmative Action Alternatives.” The Century Foundation, March 2013. Web.
This is a popular commercial source from The Century Foundation that is firmly biased

against affirmative action. Similar to some of the sources above, this article uses Fisher v

University of Texas at Austin as an example of how affirmative action causes deserving

students to be at a disadvantage, but includes solutions in place of affirmative action that

will benefit all students. Potter discusses Inside Higher Ed by Richard Kahlenberg, “the

leading liberal against affirmative action,” where he predicts Supreme Court will

significantly restrict the use of race in college admissions. Kahlenberg proposes

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alternatives to affirmative action through “race-neutral methods of ensuring diversity in

college admissions,” including programs that target students’ socioeconomic

backgrounds instead of race. Through these programs, diversity is ensured while keeping

the chance of admission equal since a substantial number of minorities come from low-

income families. Potter also lists and describes three areas public flagship universities she

believes needs reform; first, she suggests filtering students in the admission process by

socioeconomic status. For example, Texas developed their Top 10% Plan in response to

the lawsuits filed against them for affirmative action. Second, she suggests boosting

financial aid to attract and keep students from ethnic and low-income students, similar to

the Collegebound Nebraska program. Third, another way to maintain a diverse student

body is through new and up-to-date support programs for low-income students. To back

up her claims, Potter states, that out of ten flagship universities who discarded the use of

race in admissions in the past decade, at least seven have adopted race-neutral admissions

and have increased in Latino and African American representation. Similar to the sources

above, this article includes solutions to go along with its stance against affirmative action.

It is also up to date, since it was written in 2013 and relevant to all those who have gone

or will be going to a university or college. The stakes are college admission while the

stakeholders are college officials and students from universities where affirmative action

is still in effect. This source focuses more on policy from stasis theory, since it discusses

the problems with affirmative action and alternatives to replace it. This source is

especially useful because it addresses the problem with affirmative action which supports

my thesis against it, but also offers alternatives.

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Sacks, Peter. “Educating the Hierarchs: College and Class in America.” New Labor Forum (Sage
Publications Inc.). Spring 2009, Vol. 18 Issue 2, p76-84. 9p. 1 Chart. Article.
This peer-reviewed source by Peter Sacks, a newspaper journalist and author who has

written about education, discusses how colleges who turn a blind eye to social class

during admission in favor of affirmative action are actually ignoring under-represented

minorities, undermining the purpose of affirmative action. He claims colleges are

misusing affirmative action to achieve their educational goals and are not using

affirmative action to solve social injustice as it was created to do. Sacks argues colleges

need to reconstruct their admission process to be less race-based (through affirmative

action), and put more emphasis on social class, which would also include more minorities

who are considered low to middle class. He reasons that by continuing to use affirmative

action, colleges would be contributing to the gaps in social class and “the class divide

will keep growing between a growing underclass and the increasingly rare but

magnificently well-capitalized elites at the top.” This biased information against

affirmative action relates to my inquiry by arguing why affirmative action does more

harm than good to minorities and the educational system. Although the article is slightly

over a decade old, it holds relevance since an increasing amount of people are entering

college, while also addressing the audience made up of college students, particularly

minorities seeking a higher education, and those who will pay for that higher education,

the stakeholders. The stakes include how affirmative action and social class keep

deserving individuals out of college or overlooked in the admission process. In regard to

stasis theory, this article addresses the fact and definition by explaining what affirmative

action is and how it has and continues to hurt the education and economic system through

providing examples and statistics from different universities. The quality and policy are
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shown when Sacks suggests the steps that could remedy the problems caused by

affirmative action.