Opponents of affirmative action point to stigma as a reason for dismantling the policy, but a new study says that just isn’t true.

People who are against the policy argue that minorities who benefit from it could doubt their own credentials or feel the burden of being treated as if they’re employed or enrolled only because of race?not because they earned it.

But when researchers surveyed 610 students at seven public law schools, they discovered that minorities at affirmative action schools feel just as good about their qualifications and about how others treat them as minorities at non-affirmative-action schools do.

Law Professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig says, “Anti-affirmative-action activists bring forth lots of arguments against the program, but stigma gets a lot of play because high-profile individuals like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas make the argument. Well-meaning people who value diversity can be influenced by the argument if they buy the idea that affirmative action hurts the people it was designed to help. Our study suggests it doesn’t, and we think it’s important to share this evidence so people can use it to continue to support diversity in education.

“We felt it was important to collect something more systematic and think about how the average person experiences the policy, instead of just one individual. We can’t rule out the possibility of one person feeling stigmatized by affirmative action, but that’s not what most people experience.”

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

The past can tell us what is happening today?(and who knows what extraordinary things may happen in the future)? In order to figure all this out, it helps to have the right interpreter!

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