Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Keep It Current: Race Question on a College App


Ethnic Self-Identification Is Optional for College Admission

Students are often puzzled about how to respond to questions on college applications about race or ethnicity. The questions are required by a federal regulation, and a new version of that regulation just came into effect for the 2009-2010 application season. The regulation

U.S. Department of Education; Office of the Secretary; Final Guidance on Maintaining, Collecting, and Reporting Racial and Ethnic Data to the U.S. Department of Education [OS]

makes clear that self-identifying ethnicity is OPTIONAL for students in higher education. Below are examples of current application forms.

Do you think this is a violation of your civil liberties? Explain why or why not given the demographic data in Chapter 21.

14 comments:

  1. I don't think identifying your ethnicity is a violation of civil rights. In a perfect world, all races would come from equal backgrounds and be in equal social and financial situations. But we don't live in a perfect world. Its important to measure the academic progress of a student based on their background. However, I believe that if race is to be a question on applications, it should be paired with social and financial backgrounds. I suppose with information on social and financial background, questions about ethnicity are not important. Its a complicated process, but given that the questions are optional, and are primarily used for statistics, I think its relatively moral.

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  2. I personally do not think it is such a horrible thing to identify what ethnicity you are and certainly it is not a violation of civil liberties. The important thing to realize with this change is that "self-identifying ethnicity is OPTIONAL." It is essential that people feel that their ethnicity does not affect the opportunities that they will receive or will be offered. Unfortunately, not all races have equivalent backgrounds and some do not get the opportunities that people rightly deserve. If the information they are gathering from applying a few questions about ethnicity is for statistics only, I see no harm in letting people choose if they want to answer a question that is optional and is used for statistics.

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  3. Although questioning a student's background on an application seems immoral, the fact that the question is optional makes it okay. The whole point of civil liberties is too insure that people aren't discriminated against based on their race, gender and/or beliefs. Now I'm not saying that colleges use this information the right way, for all we know many colleges can be using this to keep out certain races of their school or use it to accept more people of a certain race. More likely than not the question is there for colleges to know how much diversity their is in their school. Whatever the case we still have a choice whether or not to fill in that little bubble with our number two pencils. So the answer to the question, "Do you think this is a violation of your civil liberties?" is no.

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  4. I believe that asking to state your ethnicity is not violating your civil liberties because now a days everyone is and should be treated and looked at equal. If you look at these college applications, stating your ethnicity is completely optional. I can see why people may get offended when they see this, but it should not effect on if you will get admitted or not. People should not feel that they will be looked at differently and their opportunities will be shot because they are ethnically different. Everyone today should, if not must have the equal opportunities in education and in the workplace. Plus, colleges only use the ethnic count as statistics on how many people of a race is attending that particular school.

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  5. I do not think submitting a person's race is violating a that person's civil liberties. It clearly state's that in the new version of the regulation, that submitting one's race is optional in high education such as college. According to the department of education, "This guidance provides educational institutions and other recipients of grants and contracts from the Department with clear and straightforward instructions for their collection and reporting of racial and ethnic data." http://www2.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/other/2007-4/101907c.html
    The collection of races is more of a way to keep track of the diversity in schools and other groups of people. I don't see how one can feel exposed to having let their race be seen by employers or schools. Schools and employers can't discriminate based on race, like n the case of Gonzalez vs. Abercrombie and Fitch, A&F weren't allowed to higher people based on gender or discriminate against them by not highering them. A settlement was reached that stated, "The settlement requires the retail clothing giant to pay $50 million, less attorneys' fees and costs, to Latino, African American, Asian American and female applicants and employees who charged the company with discrimination. The settlement also requires the company to institute a range of policies and programs to promote diversity among its workforce and to prevent discrimination based on race or gender. " http://www.afjustice.com/
    There would be no reason to be hesitant to add one's race to an application because there can't be any discrimination. According to graphs in chapter 21, it shows an increase in minority races particularly and i think that the government wasn't to keep track of the different levels of diversity, as well as the number of increases in the minority groups. To conclude, stating one's race on an application is optional and there shouldn't be any fear in stating it.

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  6. I don't think it is a violation of civil liberty if ethnic identification is optional. They are probably just gathering demographic data. However, if it were required and if schools used this information as a major part of their decision making process on whether you were accepted into that college or not, I would consider that a violation of civil liberties. Plus diversity is important because "African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and the like bring different perspectives and opinions to the seminar table, so an important value internal to the university warrants efforts to recruit faculty and students from those groups" (http://www.abanet.org/publiced/focus/spr98collad.html).

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  7. Simply providing self identification under certain racial circumstances is not a violation of civil liberties. Because the application process leaves it as optional, people can choose whether or not they want to provide the information. The colleges guarantee that they will not overlook any part of an application simply because of race, they need the information for demographic statistics. They want to see who is attending college, and who should be attending college. They make us provide this information in oder to help the overall education of the united states.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UC_system

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  8. How at all does the option to identify your ethnicity violate your civil rights? That makes no sense to me at all. All races are equal, and no college will base your admission on your race, and if you are worried they will just don’t state what your ethnicity is. Simple. The only reason why they ask your ethnicity in the first place is to keep a record of the different backgrounds people come from and so they can determine how ethnically diverse an institution is or not. One’s civil rights are not violated if they have the option on whether or not they would like to comply with what is being questioned as violation of their civil rights.

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  9. I believe that identifying your race on a college application is in fact a violation of ones civil rights. In Regents of University of California v. Bakker, Bakker was not admitted to UC Davis for their medical program based on his ethnicity. They claimed to have set up this program, leaving 16 out of the 100 seats to people not of white ethnicity. This is an example of reverse discrimination, and it is not fair to the civil rights of all of the people. The Medical program should have only based admission based on who is most qualified for the seat, white or any other race. They should have opened it up for a "free-for-all", meaning that they would only be admitted if they were the most qualified for the seat. This should apply for every college across the United States. The only thing that they should base admission on is qualification. Ethnicity does not tie into this, as it is not proven that one race is "more intelligent" than the other. Also by stating your ethnicity, you are opening up a door to discrimination, whether you know it or not.

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  10. I believe that an option to identify your ethnicity has nothing what so ever violate your civil rights. To believe that colleges identify a individual by the color of their skin is racial profiling which to me is a issue in a society we should not be living in today. But giving an option to but your ethnic background is not invading your civil rights. The reason why colleges have you put your ethnicity is to show the assorted groups of people who go to their school. But having the option to show your ethnic background is invading your civil rights.

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  11. I don't think identifying your ethnicity is a violation of civil liberties, especially since it's optional. If it's optional why would you feel that it is violating your civil rights or liberties? That makes no sense. People of many different races and ethnicities get into the college they want and it's because of their grades, gpa, and what they have done for their community not because of what ethnic background you come from.

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  12. I think that it is not a violation of civil liberties, considering the fact that in most cases this information is optional to provide. The only way I would see it as a violation is if they publish information about yourself that you take offense to, and I don't quite see ethnicity being one of these cases. The opponents of this process generally view it as somewhat of an invasion of their privacy, and also somewhat of a stereotype urger. The graphs in Chapter 21 and provided anywhere, not only provide information but also at the same time allows people to see which ethnicities are rising in population, salaries, college statistics, etc. Thus this gives people the wrong idea about certain races and whatnot. However, setting aside the ignorance that fuels this idiocy (excuse me for the tone), I definitely do not see this as a violation of our civil or any given rights, providing that it stays optional.

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  13. I think asking a person's race/ethnicity on a college application is not a violation of one's civil liberties. I believe this because they are just trying to get a consensus of the population of students or to see who is applying. It's not harming anyone by simply asking especially when it is optional to state your race or ethnicity. It is just a simple question to see if the students qualify for any special benefits.

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  14. I feel that questioning a students ethnicity or race is not a violation because it's basically part of your background, and most schools ask you about your ethnicity. Although it is a little bit of a violation to one's civil liberties, I feel this way because some racial acts that have happened in history before caused certain races or ethnicity to get educated on different levels. I do believe that they should explain why they want or need to know a student race or ethnicity, so the student will not feel that they are going to be treated differently and so on.

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