Those Who Got in the Door: The University of California-Berkeley's Affirmative Action Success Story

By Carroll, Grace; Tyson, Karolyn et al. | The Journal of Negro Education, Winter 2000 | Go to article overview

Those Who Got in the Door: The University of California-Berkeley's Affirmative Action Success Story


Carroll, Grace, Tyson, Karolyn, Lumas, Bernadette, The Journal of Negro Education


Presumptions of a level playing field in higher education suggest that affirmative action is passe, yet students of color continue to face situations with which other students do not have to contend. Though many persist and excel in college and become successful contributors to society, affirmative action's dismantlement makes these feats more daunting. This article examines data from UC-Berkeley alumni of color who considered themselves "affirmative action students." It discusses themes generated from interviews focusing on their academic experiences, factors that contributed to or impeded their success, and their perceptions of affirmative action's impact. The consensus: affirmative action works, while its eradication depletes the ethnic richness and "voice" of campus communities, their knowledge bases, and their sense of reality.

In 1997, the Board of Regents of the University of California (UC), led by Regent Ward Connerly, stepped up its efforts to dismantle affirmative action throughout the state's higher education system by their support of SP-1 and SP-2, two resolutions that Connerly had presented to the Board in July 1995. SP-1, which effectively halted affirmative action in admissions, called for the adoption of a policy ensuring "equal treatment" in admissions decisions-that is, it proffered that neither race nor ethnicity were to be considered. SP-2 called for the adoption of similar policy ensuring equal treatment in UC employment and contracting, which had the same impact on affirmative action in that regard. Both resolutions were passed. Both challenged the UC system's traditional support for affirmative action in its admissions and hiring practices. These actions, coupled with the passage of Proposition 209 in 1998, have succeeded in deflating the numbers of underrepresented students-particularly African American, Latino/Chicano, and Native American students-who will have the opportunity to attend the UC campus in Berkeley (UCB).1 The majority of voters in California and the majority of the Regents accepted the arguments that the need for affirmative action no longer exists, presumably because the playing field has been leveled and race is no longer a barrier to success. However, these arguments fail to reflect the reality of most underrepresented minority students and families, nor are the arguments empirically valid. The attack on affirmative action has had an enduring and negative impact on the numbers of underrepresented minority students admitted to the UC system and the University of California-Berkeley in particular.

FACTORS DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTING UNDERREPRESENTED MINORITY STUDENTS

Racial Profiling and Societal Stereotypes

Many minority adolescents, by virtue of their race, are faced with challenges with which other students do not have to contend. Racial profiling is a good case in point, for although poor, inner-city Black and Brown teens are more likely than their middle-class and White peers to be targeted for surveillance, stop, and search by law enforcement officials, media reports generally confirm that Blacks and Latinos from all socioeconomic backgrounds are subject to these practices. This is a reality of which many middle-class African American parents of teenage children, especially male teenagers, are all too aware. Increasing numbers of African American parents have had "the talk" with their children, instructing them on what to do if and when they are stopped by the police (Taylor, 1999).

Racial profiling, although in the public mind largely associated with law enforcement, is also common in retail stores across the nation. Many Black teens have experienced being followed or otherwise placed under surveillance as they shopped in neighborhood or department stores. In concert with other negative social perceptions of Blacks and other minorities (e.g., that they are lazy and/or possess inferior intellectual ability), at some level these students must fight internally against damaging stereotypes in order to maintain a positive sense of self and perspective on life. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Those Who Got in the Door: The University of California-Berkeley's Affirmative Action Success Story
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.