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Hui Wang
Professor Landrus
ENGL101X
9 November 2015

Affirmative Action Is Racial Discrimination


Have you ever questioned universities affirmative action policies? Clarence Thomas, an
associate justice of the Supreme Court and the second African American serving on the court, has
questioned the policies. In his article, Affirmative Action Is Racial Discrimination Thomas
asserts that colleges use of race in admissions decisions is definitely prohibited by the Equal
Protection Clause. Thomas utilizes organized rhetorical strategies to persuade a reader to feel his
opposition to race-based college admission policies. He supports his argument by using logos,
presenting various facts and statistics in the article. He also builds up his credibility by providing
his personal experience and professional conclusion in the race-conscious college admissions
cases. In addition, Thomas establishes his supporting paragraphs by using emotional appeals in
order to deeply convince readers that affirmative action in college admissions is racial
discrimination.
Before analyzing how Thomas uses rhetorical strategies through his piece, it is crucial to
understand the situation of the article. Before he wrote this paper, Thomas joined the Fisher v.
Texas case, agreeing that the Court of Appeals did not apply strict scrutiny to the University of
Texas at Austin's use of racial discrimination in admissions decisions. With this standard, after
reviewing the past case of Grutter v. Bollinger, which was upheld by the Court that the colleges
are allowed to consider race in admissions, Thomas wrote this article separately in the purpose of
overruling the Courts decision and analyzing why affirmative action is indeed racial

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discrimination. Although the audience can be every individuals, as the writer explains his
argument more thoroughly, the author actually targets these people: supporters of race-conscious
college admissions, educational boards, and policy makers.
Thomas opens his argument by discussing the Equal Protection Clause, stating that racial
consideration violates the Fourteenth Amendment which guarantees every person the right to be
treated equally. He uses the Amendment as a persuasive evidence to support his idea that
colleges should not consider race in admissions. The author points out that the race-based college
admission is obviously racial classification because colleges take race into account for their
admissions. Thus, under strict scrutiny, all racial classification should be categorically banned. In
Thomas opening paragraph, he gives his targeted audience an objective reason that why college
affirmative action should be denied. Starting the article by applying logical reason is a good way
to demonstrate the writers opinion. It also helps readers to understand the issue immediately.
The author also uses ethos in the following paragraph to reject that the benefits of
diversity in colleges are compelling. Based on Thomas professional experience as an associate
justice of the Court, he concludes that The putative educational benefits of student body
diversity cannot justify racial discrimination (Thomas). This conclusion directly opposes the
educational boards that have compelling interests in attaining a diverse student body. Moreover,
Thomas uses his knowledge to reject universities assertion that the diversity obtained through
its discriminatory admissions program prepares its students to become leaders in a diverse
society (Thomas). He points out that both segregated and mixed schools produce good leaders.
Therefore, the writer makes his audience understand that the University's racial discrimination
cannot be justified on the ground that it will produce better leaders and diverse campuses.

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In order to address the exigence of the issue, Thomas uses various facts and data to
illustrate why affirmative action is not necessary to be applied to college admissions. He points
out the fact that the Universitys discrimination does not increase the number of black and
Hispanics who have access to a college education generally (Thomas). This shows that the main
purpose of affirmative action admissions does not actually work. The data reveals that there is a
gap of grades between minority students and majority students. By reviewing the data presented
by Thomas, readers can see that the SAT score of white and Asian students are about 400 more
points than that of black and Hispanic students. However, neither the University nor any of the
73 amici briefs in support of racial discrimination has presented a shred of evidence that black
and Hispanic students are able to close this substantial gap during their time at the University
(Thomas). The writer uses facts to establish the problem that the race-based college admissions
exists in colleges for decades but does not actually change the situation of minority students.
Thomas also applies emotional appeals to his article when he discusses the argument.
In Davis v. School Bd. of Prince Edward Cty, the school board argued that if the Court found
segregation unconstitutional, white students would migrate to private schools, funding for public
schools would decrease (Thomas). The author teases this argument by saying it is a sky-isfalling argument. Using such an interesting term not only reflects the authors attitude, but also
applies an emotional expression to the article that can attract the attention of readers. He then
asserts that segregation violates the Equal Protection Clause no matter what. Whats more,
Thomas brings about the feelings of white and Asian applicants who are denied by colleges due
to their race. He states that the overmatched students are actually harmed under the raceconscious college admissions. In these cases, Thomas well organized his argument by using
pathos. Utilizing pathos allows the author to persuade readers who have the same situation, and

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shows to the targeted audience that the affirmative action policies do cause negative
consequence.
Overall, Thomas uses strong rhetorical strategies to write and organize his article in order
to convince readers to comprehend that college affirmative action should be prohibited. He uses
logos, pathos and ethos to illustrate his opposition to the race-conscious college admissions
under affirmative action. By using logos, the author convinces readers to understand the issue
based on logic thinking. Ethos is used to build credibility so that readers can trust the authors
argument through the article. Finally, appeals to pathos form an emotional connection between
readers and the problem and make readers go through the issue more easily.