10/11/2012 02:08 pm ET Updated Dec 11, 2012

Reflecting On Affirmative Action And Academic Mismatch

By: Youth Radio

Supreme Court justices heard arguments yesterday in a case on affirmative action -- a case that may upset the 2003 ruling of Grutter v. Bollinger, which determed race-based practices can be used in college admissions.

The New York Times published an article that highlighted the importance of diverse college classrooms. Reporters observed the diverse perspectives that students of different ethnicities brought to a discussion about democracy.

A reader responded in a comment saying universities cannot assume that every black student will bring “the black perspective” to a discussion. The reader pointed to an article in the Atlantic that explains the concept of “academic mismatch” --  a student is placed in an environment that is too academically challenging for them and they feel out of place.

According to the Atlantic, the University of Texas currently uses racial preference to create a diverse population of students. “The typical black student receiving a race preference placed at the 52nd percentile of the SAT; the typical white was at the 89th percentile. In other words, Texas is putting blacks who score at the middle of the college-aspiring population in the midst of highly competitive students.”

Youth Radio’s Joshua Clayton, 20, reflected on the question of affirmative action. He can relate to feeling academically mismatched, but also values diversity.


Being in a diverse school is very important because students need to know about different races and religions that school can't and won't teach. The billions of things a white person can teach a Chinese person, and a Chinese person can teach a Mexican person -- everybody's different and you can’t learn everything from a book.

You can put me in an all black school, but if I feel like the dumbest black person, I don't want to be there. I want to be where I can get my work done, and not feel overworked, but feel like I’m equal. Put me on the same page as my peers, but that shouldn't mean all black peers.

Spending two to four years with just my own race is damaging to my mind. How do you expect me to fit in with the world if all I'm programmed to deal with is black people?


Originally published on, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.

Youth Radio/Youth Media International (YMI) is youth-driven converged media production company that delivers the best youth news, culture and undiscovered talent to a cross section of audiences. To read more youth news from around the globe and explore high quality audio and video features, visit