I see everyone going off on either Libertarian or Leftist rants here... but it's not quite that simple.
First, my son is black, I'm white... so I have a vested interest in both races succeeding :-) So that's full disclosure I guess...
First, the reason for affirmative action is often argued as a way to help "the disadvantaged" Well, this is just flat out wrong. Diversity in a school, or anywhere for that matter, doesn't aid the minority students all that much. Yea, sure, they would have gotten in where maybe they otherwise couldn't, but does that really help them? Do get into a school they weren't qualified for? Diversity helps the SCHOOL and the students of the majority. If you went to an all white school, how well prepared do you think you would be for the modern working world? Diversity gives the school and the students have a broader view of the world. Marketing students gets more experience with other races and cultures. Programers learn how to communicate with people that might not speak English that well. (I just got out of a metting where my 60yr old co-worker was completely lost because the guy leading the meeting was teleconferencing from India. I didn't have a problem.) Engineering students learn new techniques from people that may have had different experiences.
With regard to my son, it's really hard to find good role models for him. Yes, there are plenty of great African American Scientists form throughout history. But they are not held in that high of a regard by the African American community. I get to go to "African American Parents groups" and I see it there. It's kind of weird that an the majority of a communities basis for success is related to professional athletes. It's something I had not anticipating as being that big of a problem, but I can really see it now that I have a son that's black. Obama, though I disagree with almost all of his policies, has been a huge boon in that regard. I can point to him and say "See? The most important person in the free world looks like you!" and yes, that is something he's asked about. I think the only real problem he has now is he wishes he had strait hair because he wants to have more than 3 options (shaved, Mohawk or Afro) when he goes to the barber.
So the question is: Should the schools garner this diversity benefit at the expense of white kids? I say no. And again, I think the arguments been reversed. It's not a dis-service to the white students. They'll get a degree from somewhere. But what does this do to the minority community? I don't want my son to EVER think he deserves something because of the color of his skin, or some injustice that happened to his ancestors. I want him to know that when he succeeds that it was on his own merits. Granted, my son will never be in poverty while I'm around (providing the job market doesn't crash) but I'd say that if poverty is your concern you should address that directly. Donate to charities that help with school and give scholarships. A scholarship can be race based, I have no problem with that. But don't you ever tell my son he's less of a person because of his ancestry and needs the states help to get into college.