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Affirmative Action in the US: is it still needed?

 
 
Reply Mon 24 Sep, 2012 07:42 am
Affirmative Action in the US: is it still needed? Or is it politically, culturally, occupationally, educationally obsolete?

NON-USers? Do you have or did your country ever have an equal governmental or institutional policy?


A little context to help remind people what it is:
Quote:
affirmative action

noun
the encouragement of increased representation of women and minority-group members, especially in employment [and education].

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/affirmative+action?s=t
3 views on whether US still needs affirmative action
http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/One-Minute-Debate/2012/0917/3-views-on-whether-US-still-needs-affirmative-action/Yes-We-can-t-have-race-neutral-hiring-and-admissions-because-society-isn-t-race-neutral
 
engineer
 
  4  
Reply Mon 24 Sep, 2012 07:57 am
@tsarstepan,
Yes. In my industry, we would hire pretty much all white males if it weren't for affirmative action type goals. If you'd asked me this fifteen years ago before I'd seen the system in action, I'd have given the opposite response. There are several reasons why white males are in most leadership positions and while I don't think there is active discrimination around here, people like to hire people like themselves. Hiring goals make people think outside the box. From the article you posted:

Quote:
Proponents of racial preferences in university admissions claim they are justified because of the "educational benefits" of "diversity."

They may claim that as a small side benefit, but the large need is to counter a natural bias towards the majority.

Quote:
Racial discrimination is unfair to applicants, compromises on quality for the institutions and people they serve, is divisive, and violates the Constitution and civil rights laws. The civil rights movement's great accomplishment was to spotlight the evil of stereotyping according to race. In a society as diverse as ours, the only tenable system is one that treats everyone as an individual.

Exactly, but this argument is being used to support continued preference for the majority instead of evening the playing field for everyone. Going to a race neutral admissions policy will automatically start to favor the majority.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Mon 24 Sep, 2012 08:00 am
@tsarstepan,
tsarstepan wrote:
Affirmative Action in the US: is it still needed?

I think affirmative action has never been needed in the first place. It's just another form of discrimination, period. If you want to raise up classes of people who have previously been discriminated against, enact progressive tax rates, make education cheaper for everyone, and support schools in low-income neighborhoods. That way you support all disadvantaged people without any favoritism towards any particular, formerly-disadvantaged group. The remedy for discrimination you don't like isn't discrimination you do like; it's to end discrimination altogether. In my view, that includes ending affirmative action.

tsarstepan wrote:
NON-USers? Do you have or did your country ever have an equal governmental or institutional policy?

Germany does not have affirmative action. (Not yet, anyway. They're talking about quota for women on the boards of large German corporations.) Germany does have free college education for everyone who qualifies on their strength as a student. And all K-12 schools are paid out of the same piggy-bank within the state budget. This short-cuts the vicious cycle where poor neighborhoods have bad schools, graduates from bad schools have trouble getting into good colleges, non-poor people move to the richest neighborhood they can afford so their children get a good education, and housing segregation begets educational segregation and vice versa. In my view, the results argue for the German way and against the American way.
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 24 Sep, 2012 10:49 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
If you want to raise up classes of people who have previously been discriminated against, enact progressive tax rates, make education cheaper for everyone, and support schools in low-income neighborhoods.

And do you think by doing so you make black people white?

Thomas wrote:
Germany does not have affirmative action.

Sure about that? France certainly does.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Sep, 2012 10:59 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
Germany does not have affirmative action.

<snip>

This short-cuts the vicious cycle where poor neighborhoods have bad schools, graduates from bad schools have trouble getting into good colleges, non-poor people move to the richest neighborhood they can afford so their children get a good education, and housing segregation begets educational segregation and vice versa. In my view, the results argue for the German way and against the American way.


perhaps Germany could try a little harder to apply the German way

Quote:
We expect that the underlying conditions, procedures, and tools of our educational system will be examined and readjusted to determine what they can contribute to the creation of educational equality for this minority.


http://www.stiftung-evz.de/w/files/roma/engl-studie.pdf

~~~


In theory the German way, as you have described it, sounds wonderful. Full implementation and measurable, positive, results would be even better.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Sep, 2012 11:01 am
@tsarstepan,
tsarstepan wrote:
NON-USers? Do you have or did your country ever have an equal governmental or institutional policy


yes, and we need it (primarily around resources for the Innu/Metis/native population)
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Sep, 2012 01:58 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
And do you think by doing so you make black people white?

No I don't. Is that the objective of affirmative action?

joefromchicago wrote:
Thomas wrote:
Germany does not have affirmative action.

Sure about that? France certainly does.

Pretty sure, yes. Political parties have quotas for women, but this is by party-internal decision, not by law. And if there is anything like those quota in university admissions, employment law, etc., I've been living in Germany for 35 years without knowing of them. Since I'm not omniscient, this is possible. But I consider it extremely unlikely.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Sep, 2012 02:00 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:
perhaps Germany could try a little harder to apply the German way

That's always possible --- for the German way as for any other.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 24 Sep, 2012 02:56 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

joefromchicago wrote:
And do you think by doing so you make black people white?

No I don't. Is that the objective of affirmative action?

Turning people different colors? No, that's not an object of affirmative action, but racial animus is certainly a motivating force behind a lot of discrimination in this country, and remedies that focus solely on economic disparities in society, such as those that you listed, do nothing to address racial discrimination.

You can give as many educational and economic opportunities to black people as you want. That might make them smarter and richer, but it doesn't make them any less black.
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Mon 24 Sep, 2012 03:00 pm
@Thomas,
Germany is way ahead in many ways including apprenticeship programs. Germany also brought education to the US.

Equal education and opportunities are the only solution. Affirmative action programs have outlived their usefulness some decades ago.

I would also add that women's wages have always been lower then men's; a true discriminatory practice in this country.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Mon 24 Sep, 2012 06:53 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
[R]acial animus is certainly a motivating force behind a lot of discrimination in this country, and remedies that focus solely on economic disparities in society, such as those that you listed, do nothing to address racial discrimination.

Fair enough. I have nothing against regulations for color-blind admission processes at universities etc.. By all means, remove all racially-revealing information from applications, audition musicians behind opaque curtains, and all that.

But Affirmative Action goes beyond that by enacting quotas and preferences. And that's what I'm against. After a color-blind evaluation of college-application paperwork, colleges should be admitting disproportionately more Purple applicants if the evaluation reveals that the average Turquoise applicant's SAT-scores, essays, etc, have a lower quality than those of the average Purple applicant. To be sure, such an outcome would supply evidence of anti-Turquoise discrimination in K-12 schooling. It should encourage the State to address the problem in its K-12 schooling policy. But it should not, in my view, encourage colleges to admit inferior applicants just because they belong to the Turquoise race.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Tue 25 Sep, 2012 12:56 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

Thomas wrote:
Germany does not have affirmative action.

Sure about that? France certainly does.
Indeed, we 'only' have a kind of affirmative action re women.
And as far as I know and followed the news, in France the main operational criterion for identifying the beneficiaries of affirmative action is not race, but place, where you live. (= Residents of an area designated as economically disadvantaged will indirectly benefit from the additional input of financial resources allocated by state agencies to that area as a whole.)
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Tue 25 Sep, 2012 08:46 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
But Affirmative Action goes beyond that by enacting quotas and preferences.

When someone mentions quotas in connection with affirmative action, it's a clear sign that the person doesn't have a firm grasp of the matter -- at least as it's practiced in the US. Quotas have been outlawed since the Supreme Court's decision in Regents v. Bakke in 1978. That, therefore, is a non-issue.

Thomas wrote:
After a color-blind evaluation of college-application paperwork, colleges should be admitting disproportionately more Purple applicants if the evaluation reveals that the average Turquoise applicant's SAT-scores, essays, etc, have a lower quality than those of the average Purple applicant.

Who decides what constitutes "low quality" or "high quality?" An SAT score isn't a measure of "quality," it's a somewhat dubious prediction of how well a student will perform in college. Essays and recommendations are even less reliable.

Thomas wrote:
To be sure, such an outcome would supply evidence of anti-Turquoise discrimination in K-12 schooling. It should encourage the State to address the problem in its K-12 schooling policy. But it should not, in my view, encourage colleges to admit inferior applicants just because they belong to the Turquoise race.

Suppose all of the officers in a city's police department are white. No minority officers have ever been accepted into the department because none has ever passed the entrance exam for the police academy. Yet the city has a sizable minority population. Minority neighborhoods are disproportionately affected by violent crime, yet the minority populations of those neighborhoods distrust the police and refuse to give them assistance because there are no minority officers. You are the mayor of that city, and you're asked to approve next year's police academy entrance exam. It's similar to the previous ones, and based on past experience, you can expect that no minority candidate will pass next year's exam either. Do you keep the exam, or do you try to find ways to recruit minority officers, even if those candidates would otherwise be rejected because of the exam?
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Sep, 2012 09:06 am
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:

Equal education and opportunities are the only solution. Affirmative action programs have outlived their usefulness some decades ago.


how do you reconcile these two sentences?
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Sep, 2012 09:09 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
After a color-blind evaluation of college-application paperwork, colleges should be admitting disproportionately more Purple applicants if the evaluation reveals that the average Turquoise applicant's SAT-scores, essays, etc, have a lower quality than those of the average Purple applicant.


how do you propose that colour/gender/race-blind evaluation be done? the existing system of testing is not neutral. it's got bias built right into it.
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Tue 25 Sep, 2012 09:22 am
@ehBeth,
I remember reading about the problems caused by the tests written by white educators several decades ago, but with the integration of schools, I'm not sure that's much cause for concern today. As a matter of fact, many "new" immigrants from Asia do better on those tests than American born kids.

I think it's called "studying."
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Sep, 2012 09:33 am
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:
but with the integration of schools, I'm not sure that's much cause for concern today.


you might want to look into that

start here

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-08-25-SAT-scores_N.htm

http://www.jbhe.com/features/49_college_admissions-test.html

http://theunsilencedscience.blogspot.com/2012/04/racial-amplitudes-of-scholastic.html

http://www.sq.4mg.com/IQincome.htm


it appears the gap has been getting bigger, not smaller, for about the past 15 - 20 years
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Sep, 2012 09:36 am
@ehBeth,
That's the reason why I concluded my post with "It's called studying."
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Sep, 2012 09:38 am
@cicerone imposter,
You clearly didn't read the research or any of the summaries.

Didn't do your research eh.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Sep, 2012 09:43 am
@ehBeth,
I don't give much credence to "income" to determine success in school. Many people I know including my own family came from very modest backgrounds.

Most of us worked ourselves through college, and were relatively successful in our careers. Our children are all college educated with professional careers.

That's the success story of this country, and that's the reason why more people want to immigrate to the US.
 

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