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Is affirmative action REALLY fair?

 
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2004 08:29 pm
As I recall, I have never found it necessary to disagree with Rosborne on any topic, but at last I do, particularly her statement that:
"By supporting AA, you are essentially saying that government should compensate selected groups for past indescretions and current cultural imbalances."
This is not simply about "past indescretions" and "current cultural imbalences." It is about past brutalities and imbalences in the distribution of economic and political justice.
Nevertheless, let me answer the question of the thread--is affirmative action REALLY fair? Of course at one level it is unfair; it is a process of reverse unfairness (usually attacked as "reverse discrimination"). At another level, it is a form of reparative unfairness, which is,in the larger picture, ultimately, if painfully, FAIR.
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2004 08:44 pm
JLNobody wrote:
As I recall, I have never found it necessary to disagree with Rosborne on any topic, but at last I do, particularly her statement that:


(note: I'm a he)

JLNobody wrote:
"By supporting AA, you are essentially saying that government should compensate selected groups for past indescretions and current cultural imbalances." This is not simply about "past indescretions" and "current cultural imbalences." It is about past brutalities and imbalences in the distribution of economic and political justice.


Hi JL, you have altered my statement quantitatively, but not qualitatively. If this is all that you object to, then it seems that we may be in agreement, except to a matter of degree.

You continue by confirming that AA is a process of reverse unfairness, a definition of which I agree.

JLNobody wrote:
Nevertheless, let me answer the question of the thread--is affirmative action REALLY fair? Of course at one level it is unfair; it is a process of reverse unfairness (usually attacked as "reverse discrimination"). At another level, it is a form of reparative unfairness, which is,in the larger picture, ultimately, if painfully, FAIR.


But I would argue that the reversal is one of historic and cultural unfairness, not a reversal of any official systems which are in place now. As such, given that there are no official system in place which induce an imbalance of opportunity, the only thing you can be compensating for is either historic, or ingrained cultural biases. Historic references aside, if all you are doing is countering cultural biases, then you are simply trying to selectively legislate a forced change in culture. And this is not what government is charged to do (in this country).
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2004 08:53 pm
Dear Sir:
I do not see that this issue is at all about culture. How did you put it?
"if all you are doing is countering cultural biases, then you are simply trying to selectively legislate a forced change in culture. And this is not what government is charged to do (in this country)."
This issue, as I see it, is about countering the unfair biases exercised by dominant classes and ethnic groups against class and ethnic underdogs.








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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2004 08:59 pm
JLNobody wrote:
This issue, as I see it, is about countering the unfair biases exercised by dominant classes and ethnic groups against class and ethnic underdogs.


Ok.

Do you believe that this is the job of the government, in particular, the US government?

Best Regards,
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JustanObserver
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2004 09:15 pm
I can't believe some of the things I'm reading here.

Let me put it this way:

You have two people in a race. You give one person a MASSIVE head start. Then you let the other person begin. Obviously, the first person winds up WAAAAAY ahead of the second.

At one point, everyone watching says "Hey, it's not right that person was able to start so far ahead of the other"! So, now what do you do?

Do you find a way to make it more fair?
Or do you just say "Well, from THIS point on, we'll just make sure the second guy gets treated fairly"?

I'm with the first option. And for those of you who (amazingly) might still not get my point, the first person represents whites. The second person represents blacks/women.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2004 09:18 pm
Rosborne, you ask if this is the function of government. Why not? The Government is OUR government. If we want justice, fairness and equal protection to be enforced how else do we achileve that goal? Your question could also be applied to all kinds of situations of unfairness and injustice. I don't think your are an anarchist (I base this assumption on past statements you've made). I should ask, what are the proper functions of government? Should it only be used to defend against foreign invasion, internal revolution and the protection of property?
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Portal Star
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2004 09:28 pm
JustanObserver wrote:
I can't believe some of the things I'm reading here.

Let me put it this way:

You have two people in a race. You give one person a MASSIVE head start. Then you let the other person begin. Obviously, the first person winds up WAAAAAY ahead of the second.

At one point, everyone watching says "Hey, it's not right that person was able to start so far ahead of the other"! So, now what do you do?

Do you find a way to make it more fair?
Or do you just say "Well, from THIS point on, we'll just make sure the second guy gets treated fairly"?

I'm with the first option. And for those of you who (amazingly) might still not get my point, the first person represents whites. The second person represents blacks/women.


If your scenario were the case we'd be giving special help to people with low incomes and low education levels. They are the people who are behind, regardless of race.

JLN, it's never equal protection when the law is applied differently in the case of different people.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2004 09:33 pm
Only government can make corrective action - not necessarily AA, but to ensure equal opportunity in all facets of education and jobs. If we leave it to the majority, no matter which culture, inequality will happen. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Jul, 2004 10:50 pm
Exactly, C.I., if we left matters of justice to the majority, we would end up with a tyranny of the majority. Our Constitution has as one of its major functions the protection of minority rights. And it's the job of Government to see to it. I don't see many minority individuals finding fault with that, only (some) majority individuals do.
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 07:48 am
C.I.
I guess flooding is too harsh a word. However, south Fla. has a very large population of Haitian immigrants, I guess both legal and illegal. NY and the East coast has very large populations of Caribbean blacks. My argument is not whether these people should be able to immigrate to the US or be treated any differently than any other immigrant. My argument is why they should be afforded special treatment only because of their race. The pretext of past discrimination by the US or US citizens does not fit. As for Hispanics, only a Hispanic surname is required. The criteria for their participation completely escapes me.
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CarbonSystem
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 08:58 am
I agree with AU wholeheartedly on this. Is it just me or does it seem like in about 150 years the whites will be getting reperations for being treated unfairly now? Yes, i know about that nagging fact about twice as many whites in the work force and women get paid less, and im not saying that is right, but since when does a double-standard promote equality? It doesn't. AA is a complete joke, and the only people laughing are the ones who have lower scores but got in none the less. Exactly ZERO of my ancestors were slave owners or ran a plantation, in fact, they were certainly discriminated against when they immigrated to the US from Germany and Malta. So I will be punished for the past acts of my skin color. Now that is certainly not fair. If AA cannot figure out how to draw the line on who was mistreated and who did the mistreating then it should exist at all, too many people undeservingly get a free pass, and too many others are brought down for other peoples sins.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 09:01 am
In any discussion regarding affirmative action, the notions of "fairness" and "discrimination" are frequently employed without any grasp of their meaning in this particular context. Yet "fairness" and "discrimination" lie at the heart of this topic. So I'll throw this question out to anyone who desires to respond, in an effort to see if we can reach a consensus understanding of these concepts.

Suppose a college has two applicants for the incoming freshman class, but only one open spot available. In all substantive respects, the two applicants are identical, except that one is white and the other black. Would it be "fair" if the college, in this situation, used race as a "tie-breaker" and gave the open spot to the black applicant, or should it use some other method for deciding which one is accepted? And if the college chooses the black applicant, based upon its decision to employ this "tie-breaker," did it "discriminate" against the white applicant?
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 09:03 am
au, You must have missed my argument against AA. I'm not advocating for preferential treatment of minorities at all; only equal opportunities for all.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 09:22 am
CarbonSystem: You're a newbie here, so I'll cut you some slack. But you'll find that, in these forums, it is customary to respond to questions that are specifically directed to you. Failing to respond to questions not only indicates that you are unwilling to engage in a fair discussion, but it is a sign of disrespect for the other participants. For myself, I can say that, as a rule, I tend to ignore people who ignore me, and I think that's the case with a lot of other people here.

In that regard, please respond to the question that I posed in this post.
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CarbonSystem
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 09:38 am
Sorry joe, i was just up from the computer for about 20 minutes, this is the first time ive read your post so i had no chance to respond. Anyways, I do believe that race should not be used as a tiebreaker. Instead, something that would have given both parties an equal opportunity from the start. Maybe a tie breaker that is relevent to the comptetition would be more appropriate.
and once again im sorry for not responding faster, no disrespect intended.
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CarbonSystem
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 09:42 am
This situation was theoretical, the white male has the proper grades and such to deserve a full ride, yet someone with a much less impressive resume gets a full ride, that is what was intended.
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CarbonSystem
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 09:42 am
and yes, yuoure right, i am new to this forum so im still getting used to it, i hope i answered your question
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au1929
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 09:49 am
joefromchicago
Joe that is a question that can only be answered by a Solomon. I say cut the baby in half.
I doubt however that a situation such as that can in reality exist. Exactly equal! If it did I would look into the background of the applicants. Color alone should never be the deciding feature.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 10:01 am
CarbonSystem: Thanks for the reply.

CarbonSystem wrote:
Anyways, I do believe that race should not be used as a tiebreaker. Instead, something that would have given both parties an equal opportunity from the start. Maybe a tie breaker that is relevent to the comptetition would be more appropriate.

Well, what sort of tie-breaker would you recommend? We have two applicants, both of whom are qualified, both of whom are attempting to fill a single position. Would it be more fair just to decide the issue by flipping a coin?
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 10:02 am
I was going to suggest just that . . . got a quarter on ya, Boss?
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