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Is affirmative action REALLY fair?

 
 
mchol
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 10:03 am
All I have to say is that AA is the weight that brings some balance to a scale that is tipping in favor of whites. I believe that in the future asians, blacks, hispanics, we will all have our place. Sure there are a lot of dumb a$$ black people, but you know what? I know just as many dumb a$$ asian and dumb a$$ white people!
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 10:06 am
au1929 wrote:
Joe that is a question that can only be answered by a Solomon. I say cut the baby in half.

Give half-educations to each? That's not an option.

au1929 wrote:
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.

Well, I don't think it's so unlikely. Let's say that the college takes the following items into consideration: SAT scores; high school GPA; extracurricular activities; letters of recommendation; and personal essays. Surely we could imagine a situation where two candidates have identical SATs and GPAs, and that the subjective factors are deemed to be roughly equivalent.

So, in that situation, why shouldn't minority status be used as the deciding factor?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 10:08 am
Setanta wrote:
I was going to suggest just that . . . got a quarter on ya, Boss?

I'll give you the same response I give to anyone asking me for spare change:

Get a job!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 10:10 am
I had one once, but it continually cut into my quality time with myself, so i had to give it up.
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 10:11 am
JLNobody wrote:
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?


Hi JL,

Despite the fact that you want the government to take on the role of selective discrimination, nowhere in our constitution does it even imply that this is the role of government. To the contrary, the government is supposed to oppose discrimination in all forms. AA is practically unconstitutional.

And even if we could agree that the government *should* take on the role of selective discrimination judge, who in the government is qualified to make these judgements? What process will we put in place to quantify which groups/people get special dispensation? Such a system is undefinable, and has no backing in the constitution. How can you, or anyone, possibly make a system of selective judgement work equitably?

There is a natural system in place which will eventually level the playing field without any government intervention, other than to prevent legislated discrimination. We just need to give this process time. The process is competition, and I will give an example of it in response to JoeFromChicago's post earlier in this thread.

Best Regards,
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 10:13 am
mchol wrote:
All I have to say is that AA is the weight that brings some balance to a scale that is tipping in favor of whites. I believe that in the future asians, blacks, hispanics, we will all have our place. Sure there are a lot of dumb a$$ black people, but you know what? I know just as many dumb a$$ asian and dumb a$$ white people!


Apart from the judgment about the relative intelligence of the posteriors of different classes of people, i tend to agree with this. When people complain about affirmative action, it is noteworthy that they don't take into consideration, or willfully ignore, that there have been centuries during which education for minorities has been separate and unequal. I don't think we've done a good job with affirmative action in this country, but that only serves to criticize the application of the principle, not the principle itself.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 10:23 am
joefromchicago wrote:
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?


Hi Joe,

All qualifications being equal, then the person doing the selecting can use any criteria they want. Maybe they need someone tall to reach that thing on the top shelf of the storage closet which nobody else can reach.

In following with your example above, I would like to give another example to illustrate what I think could be happening in interview rooms...

Situation 1, with AA: Two candidates for a law job. Both came from the same school, both got the same grades, and the interviewer likes them both. The interviewer knows that one candidate (the chosen downtrodden) had been assisted through the process, while the other candidate has overcome the AA dicrimination and succeeded. The interviewer may conclude that the assisted candidate is weaker and the other is stronger due to the conditions imposed by AA.

The reverse situation, without AA: Same two candidates, but this time, the one who overcame the worst odds is the minority individual, while the other candidate is a coddled insider. If the interviewer is really worried about getting the best individual for the job, then the selection will probably go to the minority person because they overcame the hardest path.

My point is that there is a natural system in place for equalizing such systems. It's the same thing which balanced evolution. We just need to give it time, and we need to make sure there is no artificial imbalance imposed by the law which alters the conditions.
0 Replies
 
au1929
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 10:32 am
Joe
Since we are talking about the hypothetical. Let's suppose the black applicant came from a middle class family and the white came from a poor one. Or the Black came from a family that were recent arrivals to this nation. Under those or similar circumstances should skin color be the only criteria. Skin color in itself should never be the deciding factor.

However, if all things are equal. I will buy into Santanta's solution Flip a coin.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 10:36 am
In my opinion, you can't solve the prejudice problem with AA, any more than you can solve the poor problem with welfare.

If you really want to help the situation, fix the education system and give inner city youth the same level of education quality which suburbs get. At least this will empower future employees to make their own success.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 11:05 am
If two applicant's have equal qualifications, just offer those two applicants a place in your school. What's so difficult? I'm sure as averages go, all the other applicants will fall someplace higher or lower than those two applicants.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 11:15 am
rosborne979 wrote:
All qualifications being equal, then the person doing the selecting can use any criteria they want. Maybe they need someone tall to reach that thing on the top shelf of the storage closet which nobody else can reach.

I agree that the college can, at some point, take its own needs into consideration when making admissions decisions. If the college needs a top-notch top-shelf-reacher, then I don't see why that fact shouldn't play a part in its decision.

rosborne979 wrote:
Situation 1, with AA: Two candidates for a law job. Both came from the same school, both got the same grades, and the interviewer likes them both. The interviewer knows that one candidate (the chosen downtrodden) had been assisted through the process, while the other candidate has overcome the AA dicrimination and succeeded. The interviewer may conclude that the assisted candidate is weaker and the other is stronger due to the conditions imposed by AA.

Assisted through the process? What do you mean by that? Surely, if the candidate was actually given better grades because of his race, then the interviewer's suspicions may be justified. On the other hand, if the candidate merely received assistance in getting into the law school, but otherwise did not receive any special treatment, then I could only conclude that the interviewer's suspicions are baseless. After all, according to your scenario, regardless of the means by which the two candidates got into law school, once there they performed identically.

rosborne979 wrote:
The reverse situation, without AA: Same two candidates, but this time, the one who overcame the worst odds is the minority individual, while the other candidate is a coddled insider. If the interviewer is really worried about getting the best individual for the job, then the selection will probably go to the minority person because they overcame the hardest path.

If the interviewer believes that "overcoming adversity" is a positive attribute, then I see nothing wrong with taking that factor into consideration.

rosborne979 wrote:
My point is that there is a natural system in place for equalizing such systems. It's the same thing which balanced evolution. We just need to give it time, and we need to make sure there is no artificial imbalance imposed by the law which alters the conditions.

But you'd be perfectly content with extra-legal means of altering the balance, right?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 11:23 am
au1929 wrote:
Joe
Since we are talking about the hypothetical. Let's suppose the black applicant came from a middle class family and the white came from a poor one. Or the Black came from a family that were recent arrivals to this nation. Under those or similar circumstances should skin color be the only criteria. Skin color in itself should never be the deciding factor.

This is rather confusing. You'd be willing to take into consideration such factors as family history or income levels, but you won't take race into consideration? Why not? Why is race singled out as "off-limits?"

Or are you simply saying that race should never be the sole deciding factor?

But since we're speaking hypothetically, we can easily clear up any confusion. Let's suppose that the two applicants, one white and one minority, are equal in all respects -- even to the extent of having grown up in the same household. Can race be used as a tie-breaker in this situation?

au1929 wrote:
However, if all things are equal. I will buy into Santanta's solution Flip a coin.

Why is flipping a coin more fair than adopting a rule that states: "all other things being equal, the minority applicant wins?"

EDIT: corrected misattributed quotation Embarrassed
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 11:38 am
joefromchicago wrote:
rosborne979 wrote:
However, if all things are equal. I will buy into Santanta's solution Flip a coin.

Why is flipping a coin more fair than adopting a rule that states: "all other things being equal, the minority applicant wins?"


I didn't write that. AU wrote that. I think you might have your quotes mixed up Joe Smile
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 11:44 am
joefromchicago wrote:
rosborne979 wrote:
Situation 1, with AA: Two candidates for a law job. Both came from the same school, both got the same grades, and the interviewer likes them both. The interviewer knows that one candidate (the chosen downtrodden) had been assisted through the process, while the other candidate has overcome the AA dicrimination and succeeded. The interviewer may conclude that the assisted candidate is weaker and the other is stronger due to the conditions imposed by AA.

Assisted through the process? What do you mean by that?


I was under the impression that there was pressure on colleges and schools in general to graduate more minorities as well as admit them. If this is incorrect, then I would agree with your conclusion.

joefromchicago wrote:
rosborne979 wrote:
My point is that there is a natural system in place for equalizing such systems. It's the same thing which balanced evolution. We just need to give it time, and we need to make sure there is no artificial imbalance imposed by the law which alters the conditions.

But you'd be perfectly content with extra-legal means of altering the balance, right?


I'm not sure what you mean by extra-legal. Can you give an example?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 12:06 pm
rosborne979 wrote:
I was under the impression that there was pressure on colleges and schools in general to graduate more minorities as well as admit them. If this is incorrect, then I would agree with your conclusion.

What sort of pressure would be unacceptable to you? Pressure from the government? The alumni? The students? Society in general?

rosborne979 wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean by extra-legal. Can you give an example?

Sure.

Racial prejudice.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 03:08 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
rosborne979 wrote:
I was under the impression that there was pressure on colleges and schools in general to graduate more minorities as well as admit them. If this is incorrect, then I would agree with your conclusion.

What sort of pressure would be unacceptable to you? Pressure from the government? The alumni? The students? Society in general?


I don't think there should be any disparate pressure to pass students through school. Demonstrated knowledge of the material should be the only thing that governs grades.

joefromchicago wrote:
rosborne979 wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean by extra-legal. Can you give an example?

Sure. Racial prejudice.


Joe, just because I think the legal systems should treat people equally doesn't mean that I approve of people's personal choice to behave in a racially prejudice way. It just means that I don't think the legal/political system should be used (or can be used effectively) to counter the problem. Our government has no charter to even attempt this type of selective imbalance, and it has no defined mechanism for doing it.

Just because we want the world to be a better place doean't mean that whatever ham-handed thing we come up with to change it, is the right thing. At the very least, we should be consistent with our principles, and if discrimination is wrong, which we all seem to agree that it is, then let's stop using it as a tool to try to make things right, because no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves that we're justified in doing something which is wrong, for the right reasons, it's just never going to be fair, to anyone.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 03:16 pm
A strange thing happened at UC, Berkeley, one of the premier universities in the US. Asians were over-qualified for the UC system, and they were being discriminated against to let other 'minorities' qualify to attend. Most, if not all of these Asians, never had anything to do with discriminatory practices concerning other minorities, yet they 'paid" the price for being over-qualified. AA is not a good idea, because it tramples on people that had nothing to do with hurting other minorities - and that includes all cultures.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 03:31 pm
rosborne979 wrote:
Joe, just because I think the legal systems should treat people equally doesn't mean that I approve of people's personal choice to behave in a racially prejudice way. It just means that I don't think the legal/political system should be used (or can be used effectively) to counter the problem. Our government has no charter to even attempt this type of selective imbalance, and it has no defined mechanism for doing it.

Governments routinely step in to deter or control personal choices that are deemed to be unacceptable. In the area of racial prejudice, we see this all the time (when was the last time you saw a "Whites Only" sign on a restroom entrance?).

But let's leave government-sponsored affirmative action aside for one moment. Would you have any problem with a purely private college enacting an affirmative action program on its own initiative?

rosborne979 wrote:
Just because we want the world to be a better place doean't mean that whatever ham-handed thing we come up with to change it, is the right thing. At the very least, we should be consistent with our principles, and if discrimination is wrong, which we all seem to agree that it is, then let's stop using it as a tool to try to make things right, because no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves that we're justified in doing something which is wrong, for the right reasons, it's just never going to be fair, to anyone.

See, that's the problem. You use the term "discrimination" indiscriminately. When there are two equally qualified applicants for a single position, and the "tie-breaker" is minority status, how does that "discriminate" against the non-minority applicant?
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 03:39 pm
Most premier universities will seek to have a good cultural mix in their student-body. I believe that polls taken of other students also agree with this concept including the administration of these schools. The best way to make sure all races and cultures are represented is to ensure that all children have a good education from the first day they step into a school.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Jul, 2004 03:51 pm
Joe, what would you say to the philosopher who asks you, "Brother can you paradigm?"
0 Replies
 
 

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