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Affirmative Action

 
 
Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 May, 2003 02:56 pm
snood--

That was a great peice of writing, and I'm glad you shared it here. I had seen it elsewhere.

To me, it makes the argument why AA was necessary, but many who believed it was vital, now believe it has gone far in accomplishing it's mission and the time has come to adjust to the more even playing field.

How long do you think AA should stay in place?
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 May, 2003 03:55 pm
sofia - what i have seen as i travel and work in Michigan in particular leads me to believe that Affirmative Action is barely acknowledged. The playing field does not appear to be anywhere near level. As the author of the article Snood posted indicated, the playing field is still overly white-friendly.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 May, 2003 04:00 pm
the use of ether as a sedative for surgery had many deficits but it continued in use until something better was discovered.
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2003 01:52 pm
I thought I'd posted a screed in this forum but it disappeared, I guess, or I dreamed the whole thing. But in coming back and reviewing posts, I find myself once again in complete agreement with Dys and with Snood's quote. What I thought I had written was:

Affirmative action is the result of a wholly unequal (and, god knows, underfunded, unimaginative, and underchallenging) educational system K-12. In that sense, affirmative action has got to go, but not before the fish take a look at the water they're swimming in and do something about a mostly white, middle-class culture which a) positively encourages the devaluation of education (due in part to: hey, where're ya gonna find your cheap labor...); b) shrugs at the notion of providing first-rate schools and INCENTIVES in all communities in all parts of the country (we can't afford that and anyway They don't take advantage of them); and c) has come to view education as a purely economic tool.

Affirmative action is a symptom of failure, but until we turn that failure around, we have no right to remove a form of redress, little and late though it is.

"Racial preference" is one of those code phrases coming out of the Right. The only preference I've ever seen regularly applied in this country is on behalf of whites.
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donlasv
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2003 11:21 pm
Where to begin with all the questionable statements in this discussion?

Tartarin says "racial preference" is a code phrase from the Right and that the only preference he's seen is on behalf of whites.

A racial preference is an advantage given to members of a racial group because they are members of that group. Two examples: Blacks given extra points (as at U of Mich.) because they identify themselves as blacks. Some govt contracts awarded to blacks because they are black. I personally know of 2 people who told me that is why they got their contracts. (Construction and research)
What is meant by "code phrase" ???

Tartarin says AA is the result of a wholly unequal educational system (k-12) and blames the "white middle-class" culture. I wish he would give concrete examples of this.
I also believe the public schools are a mess. When I went to high school with 1/3 blacks, we all worked hard and succeeded. Our HS didn't look at all like Boston Public (on TV). What happened??
First, no discipline. Political correctness, liberal guilt, NEA captured by Democratic politics, more administrators. These come to mind. Can Tartarin add more??
Both black and white parents value education.

I do know it is liberal dems who oppose school vouchers for poor black and white parents to enjoy some of the advantages that rich people have. Are the teachers who oppose vouchers the "white, middle-class" that Tartarin refers to???

Is it the white culture that tells young blacks they cannot succeed because of the racist society?
BTW, my granddaughter who is in first grade now reads at 4th grade level. Her mother is white and her father is black. Any comments, Tartarin??
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donlasv
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 May, 2003 11:55 pm
Article quoted by snood
Sofia.
Your comments have been generally "on the money". Attending community college is a strategy used by both blacks, whites, hispanics, etc. You are so right.

Your final question in your last post: "When will Affirmative action end?" is also very good. Don't expect an answer from those who like AA.

The answer, of course, is never!! Your question indicates that you believe AA is to make up for past wrongs or injustices -- such wrongs as exist in the eyes or minds of AA supporters. NO. The new doctrine is "diversity" which means that organizations (colleges, businesses, etc.) should consist of members of different favored groups. Hispanics, many of whom came here voluntarily, want their extra points along with blacks just so the total group will be "diverse".
The society is now viewed as a battleground , not for individual rights, but for group rights.

This is in violation of the 14th ammendment which gives equal protection to individuals. Of course this means little to liberals like Sen. Biden who said on TV that Martin Luther King's statement --that people should be judged by their character and not the color of their skin --was archaic.

Why do you think that the Dems won't allow even a vote on some of Bush's judge appointments.?

However, your first statement about the article given by Snood was off the money. The article is garbage.
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blatham
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 May, 2003 08:08 am
donlasv

At the head of the thread, I made the request that folks do a careful reading of Dworkin's essay, and then comment regarding the arguments advanced there.
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blatham
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 May, 2003 08:24 am
fishin

Sorry I've had so little time for this thread, but very pleased you and most of the others have engaged it with some care.

On the question you raise of the third criterion...you term this as 'an exit stratetgy', but that perhaps addresses the least important (in terms of consequences) half of the time/scope concerns. O'Conner is quoted referring to "amorphous concerns that might licence an indiscriminate use". But the quote Dworkin adds (from the amicus filed by the colleges/universities, "The proper constitutional concern would thus seem to be whether the selected means outlast the interest they are designed to serve, not whether they go on 'too long' in some abstract, undefined sense" points, I think, to the more consequential element.

I'm afraid I must run again, this being a very busy time for me. I'm pleased (fishin) that you find Dworkin's piece not too disagreeable. Anything I find by this fellow (he writes fairly frequently for the NY Review of Books) I try to swallow up.
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 May, 2003 09:13 am
Good quote and reminder from Dworkin, Blatham. The anti-AA drive really is about "too long in some abstract, undefined sense." Even though I think AA is a band-aid, I'd say that before we even consider dumping it we have to a) address the reasons it's been needed (difficult), and b) eliminate AA for non-minorities, athletes, etc. That way, if AA is dumped, it isn't done so simply to appease The Gang Of The Resentful on the Right.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 May, 2003 10:58 am
blatham wrote:
On the question you raise of the third criterion...you term this as 'an exit stratetgy', but that perhaps addresses the least important (in terms of consequences) half of the time/scope concerns. O'Conner is quoted referring to "amorphous concerns that might licence an indiscriminate use". But the quote Dworkin adds (from the amicus filed by the colleges/universities, "The proper constitutional concern would thus seem to be whether the selected means outlast the interest they are designed to serve, not whether they go on 'too long' in some abstract, undefined sense" points, I think, to the more consequential element.


Yes.. He makes the quotes but the quotes are referring to two different things so it is a bogus rebuttal. O'Conner's quote specificly refers to the use of racial, gender, etc.. consideration in selections. The "interest" the Amicus brief quote is referring to is racial diversity overall. The two are in no way the same thing. (In the Amicus brief the actual argument posited is that while the USSC has stated that time limits are a criteria the court has never dismissed a case because of the lack of them but they also neglect to mention that there hasn't been a case where this was an issue that has been raised to the court..)

Therein lies a large part of the controversy on this particular case. "Affirmative Action" as a concept, started out as "taking positive steps" in the Executive Orders and the Civil Rights act of 1964. Those EOs and the CRA of 1964 prohibit the use of racial, ethic and/or gender in their implementation. Through the Civil Rights cases of the 1960s/1970s "postive steps" became "quotas" and racial/ethnic/gender "preferences" and everyone ran to quotas and racial preferences to head off possible lawsuits and play CYA and the preferences became the defacto AA we know today.

People decry this case as the possible "death knell of AA" and the Amicus brief takes that position as well but that isn't the case. AA CAN exist in the form it was orignally proscribed. The idea that preferences and/or quotas can go on indefinately is an argument to maintain a system which is acknowledged by all sides to be in violation of the Constitution and the Civil Right act of 1964.

The Amicus brief makes that acknowledgement but basically argues that the schools should be allowed to continue to violate those laws and they promise not to abuse the authority. That isn't equal application of the law as required by the 14th Amendment which is exactly the reason this case is sitting at the USSC right now.
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donlasv
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 May, 2003 02:54 pm
curious
blatham:

I re-read the posts on this forum and most are NOT commenting directly on the Dworkin article- - including snood's post presenting another rather long article.
Just curious, but why did you single me out??

I thought a forum was an open and free discussion about issues raised by the original post. If posters make inaccurate or outrageous statements (in the mind of the reader) , they should be challenged.

Thanks for initiating the topic. I'll get to the article in due time.
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Hazlitt
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2003 05:13 am
Dworkin
Dworkin wrote:
But the Supreme Court has ruled over many decades that classifications according to race are inherently "suspect" and must therefore be subject to a "strict" scrutiny that imposes the following three tests. Race-sensitive admissions plans must serve some "compelling" goal, universities must not be able to pursue that goal adequately without them, and they must be "narrowly tailored" to achieving that


Dworkin wrote:


Thanks, Blatham, for bringing us back to the text of the article.

I have been rereading Dworkin, and see clearly that he fully acknowledges the strength of Fishin's main argument based on the idea that past SC decisions have ruled in several cases that race is at the least suspect as a criteria for distinguishing between groups. It strikes me that some of these decisions were justified in the sense that the court was striking down uses of AA that were efforts at compensation of present persons for past wrongs or were purely political. However, the current thrust is away from those ideas and looks forward to an improved society. This is not just some Liberal dream, but a virtual necessity if our country is going to compete effectively in an increasingly complex world. We cannot afford to be weighted down with large and publicly expensive uneducated minorities; nor can we afford the resulting civil strife that will continue to accompany that situation.

AA is a simple and uncomplicated way of reaching that goal. It must be seen as satisfying, in this case, the three criteria, quoted above, delineated by the SC.

Dworkin wrote:
Of course it is deplorable that America is still plagued by racial inequality so many decades after it committed itself to ending it. It would compound our failure, however, to forbid what so many of our academic, economic, and political leaders, after a quarter-century of reflective experience, think is our best weapon against that inequality. Colorblindness that has no basis in moral principle and helps only to perpetuate racial stratification is worse than pointless.


If the present court strikes down AA as used by the UofM to improve our society in necessary ways, I think it possible that this court will be seen in future times as essentially racist, and that it will set the tone, however elevated in its language, intellectual sophistication, and legal niceties, for the reestablishment of a raciest society.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2003 10:07 am
Re: Dworkin
Hazlitt wrote:
Dworkin wrote:
Of course it is deplorable that America is still plagued by racial inequality so many decades after it committed itself to ending it. It would compound our failure, however, to forbid what so many of our academic, economic, and political leaders, after a quarter-century of reflective experience, think is our best weapon against that inequality. Colorblindness that has no basis in moral principle and helps only to perpetuate racial stratification is worse than pointless.


If the present court strikes down AA as used by the UofM to improve our society in necessary ways, I think it possible that this court will be seen in future times as essentially racist, and that it will set the tone, however elevated in its language, intellectual sophistication, and legal niceties, for the reestablishment of a raciest society.


I had read this comment by Dworkin earlier but hadn't commented on it because IMO, it is nothing but double-talk. This is an emotional appeal on his part, not any sort of logical argument. The fact that some academic, economic and political leaders see something as a good idea doesn't grant authority to violate both the letter and the spirit of law. 50 years ago those very same "leaders" were the one's institutionalizing race based discrimination. If IBM, Coca-Cola and other corporation want racial diversity let them go out and hire a diverse group of employees (Sidetrack - Didn't Coca-Cola just loose a huge discrimination lawsuit???) but there is no justification for violating the law in doing it.

Dworkin's last line there "Colorblindness that has no basis in moral principle and helps only to perpetuate racial stratification is worse than pointless.' seems to miss the issue altogether. What about the moral principle of following both the spirit and words of the law? What about the moral principle of equeal application and protection of those laws? Those would seem to be a pretty big moral issue to many.

He also seems too imply that removing the racial classification will "perpetuate racial stratification" but ignores that there are other options. A "Race" checkbox isn't the only possible answer to getting a diverse student body. A USSC ruling that race based decisions aren't legal doesn't mean that diversity can't continue to be sought and fought for.
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snood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2003 10:29 am
What "options" do you suggest for achieving and maintaining diversity?

The basic premise for the ujtility of AA in hiring practices is that, left to their own devices, employers would hire those they feel most comfortable with. What would you do to ensure that they used criteria that is more equitable?
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2003 11:33 am
snood wrote:
What "options" do you suggest for achieving and maintaining diversity?


I already expounded on a few options for the UofM earler but businesses can also change their recruiting tactics to target areas that have high minority populations. They could also recruit employees earlier (i.e. at the high school level) and pay (as a benefit) to have those employees educated which would remove the education cost barrier for many people and they could promote and advance their employees from within on an equitable basis. If business can't maintain the diversity (i.e. minority employees leave..) then they had better start looking at what is going on inside their own companies that is causing people to leave instead of worrying about whether or not there are enough minority applicants to hire.

Quote:
The basic premise for the ujtility of AA in hiring practices is that, left to their own devices, employers would hire those they feel most comfortable with. What would you do to ensure that they used criteria that is more equitable?


First, we need to seperate 2 things here. AA and racial preferences are two different things. The race (and/or gender) preferences in selections are the question here. There isn't anything (legally) wrong with the rest of the AA concept and implementation that I'm aware of. (i.e. There isn't anything in the law that prevents a school or busines from conducting student/employee demographic censuses and such to see where they are at for example.)

IMO, you will get the most equitable hiring practices from open and full public disclosure of the hiring standards and process as well as the criteria for determining position qualifications. Companies that then fail to follow those published practices or that have practices that violate the law can be charged with both criminal and civil violations of law and penalties for those should be severe.
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2003 11:39 am
Good question, Snood, and good answer, Fishin'. Are companies presently required to publish hiring practices?

(The other side of me is protesting, Sheesh! Instead of setting place all kind of standards and requirements, why don't we just grow up!)
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2003 11:53 am
Tartarin wrote:
Are companies presently required to publish hiring practices?


I don't think companies are usually required to publicly disclose under most state's laws. Government agencies are required to but not non-government groups/businesses..
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snood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2003 01:20 pm
Willingness to make a place of business or education diverse seems to be intrinsic to the alternatives I've heard posed here and elsewhere. The problem is, without the impetus of AA legislation, too many schools and businesses would have no motivation (save the goodness of their hearts, and we don't want to rely on that) to make their organizations diverse.
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Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2003 03:15 pm
I will be reproved for not delving into Dworkin again but I think it's worth it, Snood! I think what you've said about Willingness begs a question and perhaps an entire new thread here, and that's about WHY we have let racial AND ECONOMIC discrimination persist in the culture for so long. We have no excuse any more -- they used to say it takes time but hell, how many more generations have to grow up in this mire of self-righteousness?

So let's get into it, here or in another thread. What kind of motivation is needed make communities and schools genuinely and unselfconsciously diverse? What's holding us back? Who wants it this way?
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 May, 2003 03:49 pm
Tartarin wrote:
So let's get into it, here or in another thread. What kind of motivation is needed make communities and schools genuinely and unselfconsciously diverse? What's holding us back? Who wants it this way?


Well, if blatham will pardon the sidetrack here - the two following articles are an interesting view of some of the complexity of the whole issue of tackling diversity.

http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/pnpd1.html (Warning! This is a long read but worth it!)

http://www.ericfacility.net/databases/ERIC_Digests/ed419029.html

What's holding us back? Us! Who wants it this way? No one and everyone... Sad
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