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Affirmative Action

 
 
JamesMorrison
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 06:37 pm
Craven:

You will receive little argument from me by stating an equal chance at education would go a long way towards long term social improvement.

However, I still have a problem with AA not because of its core purpose but its actual result and method of implementation. Given the present academic resources and supply of desirable employment opportunities, which will probably continue for a time to come, we are talking zero sum gaming. The opening in either university or vocation that the one "race" gets, conceivably, locks out a corresponding member of another.

Understandably this is the way of the world, but when we countenance the fact that the choice may result in a less qualified individual this method aimed at providing a chance for such disadvantaged candidates, however noble, becomes troublesome.

You do bring up a valid point about the value of scientific statistical analysis. I think it would certainly help the debate along if there was a way to measure, specifically, the loss or gain to our society afforded by AA. But how valid is a study designed to measure what might have happened given a road not chosen? Perhaps, my view is through the half empty glass but I feel there is damage done by AA. The question then is: is such damage acceptable given perceived results. The answer seems subjective and therefore unable to afford us a definitive answer.

The concept of equal opportunity for education for all is probably a valid and achievable goal. However, that of the resultant education being equal is not. So to make programs such as AA unnecessary we must inject that equality of opportunity at a very early stage in the educational process so those "chips" will fall fairly. ossobuco's relating of California's attempt at such a program in the 60's and 70's does demonstrates its possibility. We are familiar with Ca.'s latest financial woes but I don't think its education system per se caused this, it is of course complicated.


cicerone imposter:

Actually we base a lot of decisions about people upon merit. The question is if they are relevant to the supposed decision to be made. The merits of a handsome woman are well known but are they relevant to the job being sought? Is the proportion of a woman's chest/waist/hips important in her performance as a physician? No. But shift the query to that of sales representative or TV Weather person and the answer may differ. American society is probably the most interested in merit than any other nation, Sure America has classes but if you can't be upwardly mobile here, where can you?

Noah's Hard Left Hook!:

I am unsure of the validity of your statement:

Quote:
"This nation gave an unfair advantage to whites over blacks (and others) for what?? Most or more of its history?"


This would imply the founding fathers somehow planned a society that envisioned discrimination which I feel is not true. It is true that the southern colonies became addicted to such things as the enslavement of African's but many slave owners were troubled by its existence including Washington and Jefferson. However many, Including John Adams detested the practice and actively tried to abolish it. However, in the effort to adopt our present constitution this effort at abolition had to be abandoned because the subject was simply too divisive. The American Civil War was ample testimony to this fact.

Cronyism, nepotism and even legacy admissions to university affects all such "outsiders" to the clubs, institutions, or vocations in question, always has and probably always will. But those so kept in the wilderness comprise a representative sample of all groups of society. Any attempt to eradicate such practices is probably futile. Indeed, I am not sure there is such a vast conspiracy behind practices that goes further then practical reasons for such. In fact there are valid and practical reasons for hiring those recommended by existing employees which have little relation to any conspiratorial efforts. Employers like to hire those that are related to present employees with demonstrated abilities and with a possible vested interest in the organization. The merit system still applies. If the employee can't cut it he is eliminated from the position. If the student fails he is asked to leave and make way for another.

As an irrelevant aside: The fact that a religion involves idolatry does not negate the validity of the entity worshiped. My questioning of religion involves a Missourian like "show me" attitude directed towards evidence as to its validity. There are many observed faiths, but, from what I have seen, the Golden Calf Truth is evidently just as valid as any other belief. What is important is the tolerance shown towards those beliefs other than one's own.

JM
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 07:28 pm
JamesMorrison wrote:
The opening in either university or vocation that the one "race" gets, conceivably, locks out a corresponding member of another.

Understandably this is the way of the world, but when we countenance the fact that the choice may result in a less qualified individual this method aimed at providing a chance for such disadvantaged candidates, however noble, becomes troublesome.


Thing is, outside of theory I am not sure if this actually happens in practice. I would argue that the fact that the children of the wealthy have inordinate representation in said institutions and that this too theoretically knocks out a more qualified less wealthy person.

For example, do you also see scholarships and grants as a theoretical challenge to meritocracy?

Personally I am not sure if I'll be able to go to college without a loan or grant. I think that if given that assistance I'd compete well and be able to easily repay that loan.

But without that stepping stone I'll not be able to go to college. It's too expensive and without the degree I can't earn enough to support myself and go.

This is a fiscal restraint that does not come from anything of my choosing. I don't see that barrier as meritocracy.

If I don't have high enough test scores to enter then I see it as a legitimate barrier of meritocracy.

So this is why I ask, is any form of assistance a theoretical challenge to meritocracy?

In theory it can be argued to be. Giving a bum food can be argued to be. But I think that social barriers that are inborn are also not meritocracy.

I agree with you that equal education is viable. I think it should be as real.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 09:00 pm
JM and Craven, Something funny happened on the way to the forum; namely, Asians are no longer counted as "minorities." When people speak to the issue of AA, it usually talks about blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans. Something interesting happened in higher education in California. The University of California at Berkeley used some eligibility criteria for black and Hispanic applicants that were less qualified than Asians, but they were enrolled at Cal Berkeley, while many qualified Asians were denied. Not all Asians come from "rich" or even middle class families, so to subjectively opt out Asians from the pool seems somewhat arbitrary when considering blacks and Hispanics for entry. The irony, ofcoarse, is that Asians also suffered from discrimination in this country. It seems we have an over-representation of Asians in our colleges and universities. Last I heard, Berkeley has over 40 percent Asian student body.
0 Replies
 
JamesMorrison
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2004 10:46 pm
Just a quick observation (CDK I am not ignoring your post it just deserves a little more thought by me before I reply).

"Asians" in academic arenas seem to have this pronounced ability (genetic maybe but definitely social at this point) of focusing on the goal at hand while eschewing, if not totally ignoring the temptation of blame deflection.

JM
0 Replies
 
JamesMorrison
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 Jan, 2004 07:26 pm
CDK asked:

"For example, do you also see scholarships and grants as a theoretical challenge to meritocracy?"

Since loans, in theory, must be repaid any altruistic impact must be largely discounted. But this still leaves the question of free money (Which still includes the interest from such interest free loans.)

More to the point, chronologically, University admissions precede any offer of grants/scholarships. Even if an individual receives one or many of those scholarships offered by extra-academic organizations such as the UAW or societal subgroups as the NAACP, its actual redemption rests upon an individual's acceptance and subsequent matriculation in an approved institution. Therefore, the controversy around AA pivots on the actual admission process and not subsequent gifts.

I sense that your core intent was to examine such well intentioned "Boosts" or "Leg-Up" opportunities and then equate these with that of AA. That accomplished, one would be hard pressed to deny such good intentions. But, I am still left with trying to address the quality of the applicant and his/her merits as relates to potential academic performance. My focus keeps returning to the zero sum aspect.

Perhaps I discount the value of diversity and assign it a lesser role more subservient to that of academic performance and competition. In sports I have always tried to play with those more experienced and talented, if possible, simply because the opportunity to learn better techniques and plays lies there. In my mind those who wish and can actively compete with the best and brightest should win the day in any such competition, for it is society that feels the end result. Participation in a jousting contest with a lance of sub-standard length is unwise and helps neither the individual nor the team.

It is a tough call.

It is lamentable that many must settle for a less expensive and therefore, perceivably, less valuable education. As you have alluded to before, the real world value of any sheepskin is measured by its issuing institution. The only fair outcome seems based upon past personal performance held as a premium when University admissions are in question. Given that a University bases its decisions upon merit, past academic performance, maintenance of present University values, and potential value to society I am comfortable in letting them make their own final decisions of admission. U. Michigan's Law school admission procedures are acceptable, that of its Undergraduate school's are not. Yes, the crack in my position lies with the phrase "potential value" but, wellÂ…it's a tough call.

The sources of merit I feel should be rewarded are intelligence and personal industry. It is these qualities that are tasted in the final "pudding" of job and professional performance whose effects are ultimately visited upon society.

JM
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 Jan, 2004 08:01 pm
Hmm, one thing for sure is that when I speak of aid I do, in fact, speak of cost to matriculate, and not the admission criteria itself (except for the cost).

I don't think people should get a break for bad test scores, but do think they should get a break in the cost of the education, as it's beyond the reach of many.

So yeah, you are right that I am comparing aid and intentionally using well-intentioned programs.

My point was that characterizing aid as being a challenge to meritocracy is one thing but it sometimes neglects that said aid is used to right a pre-existing challenge to meritocracy.

So for example, because of exclusionary costs a program meant to rectify this may well be aiding meritocracy instead of hurting it.

Some would argue that test scores are also not equal because of quality of education/life but that's less of a concern to me.

I see it as realistically possible to achieve the academic standards regardless of lifestyle. It's a matter of choice.

But where cost is concerned I don't think it's as much a choice or as founded on individual merit.
0 Replies
 
JamesMorrison
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 Jan, 2004 10:34 pm
CDK,

I see your point and for one, such as me, so for merit there is a fact that lingers in the back of the mind, notably those academic candidates that have more potential then has been currently demonstrated by test scores or secondary school performance. I speak of those, given such a chance, that may suddenly "come into their own" whether through a final physical mental maturation process or personal "hard work" via a "fire in the belly" effort. These are the hungry ones that surprise us and rise to the top and their stories inspire and demand repetition.

You know...you just know there are such individuals out there and to think they will not reach full potential hurts the soul. But before I wax too sentimental, I must state the obvious: this sad reality results in a more practical incalculable loss to the productivity and wellness of society. Discoveries, concepts, and ideologies lost to us, perhaps forever.

I like to think I am a practical realist, but this potential loss always nags at the back of my mind so the concept of helping those that have been deemed potentially of value seems sound, therefore so are financial subsidies so directed. However, AA is not constructed for such use. It may in fact work against this. Whites have no universal claim to superior merit. But a society that continues to indulge in self guilt and allow itself to be held hostage by thoughts that it owes current individuals of a certain ethnic background a debt because of a long dead individual's past "wrongs" weakens itself and focuses wrongly. But I am sliding into tautology.

JM

P.S. I love dictionaries but some are problematic. This involves those with neat pictures in the margins. When I was in Grade, Secondary, and Tertiary school I always got side tracked by reading about them--spent hours wasting my time gaining all that ancillary, at best, knowledge. One would think the on-line versions might free me of this temptation but, alas, the mighty "link" is now my distraction.
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Feb, 2004 04:57 am
I think reasonable people can disagree about whether it's righting a past wrong or a current one.

If it's a past wrong with no correlation with the present I agree. If it's righting current inborn inequality in the present I think it's a horse of a different color.
0 Replies
 
Noahs Hard Left Hook
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Feb, 2004 05:24 am
Quote:
I am unsure of the validity of your statement:
    Quote: "This nation gave an unfair advantage to whites over blacks (and others) for what?? Most or more of its history?"
This would imply the founding fathers somehow planned a society that envisioned discrimination which I feel is not true. It is true that the southern colonies became addicted to such things as the enslavement of African's but many slave owners were troubled by its existence including Washington and Jefferson. However many, Including John Adams detested the practice and actively tried to abolish it. However, in the effort to adopt our present constitution this effort at abolition had to be abandoned because the subject was simply too divisive. The American Civil War was ample testimony to this fact.


First, about the validity of my statement... I can't say that you really spoke to it. Was not slavery and Jim Crow segregation with explicit laws and sanctions granting Whites rights that Blacks did not have proof of my statement? Surely you can't be trying to suggest they were not.

Now, I'm not romantic nor do I revere "the founding fathers" for obvious reasons. However that does not make me discount their contributions... Nevertheless, when you say the "effort at abolition had to be abandoned" you're telling me that it was not successful and therefore NOT VALID or validated as to be put into action and enforced. That means it was not a reality... So you must answer what was?

Hence, my statement remains valid or rather true no matter what the professions or lifestyles/philosophies of some were. What did Adams' detestation do for the real life conditions and the real life consequences?

Sorry, I'm not one to make excuses for the history of our country.

When you say "too divisive"... "too divisive" for whom?

What I'm unsure of is what your point is?
Recognizing people who stood for principles of human rights is one thing but to pretend like those few like Adams who may have actually practiced what they preached reflected the actual order of the day is ridiculous.

You have just said yourself that other considerations out weighed the human right concerns in regards to slavery... So what does that say about the overall regard for the human rights for Africans?

It says that it was not compelling enough of a concern as the very arbitrary one you mentioned. It was "too divisive"???

So apparently enough of the "right-minded" people like Adams acquiesced or they were so few in number as not to have an effect. Like you said the effort was abandoned. ABANDONED! Hmmmm..... Matter of fact you said it "had" to be [abandoned].

What principles do you believe in that you "abandon" because of political or any other type of expediency? That would seem to suggest how important it was to the nation as a whole. IMO, both North and South profitted from slavery and Congressional exchanges, acts and compromises are evidence of how they worked together even in give and takes but the reality remains that African lives hung in the balance.

Again, you have not refuted my statement or the validity of it. You may have made some presumptions about what you think I'm trying to say by it. But the hard core reality is that is remarkably true. I don't understand what you are trying to argue.

Pointing out "good" White people or assuming that I think there were none... falls far short of challenging the validity of what I said. It is irrelevant to it; not an opinion that I hold; and not one that logically follows from what I said.

I don't think I need to cite laws and inititiatives to support what I said. All of it should be common knowledge and easily understood. So what really are you trying to say?

As far as what "the founding fathers" envisioned for society with respect to discrimination... you have to be honest. Citing one "founding father" or a few does not reflect the obvious consensus of them (you were talking in the plural as if many spoke as one which we both know they didn't when it came to certain issues). And you can spare me that somewhere down the line they hoped that would not exist.

Hmmmm.... Interesting.... "founding fathers"....
That would mean males right? What was explicitly said by them about women?

Again, I'm not romantic about them, though I respect sound principles from wherever they come from. I will however have to state, since you mentioned the Civil War, what Lincoln said that I believed plenty of Whites including "the founding fathers" believed (Jefferson for sure):
    [i]I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, or intermarry with the white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. [/i]
So if this is the so-called "emancipator" saying this, one who "had" to clean up the slavery mess that the "founders" pawned off then what do you think they actually thought?

Now, note that Lincoln's was not without its relative positive, liberating and non-discriminatory points:
  • I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and the black races. There is a physical difference between the two which, in my judgment, will probably forbid their ever living together upon the footing of perfect equality; and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position. I have never said anything to the contrary, but I hold that, notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence,—the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas, he is not my equal in many respects,—certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowments. But in the right to eat the bread, without leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal, and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man.

  • I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position, the negro should be denied everything. I do not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave, I must necessarily want her for a wife. My understanding is that I can just let her alone. I am now in my fiftieth year, and I certainly never have had a black woman for either a slave or a wife. So it seems to me quite possible for us to get along without making either slaves or wives of negroes.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Feb, 2004 06:57 am
mark
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Feb, 2004 02:17 pm
JamesMorrison wrote:
The pursuit of "feel good" measures whether via social policies or self-medication is not a desirable social goal. What are next, soccer games that are averse to keeping score for fear of insulting 50% of the participants?


A soccer game is one thing; life is another. The basis of this world view is a sociological Social Darwinist approach to life in which individuals or groups achieve advantage over others as the result of genetic or biological superiority, and puts competition and rapacity, as dlowan has mentioned, between individuals or groups above other evolutionary phenomenon like cooperation and symbiosis. Is life just a game of sums?

About meritocracy, that would be a nice Social Darwinist ideal, but hardly practiced it the world, not to mention the U.S of A. Had the present president of the United States of America not been born into a family of wealth, power and influence, I seriously doubt he would have been admitted into Yale on the sole merits of his academic abilities. Bush was a C student.


Pursuing a tangent, self-medication is becoming the norm in Western Societies in which even insurance companies cover the cost of government approved "feel good" medications and mood- altering drugs. The pursuit of "feeling good" has been found to be benificial to society from work performance to familial stability.


The folks at Microsoft began with incredibly innovative ideas and products that truly revolutionized the world, but evolved (devolved?) into a group of predatory racketeers intent on snuffing the spirit of innovation, and who were found to be "violators" (we don't use the term "criminals") of US business laws. To this day they've avoided the prescribed punishment by keeping the case mired in the appeals courts. Many people believe that Microsoft's racketeering is good for the US's economy.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Feb, 2004 03:20 pm
Social engineering has been going on since man orignated on earth. That's not going to change no matter what ideals are pursued. If we haven't learned the lesson of wars, equal treatment of the species is not going to happen.
0 Replies
 
Scrat
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Feb, 2004 08:03 pm
cicerone imposter wrote:
Social engineering has been going on since man orignated on earth. That's not going to change no matter what ideals are pursued. If we haven't learned the lesson of wars, equal treatment of the species is not going to happen.
Among the reasonably enlightened, it isn't a question of whether "equal treatment" is desirable. The real question is: What constitutes "equal treatment", and are you actually interested in equal treatment, or is it something else you're after? (And by "you" here I mean the generic "what does everybody mean/want", not necessarily you specifically, CI.)

And FWIW, I disagree quite strongly with the notion that social engineering has always been a part of human existence. That seems a pretty poorly considered statement, and certainly fairly hard to prove. (Which I suppose makes my opinion equally hard to prove.)
0 Replies
 
revel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 09:28 am
I have read a good deal here starting from the beginning and then skipping towards the end. Everything has been said a lot better than I could ever hope to say if I tried. So, I will end just by saying that I agree with what Hazlitt said on Post: 194104 - Why Afirmative Action is needed.

Not that anyone asked for my opinion, but nevertheless.. Neutral
0 Replies
 
au1929
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 10:08 am
Updated: 10:27 AM EST
Student Group Offers Whites-Only Scholarship
Measure Is Designed to Protest Affirmative Action

;
BRISTOL, R.I. (Feb. 16) - A student group at Roger Williams University is offering a new scholarship for which only white students are eligible, a move they say is designed to protest affirmative action.

The application for the $250 award requires an essay on ''why you are proud of your white heritage'' and a recent picture to ''confirm whiteness.''
''Evidence of bleaching will disqualify applicants,'' says the application, issued by the university's College Republicans.
Jason Mattera, 20, who is president of the College Republicans, said the group is parodying minority scholarships.

We think that if you want to treat someone according to character and how well they achieve academically, then skin color shouldn't really be an option,'' he said. ''Many people think that coming from a white background you're automatically privileged, you're automatically rich and your parents pay full tuition. That's just not the case.''
The stunt has angered some at the university, but the administration is staying out of the fray. The school's provost said it is a student group's initiative and is not endorsed by Roger Williams.
Mattera, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is himself a recipient of a $5,000 scholarship open only to a minority group.

"No matter what my ethnicity is, I'm making a statement that scholarships should be given out based on merit and need."
-Jason Mattera
No matter what my ethnicity is, I'm making a statement that scholarships should be given out based on merit and need,'' Mattera told the Providence Journal.
His group took out a full-page ad in last week's issue of the university's student newspaper to tout the scholarship, which was for $50 until two donors came forward to add $100 each during the weekend, Mattera said.
It's not the first brush with controversy for the group. The school temporarily froze the Republicans' money in the fall during a fight over a series of articles published in its monthly newsletter. One article alleged that a gay-rights group indoctrinates students into homosexual
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Feb, 2004 11:51 am
au, The failure of the whites only scholarship is the very nature of its offering to whites only if they truly believe in merit.
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2004 06:18 pm
i'm quoting the quote : "No matter what my ethnicity is, I'm making a statement that scholarships should be given out based on merit AND need,'' Mattera told the Providence Journal. well, if they truly mean " ...AND NEED", i can't see anything wrong with it. (i hope it's not along the lines of giving a taxbreak to the rich BECAUSE THEY NEED IT TOO - after all they are paying the largest amount of taxes; and , of course, there is the benefit of the "trickle down effect" - could just as well be called the "TINKLE DOWN effect" - just amusing myself ! ) hbg
0 Replies
 
whitemale3003
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Jan, 2005 11:08 pm
We as white males need to unite..... NOW!!!!!!!
I'm sick and tired of "Affirmitive action" just like every other white male out there. We as Europians conquered the world while the black man was still chasing zebras. At first we gave the women the right to vote in 1918. Then we allowed the blacks to have equal rights as us somewere around 1968. And now we have to be the only group unprotected by the affirmitive action law. We must be used as an example to discriminate against in order to let everyone else understand and look down on us for what we did. We are being punished for what? for being nice? The constitution DOES NOT include us in their civil rights. It even said we must be punished for what we did. Well let me ask you these questions? Does the white man thinks he deserves this kind of treatment? Who's the majority of men on this planete and in the U.S & Canada. Are we just going to sit here and let us get clobbered by angry minorities and power hungry women? This effects all of us as white males, even homosexuals. We must change Affirmitive action, until it is too late. WE MUST ACT NOW BEFORE THE BLACK MAN STEALS OUR WOMEN, BEFORE WE LOSE OUR NUMBERS IN POPULATION AND BEFORE WE LOSE OUR WEALTH AND POWER IN THIS SOCIETY!
0 Replies
 
whitemale3003
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Jan, 2005 11:08 pm
We as white males need to unite..... NOW!!!!!!!
I'm sick and tired of "Affirmitive action" just like every other white male out there. We as Europians conquered the world while the black man was still chasing zebras. At first we gave the women the right to vote in 1918. Then we allowed the blacks to have equal rights as us somewere around 1968. And now we have to be the only group unprotected by the affirmitive action law. We must be used as an example to discriminate against in order to let everyone else understand and look down on us for what we did. We are being punished for what? for being nice? The constitution DOES NOT include us in their civil rights. It even said we must be punished for what we did. Well let me ask you these questions? Does the white man thinks he deserves this kind of treatment? Who's the majority of men on this planete and in the U.S & Canada. Are we just going to sit here and let us get clobbered by angry minorities and power hungry women? This effects all of us as white males, even homosexuals. We must change Affirmitive action, until it is too late. WE MUST ACT NOW BEFORE THE BLACK MAN STEALS OUR WOMEN, BEFORE WE LOSE OUR NUMBERS IN POPULATION AND BEFORE WE LOSE OUR WEALTH AND POWER IN THIS SOCIETY! Shocked
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Jan, 2005 11:23 pm
And don't forget our precious bodily fluids, whitemale. We need to preserve our essence!
0 Replies
 
 

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