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Topics - mfs73

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Affirmative Action / QUESTION FOR AMERICANS ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
« on: October 22, 2008, 08:36:51 AM »
I have the feeling I'm going to really regret posting this question.  PLEASE prove me wrong. 

I've lived in Europe and in the US for most of my life, so I don't know if I feel any special sense of "ownership" to issues here.  I usually feel like an outsider looking in with a very different perspective (definitely not an "American perspective").  As a result, the idea of "affirmative action" here and the debate over it really strikes me as simultaneously interesting and confusing. 

I've noticed that people usually argue the concept of affirmative action but only within the confines of "race".  For example, I scrolled through a few of the threads here, and I've noticed pretty much every single one I viewed was someone arguing their point on the basis of "race" (it feels strange to use that word here because Americans are overwhelmingly multi-ethnic/race, but I use that term to make a point).  No one seemed to be up in arms about it benefiting women.  "White" women in particular are the main beneficiaries of US affirmative action policies (look it up if you need guidance or clarification on this...I'm assuming you already know this).  In law schools, women are now making up the vast majority forcing universities to rethink their AA policies.  (Again, you can look that up as well...I don't really want to hold hands here.  I just want to get to the point.)

Anyway, it's strange to me that people do not hold the same contempt toward that group (which would include yours truly).  It seems that the widely held assumption is that if I'm a woman and I'm "White" and I was accepted to a university or law school...then it must have been based on my merit and not on the affirmative action policies that are there to benefit me (since I am a woman and therefore benefit from affirmative action).  On the other hand, if someone is "Black" and accepted to a university or law school, then the assumption is that they were admitted via AA policies...at the very least, many people seem to think they were NOT accepted because someone Black was.  On the other hand, they do not believe they were NOT accepted because a woman was.  I hope I'm making myself clear here. 

I know why people do this in legal settings - after all, the best way to rally Americans against a policy is to say it benefits/empowers Blacks or that it gives Black an advantage not shared by all.  It feeds into the latent hostilities this country holds toward that group and gets people to react in anger.  If you argue before a court that you want to rid the country of a policy that benefits his mom, his daughter, his sister (meaning women who are White)...it's not likely said court will find in your favor.  On the other hand, argue that it benefits a group that said court probably doesn't at all represent and very well-likely hasn't close ties to (personal or otherwise) and it's easier for said court (and the majority population in the US, for that matter) to embrace doing away with AA. 

I think that's a brilliant approach, actually.  Nevertheless, I don't understand why everyday Americans seem to be under the impression that it's a "Black/White" issue.  For one, Blacks aren't the main beneficiaries of affirmative action...White women are.  Can anyone answer that question for me?  (I'm really curious about how Americans think, so any thoughts would be appreciated...)

I hope I made my question understood...thank you in advance for your feedback. 

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Non-Traditional Students / LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION...
« on: October 16, 2008, 08:16:19 AM »
I've been out of university now for the past five years and have not been in constant contact with my former poli sci professors.  I'd like to approach two of them for a letter of recommendation for law school (the chairman and my professor...the two that spoke the most highly of me during my studies), but I'm worried that since I've not been in university during the past five years, that it will be next to impossible to get letters of recommendation from them. 

I've been home since my studies caring for my family and taking on freelance projects here and there (not from anyone that I would approach for a letter of recommendation).  For those of us that are non-trads, and have graduated from university already (perhaps SAHM, etc), how have you handled getting letters of recommendation?  Particularly academic letters of recommendation? 

Any ideas or thoughts would be appreciated.  Thanks. 

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