« on: February 25, 2004, 11:18:39 AM »
Yesterday afternoon, I was in a staff meeting where it was discussed that it was time to remove from the personnel handbook the words that "priority in hiring will be given to females and minorities".
Of course, I thought of this discussion.
anyway, back on the subject. there were points being made that minorities were more likely to grow up poor, with lackluster educational opportunities, and less support and encouragement. And because of these disadvantages, should have the advantage of affirmative action, because this would help to alleviate the affects of the disadvantaged upbringing.
And...the fact that these minorities have grown up poor can be attributed to the history of slavery. So..to rectify the situation, we introduce affirmative action.
I paraphrased this quickly, so i apologize for misinterpretations, etc.
I think it is a compelling argument, I do. I find one major flaw in it.
that the minorities who grew up in poverty are not the ones benefitting from affirmative action. (not primarily). Those I know who have benefitted from affirmative action have been the ones who grew up in middle class suburbia, with all of the same advantages the white kid beside them had, who knew as a teenager that they would have an advantage over the white kid beside them.
On the other hand, in the inner cities, we have children who are living in poverty, going hungry, struggling to learn without the necessary materials, dropping out of school, and continuing the cycle of poverty.
Affirmative action is doing nothing for them. It really isn't. At best, it provides them a motivator...tells them that it's not as hopeless as it may seem because affirmative action will help counteract the prejudice/racism, just as long as they work hard.
I would support preference given to inner city children in undergraduate college admissions. I would also support (in graduate and law school admissions) 'forgiveness' of lower GPAs for people who came from inner city school systems, or people who had to work and support their family while in school. I would definitely agree with giving a job/spot to a minority if it came down to two absolutely identical candidates, only difference being race.
however, my problem with all of this is that it considers race, but not other demographics (such as economic class). So when a white boy grows up in poverty, loses both parents, raises his four siblings, manages to graduate from an inner city school with a 3.8...he will lose a job or spot to a minority whose parents are doctors, who graduated with a 3.5 from a private school that offered tutors to students who had below a B, and who spent most of her school day passing notes to her friend.
I don't think minority status should be a trump card. While I agree that being a minority is more difficult than not being a minority, and that something should be done to help alleviate some of the disparity between races and classes, i also think that we all have some aspect of ourselves or our lives that we believe has made our life harder...and where do we draw the line as far as which ones count more?
It does seem that things are being steered in that direction, so I'm not really complaining.