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Author Topic: AFF AXN questions for the uninformed  (Read 5928 times)

AuburnChick

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AFF AXN questions for the uninformed
« on: February 06, 2005, 09:13:19 PM »
This topic is not supposed to be heated or emotional! I just have some basic questions that I would like answered.  Call me dumb about the topic, but don't call me mean!  ;D

AFF AXN Definition:
A policy or a program that seeks to redress past discrimination through active measures to ensure equal opportunity, as in education and employment.

1) If I was rejected from an Ivy for undergrad even though I have the same scores as an URM that was accepted to the same Ivy, and I now attend an average public undergrad..then isnt that a form of discrimination...and shouldnt I be given an advantage ("to redress past discrimination") over that URM when I apply to Graduate programs?

2) Must each individual that recieves affirmative action prove a specific example of when someone previously discriminated against them?

3) Does attending the same University not provide an equal opportunity? How can affirmative action persist past undergrad (i totally understand this effort to provide people from different socioeconomic backgrounds the same opportunity)? And if it does, then shouldn't it only exist to even the playing field between Harvard Graduates and Random Community College graduates?

Again, nothing hateful...only clarification please :)!
158, 3.3
Accepted: Samford, South Texas, Georgia State
priority waitlist (as of July 17th, still no "sorry you're rejected" courtesy call..jerks!): U Richmond
Rejected: U Houston, Emory, Wake

ATTENDING-SAMFORD!

CaliToD.C.

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Re: AFF AXN questions for the uninformed
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2005, 10:41:18 PM »
1) No you were not discriminated against because even though you may have had higher scores the admins saw something more valuable and unique in that URM candidate which is DIVERSITY.

2)No they must not. It is common knowledge of the historic institutional raciscm inflicted on specific minority groups in this country.

3)Even if two students attens the same undergrad the URM is still at a far disadvantage compared to their white counterpart. White people have been able to benefit from a system that is desinged to ensure their success in all forms. The culture of education and the quality of education that a white student recieves throughout their lives places them at an extreme atvantage when they do reach undergrad.

dr_draino

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Re: AFF AXN questions for the uninformed
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2005, 10:45:02 PM »
A very simple trivial example of how two people of different races don't get the same out of the same educational system:

The book I use for my "chemistry for poets" class goes into an explanation about protein folding by using the chemistry involved in getting a hair perm as an example.  The book assumes that everyone will simply believe that this means the chemistry involved with making ones hair curly.  Sitting in front of a class that was half white/half black to discuss this portion of the text really hit home how something this simple can put a black student at a disadvantage.

CaliToD.C.

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Re: AFF AXN questions for the uninformed
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2005, 10:49:43 PM »
A very simple trivial example of how two people of different races don't get the same out of the same educational system:

The book I use for my "chemistry for poets" class goes into an explanation about protein folding by using the chemistry involved in getting a hair perm as an example.  The book assumes that everyone will simply believe that this means the chemistry involved with making ones hair curly.  Sitting in front of a class that was half white/half black to discuss this portion of the text really hit home how something this simple can put a black student at a disadvantage.

Thats a perfect example of how the SAT is culturally biased.

whiteytighty

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Re: AFF AXN questions for the uninformed
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2005, 12:09:57 AM »
This topic is not supposed to be heated or emotional! I just have some basic questions that I would like answered.  Call me dumb about the topic, but don't call me mean!  ;D

AFF AXN Definition:
A policy or a program that seeks to redress past discrimination through active measures to ensure equal opportunity, as in education and employment.

1) If I was rejected from an Ivy for undergrad even though I have the same scores as an URM that was accepted to the same Ivy, and I now attend an average public undergrad..then isnt that a form of discrimination...and shouldnt I be given an advantage ("to redress past discrimination") over that URM when I apply to Graduate programs?

2) Must each individual that recieves affirmative action prove a specific example of when someone previously discriminated against them?

3) Does attending the same University not provide an equal opportunity? How can affirmative action persist past undergrad (i totally understand this effort to provide people from different socioeconomic backgrounds the same opportunity)? And if it does, then shouldn't it only exist to even the playing field between Harvard Graduates and Random Community College graduates?

Again, nothing hateful...only clarification please :)!


You need to understand the difference between two supposed justifications for race preferences:

1) remedy past discrimination.  Back in the 1960's, when segregation was recent, race preferences were justified by saying, blacks were disenfranchised, etc., so they need a leg up.  This rationale obviously loses its force by the nineties, when decades after segregation was made illegal, there are no more college applicants (of the usual age) that have themselves endured government-sponsored inequality.  Obviously, the vestiges of all that went before continue to have their effect in terms of economic and social conditions, but the old-George-Wallace-barring-the-classroom-door days are long gone.

2) but when that rationale started to lose its force, proponents of race preferences took to heart the concept adopted by US Supreme Court Justice Powell (alone among his brethren) in the 1978 Bakke case, that race preferences could be justified by the concept of diversity, all by itself; you didn't need to show that an individual had him- or herself suffered from discrimination; diversity meant that the unique contribution that someone with a different background makes to an institution is enough.  In other words, even if (hypothetically) there were no discrimination against minorities still existent, you still wouldn't want to have nothing but nordic types in a truly vibrant campus, you need all sorts of people so that true understanding and sharing of ideas takes place.

And that remains the prevailing rationale for race preferences in the US today.

AuburnChick

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Re: AFF AXN questions for the uninformed
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2005, 12:26:43 AM »
A very simple trivial example of how two people of different races don't get the same out of the same educational system:

Sitting in front of a class that was half white/half black to discuss this portion of the text really hit home how something this simple can put a black student at a disadvantage.

Thank you everyone for your answers to my questions!  That is really interesting Draino.  You say that this puts black students at a disadvantage..how so? What causes 2 people from 2 different races not to get the same out of the same educational system, and is this point (the fact that they dont get the same out of it) the example of discrimination that institutions use to promote affirmative action? Can discrimination be passive like this (or would you consider this to be active? if so who is responsible for it?) and if the fact that 2 people dont get the same out of the exposure is not the example of discrimination that is used for affirmative action, then what form of discrimination is used for affirmative action? If its just about 2 people not getting the same out of the exact same exposure, then what does race have to do with it? it would seem to me that if nonURM A and nonURM B performed differently in a class, then could as justly be called discrimination as if URM A and nonURM B performed differently in a class.  

My main point of confusion is what it is about race that you say lends different results with equal exposure.  I assume that you would say past discrimination...but im just looking for some specifics here...  :D

Seu2002--that is a really impressive story.  I have a lot of respect for people that survive difficult situations like the ones you describe.  I think that your story would show any admissions your character and determination, and those things should be recognised as AWESOME potential for an aspiring lawyer.  I still don't understand why this means that we should generalize an entire group of people and assume that they have had a discouraging homelife or past though.  

P-Rich--i dont understand why diversity can only exist in terms of race/class/gender (whatever people use for aff axn...im not really sure to tell you the truth!)..just because a person is of a particular R/C/G  that doesnt exactly change the atmosphere of a classroom anymore than if you added someone with a unique story to tell, or interesting experiences.  (and im a little saddened that you automatically assume that I'm not interesting enough to add this diversity to an Ivy!) Now you say its common knowledge of institutional racism so that means that people must not prove specific encounters with discrimination.  All I ask though, is if I can prove specific encounters with discrimination, then why can't I recieve the same benefits...i just don't understand why vague beats out specific here.  (and again this is all for the purpose of educating silly me, so dont think im being mean/rude whatever!) I just dont understand how the use of race to assume peoples specific backgrounds can be a good idea here...an URM could have had family here for generations and a nonURM could be first generation here...and yet the URM is still considered to be culturally disadvantaged in the school system. And again, Im gonna ask for some more specifics...how exactly is the school tailored for white success (is it math or science or PE?)and how are cultures so different that people of other races might not perform as well in the system?

 :)
158, 3.3
Accepted: Samford, South Texas, Georgia State
priority waitlist (as of July 17th, still no "sorry you're rejected" courtesy call..jerks!): U Richmond
Rejected: U Houston, Emory, Wake

ATTENDING-SAMFORD!

AuburnChick

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Re: AFF AXN questions for the uninformed
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2005, 12:30:21 AM »


Quote

2) but when that rationale started to lose its force, proponents of race preferences took to heart the concept adopted by US Supreme Court Justice Powell (alone among his brethren) in the 1978 Bakke case, that race preferences could be justified by the concept of diversity, all by itself; you didn't need to show that an individual had him- or herself suffered from discrimination; diversity meant that the unique contribution that someone with a different background makes to an institution is enough.  In other words, even if (hypothetically) there were no discrimination against minorities still existent, you still wouldn't want to have nothing but nordic types in a truly vibrant campus, you need all sorts of people so that true understanding and sharing of ideas takes place.

And that remains the prevailing rationale for race preferences in the US today.
Quote

Thank you! you have shed light on one of my biggest points of confusion! So maybe you can help me with one more clarification...how does a difference in race yield a bigger abundance of differing ideas than a difference in personality, or a difference in favorite authors or interests?
158, 3.3
Accepted: Samford, South Texas, Georgia State
priority waitlist (as of July 17th, still no "sorry you're rejected" courtesy call..jerks!): U Richmond
Rejected: U Houston, Emory, Wake

ATTENDING-SAMFORD!

dr_draino

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Re: AFF AXN questions for the uninformed
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2005, 12:35:33 AM »
It's discrimination because if I'm reading this textbook and see "okay, this is explaining what happens when I get a perm" and it then goes on to explain a process by which intermolecular forces are increased and never mentions that the goal of the perm is to ADD kink/curl to ones hair rather than REMOVE this feature, then as a black student I very well might assume that "oh, so increasing intramolecular forces within a protein molecule will cause it to straighten out".  MAYBE the black person is astute enough to realize "okay, this was obviously written by a white person, so this must mean that increased intramolecular forces will cause a protein to fold up".  The average white person wouldn't even have to go through this thought process and would just assume that the goal was to add kink/curl to the hair...hell, I'd bet half the white people on this board don't even know that black people have to get a perm to remove the curl from their hair!!  You can see how in this instance, if I wasn't aware of the confusion this could cause as the instructor who happened to read that portion of the text closely, a black student could be led to answer a test question incorrectly because the text meant something completely different to them compared to a white person reading the same text even though they were both using the same reasoning skills.

As far as who is at fault, the publisher of the book is at fault:  they have published a book that is aimed at college students, a large portion of which are non-white, and they have written the text so as to be ambiguous to anyone that doesn't fit into that mold.

Again, this is a minor instance that stuck out to me as a very very white guy...I'm sure there are many other examples.

AuburnChick

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Re: AFF AXN questions for the uninformed
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2005, 12:45:40 AM »
Thank you draino  ;D! I see what you are getting at, but I dont see how race is at all the issue here.  I think that any difference in anybodys experience would cause varying interpretation of almost any text! I just dont get how race is a factor!
158, 3.3
Accepted: Samford, South Texas, Georgia State
priority waitlist (as of July 17th, still no "sorry you're rejected" courtesy call..jerks!): U Richmond
Rejected: U Houston, Emory, Wake

ATTENDING-SAMFORD!

dr_draino

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Re: AFF AXN questions for the uninformed
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2005, 12:49:03 AM »
I'm sure you would agree that adding a german person to a class with a similar personality as another american student in that same class would add more diversity to the class than simply adding another american kid with a different personality than all of the other american kids in the class would bring.  You would probably agree that this is because the german kid comes in not just with his personality, but with his difference in culture.  Seeing how little the white people on this board actually know about the lives of black people, it shouldn't be too hard to stretch this to saying that, on average, a black person grows up with a distinctly different culture than a white kid, and is therefore likely to add more diversity to the class based on that fact, similar to the diversity a german student would add because of his different culture.

Considering that the AA threads and the BLSD board are the two topics that insight the most conversation and certainly the most passionate conversation on this board, it shouldn't be hard to see how adding people of different races to a class adds significantly more to the diversity than simply another white kid with a different personality.

Also, consider:  accepting someone with a high LSAT does not ENSURE that they will be a succesful law student.  It is a strong indicator and an admissions committee member will know from past experience what the likleyhood of a 173 candidate who mearly has a 2.7 gpa will have in succeeding in their program.  In the same way, being black doesn'tENSURE that a person is going to add diversity to the program, but it is a VERY STRONG indicator.  Hope that makes sense.



Quote

2) but when that rationale started to lose its force, proponents of race preferences took to heart the concept adopted by US Supreme Court Justice Powell (alone among his brethren) in the 1978 Bakke case, that race preferences could be justified by the concept of diversity, all by itself; you didn't need to show that an individual had him- or herself suffered from discrimination; diversity meant that the unique contribution that someone with a different background makes to an institution is enough.  In other words, even if (hypothetically) there were no discrimination against minorities still existent, you still wouldn't want to have nothing but nordic types in a truly vibrant campus, you need all sorts of people so that true understanding and sharing of ideas takes place.

And that remains the prevailing rationale for race preferences in the US today.
Quote

Thank you! you have shed light on one of my biggest points of confusion! So maybe you can help me with one more clarification...how does a difference in race yield a bigger abundance of differing ideas than a difference in personality, or a difference in favorite authors or interests?