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Author Topic: Morality of AA  (Read 6825 times)

redemption

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Re: Morality of AA
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2006, 05:06:42 PM »
Aww, sorry dbgirl...no offense intended  :-* If it makes u feel any better, I'm a curly haired brown person myself, tho most of the "race mixing" responsible for that can be traced 3 or 4 generations back  8)

See, I don't have a problem with interracial reproduction, I just don't like to hear it presented as a "solution" to problematic race relations - I agree that people should have the option and the freedom to marry whoever they want, and to reproduce with whomever they wish, but I don't feel comfortable saying that kind of action, on a mass scale, should be encouraged as a goal. It seems to give too little credit to people, as if to say that the only way we can get past racism is to eliminate race - as if we don't have the ability (or the responsibility) to appreciate difference without calling it inferiority. It blames the problem of racism on the existence or race, rather than on the faulty assumptions that PEOPLE make, based on race.

Cause there is a lot to appreciate in racial and cultural difference. It reminds me of a class I took last year. In one of the assigned articles, the researchers identified "rate of interracial marriage" as a measure of group prejudice. It struck me as odd cause in-group marriage seemed "natural" to me. But I guess it all comes down to how you identify yourself, and how much race plays into that. Someone who says they are "just human" and pretends/believes that race has no bearing in who they are and how they're perceived would find it easier to marry outside of their race and have interracial children than, say, I would. And if that makes me prejudice - because I believe and acknowledge the role that race plays in my identity and those of others - then I guess I'm in good company.

I agree with most of what you have posted, although I'm not sure that I entirely get what you're saying in the second half of the second paragraph when the thrust of what you were saying seemed to pull a sharp u-turn.

I understood your first paragraph as saying that difference exists and should be valued, and the second paragraph as saying that difference exists, and if it is recognized as difference, cannot be valued. Specifically that in-group marriage is "natural", and that inter-group marriage is not so. Is that right?

3blindmice

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Re: Morality of AA
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2006, 02:29:12 PM »
Yea I did go off on a tangent there. And your characterization of the seemingly contradictory nature of my post is real interesting - but let me see if i can explain what I meant, and then u can tell me if I'm still talking in circles.  8)

I'm mot really saying that interracial marriage is unnatural, I was just relating an experience where I had my views about race and marriage challenged - an experience that forced me to look at the issue a little differently. Cause up until then, I did see in-group marriage as a natural thing, and interracial marriage as an abberation from that. But after reading that article and discussing it in class I realized that that view was socially-constructed, and no more "natural" than race itself, since the marriage preference uses race as a proxy for experiences and interests and compatibility.

So...now I can see how, in a world where views of racial distinctions were similar to the way we conceptualize variations in hair color or height - as noticeable sources of difference not thought to be linked to substantive differences in ability or worth - interracial marriage would be a non-isssue. But I still wonder if we can be expected to operate as if that were the case, when it clearly is not.

I shy away from the claim that anyone who refuses to date/marry outside their race is prejudice, while anyone who does so has transcended these "racial hangups" and is somehow enlightened. I think I'd have trouble finding any American over the age of five or ten who's not racially prejudiced to some degree, and I feel that interracial marriage can too sometimes be the product of prejudice, rather than equivocal proof of its absence.  For instance, I know black guys who only date white women because they believe black women have too much attitude and are too demanding, while white women are more conciliatory and attentive. Now that sounds like prejudice to me - but on the scale of the researchers who wrote that article, those black guys would be less prejudice than someone who says they prefer to date within their race.

So yeah. I think my overall opinion is the first one u picked up on: that difference exists and should be appreciated. I guess the other part was to say that you don't eradicate hostility to difference by pretending that difference doesn't exist - interracial marriage is fine, but I don't think it can indicate (or generate) the absence of prejudice, in and of itself. That takes a more consistent and active effort.

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redemption

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Re: Morality of AA
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2006, 02:57:01 PM »
Yea I did go off on a tangent there. And your characterization of the seemingly contradictory nature of my post is real interesting - but let me see if i can explain what I meant, and then u can tell me if I'm still talking in circles.  8)

I'm mot really saying that interracial marriage is unnatural, I was just relating an experience where I had my views about race and marriage challenged - an experience that forced me to look at the issue a little differently. Cause up until then, I did see in-group marriage as a natural thing, and interracial marriage as an abberation from that. But after reading that article and discussing it in class I realized that that view was socially-constructed, and no more "natural" than race itself, since the marriage preference uses race as a proxy for experiences and interests and compatibility.

So...now I can see how, in a world where views of racial distinctions were similar to the way we conceptualize variations in hair color or height - as noticeable sources of difference not thought to be linked to substantive differences in ability or worth - interracial marriage would be a non-isssue. But I still wonder if we can be expected to operate as if that were the case, when it clearly is not.

I shy away from the claim that anyone who refuses to date/marry outside their race is prejudice, while anyone who does so has transcended these "racial hangups" and is somehow enlightened. I think I'd have trouble finding any American over the age of five or ten who's not racially prejudiced to some degree, and I feel that interracial marriage can too sometimes be the product of prejudice, rather than equivocal proof of its absence.  For instance, I know black guys who only date white women because they believe black women have too much attitude and are too demanding, while white women are more conciliatory and attentive. Now that sounds like prejudice to me - but on the scale of the researchers who wrote that article, those black guys would be less prejudice than someone who says they prefer to date within their race.

So yeah. I think my overall opinion is the first one u picked up on: that difference exists and should be appreciated. I guess the other part was to say that you don't eradicate hostility to difference by pretending that difference doesn't exist - interracial marriage is fine, but I don't think it can indicate (or generate) the absence of prejudice, in and of itself. That takes a more consistent and active effort.

Gotcha. I agree more fully with you now, although we still have some differences on premises. I don't agree with you that every person over ten tears of age is prejudiced to some degree, however small, toward people of other races, even though I agree that many are. Having said that, I make a distinction between prejudice (which has a "moral" dimension to it) and preference (or taste, which does not have a "moral" dimension - in the sense that I can, for example, prefer to date someone who is tall without believing that shorter guys are "lesser").

I think the example that you gave of "the demanding black woman" is on the boundary between prejudice and preference: it is wrong to classify demanding women by race (both factually and therefore morally), but not wrong in not wanting to be with a particular demanding woman if that doesn't suit your personality or taste. By that token, saying that one will only date within one's race - generalizing uncompromisingly across individuals as it does, essentializing race as it does, is, in my view, prejudiced and wrong.

slicric

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Re: Morality of AA
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2006, 03:22:22 PM »
I have not read all of these above posts, but I am responding the initial question.  This is all tongue and cheek, not proofread, and lacks any empirical data to support my opinion, but here it goes:

 If one believes there are not innate biological differences in intelligence or innate biological differences in the skills necessary to be admitted to and succeed in law school, he/she must admit that AA is morally right.  Clearly, as the term URM indicates, certain groups are underrepresented in law school and the legal profession.  If the causes of this under representation aren't innate differences in drive or intelligence, then they must be the result of socially constructed inequities.  Consequently these inequalities in opportunity must be rectified.  
   Certainly, it would be more advantageous for all parties involved if inequalities were eliminated earlier in life rather than later.  Removing under representation of minorities at elite preps schools like Exeter and Philips Andover, for example, could be more effective than AA in law school admissions, but that is not yet reality.  The reality is that for many minorities attending a top law school doesnít appear to be a reality for them.  A personal story my help elucidate this point.  
   My father wasnít going to attend college because his parents never finished elementary school and believed he should quit high school and work.  Fortuitously, my fatherís high school girlfriend urged him to finish high school and go to college.  He certainly was under prepared for college struggled while learning the basics of writing and math that his public school and his parentsí lack of education had created.  This coupled with financing the entire cost of his college education left his GPA at a less than ideal level for law school admissions.  Luckily, law school admissions officers were able to detect potential and sought to uphold the AA ideal of equal representation for minorities.
   Despite coming in with possibly one of the lowest undergraduate GPAís in the school, Once in Dickinson law, a mid-ranked law school in Pennsylvania, my dad finished in the 20% of his class and wrote onto law review.  Iím sure many anti-AA advocates will argue that this is the exception and not the rule. But if there are cases where societal inequities limit the opportunities of minorities and result in their under representation in a field, are we not morally obliged to help those who are the victim of a lack of opportunity?



redemption

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Re: Morality of AA
« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2006, 03:39:09 PM »
I have not read all of these above posts, but I am responding the initial question.  This is all tongue and cheek, not proofread, and lacks any empirical data to support my opinion, but here it goes:

 If one believes there are not innate biological differences in intelligence or innate biological differences in the skills necessary to be admitted to and succeed in law school, he/she must admit that AA is morally right.  Clearly, as the term URM indicates, certain groups are underrepresented in law school and the legal profession.  If the causes of this under representation aren't innate differences in drive or intelligence, then they must be the result of socially constructed inequities.  Consequently these inequalities in opportunity must be rectified.  
   Certainly, it would be more advantageous for all parties involved if inequalities were eliminated earlier in life rather than later.  Removing under representation of minorities at elite preps schools like Exeter and Philips Andover, for example, could be more effective than AA in law school admissions, but that is not yet reality.  The reality is that for many minorities attending a top law school doesnít appear to be a reality for them.  A personal story my help elucidate this point.  
   My father wasnít going to attend college because his parents never finished elementary school and believed he should quit high school and work.  Fortuitously, my fatherís high school girlfriend urged him to finish high school and go to college.  He certainly was under prepared for college struggled while learning the basics of writing and math that his public school and his parentsí lack of education had created.  This coupled with financing the entire cost of his college education left his GPA at a less than ideal level for law school admissions.  Luckily, law school admissions officers were able to detect potential and sought to uphold the AA ideal of equal representation for minorities.
   Despite coming in with possibly one of the lowest undergraduate GPAís in the school, Once in Dickinson law, a mid-ranked law school in Pennsylvania, my dad finished in the 20% of his class and wrote onto law review.  Iím sure many anti-AA advocates will argue that this is the exception and not the rule. But if there are cases where societal inequities limit the opportunities of minorities and result in their under representation in a field, are we not morally obliged to help those who are the victim of a lack of opportunity?


Paragraph 1 has some logical problems in it: what if there were substantial differencesin the kinds of graduate education preferred by the 20% most "qualified" African Americans and the 20% most "qualified" white Americans? Let's say that the top African Americans graduating from UG overwhelmingly preferred to get MBA degrees, while the top white Americans (or Asian Americans, for that matter) graduating from UG preferred to get JDs. How would your reasoning change then, if at all?

Paragraph 2 argues for a different, more effective solution to under-representation than AA in the law schools admission process.

shaz

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Re: Morality of AA
« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2006, 03:54:03 PM »
the above post is both the purpose and the ideal result of aa.  a father is admitted into dickinson and this lays a foundation for his son being admitted into nyu.  it is likely that the grandson's application to HYSCCN will reflect the resulting social-economic climb and look very similar to the majority of apps.  sadly, people will still consider him an aa admit.  that has nothing to do with the program and all to do with how the majority prejudges minorities.  


congrats on nyu slicric.  

question for you: does your father work as a solo practictioner, small firm atty, or big firm atty?  statistically, he likely works in a solo/small/gov't/academic setting?  thanx.
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shaz

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Re: Morality of AA
« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2006, 04:03:00 PM »
jeez red!  do you have to do that?  he said it wasn't proofread.  the way you attack people's arguements through their technical flaws is kind of annoying.  we all know what he was getting at.  i don't think he asked for your opinion on his technical flaws either. 

i guess we know who is going to be a future legal writing instructor.   :D
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redemption

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Re: Morality of AA
« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2006, 04:09:37 PM »
jeez red!  do you have to do that?  he said it wasn't proofread.  the way you attack people's arguements through their technical flaws is kind of annoying.  we all know what he was getting at.  i don't think he asked for your opinion on his technical flaws either. 

i guess we know who is going to be a future legal writing instructor.   :D

I wasn't trying to nitpick, honest!  I believe that AA is useful, but not on those grounds, and yet those are the grounds that we hear about - and that people argue about - over and over again. Just trying to shift the discussion into  new territory is all  :)

slicric

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Re: Morality of AA
« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2006, 07:58:17 PM »
Shaz.  Thank you.  My dad does work for a small firm in rural central pennsylvania.  He's rather discouraged by his repeated inability to make partner at several small firms. 

Red.  I don't mind the critique.  I agree that if minorities, independent of social forces decide they would rather get an MBA than a JD your point could be correct.  But what if societal stigmas and prejudices against african americans verbal abilities are pushing them to get MBA's instead of JD's.  It's conceivable.  It's exactly what we see with women in advanced math and science.  They are extremely underrepresented because of the stereotypes that they cannot succeed in these fields.  If a women fails a math test, she is much more likely to think the stereotype about her lacking innate ability is correct and then she's much more likely to switch to humanities than a man who fails a test, but doesn't have to face a stigma.  He can fail and tell himself he didn't try hard enough and he'll study more next time.  The exact same thing could be happening with minorities and law.  they fail a political science test and assume they must not have what it takes in this area because of stigmas.  Consequently, a minority who originally desired to go into law may prefer to get an MBA by the time he graduates simply because society has told him he is better suited for this type of work and he now believes it. 

I don't find it reasonable to assume that there are justifiable differences that would cause significantly more minorities to prefer MBA's to JD's and significanlty more whites to prefer JD's to MBA's.  Unless there is an explanation that is independent of race that explains why more minorities would prefer MBA's to JD's, your arguement doesn't change reality.  But I agree if there was some endogenous factor that caused minorities to dissproportionately prefer MBA's to JD, then your point is valid.  I don't believe that women simply prefer not to get advanced math and science degrees, and analygously I see no legitimate reason to believe minorities would prefer not to get JD's   

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Re: Morality of AA
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2006, 05:52:47 AM »
" Can we talk instead about the morality of living in a world with such extreme racial  disparities (and biases) in wealth, income, educational opportunity and achievement, LSAT scores, community resources, etc., etc., and NOT coming up with any sort of remedy?"

Two wrongs do not necessarily make a right. Just because a situation is bad, it does not mean it is OK to use immoral means to remedy it.

1. I don't think you have two wrongs here. The OP referred to AA as "someone getting a preference because of her race" or something like that.  I guess I would agree that this is wrong, stated this way.  But AA is something else entirely. AA means reading applications contextually, taking account of various advantages and disadvantages the applicant has had throughout life, and considering the role that applicant might play in the student body and in the profession.  And whether you're comfortable admitting it or not, race is one of the most reliable indicia of academic and other advantages. It may be an imperfect proxy, but it's what we've got. There are communities that are underserved because their members don't have the same opportunities other people do.  Do you really want to deny them adequate and effective representation?

The more privileged among us should work to create opportunities for the less privileged among us.  This is a principle that would stand the OP's test of time and circumstance, and it's a much better description of what affirmative action is about.

2. But even if you hold onto the belief that both affirmative action and the vast racial divides in our country are wrong, it's still a matter of degrees.  I'm sick of people talking about how AA is "immoral" or whatever, without giving any thought to the alternatives or acknowledging that we have to do something.  It's like corporate whistleblowing.  Is it "immoral" to breach your employer's trust, break confidentiality agreements, etc.?  Well, sure, probably.  But come on, if the company is, say, knowingly dumping carcinogenic materials into the local reservoir, isn't that "immorality" on a much grander scale, more worthy of public attention?  If a bunch of corporate shills came out whining about fiduciary duties and proprietary information and all the rest, wouldn't you just want to yell at them, "The kids are getting f-ing cancer! Get over it"?

I'd like to give a shout out to John Galt, who is much more patient than I, for starting a thread that poses the challenge to construct your own admissions system.  At least I think it was JG.  Anyway, it was a good idea.

You're not exactly addressing the main point here. AA's application in law school is in using race as a factor when admitting students. AA does not mean using school attended, work experience, and other soft factors as criteria when making a decision. In this thread, I will not engage in a debate as to whether or not race based AA exists(i.e. while a student may not necessarily get in to a school just because they are URM, they certainly would have been an auto-reject if they weren't).

You said "I'm sick of people talking about how AA is "immoral" or whatever, without giving any thought to the alternatives or acknowledging that we have to do something."

I think that racial preferences are immoral. The point being made here is that when you say it's ok for one reason, why shouldn't it be Ok for another reason? You're saying that using race as a factor is OK, and I don't believe it's ok. However, I am not naive, and I don't believe that being "colorblind" will create a truly colorblind society. I just don't think AA in its current method of practice, will solve these problems.

However,  many times there are people, like certain people in this thread that find it easier to label people against AA as simply "looking out for their own interests". Personally, I think there are better ways to deal with issues rather than using AA. What makes the law school admissions system very interesting is that compared to all other admissions processes, it's the most quantitative. We all know that a 3.8/172 will have no trouble cracking the top ten. However, a student in the same situation(equivalent MCAT) applying to medical school will not have that guarantee. What is interesting about law school AA, is that in most cases that i have seen, AA will easily trump the quantitative aspect of law school admissions. Basically, LSAT/GPA are god unless someone is a URM. I personally think that a system which puts more weight on soft factors would be better suited to finding good students who have overcome adversity.