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Author Topic: Help me sound really smart (Really long post, but PLEASE help!!)  (Read 4457 times)

curly

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I usually hate engaging in AA debates, mostly because they tend to degenerate into personal attacks and baseless drivel. However, I just read something in my school newspaper that is the last in a series of letters to the editor/articles condemning "diversity" in admissions, and I'm absolutely sick of it. I need you all to help me craft an intelligent response to this; since I AM a "minority" I don't want to sound overly upset or emotional, so hopefully you all can give me some perspective.

First, an intro: I go to a small, Southern, WASPY liberal arts school known for its homogeneity and predominantly white and Southern student population. Our admissions office has a hard time attracting minority applicants, so they hold minority recruitment weekends, fly minority kids here, and generally try to create some interest in the school in a population that would otherwise not think about applying (I believe they're also somewhat more generous with $$, but they claim it's to the same extent as to a legacy/athlete/person of interest). However, they are very adamant in saying that they do NOT take race into consideration when ADMITTING students, except to "differentiate between equals."

This letter is from an anonymous "concerned parent." It asks the school's administration to "substantiate the benefits" of increasing racial diversity, which the author seems pretty skeptical about. It also misinterprets comments from Admissions officers (who are quoted as saying that they give incentives to minorities to APPLY here) by saying that Admissions actually gives preference to minorities in admissions.

It questions the University's stated policy to "increase American racial and ethnic diversity on campus to a level approximating the mean" in similar institutions, saying that this goal is no different from a quota.

The letter complains that administrators won't release SAT scores divided up by ethnicities (which I actually think would be interesting), and says that this is some kind of cover up to hide the fact that admitted minorities are doing worse on the SATs than their white counterparts (which I don't necessarily dispute, but given the inadequacies in education that affect many minorities, I don't think the SAT is an accurate measure of intelligence, and hope to convey that in the letter). (And, for those who are about to attack me for unknown reasons, my SAT was in the 99th percentile).

It goes on to say the following "Do I have a problem with minorities attending this school? No. Unequivocally, if a student of any race is the best academically qualified and merits a position I salute him. But, I do have a problem with helping one group of people by hurting another group...I do not agree that an admissions policiy of preferecens for minorities is necessary to enrich the educational experience of all."

ARRRGGGHH. I'm ticked off. Very ticked off. If you have any suggestions as to what to write, please, help.

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Re: Help me sound really smart (Really long post, but PLEASE help!!)
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2006, 09:31:50 PM »
Okay. Time frame for the response?

Cree83

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Re: Help me sound really smart (Really long post, but PLEASE help!!)
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2006, 09:31:59 PM »
paraphrased passages from 'multicultural medicine and health disparities'.  the book touches on minorities in the medical profession, but i think the subject matter applies to other professional positions as well.

between 1980 and 2000, the african american population increased by 28%, the native american population by 55% the hispanic population by 122% and the asian population by more than 190%.  the country's white population increased by about 9%.  demographers anticipate that by 2050, more than half of all us citizens will be members of what are currently minority groups.  despite demographic shifts that are turning the united states into a true mosaic of ethnicities, races, and cultures, the compoisition of its health-care workforce remains distinctly unrepresentative of the general population...

the compelling arguments favoring more diversity fall into four categories 1) advancing the cultural competency of all physicians 2) increasing access to health care for all the underserved and addressing health disparities 3) broadening the research agenda and 4) ensuring that medical administrators and policy makers are adequately informed about the special needs and expectations of minority populations.
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curly

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Re: Help me sound really smart (Really long post, but PLEASE help!!)
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2006, 09:34:45 PM »
It's a weekly paper, so I think I can send this in at any time before Friday.

Thanks Cree, btw. That was great.
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curly

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Re: Help me sound really smart (Really long post, but PLEASE help!!)
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2006, 09:39:52 PM »
Thanks, Stan.  :D
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curly

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Re: Help me sound really smart (Really long post, but PLEASE help!!)
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2006, 10:01:07 PM »
BB: Please elaborate on the "substantial negative effects" that minority recruitment has on the general population and minorities themselves?
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Cree83

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Re: Help me sound really smart (Really long post, but PLEASE help!!)
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2006, 10:03:40 PM »
There will never ever ever ever be statistical parity (or anything close to it) among different races or religions or cultures in any field. Deal with it.


deal with it?  why would i do that when i can work to attempt to change this?  ::)
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curly

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Re: Help me sound really smart (Really long post, but PLEASE help!!)
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2006, 10:23:10 PM »
Thanks, Lil.
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Re: Help me sound really smart (Really long post, but PLEASE help!!)
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2006, 10:24:16 PM »
Normally, I would show the human face of diversity in the classroom to highlight the truly resilient qualities of many minorities who overcome backgrounds full of poverty, violence, drug abuse, foster care, etc. in order to pursue a higher education...

...even so, something tells me this may be dismissed more by a parent, who is really just looking out for their kid, subaltern minorities be damned, so...

...there are several studies done in the 80s and 90s (prolly more since then, but I haven't written or needed to research this stuff in a while) that track gpa's, retention rates, etc. in settings which are racially diverse and others that are more homogeneous...the results showed that 'white' kids benefit substantially from socializing with people of different backgrounds by feeling more confident, well adjusted, etc. and in turn, tend to get better grades and look forward to going to school more, increasing their retention/graduation rates. I remember one that came out of UCLA like a decade ago but you might have to hit up the library or do a lexis search for the goods on this...

...anyway, there are studies out there that you can use to back up the argument that having a diverse class will actually benefit the parent's kid while he/she is at your school. Good luck!
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Re: Help me sound really smart (Really long post, but PLEASE help!!)
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2006, 10:25:12 PM »
breadboy, compassion's for bleeding heart liberals like yourself.  conservatives like myself don't need that kind of sh*t.

curly: i can't address the specifics of the letter.  myself personally, i've always felt that it's acceptable for a school to take into account overcoming adversity as a measure of a student's character and therefore his or her desirability as a candidate.  i personally feel that being from a minority group counts as adversity to some degree, and therefore as a legitimate factor in admissions.

Stan, as a proud bleeding heart liberal, I do not appreciate being lumped in with breadboy. I know you conservatives are trying to get rid of him but it's just mean to try to put him off on our team.

And Curly: I agree with what Stan said. And with what Cree said.
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