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Author Topic: How Do You Feel About Affirmative Action?  (Read 13636 times)

Netopalis

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Re: How Do You Feel About Affirmative Action?
« Reply #70 on: July 04, 2007, 08:50:54 PM »
Yes, what you said is my argument.  As for your response, I have to ask: Is the money enough of an incentive to get people of minority to go against these cultural stigmas if they are, as you profess, that deep?  If these are such minor differences that a person would be willing to accept the extra money to go to law school, then would these differences not eventually evaporate on their own?  Further, I say that the answer to this is simple: Give URMs a choice.  If they wish to balance the legal field and go into law, they are every bit as qualified to do so.  However, we cannot and should not force anyone to do this, nor should the solution to this be to throw money at the problem. 
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PNym

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Re: How Do You Feel About Affirmative Action?
« Reply #71 on: July 04, 2007, 09:33:24 PM »
I don't think any form of affirmative action that results in lowering standards is beneficial, in the long term, for those whom the standards are lowered.

Academic or business performance standards exist because they allow people who make allocation-of-resource decisions to allocate schooling, job training, or project opportunities to those people most likely to benefit from those opportunities. Standards allow these decision-makers to specify pre-requisite skills and knowledge that they have observed, through both study and experience, to be crucial to learning the content and knowledge of a class or developing the project in a way that maximizes its benefits.

Lowering standards that specify crucial pre-requisites sets people up to fail. What's worse is that the time these people spend failing could be better spent developing the pre-requisites that would normally be required.

For example, taking a calculus class definitely requires understanding of basic algebra. A school administrator who allowed someone who didn't take algebra to enroll in a calculus course would likely see that student fail the course. This is tragic, of course. But what's even worse is that the student could have spent the time used struggling through calculus on learning algebra. Thus, lowering the enrollment standards for calculus would not benefit the student at all.

What's worse is that the lowering of standards for the benefitted group can lead to damage to 3rd parties should they be forced to depend upon a professional from that group. Since members from the benefitted group may have graduated college or lead a project only due to the lowered standards, and not because they would meet the normal standards, there is a chance that these sub-quality members cannot perform as expected in their professional life. Thus, there is a chance that a black surgeon who graduated from Harvard Medical School graduated simply due to his race, and not because he learned all of the knowledge and skills necessary to perform as a surgeon. Would you want to be operated upon by an unqualified doctor?

Please note that I am not saying that all blacks are unqualified or anything of that sort. Undoubtedly, many black professionals are very competent and would meet the normal (unlowered) knowledge and performance standards of their industry or educational institution. What I am saying is that lowering standards for minorities will lead to a larger proportion of unqualified minorities entering the professional or educational ranks, to the detriment of their co-workers and clients, who may have had higher expectations of their performance.

Furthermore, damage to 3rd parties due to underperforming, underqualified beneficiaries of lowered standards can cause a backlash against the entire class of beneficiaries. If MIT sophomores selecting lab partners see that many of their black classmates, admitted under affirmative action, are struggling to understand the material presented freshman year, even if they knew one or two black geniuses in their matriculating class, do you think those sophomores would select black lab partners, knowing the numerical odds of finding one are against them because of the policy of lowered standards?

In addition, this backlash can crystallize into solid conclusions, further damaging relations between the beneficiaries of the lowered standards and other groups. Some of those MIT graduates could conclude that all black people weren't capable of graduating from MIT. Of course this is flawed conclusion based on limited sampling, but if those graduates based their conclusion on their own experiences dealing with underqualified classmates, I would be hesitant to morally condemn them. Still, such a conclusion would only hurt black people as a whole in their dealings with other groups.

As I understand it, affirmative action was originally intended to suggest to allocation-of-resources decision-makers that they expend additional effort in finding qualified candidates from underrepresented minorities. I think this form of affirmative action is somewhat beneficial because people from those minority groups may not have had access to recruiters or intense scrutiny by HR departments in the past. However, this form of affirmative action is beneficial only because it maintains the original standards expected of the selected candidates, therefore forgoing all the problems I mentioned above.

rhombot

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Re: How Do You Feel About Affirmative Action?
« Reply #72 on: July 04, 2007, 09:41:31 PM »
to answer the OP's question, i don't feel strongly either way about AA, but i strongly support it as a measure of promoting racial equality.

i do, however, have feelings about the LSAT. harshly negative feelings. i've long been a beneficiary of academia's fetish for certain types of standardized tests, since i always do very well on them. i understand that to a certain degree the LSAT diagnoses ability to succeed in the legal profession. i would understand if it was used to presumptively admit people above a certain score, say 150, and/or presumptively deny admission to people below a certain score, say 135. beyond that, i don't see any utility to it. if a 150 indicates a high probability of success in the profession, then the probability of success doesn't difer much between a 150 and 180.

to be sure, a 180 will probably achieve far greater mastery of the law than a 150, but what matters is not degree of mastery. what's far more important is what one does with one's legal skills and qualifications. a high LSAT score is no indication that one will do useful things. i'm sure law firms are full of high-LSAT-scoring dead weight living large off unearned wealth, at best doing nothing socially useful except a few hours a month of pro bono work, at worst actively assisting others who cheat, steal and lie. the correct task of the admissions system is to weed these people out, and the LSAT is a useless way of doing it.

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The Dukes

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Re: How Do You Feel About Affirmative Action?
« Reply #73 on: July 04, 2007, 09:43:47 PM »
We believe in giving anyone a chance. However, this chance is only a game that we have created for our personal satisfaction, since other people matter to us as much as the mud we have our butlers remove from beneath our shoes.

Feh!
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Netopalis

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Re: How Do You Feel About Affirmative Action?
« Reply #74 on: July 04, 2007, 09:47:39 PM »
Care to back up your statement?  I think that this is a bit of mischaracterization - generally speaking, racially-prejudiced views are held by those of lower class and lower education.  Therefore, it seems highly unlikely that these people are the decision makers at top law schools.  My guess is that they just feel that everyone should be required to meet the same standards, regardless of what difficulties they've faced in life.
Mercer University School of Law '12

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Re: How Do You Feel About Affirmative Action?
« Reply #75 on: July 04, 2007, 10:09:43 PM »
Care to back up your statement?  I think that this is a bit of mischaracterization - generally speaking, racially-prejudiced views are held by those of lower class and lower education.  Therefore, it seems highly unlikely that these people are the decision makers at top law schools.  My guess is that they just feel that everyone should be required to meet the same standards, regardless of what difficulties they've faced in life.

We do not believe you are addressing us, but we are interested in this topic so we will lend our debate to you people. While Randolph believes that the dregs and other disgusting elements of society are beyond help, Mortimer believes that it is nurture, not nature, that relegates these lesser beasts to the lower rungs of humanity. We are currently engaged in a bet that will speak to which of us is correct.
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Netopalis

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Re: How Do You Feel About Affirmative Action?
« Reply #76 on: July 04, 2007, 10:11:56 PM »
 Ah, a pair of trolls. Add to it 3 Jacks and you've got a full house.  Back on topic, though....
Mercer University School of Law '12

The Dukes

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Re: How Do You Feel About Affirmative Action?
« Reply #77 on: July 04, 2007, 10:17:29 PM »
Ah, a pair of trolls. Add to it 3 Jacks and you've got a full house.  Back on topic, though....

Ah, an attempt to be clever. Sadly, like so many before you, you have failed. Allow us to help: next time, say, "Ah, a pair of jokers."

We don't know why we are so charitable.
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Slim

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Re: How Do You Feel About Affirmative Action?
« Reply #78 on: July 05, 2007, 03:49:55 PM »
[move] ;D    >:(    :(       
[/td][td] :)    ;)    :D      [/td][td] :-*    :'(    ::)      [/td][/tr][/table][/move]
Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson.