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Author Topic: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?  (Read 16986 times)

aerynn

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #150 on: August 08, 2006, 11:46:19 PM »
That would bother me the same way that it bothers me that people with legacies can get in with lower numbers.  I honestly think every single person should be put onto an equal playing field. 

I don't believe there is such a thing as a level playing field.  Every person, every set of experiences, is so different as to be incomparable.  I would rather have a diverse class, though, than a bunch of early 20-something white men with high test scores and middle class parents who know how to play the drums for example.  That's part of why I care.  I want different people in my class, not just a bunch of high test scorers.
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FossilJ

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #151 on: August 08, 2006, 11:48:58 PM »
That would bother me the same way that it bothers me that people with legacies can get in with lower numbers.  I honestly think every single person should be put onto an equal playing field. 

That said, that's exactly what AA is attempting to do.  Adjust the playing field so that all participants start from roughly the same spot.  Ironic, isn't it?

Pish, J only wants to waste YOUR time.  Get wise.

scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #152 on: August 08, 2006, 11:54:25 PM »
Admissions isn't started on a level playing feild.  It is started with X for white people and X-5 for minorities.  There are multiple playing fields.  It's putting people from different leagues on the playing field to make the metaphore more accurate. 

Let's move this idea to a different avenue.  Let's take sports.  How about basketball.  White basketball players are traditionally not as good at the game as the African Americans, which makes them grosely underrepresented.  Now, should you put more white players in the NBA?  No, definately not, because they aren't as good.  However, recently there have been a few more white players breaking in, but not because they are being given breaks, but rather because they work their butts off to get there.  I think everything should be that way. 

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #153 on: August 09, 2006, 12:01:21 AM »
Admissions isn't started on a level playing feild.  It is started with X for white people and X-5 for minorities.  There are multiple playing fields.  It's putting people from different leagues on the playing field to make the metaphore more accurate. 

Let's move this idea to a different avenue.  Let's take sports.  How about basketball.  White basketball players are traditionally not as good at the game as the African Americans, which makes them grosely underrepresented.  Now, should you put more white players in the NBA?  No, definately not, because they aren't as good.  However, recently there have been a few more white players breaking in, but not because they are being given breaks, but rather because they work their butts off to get there.  I think everything should be that way. 

Yeah, but in this case the individual not performing has repercussions on the team whereas an individual not performing in schools generally only affects the individual. And your analogy does not follow because there is diversity on the basketball court. If a team is selecting players and has a team of ten but needs two more players, it might look at other things beyond overall cumulative skill. For example, if the team has two really strong point guards, it might cut a third point guard trying to make the team for a seven foot center. Now this seven foot center is no where near as skilled as the point guard and no where near as good, but he is selected becuase the seven footer fills a need that the point guard does not. Even in selecting basketball players, merit is not always cut and dry and diversity (although not racial) is neccessary and embraced.

scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #154 on: August 09, 2006, 12:05:24 AM »
Yes but those teams have the CHOICE to take whoever they want.  Most schools don't. 

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #155 on: August 09, 2006, 12:06:30 AM »
Yes but those teams have the CHOICE to take whoever they want.  Most schools don't

um, who do you think makes the decision? The applicant?

FossilJ

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #156 on: August 09, 2006, 12:07:14 AM »
Admissions isn't started on a level playing feild.  It is started with X for white people and X-5 for minorities.  There are multiple playing fields.  It's putting people from different leagues on the playing field to make the metaphore more accurate. 

Let's move this idea to a different avenue.  Let's take sports.  How about basketball.  White basketball players are traditionally not as good at the game as the African Americans, which makes them grosely underrepresented.  Now, should you put more white players in the NBA?  No, definately not, because they aren't as good.  However, recently there have been a few more white players breaking in, but not because they are being given breaks, but rather because they work their butts off to get there.  I think everything should be that way. 

I don't really want to get into an AA opinion debate, as you could probably tell from my sarcastic post earlier on this page.

I think you're being intentionally obtuse, though, so I'll post again.  Just in case you actually don't get it, I'll clarify my point.

AA works on the premise that the playing field is not equal to begin with.  It accepts, prima facie, that applicants from different racial backgrounds have a number of factors that interfere not only with their education, but with their professional lives in general.  Then it tries to correct for such inequalities by adjusting the scale at whatever level we're talking about, be it undergraduate applications, graduate applications, or the general work force. 

I'm not saying AA is good or bad.  I'm not saying it's right or wrong.  I'm not saying it's effective or useless.  I'm saying that, ironically, it proceeds from the same premise from which you would like to crucify it.

And your basketball analogy is poor.  In terms of career opportunities, the NBA isn't a level playing field at all.  It self-selects for genetic freaks.  But that's not the problem.  The problem with the analogy is that, unlike the life circumstances that can severely affect the admissions process (including SES and stereotype threat, amongst other things), all basketball players are put in a highly regulated and standardized environment (the court and the rules), have a ball shoved in their hands, and are told to play the game.  What they do after that is based on merit, but the actual playing field, the list of rules, was always the same for everyone - it was always just a basketball court, a ball, and some shoes.   
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Deontologist

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #157 on: August 09, 2006, 10:06:29 AM »
Admissions isn't started on a level playing feild.  It is started with X for white people and X-5 for minorities.  There are multiple playing fields.  It's putting people from different leagues on the playing field to make the metaphore more accurate. 

Let's move this idea to a different avenue.  Let's take sports.  How about basketball.  White basketball players are traditionally not as good at the game as the African Americans, which makes them grosely underrepresented.  Now, should you put more white players in the NBA?  No, definately not, because they aren't as good.  However, recently there have been a few more white players breaking in, but not because they are being given breaks, but rather because they work their butts off to get there.  I think everything should be that way. 

I don't really want to get into an AA opinion debate, as you could probably tell from my sarcastic post earlier on this page.

I think you're being intentionally obtuse, though, so I'll post again.  Just in case you actually don't get it, I'll clarify my point.

AA works on the premise that the playing field is not equal to begin with.  It accepts, prima facie, that applicants from different racial backgrounds have a number of factors that interfere not only with their education, but with their professional lives in general.  Then it tries to correct for such inequalities by adjusting the scale at whatever level we're talking about, be it undergraduate applications, graduate applications, or the general work force. 

I'm not saying AA is good or bad.  I'm not saying it's right or wrong.  I'm not saying it's effective or useless.  I'm saying that, ironically, it proceeds from the same premise from which you would like to crucify it.

And your basketball analogy is poor.  In terms of career opportunities, the NBA isn't a level playing field at all.  It self-selects for genetic freaks.  But that's not the problem.  The problem with the analogy is that, unlike the life circumstances that can severely affect the admissions process (including SES and stereotype threat, amongst other things), all basketball players are put in a highly regulated and standardized environment (the court and the rules), have a ball shoved in their hands, and are told to play the game.  What they do after that is based on merit, but the actual playing field, the list of rules, was always the same for everyone - it was always just a basketball court, a ball, and some shoes.   

Earlier in this thread I addressed some of the issues that people claim adversely affect the qualifications of URMs in the undergraduate and graduate admissions process, namely stereotype threat and socio-economic status. I still have yet to receive a response that addresses the misrepresentation of stereotype threat as the reason URMs tend to underperfrom on standardized tests. I also cited the statistic that black students from families that earn $100,000 or more earn lower SAT scores than white students from families who earn $10, 0000 or less. Again, why on earth should we assume that a middle or upper middle class black kid overcame more obstacles than a poor white or Asian kid? There is also some statistical evidence that suggests Asian students are held to a higher standard for admission than white students; that, in effect, if a white and Asian student are equally qualified, the preference is given to the white candidate. Is this fair? Or, do you think there should be one standard for all applicants?

This is a question of fairness. People keep asking, “Why do you care if some kid gets admitted with a lower LSAT score.” I ask, “Why would anyone care that one group is given preferential treatment over another group on the basis of race?” The answer to that question seems obvious to me.

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #158 on: August 09, 2006, 01:34:23 PM »
Earlier in this thread I addressed some of the issues that people claim adversely affect the qualifications of URMs in the undergraduate and graduate admissions process, namely stereotype threat and socio-economic status. I still have yet to receive a response that addresses the misrepresentation of stereotype threat as the reason URMs tend to underperfrom on standardized tests. I also cited the statistic that black students from families that earn $100,000 or more earn lower SAT scores than white students from families who earn $10, 0000 or less. Again, why on earth should we assume that a middle or upper middle class black kid overcame more obstacles than a poor white or Asian kid? There is also some statistical evidence that suggests Asian students are held to a higher standard for admission than white students; that, in effect, if a white and Asian student are equally qualified, the preference is given to the white candidate. Is this fair? Or, do you think there should be one standard for all applicants?

This is a question of fairness. People keep asking, “Why do you care if some kid gets admitted with a lower LSAT score.” I ask, “Why would anyone care that one group is given preferential treatment over another group on the basis of race?” The answer to that question seems obvious to me.

None of what you're arguing matters.  Even if what you are saying is true (and I claim no proficiency in the matter and am not seeking to argue about it one way or another), all your argument proves is that one theoretical justification for AA is torpedoed.  In its place, you provide theoretical reasoning for why AA is not justified, which is just as easily combated.  Pursuing such a course to attempt to justify or unhinge AA results in inane debates about largely incorrect and irrelevant abstractions for implementing a concrete policy.  My point in starting this thread is that debating such justifications is a waste of time.  We should look at what AA professes to do, see whether we like what it professes to do, and whether it actually does what it professes to do, not why it is theoretically necessary.

If you're so worried about fairness, worry about large-scale racial stratification (and fairness is not the only reason to worry about it, in fact, i don't care why you worry about the empirical fact of racial stratification, there are lots of good reasons to do so, and fairness may or may not be one of them).  For whatever reason, in our society, citizens of certain races are disproportionately represented in (and have a harder time of joining) the middle and upper-middle classes, and, perhaps more crucially, almost all areas of leadership, whether government, media, business, law, medicine, academia, etc.  If you think that such stratification is undesirable, than any policies that help alleviate it are desirable.  To my mind, AA in law schools, particularly elite law schools, increases the number of students from under-represented races likely to achieve prominent positions in society.  You can argue that it does not succeed in this mission, or argue that it does so at too high a price, but questions about stereotype threat and theoretical qualms about "fairness" are irrelevant.

FossilJ

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #159 on: August 09, 2006, 01:35:10 PM »
I'm not going to rehash this.

Read this thread.  If you still don't find a "challenge" to your post, then please post again.  
Pish, J only wants to waste YOUR time.  Get wise.