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Author Topic: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?  (Read 17408 times)

scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #60 on: August 04, 2006, 11:40:59 PM »
Oh, and as far as the LSAT, they should at least try to figure out why minorities score lower.  I think they should do that and then figure out what to do from there. 

aerynn

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #61 on: August 05, 2006, 11:28:40 AM »
Oh, and as far as the LSAT, they should at least try to figure out why minorities score lower.  I think they should do that and then figure out what to do from there. 

Good tip.  What is your idea for what to do in the meantime, though?
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scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #62 on: August 05, 2006, 09:52:10 PM »
I would suggest to stop having uneven standards.  A broken solution isn't a solution.

John Galt

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #63 on: August 05, 2006, 10:04:18 PM »
I would suggest to stop having uneven standards.  A broken solution isn't a solution.


um...no admission is standard. The test is standardized, but the admissions cycle takes in various factors. There are too many variables to have a set standard for admissions. That's why admissions is different based on each individual's qualifications and why it is relative to the strength of the overall applicant pool.

scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #64 on: August 05, 2006, 10:43:38 PM »
Right but you still don't have to involve things that aren't in people's control.  I think the only variables that should be used are ones that people have made or not made for themselves.

John Galt

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #65 on: August 05, 2006, 11:53:47 PM »
Right but you still don't have to involve things that aren't in people's control.  I think the only variables that should be used are ones that people have made or not made for themselves.

then why include income?

mantis

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #66 on: August 06, 2006, 01:16:30 AM »
Agreed with John Galt and the other "pro-AA" posters... It seems anyone arguing against AA misses the fact that race is just another (arguably) arbitrary criterion for admissions.  There is simply no way to make an admissions process completely numbers-based.  A 3.9 from Duke is different than a 3.9 from BFEState.  Or so one would hope.  How do you control for that?

Even if you can control for differences of educational background to the point that you know that you've enrolled all of the students who are empirically the "smartest" or most prepared to be law students or whatever... why would ANY school want to be filled with students who are basically all the same?  They ask us to write a personal statement for a reason.  In theory I imagine they want to know what we bring to the table besides our undergraduate academic credentials and amazing LSAT-taking abilities.  As has been pointed out so many times before, Yale turns down 179/3.9 students all the time.  Why?  Because they can.  There are enough out there that Yale could probably populate its campus five times over if that was the only thing they wanted.  But why would anyone want that?  Even if I were one of those 179/3.9 folks, I think I would hate to be lumped with a bunch of people exactly like me.

You can argue that race shouldn't be one of the things that differentiates us from one another because it's not something that we can control.  But what about legacies?  What about people who are born into families that are wealthy enough to virtually guarantee future donations of buildings or scholarships etc.?  People who are politically connected?  Who knows what the law schools look for and who are we to say what they should and should not include?  After all, we sort of have a vested interest... So while I might be all in favor of including race but not legacies, I shouldn't expect my son-of-the-dean-of-Penn neighbor to agree.  For example.

I guess my biggest beef is that the argument against AA so often makes it sound like AA suggests that we use ONLY numbers and race as admissions criteria when clearly that is not the case.  

Two unrelated sidenotes...
One in regard to the anecdote about the Hispanic girl who turned down the "minority" scholarship:  Wouldn't it be funny if the school just wanted to give her a scholarship because they thought her PS was awesome or her experience editing the newspaper was exceptional or whatever and they just handed her the minority scholarship because it freed up a "regular" scholarship for another outstanding (and white) applicant?

Second in regard to, "Tutoring is the same thing as studying."  Really?  I mean, are you really really sincerely from your heart and every logical neuron in your brain trying to argue this?  If this is true, why do we hire tutors?  Why do people pay for LSAT prep courses?  Why do we even have teachers in the first place if all we need to do is sit down and study the books on our own to receive an education?  I find this statement to be 100% preposterous.

Intuition

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #67 on: August 06, 2006, 03:48:28 AM »
I am going to jump into this debate somewhat late and I'm not going to read through 6 or 7 page of replies. Rather, I will attempt to answer the question posed by the original post.

I agree that racial stratification is a negative aspect of our society and that most people oppose the stratification of groups according to race. The "significant cost" you speak of, I think, manifests itself in several ways. First, by acknowledging the stratification of racial groups, we cannot help but prolong the stratification. This is a type of self-fulfilliing prophesy....you tell someone they need help over and over and sooner or later they begin to believe it. I ask you, is AA a motivating factor or a demotivating factor? And yes I realize that minority groups have had so much taken from them that in some ways it makes sense to give things back. But why does that involve taking something from the privileged? We don't live in a truly zero sum society. 

I think AA is a neanderthal approach to the problem. I personally don't have the perfect answer, but I think we can do better than AA. I think those racial groups who have been wronged want something better as well. They don't want preferential treatment. Just my .02

John Galt

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #68 on: August 06, 2006, 11:34:29 AM »
I am going to jump into this debate somewhat late and I'm not going to read through 6 or 7 page of replies. Rather, I will attempt to answer the question posed by the original post.

I agree that racial stratification is a negative aspect of our society and that most people oppose the stratification of groups according to race. The "significant cost" you speak of, I think, manifests itself in several ways. First, by acknowledging the stratification of racial groups, we cannot help but prolong the stratification. This is a type of self-fulfilliing prophesy....you tell someone they need help over and over and sooner or later they begin to believe it. I ask you, is AA a motivating factor or a demotivating factor? And yes I realize that minority groups have had so much taken from them that in some ways it makes sense to give things back. But why does that involve taking something from the privileged? We don't live in a truly zero sum society. 

I think AA is a neanderthal approach to the problem. I personally don't have the perfect answer, but I think we can do better than AA. I think those racial groups who have been wronged want something better as well. They don't want preferential treatment. Just my .02

What is with all these code words like "preferential treatment?" Please, get the hell out of here. Whites get more preference than anyone in schools. If they didn't, Asian would represent a higher proportion of the students in top schools. You don't think schools keep their asian populations artifically low to make sure there are enough slots for whites? And the priviledged don't have something taken away - there isn't exactly a shortage or priviledged kids in the best schools? Why should they have access to all the slots and the scarce resources, when they are the very ones who by birth were the best prepared to reap the benefits of this society?

Race should be a factor, among several others, in determining admission to schools. There are many justifications including but not limited to: 1) guaranteed access to scarce resources that otherwise would go to the majority even if every one was on the same playing field; 2) acknowledgment that the denial of these scarce resources based on race for so long resulted in second class citizenry for certain racial groups and hindered the progress of an entire group; 3)acknowledgement that diversity in the classroom based on race benefits both the minority and majority students (which is more than I can say for the LSAT as a measure for qualification); 4)Racial diversity in our educational system particularly at the higher level benefits the entire society (more than I can say for test scores).

Indeed, many argue that an admission system shouldn't have a qualification that people cannot control, but then why have legacy? One cannot predict nor choose which family they are going to be a part of. Why choose income? Most individuals cannot predict what social class their are going to be born in. Is it because race is the most visible? Did you know that the LSAT correlates more with a students wealth and social status than it does with first year performance in law school? Why have a marker of wealth as a method of qualification? We ought to have a different approach in talking about  merit and qualification in this society, but some people seem content on blaming others for their failures.

obamacon

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #69 on: August 06, 2006, 12:13:03 PM »
Indeed, many argue that an admission system shouldn't have a qualification that people cannot control, but then why have legacy? One cannot predict nor choose which family they are going to be a part of.

Iím not exactly thrilled with legacy admissions, but I understand them and support the idea to some extent. Essentially, it provides one more reason for you do to any particular thing successfully. For example, while building a successful business is likely to make an individual a good deal of money, that isnít the only perk of business ownership. That you can pass down your business to your children so they wonít have to struggle as you did is one of the reasons people bother slogging through the trenches of everyday business life when theyíve made more than enough money to satisfy themselves. I believe a similar phenomenon exists with college admissions. As a future Yale student, you can be assured that your children, if they would like to go to law school, probably have a semi-reserved spot waiting for them. This may well influence your giving pattern as well as that of other alumni or cause you to do any number of things for Yale or for your children that non-Yale law graduates wouldnít consider.

Personally, I want my children to work hard, if not harder than I had to for my success, and I think any freebies are probably outside of whatís best for them. I do understand the other position. ďI want life to be easier for my children than it was for me,Ē has been the theme song for generations of Americans, and while it probably isnít the best message one can send to his children, I donít doubt that it helps push people to do more than they would if they only considered themselves.