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Author Topic: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?  (Read 18151 times)

scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2006, 11:57:03 AM »
First off, this is just one personal experience.  And yes, it is isolated, but I have heard of many stories like this.  But more importanly, it shows how the AA system is so very flawed.  It isn't necessarily helping the disadvantaged, it is helping the people of a certain skin color or ethnic background.  If it is the disadvantaged you are all worried about, why not do as somebody earlier stated and replace AA with a program that gives preferance to the economically poor and disadvantaged?  The way things work now, a minority that is filthy rich can get the same advantages as somebody who is in poverty.  Plus, there are plenty of white kids that are just as poor and disadvantaged as the minorities.  What do you say to them?

There is no way that this is a cure.  I'm sure you've heard these arguments, and will probably just insult them, but they are very valid. First, this won't help solve racism.  If anything it will make a lot of white people resent minorities.  No matter if that is justified or not, you are going to have people who feel like they were cheated out of a position in a school or a job.  That isn't going to make them like the person who they think didn't deserve it.

Second, it is telling the white people that they have to do twice as good to get ahead, and it is telling the minorities that they can do pretty good, and the government will get them the rest of the way.  Is that really an accomplishment?  Many successful minorities are against affirmative action because they feel they will always have it in the back of their mind that maybe their success had some sort of aid.  Jerome Holmes, recently appointed as Justice of the 10th Circuit of Appeals, is publically against it, and he is an African American man.  Dinesh D'Souza, an Indian immigrant author, is another prominant individaul with that mindset. 

Finally, what would be wrong with eliminating the race box altogether on applications?  There would be no way to give preference to anyone who is white or any other color.  Instead, be more specific about life's other circumstances.  That would be the way to have a more equal application process. 

Kirk Lazarus

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #31 on: August 04, 2006, 12:04:42 PM »
Affirmative action on the surface seems like a good idea, but in reality it doesn't address the right things.  Consider a situation that I had back when I was in high school.  There was a girl who was half hispanic who lived in a similar neighborhood as many of the white kids, thus being from a similar financial background.  She had the same educational opportunities as the whites, and she was in the top 10% of the class.  She was offered a full-ride to an ivy-league school, and nobody else in the top 10% was even offered a full-ride to the state schools(including the valedictorian).  Admirably, this girl turned down this scholarship because she wanted to get it off merit, not because of her race.  However, to get back to the point, how is this correcting the "social injustices" that many of you are speaking of?  She had the same opportunities as the rest of us, but yet got much better rewards for similar results.  I do agree that there is a correlation with race and socio-economic standing, so address that.  But addressing the issue by race alone is downright wrong.

Martin Luther King said, "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."  Does affirmative action do this?


In what way does your story even begin to even suggest that that affirmative action is wrong? First, this girl was in the top 10% of her class which means she had the academic portion pretty set. Second, you ignored an obvious alternative that she had more going for her besides her grades. You didn't address anything about her ECs or leadership positions. You didn't address her reputation or her ability to garner a stellar recommendation. You didn't speak toward her writing ability or her unique experiences. It is quite plausible that this girl is a far superior candidate than the rest of the members of the top 10% of the class because of her accomplishments beyond performance in the classroom. Your analysis looks at one criteria for admission alone, ignoring all others, and makes a determination from that. In other words, you didn't prove anything other than her results were different from the other members in the same percentile in her class. Your conclusion doesn't follow the evidence.  

Its funny how you quote King, but then advocate for a numerical based approach to admission. King didn't say people should be judged by a SAT or LSAT score. He said character. I fail to see how the quote has any relevance in strengthening your claim. It is ironic that affirmative action actually gives African Americans an opportunity to articulate their character, talents, and promise as a means for qualification.
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Kirk Lazarus

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #32 on: August 04, 2006, 12:41:04 PM »
First off, this is just one personal experience.  And yes, it is isolated, but I have heard of many stories like this.  But more importanly, it shows how the AA system is so very flawed.  It isn't necessarily helping the disadvantaged, it is helping the people of a certain skin color or ethnic background.  If it is the disadvantaged you are all worried about, why not do as somebody earlier stated and replace AA with a program that gives preferance to the economically poor and disadvantaged?  The way things work now, a minority that is filthy rich can get the same advantages as somebody who is in poverty.  Plus, there are plenty of white kids that are just as poor and disadvantaged as the minorities.  What do you say to them?

There is no way that this is a cure.  I'm sure you've heard these arguments, and will probably just insult them, but they are very valid. First, this won't help solve racism.  If anything it will make a lot of white people resent minorities.  No matter if that is justified or not, you are going to have people who feel like they were cheated out of a position in a school or a job.  That isn't going to make them like the person who they think didn't deserve it.

Second, it is telling the white people that they have to do twice as good to get ahead, and it is telling the minorities that they can do pretty good, and the government will get them the rest of the way.  Is that really an accomplishment?  Many successful minorities are against affirmative action because they feel they will always have it in the back of their mind that maybe their success had some sort of aid.  Jerome Holmes, recently appointed as Justice of the 10th Circuit of Appeals, is publically against it, and he is an African American man.  Dinesh D'Souza, an Indian immigrant author, is another prominant individaul with that mindset. 

Finally, what would be wrong with eliminating the race box altogether on applications?  There would be no way to give preference to anyone who is white or any other color.  Instead, be more specific about life's other circumstances.  That would be the way to have a more equal application process. 

Since I'm bored, I'll just go ahead and respond to the salient points in your post. The new great argument is to advocate for economic based affirmative action. So the argument goes that it will help both disadvantaged minorities and whites. However, a basic understanding of statistics and reality will confirm that such a policy would overwhelmingly support whites only. 1) Rich whites and Middle class whites score better on the SAT, LSAT than Rich URMs and Middle Class URMs. 2) Rich and Middle class URMs may or may not score better than Poor Whites. 3) Poor Whites score better than Poor URMs. If you agree to the factual validity of those three claims then you must also agree that eliminating race as a consideration would dilute the number of middle class and upper class URMs admitted in favor of their better scoring upper class and middle class white peers. And poor whites would get the bulk of the admissions slots based on this economic boost since they score better than poor URMs and since they outnumber all other ORMs. Thus, you are solidifying access to power based on race -and although that is not as visible as affirmative action, that sort of policy would be detrimental to the goal of racial progress in this country and equal opportunity. Replace a race policy that spreads access to power across various backgrounds and ethnicities to a race policy that augments greatly the majority's control on power and economics. No, thanks. We had that once before and it wasn't exactly America's best moment.

To your second paragraph, what do I care what people think? Fact of the matter is that people want to believe in the American idea that if they work hard and play by the rules then they will get ahead, yet they don't want to accept the obvious: that failure is the individual's fault. Using minorities as a scapegoat is common, but it certainly isn't a reason that we should eliminate a policy. A more plausible way to advance race relations is to increase the black middle class and getting people on the same level educationally, socially, and economically (within reason, through access to basic opportunities for upward mobility) so that we can start to understand each other across cultures. I think affirmative action certainly is a better solution than no solution at all.

Finally, you won't be able to eliminate race from consideration. Some people go to HBCUs, some have ethnic last names. The fact is, it is too late for a color blind society. It is telling, however, that you would advocate for the elimination of tools that boost minorities standing in society, but mention nothing about the long standing tools that continue to give access to the most priviledged of our society. Indeed, what we ought to be talking about is why we accept such an overreliance on a test that doesn't really predict in any meanifulway a qualification to be in law school (or in college regarding the SAT). We should not accept testing as a standard just because everyone is exposed to it. We ought to be questioning what truly qualifies someone to be in school. I know race alone doesn't qualify someone, but I also know that LSAT alone doesn't either.
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scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #33 on: August 04, 2006, 01:31:24 PM »
As far as the girl from my high school, the point was that she didn't have anything outstanding compared to anyone else in my school.  Yes, she was very smart, and yes, she had a lot going for her, but there were also white students who had just as much going for her and who were smarter than she was.  I don't remember all the specifics (this was four years ago), but I do remember her even admitting that it wasn't at all fair.  This is why she turned down the opportunity. 

Yes, I quote King.  There are plenty of whites who have just as much character as minorities.  They aren't being judged by their character, they are being judged by their race.  That is what AA is designed to do. 

I definately agree with the LSAT.  I think it's stupid that 4 hours can determine how qualified someone is.  There should be many more considerations than that.  And, I agree that things need to be done to make everyone on an equal playing field.  That being said, if this is the standard, why can't the minorities that 'James Bond' speaks of do as well?  If they have the money, they have the same opportunity.  If they don't, they don't have the same opportunity.  This is why it should be done on class, not race.  Bond also says that "failure is the individual's fault."  I can turn this around.  Minorities need to stop blaming white America and take the responsibility. 

I think that there definately should be policy implemented to fix the problems of equality.  However, I don't see the equality being a race problem as much as financial.  If your poor, your public education will be worse than if you can afford private or prep schools.  But, I think the answer to equality is to fix the educational experiences at a younger age.  I think affirmative action used to be effective, but I think it is getting more and more outdated.  I think that if you are going to have legislation, it must be fair to everyone, and have as few holes as possible.  Flawed laws don't need to be anywhere in our system. 

You can easily take race off an application.  You can also take the names off.  For admissions purposes you can assign a case number or code names, etc.  Professors do it for grading essays all the time...






Kirk Lazarus

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #34 on: August 04, 2006, 01:48:56 PM »
As far as the girl from my high school, the point was that she didn't have anything outstanding compared to anyone else in my school.  Yes, she was very smart, and yes, she had a lot going for her, but there were also white students who had just as much going for her and who were smarter than she was.  I don't remember all the specifics (this was four years ago), but I do remember her even admitting that it wasn't at all fair.  This is why she turned down the opportunity. 

Yes, I quote King.  There are plenty of whites who have just as much character as minorities.  They aren't being judged by their character, they are being judged by their race.  That is what AA is designed to do. 

I definately agree with the LSAT.  I think it's stupid that 4 hours can determine how qualified someone is.  There should be many more considerations than that.  And, I agree that things need to be done to make everyone on an equal playing field.  That being said, if this is the standard, why can't the minorities that 'James Bond' speaks of do as well?  If they have the money, they have the same opportunity.  If they don't, they don't have the same opportunity.  This is why it should be done on class, not race.  Bond also says that "failure is the individual's fault."  I can turn this around.  Minorities need to stop blaming white America and take the responsibility. 

I think that there definately should be policy implemented to fix the problems of equality.  However, I don't see the equality being a race problem as much as financial.  If your poor, your public education will be worse than if you can afford private or prep schools.  But, I think the answer to equality is to fix the educational experiences at a younger age.  I think affirmative action used to be effective, but I think it is getting more and more outdated.  I think that if you are going to have legislation, it must be fair to everyone, and have as few holes as possible.  Flawed laws don't need to be anywhere in our system. 

You can easily take race off an application.  You can also take the names off.  For admissions purposes you can assign a case number or code names, etc.  Professors do it for grading essays all the time...


Its real telling that you don't remember the specifics but you remember admitting her wasn't all that fair. It is also quite funny, at least to me, that people on the outside looking in have a better idea of qualification than the people who are actually in the position to decide what they want in a class. I agree with you about one thing though, if she turned down the opportunity for the reason specified, she isn't all that bright.

No, your understanding of affirmative action is wrong. It is designed not to let race be an ovewhelming factor of disadvantage for applicants especially those applicants that are under represented in law schools, med schools, colleges, etc.

All social policy initiatives are flawed. I've already articulated a major concern with economic based affirmative action that you have yet to refute or even address. Moreover, you have failed to address the social stigma that being a minority still has on an individual. Money cannot erase prejudice or discrimination from others. We do agree that there needs to be more effort in trying to fix the problems of education particulary in primary and secondary schools, but I ask why eliminate affirmative action prior to those other problems being solved?

Finally, why take race off of the application but leave income? If someone is to be judged by the principle of character alone as you maintain, wouldn't it be contradictory to let them be judged by their income as you would argue? I don't see how you can reconcile your advocacy of economic affirmative action with the principle, as you interpret it, that you supposedly adhere to when quoting King.
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scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #35 on: August 04, 2006, 02:07:09 PM »
The reason why I would be ok with economic affirmative actions is because yes, people who have money do have better opportunity to do well on things like standardized tests.  Race, if there is equal opportunity, doesn't inhibit you from doing well on a test if races do have equal capability (which i believe we all do).  As far as character, I think that we all have character building experiences no matter what race we are.  I also came from a high school that really wasn't accepting of Christians at times.  I got picked on a lot when I was younger because I held firm to Christian ideals.  However, these types of discrimination aren't looked at.  I think that character is race neutral, either you have it or you don't.  There are social stigmas for everyone these days, just in different forms (though you probably do have a better perspective on that that I do). 

We don't agree about the girl I knew in high school.  She was very bright, as were many people from my school.  She also knew that the advantage she was getting wasn't fair, and turning that opportunity down took a TON of that character you've been talking about.  Doing the right thing isn't always the most advantagious to yourself.  Oh, and explain to me how it is telling that I can't remember specifics?  I remember her saying "i turned it down because it wasn't a fair way to get it."  That's not all that hard to remember.  It is hard to remember how many community service hours she had, or who wrote a letter of reccomendation.  It just seemed normal compared to everyone else. 

I think we should eliminate affirmative action simply because I truely believe that the problems will fix themselves if we address the other problems causing the issue.  But, at the time being, reverse discrimination isn't the answer.

As far as answering your comments on economic affirmative action, I honestly had trouble understanding what you were meaning (i don't mean that sarcastically at all).  Could you paraphrase it again? 

John Galt

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #36 on: August 04, 2006, 02:25:27 PM »
I think my position is pretty clear and doesn't need to be rehashed, but how is the thing your friend did noble? If she thought she was unqualified to be at the ivy league school, then why did she apply at all? It seems borderline stupid for her to turn down an offer because of the results of her peers.

scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #37 on: August 04, 2006, 02:31:45 PM »
She thought that she could get in on her own merit.  It's like me applying to a target school.  That was her target school.  Her scholarship letter was for a minority scholarship so she turned it down because she felt that affirmative action is wrong, not because of her peers.  And, sticking up for your convictions is noble. 

John Galt

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #38 on: August 04, 2006, 02:49:49 PM »
She thought that she could get in on her own merit.  It's like me applying to a target school.  That was her target school.  Her scholarship letter was for a minority scholarship so she turned it down because she felt that affirmative action is wrong, not because of her peers.  And, sticking up for your convictions is noble. 

That's silly. Its quite plausible that she was admitted because she was well qualified in relation to the entire applicant pool and then she was given the scholarship becaue she was one of the most qualified among the minority admits. Did she only turn down the scholarship? Or did she turn down her offer of admission?

scooby21322

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #39 on: August 04, 2006, 02:55:59 PM »
She ended up going where she got a merit-based scholarship.  She didn't have a ton of money so she needed the scholarship, just wanted one for other reasons than race.  If memory serves me correct she went to Northwestern instead.  There really is no telling if she got into that school off merit alone or because of AA because acceptance letters don't really specify as far as I know.