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Author Topic: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?  (Read 16054 times)

obamacon

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #70 on: August 06, 2006, 12:25:29 PM »
1)   guaranteed access to scarce resources that otherwise would go to the majority even if every one was on the same playing field

Go into this a little more if you would. Consider what you just said about Asian college admissions, and that blacks from the Caribbean (who have similar if not worse histories than blacks from the U.S.) don’t seem to have the problems that blacks from the U.S. have.

Quote
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

Jews have been second class citizens for thousands of years, but if you looked closely you’d see that they were overrepresented in the highest echelons of society both then and now.

Quote
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).

If this is true, shouldn’t it be much lower on the priority list than ideological, religious, or even ethnic diversity?


John Galt

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #71 on: August 06, 2006, 03:50:57 PM »
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.

you get out of here. if asians are hurt by letting in less qualified whites that should end too. all your justifications for race affirmative action are rubbish. everyone has an equal opportunity to study hard and get into their schools. stop excusing people's laziness. you think the majority student benefits by race based diversity. i don't. most whites if polled oppose affirmative action. good lord, such a crock of sh*t.

hahhahah, wow you're dumb.

John Galt

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #72 on: August 06, 2006, 04:00:26 PM »
1)   guaranteed access to scarce resources that otherwise would go to the majority even if every one was on the same playing field

Go into this a little more if you would. Consider what you just said about Asian college admissions, and that blacks from the Caribbean (who have similar if not worse histories than blacks from the U.S.) don’t seem to have the problems that blacks from the U.S. have.

Quote
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

Jews have been second class citizens for thousands of years, but if you looked closely you’d see that they were overrepresented in the highest echelons of society both then and now.

Quote
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).

If this is true, shouldn’t it be much lower on the priority list than ideological, religious, or even ethnic diversity?




Well I would have to disagree with lumping African Americans with other groups. I think the histories are significantly different. Jewish people have been discriminated against because of their success and in some societies have been made scapegoats for problems as a result. I think there are substantial differences. Either way, the united states didn't wrong in the same fashion or degree any group worse than Blacks.

To your second point, I would be open to making race a factor that is less significant in the process. I don't think that anyone should be admitted because of race alone, so I'm in favor of letting work experience, overcoming economic obstacles, etc. I'm not sure that it isn't. See my argument is not that it should be an overwhelming factor in admissions. I'm not arguing that I'm 100% behind affirmative action as it is currently performed. I am only defending the use of race as a factor in determining admission.

mivida2k

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #73 on: August 06, 2006, 04:09:34 PM »
Galt if one of these posters was "black like me" they would kill themselves.  They could not deal with "white" society's drama with the "black" male.

You're doing a wonderful job by the way Mr. Galt. 

 :D ;)

Carry on.......
The president's approval rating has dropped to 33 percent, matching his low in May. His handling of nearly every issue, from the Iraq war to foreign policy, contributed to the president's decline around the nation, even in the Republican-friendly South.

H4CS

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #74 on: August 06, 2006, 06:14:10 PM »
Galt, I normally agree with you on many things, except for your weird decision to live in Connecticut, and you've done an otherwise fine job of talking to idiots in this thread, who I would normally just ignore, but this paragraph is killing me:

[quote
Well I would have to disagree with lumping African Americans with other groups. I think the histories are significantly different. Jewish people have been discriminated against because of their success and in some societies have been made scapegoats for problems as a result. I think there are substantial differences. Either way, the united states didn't wrong in the same fashion or degree any group worse than Blacks.

It's just unnecessary and wrong.  Firstly, anti-semitism is far more complicated than you portrayed it and you make it seem like Jews living far below the poverty line as second-class citizens (or worse) in shetls were the victims of pogroms because they were successful.  Furthermore, even focusing on America that's a very limited understanding of the history of discrimination against Jews, who were effectively shut out of the Ivy League for quite some time.  There are substantial differences and I don't think Jews should be the recipient of Affirmative Action now, but there's no need to get that part wrong.  Secondly, it's not hard to make an argument that the United States wronged Native Americans in a worse fashion and to a worse degree than any other group and continues to do so. 

This isn't the oppression Olympics and there's no need to agrue these points.  There was also no reason to state them in the first place.  The reason that some minority groups have succeeded is not hard to answer, but falling back to misinformed comparisons is not the way to do it.  When you do so, you just allow people to continue to believe that Jews and Asians have "superior" cultural values than blacks instead of focusing on immigration patterns, support networks, legal status, assimilative ability, etc.

John Galt

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #75 on: August 06, 2006, 06:19:23 PM »
Galt, I normally agree with you on many things, except for your weird decision to live in Connecticut, and you've done an otherwise fine job of talking to idiots in this thread, who I would normally just ignore, but this paragraph is killing me:

[quote
Well I would have to disagree with lumping African Americans with other groups. I think the histories are significantly different. Jewish people have been discriminated against because of their success and in some societies have been made scapegoats for problems as a result. I think there are substantial differences. Either way, the united states didn't wrong in the same fashion or degree any group worse than Blacks.

It's just unnecessary and wrong.  Firstly, anti-semitism is far more complicated than you portrayed it and you make it seem like Jews living far below the poverty line as second-class citizens (or worse) in shetls were the victims of pogroms because they were successful.  Furthermore, even focusing on America that's a very limited understanding of the history of discrimination against Jews, who were effectively shut out of the Ivy League for quite some time.  There are substantial differences and I don't think Jews should be the recipient of Affirmative Action now, but there's no need to get that part wrong.  Secondly, it's not hard to make an argument that the United States wronged Native Americans in a worse fashion and to a worse degree than any other group and continues to do so. 

This isn't the oppression Olympics and there's no need to agrue these points.  There was also no reason to state them in the first place.  The reason that some minority groups have succeeded is not hard to answer, but falling back to misinformed comparisons is not the way to do it.  When you do so, you just allow people to continue to believe that Jews and Asians have "superior" cultural values than blacks instead of focusing on immigration patterns, support networks, legal status, assimilative ability, etc.

Yep, my paragaraph was unnecessarily simplistic. My only point was that the patterns of discrimination and reasons were for discrimination were different. But you're right, Spaulding and I agree with you. I did not mean to suggest that the reasons I listed were the only reasons why Jewish individuals were discriminated against.

With regards to Native Americans, I probably would agree and as such Native Americans incidentally are the most sought after group in admissions.

Oppression Olympics is a bad idea in so far as it allows the oppressed individual (or group) to keep blaming their status on the oppressor. It also divides groups in a silly war of who is the most oppressed and its traditionally used to splinter groups that otherwise should be allied. Yet, there is something to be said about reminding the majority about how gross the past was and I think indeed that is one of the reasons for the limited success of African Americans in many sectors and should be remembered when developing policy.


John Galt

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #76 on: August 06, 2006, 06:30:50 PM »
Galt if one of these posters was "black like me" they would kill themselves.  They could not deal with "white" society's drama with the "black" male.

You're doing a wonderful job by the way Mr. Galt. 

 :D ;)

Carry on.......

Thanks mivida. Means a great deal coming from you. :)

misery

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #77 on: August 06, 2006, 07:05:42 PM »
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?

ah yes, the Asian card.  Interestingly, no one ever performs studies on admissions for Asians (or maybe I just don't care enough to look for it.)  I'm glad you mentioned it though, as "reverse AA" is pretty much a foregone conclusion to most Asians.  Perhaps I should start a thread on it sometime.

Back to your original topic, New York has a (magnet) high school system that gives no one "preferential treatment."  As you predicted, the 'first choice' high school has a 51% Asian population.  In that everpresent 'quest for diversity,' a top high school whose demographics were so skewed from the general population of NY would be a huge problem.  Naturally, some people started complaining.  I'll let you guess which groups were first to complain.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuyvesant_High_School

Infinity

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #78 on: August 06, 2006, 07:19:12 PM »
Although I'm glad that discussion picked up again on this thread, most of the posts focus on providing or disproving theoretical justifications of AA.  Getting bogged down in questions of which ethnic groups have been wronged or most wronged in US history (a fairness\historical justification) or questions about how "diversity" does or does not improve society or improve education in classrooms (a diversity justification) or questions on whether or not the LSATs are an apt measure of "merit" and whether or not stereotype threat or test-bias or other factors mean that certain groups deserve boosts to their admissions chances (a meritocratic justification) is unhelpful.  Moreover, the heated debates, name-calling, and general lack of civility found in the largely superficial posts of the past few days reveal a disinclination to attempt to persuade others reasonably.

I found only one post particularly on the mark:

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

So I would like to respond to Intuition.  I think you're right that there are some individuals who object to AA because, as minority students, it leads them to question whether their own accomplishments are deserved (as in scooby's example of the hispanic girl at his school) or makes them worry that others will undervalue them (Clarence Thomas, for instance, has said much to this effect).  And when you suggest that AA involves "taking something from the privileged," you correctly indicate that some majority students are enraged by AA and focus their displeasure on minority students whom they see as unfairly taking what is rightfully theirs.  So you're right that AA contributes to racial stratification, which is a cost.

My response is that although AA is not perfect (nobody is saying it is) and it certainly has costs, as long as it helps reduce racial stratification, then we should continue it.  That is, even though it may somewhat contribute to racial stratification by engendering hostility in some majority students or undermining the self-confidence of some minority students, that does not mean that it is, on balance (so to speak), increasing racial stratification.  You've pointed out one cost of AA, certainly a grave cost, but I still think that AA reduces racial stratification when all the costs and benefits are tallied (mostly by increasing the quality of education available to minority students, which, in turn, leads to minority groups being better represented in society, and so forth).  Hopefully, some day, we may reach a point closer to MLK's fabled vision of a color-blind society (or, perhaps better, a color-indifferent society), and when we're closer to that point, when AA's contribution to maintaining racial stratification exceeds its contribution to reducing it, then we should get rid of AA and figure out something else.  But so long as it is working now, we should continue to do it.  So you're right, Intuition, to point out that AA does somewhat maintain or increase racial stratification, but without evidence that AA increases racial stratification more than it decreases it, your argument does not undermine my empirical support of AA.

Infinity

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Re: Why Does Affirmative Action need Justification?
« Reply #79 on: August 06, 2006, 08:28:53 PM »

First, by acknowledging the stratification of racial groups, we cannot help but prolong the stratification.

How on earth did you find this to be "on the mark"?

I meant that I thought it was the only one relevant to the topic of the thread, though I'm with you Leo in disagreeing with it.