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Author Topic: "personal experience"  (Read 7406 times)

march hare

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Re: "personal experience"
« Reply #40 on: February 25, 2004, 07:55:12 AM »
"Some people love to claim that "minorities are under-represented" in colleges, universities, and in certain career fields."

They are.

" No other criteria - test scores, grades, or experience are acceptable if they don't result in diversity."

Race is counted in the index just as legacy, in-state status, endowment, and a person's undergrad school are.  The LSAT score counts, GPA counts, and LORs count. 

  "This lowers our expected levels of excellence - it shows that it dosnt matter how qualified a candidate is, jsut as long as we have a few minorities in the group to make it look good."

How is that lowering excellence?  Race is a legitimate factor to be indexed into job applications or college admissions. 

"But if someone is determined to be qualified or not JUST by the color of their skin, what the hell has the world come to?" 

The same world built we have been living in for over 400 years.  This is nothing new.

"We teach our children that skin color means nothing....."

In a world where skin color means everything, it would be ignorant to teach a child such a fallacy.

"....yet we have a government who gives certain skin colors "breaks" and "extra points". "

White America has always been this way.  This is no new concept.

"How can we expect that minorities will ever become truly competitive if they are never given conditions in which true competition is necessary?"

Hence the argument for affirmative action.

"How are they suppose to be on an equal playing field with the rest of the country if they are given special treatment?" 

Blacks and whites have never been on the same "playing field."

"as far as law school admissions go... law school is an academic environment and schools should choose applicants based on their ability to thrive in that environment regardless of their backgrounds."

Higher academia is not reserved for whites only.  A black kid who grew up in poverty is not a legacy, nor an endowment, nor coming in with undergrad degree -granting school points.  Intelligent, openminded people in admissions staffs know this, and actually welcome the cultural richness minorities bring to a school.

"Secondly, lowering admissions standards for certain minority groups perpetuates stereotypes that members of those groups are less intelligent because it implies that nobody from these groups is smart enough to get into college on his or her own merits."

Look at the ENTIRE admissions index.  Admissions aren't lowered for blacks.

"This sort of stereotyping perpetuates the inequalities that affirmative action seeks to eliminate."

Unfortunately, this country has created a situation of inequality through centuries of oppression, and affirmative action is one tiny step in the direction of trying to make this world a better place.

It was only 50 years ago that whites and blacks were forced to drink from separate fountains, eat at different establishments, sit in different parts of the bus, and go to segregated scchools.  Brown v. Board of Education ruled that separate is NOT equal, and this country has been making small, but significant steps toward remedying this problem for decades.

Fifty years was not that long ago.

kslaw

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Re: "personal experience"
« Reply #41 on: February 25, 2004, 01:18:39 PM »
Yesterday afternoon, I was in a staff meeting where it was discussed that it was time to remove from the personnel handbook the words that "priority in hiring will be given to females and minorities".

Of course, I thought of this discussion.

anyway, back on the subject. there were points being made that minorities were more likely to grow up poor, with lackluster educational opportunities, and less support and encouragement. And because of these disadvantages, should have the advantage of affirmative action, because this would help to alleviate the affects of the disadvantaged upbringing.

And...the fact that these minorities have grown up poor can be attributed to the history of slavery. So..to rectify the situation, we introduce affirmative action.

I paraphrased this quickly, so i apologize for misinterpretations, etc.

I think it is a compelling argument, I do. I find one major flaw in it.

that the minorities who grew up in poverty are not the ones benefitting from affirmative action. (not primarily). Those I know who have benefitted from affirmative action have been the ones who grew up in middle class suburbia, with all of the same advantages the white kid beside them had, who knew as a teenager that they would have an advantage over the white kid beside them.

On the other hand, in the inner cities, we have children who are living in poverty, going hungry, struggling to learn without the necessary materials, dropping out of school, and continuing the cycle of poverty.

Affirmative action is doing nothing for them. It really isn't. At best, it provides them a motivator...tells them that it's not as hopeless as it may seem because affirmative action will help counteract the prejudice/racism, just as long as they work hard.

I would support preference given to inner city children in undergraduate college admissions.  I would also support (in graduate and law school admissions) 'forgiveness' of lower GPAs for people who came from inner city school systems, or people who had to work and support their family while in school. I would definitely agree with giving a job/spot to a minority if it came down to two absolutely identical candidates, only difference being race.

however, my problem with all of this is that it considers race, but not other demographics (such as economic class). So when a white boy grows up in poverty, loses both parents, raises his four siblings, manages to graduate from an inner city school with a 3.8...he will lose a job or spot to a minority whose parents are doctors, who graduated with a 3.5 from a private school that offered tutors to students who had below a B, and who spent most of her school day passing notes to her friend.

I don't think minority status should be a trump card. While I agree that being a minority is more difficult than not being a minority, and that something should be done to help alleviate some of the disparity between races and classes, i also think that we all have some aspect of ourselves or our lives that we believe has made our life harder...and where do we draw the line as far as which ones count more?

It does seem that things are being steered in that direction, so I'm not really complaining.

lawstudent2004

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Re: "personal experience"
« Reply #42 on: February 25, 2004, 01:30:02 PM »
"Blacks and whites have never been on the same "playing field.""

You are right black people are given an edge.

"Race is a legitimate factor to be indexed into job applications or college admissions." 

It is a legitimate factor for a racist.

crusader918

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Re: "personal experience"
« Reply #43 on: February 25, 2004, 04:46:11 PM »
I've been monitoring this thread for a little while now.  And unfortunately the arguments in the thread have resulted in ad hominem attacks against one another.  Which is unfortunate because I have yet to see a solution from both sides.  Is there any common ground on this issue?

I come from a bi-racial background (white and black) and I can see both sides standing their ground for what they believe is to be right.  However, I don't see any solutions.  Let's just say in your perfect world, there is no Affirmative Action...How do you protect the minorities against being discriminated against?  How do you insure that their civil rights are protected?  [i]And please people..NO SPIN!!!!!!  In other words, please do not respond by saying "I don't give a damn......All I care about is that Affirmative Action is right/wrong because I got screwed!!!" or "Well, I don't care about that because it's whites/blacks that only get screwed."  [/i]
 
In case you haven't noticed, with the demographics changing to a majority hispanic population in the West and Southwest United States, how are whites going to protect their Civil Rights?  I'm not saying that all Hispanics will discriminate against other minorities and Whites but, how do you protect people from being discriminated against once the big, bad Affirmative Action is gone?  And when the Minority population becomes the Majority population, then will you feel so smug about how Affirmative Action is so bad?

And on a side note:

I am really amused when certain people play the race card stereotype as well as the victim card stereotype when it comes to minorities.  Unfortunately, everyone plays the "victim" game, including whites.  Stop the blame game.  Too often this country's racial debate is sidetracked by a search for a scapegoat.  And more often than not, those scapegoats end up being the people on the other side of the debate. "It's your fault because you're a racist." "No, It's your fault because you expect something for nothing." "It's white-skin privilege." "It's reverse racism." And on and on it goes.   .

I truly believe that it doesn't matter who is responsible for things being screwed up;  the only relevant question is, "How do we make things better?".

What is the solution?  For the minorities - What are the alternatives?

I believe that's what a diverse background is all about:  I doesn't matter what race I'm from.  What's important is the obstacles and barriers I overcame to be the person that I am.  I'm not trying to play a damn victim card!!!   I'm just trying to show I have some damn character for overcoming those obstacles.  You can be white, black, green, brown or whatever.  Just because affirmative action will get you in, affirmative action doesn't help you to get the job done, get assignments completed or study for exams.

I believe that until a solution on how to protect minorities from being discriminated against, affirmative action is here for the time being like it or not. 

Good luck to everyone in their future endeavors,

Crusader



kslaw

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Re: "personal experience"
« Reply #44 on: February 25, 2004, 05:18:10 PM »
Affirmative action does not protect minorities from being discriminated against.

Laws against discrimination protect certain protected classes (minorities included) against discrimination.

Affirmative action just allows for preferential treatment for minorities, which is expected to counteract that discrimination which cannot be proven.

As far as your solution...the government is not responsible for solving every problem faced by Americans. I believe that racial and economic disparity has become part of the government's agenda because 1. politicians have used it to gather support during election periods and 2. the fear of backlash from the minority group because the trends that exist.

Really, the federal government's responsibility in this matter is to laws clarifying what it means to protect each citizens' right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Which they did. Anti-discrimination laws. and it is up to the courts to uphold those anti-discrimination laws.

In my opinion: protecting against discrimination means ensuring that minorities and non-minorities are treated equally...that minorities are not blocked from higher education/job opportunities if they are well qualified.

Affirmative action is giving permission to discriminate against non-minorities under the pretense of breaking the cycle of poverty among minority groups.

Which, as I said before, I would support as a temporary measure (meaning, several generations) if it actually had the desired effect. But it doesn't. It is increasing the economic disparities within the same racial group (the rich minorities get richer, the poor minorities get poorer). It is also breeding resentment and hypersensitivity to racial issues.

In my opinion, a more appropriate solution to breaking the cycle of poverty would be to address the poverty directly. Instead of giving scholarships, etc, to privileged minorities...send money into the inner cities to strengthen the educational opportunities there.

crusader918

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Re: "personal experience"
« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2004, 07:01:54 PM »
"Affirmative Action just allows for preferential treatment for minorities, which is expected to counteract that discrimination which cannot be proven."

What do you mean discrimination cannot be proven?  Please explain.  Are you trying to say that gays, women and people are not discriminated just because this is not documented and therefore cannot be proven?  Are you saying this based on experience?  If you are, then just because you don't see discrimination against minorities in your world doesn't mean that discrimination doesn't exist.  There are a tremendous amount lawsuits adjudicated and pending in our civil court systems because of discrimination against minorities.  I'm a paralegal assistant, thus I research a tremendous amount of civil cases, so I do see them.

In my opinion:  Affirmative action doesn't allow for preferential treatment for minorities.  Unfortunately, there are individuals out there that truly believe that there was no Affirmative Action before this...also that the sins of the past had no impact on today's society.  It's almost like the past did not exist and that since it's 2004, it's a clean sheet and everyone is on a even slate based on individualism.  KSU, that is simply not reality.  What is wrong with giving a person a chance, IF that person is well qualified?  If the colleges or employers, or loan officers, have had a history of giving plenty of opportunities and resources to member of the majority class, why is so wrong to give a member of the minority class a chance if he's well qualified?

I did not say that the government is  responsible for solving every problem faced by Americans.  However, it is the responsibility of the Government to protect it's citizens against racism, domestic terrorism and discrimination.  The solution that I was requesting wasn't a government solution, but a social and moral solution.

As to your solution about sending money to the inner cities would strengthen the opportunities: Wouldn't this type of welfare strengthen the stereotype that all minorities want a hand out?  A educational grant to an inner city is the same as a scholarship to an individual student, so why bother?

I also believe that the breeding resentment and hypersensitivity to racial issues is not just based solely on the Affirmative Action.  It is based on a lack of empathy, a lack of knowledge and understanding of the past, and tremendous amount of fingerpointing by both sides, which has failed to provide a common solution.

I give you this much credit..at least you gave a solution to the problem.  Most of the time there is a tremendous amount of rhetoric, but no solutions are ever given.  I would respect the opinions of those who are vehemently opposed to Affirmative action if they only gave a sound solution.

 

lawstudent2004

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Re: "personal experience"
« Reply #46 on: February 25, 2004, 08:59:08 PM »
"If the colleges or employers, or loan officers, have had a history of giving plenty of opportunities and resources to member of the majority class, why is so wrong to give a member of the minority class a chance if he's well qualified?"

When did anyone say anything about not giving qualified applicants a chance?  All applicants should be given the same chance.  Unfortunately minority applicants get an edge because of there race, not their qualifications.  Have you ever heard of a scholarship exlusively for white people?  There are plenty solely for minority races.

"I also believe that the breeding resentment and hypersensitivity to racial issues is not just based solely on the Affirmative Action.  It is based on a lack of empathy, a lack of knowledge and understanding of the past, and tremendous amount of fingerpointing by both sides, which has failed to provide a common solution."

I have plenty of empathy for the way people were treated hundreds of years ago; but those people are not alive anymore.  Why should there great great great grandchildren be rewarded for the abuse they undertook.  All races of humans were abused some time in history so we should all be given the same opportunities. 


kslaw

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Re: "personal experience"
« Reply #47 on: February 26, 2004, 09:19:11 AM »
Crusader, I said affirmative action is meant to counteract the discrimination that cannot be proven. The discrimination that can be proven should be taken to court because discrimination is against the law.

Making discrimination illegal is very different from affirmative action.

Discrimination: All white candidates with 3.5 and 165 LSAT are admitted. Black candidates with same scores are not.

No discrimination: All candidates with 3.5 and 165 are admitted.

Affirmative action: White candidates whose GPA is below 3.5 are not admitted. All black candidates whose GPAs are over 3.0 are admitted.

---OR---

All candidates below 3.0 are rejected. All candidates above 3.5 are admitted. Candidates between 3.0 and 3.5 are "reconsidered". Those candidates between 3.0 and 3.5 who are white, throw them out, they're nothing special (even if they did grow up in poverty, raise five siblings, and work full-time as a high school student). All of those candidates between 3.0 and 3.5 who are black, give them a spot (even if they did grow up with the same advantages that we stereotype as "white advantages".). In fact, give them a scholarship, so that the money their parents have saved for their education can be used to buy them a brand new sports car. Oh, and the reason we're justifying this...the color of their skin....

If, as a society, we want equality, then there has to truly be equality. I'm not belittling the effects of slavery, but there comes a point where we have to stop dwelling on the past and the problems it created, and start instead focusing on the future and the solution to the present problems. Sure...for someone who benefits from affirmative action, you can defend it and justify it and make valid arguments for it, but the bottom line is...no matter how valid your argument may sound, it's not going to solve the problem. I have no doubt it would be nice for minorities if all of the majority just stepped aside, kneeled down, and said no, you. we shall take our turn living in poverty so that the other races catch up...but we have families, too. You just won't ever see a time when individuals in America are willing to watch their own families struggle to right the wrongs of 50 years ago.

You may say...the majority should learn to empathize with the victims of slavery and the inequalities among races. But we can just as easily say...you didn't experience slavery, so you need to learn to empathize with those of us who've worked hard to do everything we need to do to provide our families a comfortable lifestyle, and still find ourselves passed over for job after job, while watching our neighbor, a minority, being offered her choice of jobs. especially in times when that neighbor, though qualified, is less qualified than us.

You may deny it happens, but I work in the employment/human resources field (think headhunters) and we constantly get faxes/emails/letters from companies who are hiring who let us know they will hire a minority unless there is no minority that applies.

That is simply not equality. No discrimination at all would be equality. Separate but equal is not equal, so why should the rules governing our behavior be separate? Why should a black man who owns a company be allowed to advertize that he will give preference to black individuals...but a white man could never do that?

melissa2781

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Re: "personal experience"
« Reply #48 on: February 26, 2004, 10:46:19 AM »
"I truly believe that it doesn't matter who is responsible for things being screwed up;  the only relevant question is, "How do we make things better?".


crusader, that may be the smartest thing that anyone, including myself, has said in these threads.
**The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams ~ Eleanor Roosevelt**

romancingthestone

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Re: "personal experience"
« Reply #49 on: February 26, 2004, 10:56:19 AM »
Wow.  This conversation went in a way different direction than I thought it would.  I am trepidatious to say anything about this topic because I feel really torn; I don't know what is right here.  But I was always under the impression that affirmative action is a response not only to discrimination, but also to its partner, white privelege.  We white people often forget that we operate under an invisible "affirmative action" model.  To say we are discriminated against... look at the board of any corporation, look at corporate executives and national leaders.  Look at our Congress.  I think "we" are doing just fine.  I don't know how this impacts ideas about affirmative action; as I said, I really am unsure about my own beliefs on that issue.  However, I remember what a revelation it was for me when I recognized my white privelege for the first time.  It's not about guilt, it's not about carrying the mantle of slavery (for me).  I don't feel guilty, I feel conscious of the reality I live in and the ways that the path is cleared for me based on my skin color.  Affirmative action is a very visible, and very limited, form of preference, which can sometimes erase all the unspoken preferences that are institutionalized but not legalized.