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No more AA at Michigan Law?

OperaAttorney

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #40 on: August 27, 2007, 02:49:27 AM »


Given all of those reasons (and more), I still support AA, because there aren't any better alternatives that could be implemented (at least in my opinion). 



How about simply focusing on economic opportunity?  This would appropriately help minorities affected by historical discrimination without unfairly benefitting privileged minorities.



Nearly four-hundred years of inequalities have certainly tilted the playing field against minorities in this country.  Though Irish immigrants could have just as easily been enslaved as African immigrants, they were not.  The racial component of slavery in America pretty much defeats any argument against AA made on the basis of the fact that pretty much every race or ethnic group in the world has been enslaved at one point or another.  Slavery was very often a temporary situation in other cultures, and ex-slaves could very often become wealthy, powerful men in the same society in which they had previously been enslaved.  Such was not the case in America.  Institutional racism, the "self-fulfilling prophecy," and many other factors have hampered any efforts to level the playing field.  Something has to be done, and most Americans are too lazy to fix the problem in any other way than with AA. 



I have to disagree with this reasoning.  Slavery was often a temporary situation in other cultures, but it was also often a permanent situation in other cultures.  Moreover, former slaves could and did become wealthy and influential in the U.S., which has always offered more ecomomic opportuity to blacks than any other nation.  (Slavery was often a temporary situation here as well, where many blacks eventually purchased their own freedom, and some even purchased their own slaves.)

Moreover, we should presumably focus on the present rather than the past when deciding what current policies make sense.  Today, many blacks are very successful, in various professions.  Oprah Winfrey is probably the most influential woman in the country (and one of the wealthiest).  Barack Obama is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination.  About 1/3 of all blacks make more than the average white, and about 1/3 of all whites make less than the average black. 

In other words, many millions of people now fall outside the traditional stereotypes, and making sweeping generalizations about the "playing field" no longer makes much sense.  Many blacks have significant advantages when applying to schools and jobs, just as many whites do.  Many other blacks and whites, on the other hand, face significant challenges.  Pretending that all blacks are underprivileged, and all whites are privileged, is simply a bigoted, irrational approach to social or admissions policy.

In terms of better alternatives, it seems a clearly superior (and more just) approach is to consider students in terms of economic background, not skin color.  This would presumably benefit those who have actually been impacted by historical discrimination, without unfairly penalizing poor/innocent white/asian/jewish kids.  Other, equally important approaches that have already begun include educational reform that equalizes funding at the K-12 level and requires that actual education occur in those schools, so they can compete more equally down the road. 

The real question is whether we're going to judge people as members of groups, or as individuals.  The former approach, while popular in the past, has been rightly condemned as unfair, unworthy, and ineffective. 

Perception is everything. Your #s may be accurate, but your interpretation--especially your discourse on slavery--is severely erroneous.  You attempt to write off slavery as a minor kink in the chain.  Again, I'm not surprised.

PNym

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #41 on: August 27, 2007, 07:44:35 AM »
I won't discuss asians here, because asians don't RUN this country. (White men run this country.) With that said, I feel sorry for any white man who resents a URM in law school. (I'm being extremely diplomatic here.)

A URM having more advantages? URMs are not members of the most privileged group in this country. (Check the oval office for the correct answer.) 

If you look at the ethnic composition of Bush's cabinet over his two terms, you'll see that he has had two black secretaries of state, a hispanic attorney general, a Japanese secretary of transportation, and a Chinese secretary of labor. And that doesn't take into account the ethnicities of the caucasian members.

The ethnic composition of the other branches is also varied.

Furthermore, I'd much rather have our current system of government and institutions in place than the government of China or Taiwan, or even Singapore, regardless of the race of whoever happens to hold office at the moment.

The ethnic composition of the office-holders is less of a guarantee of the quality of a political institution than the systemic incentives and constraints facing the people in those roles. An unconstrained, un-checked or un-balanced institution whose office-holders face strong incentives to use the authority of their office to divert national resources to favored groups or impose their value system on the ruled is one where the ethnic composition does matter, if the office-holders plan to divert funds to their ethnic group, or impose values commonly-held by their ethnic group. Luckily, the United States government was designed to check against this possibility, as the Constitution intentionally set the branches and levels of government at cross-purposes with each other, and enacted a Bill of Rights to protect individuals from heavy-handed government activity.

A URM having lower grades/scores?  Whites with low grades/scores get into law school, too, so this argument is hardly cogent.

Probably not in the numbers that URMs get admitted with the same scores.

When have whites NEVER resented minority groups in this country?  I don't ever recall such a period.  In fact, your responses seem to indicate a DEEP RESENTMENT on your part.  But that's cool :).

The Germans have historically been very tolerant of other ethnic groups, both in this country and in other countries. German anti-slavery kept Missouri on the Union side during the civil war, and also, with the Scots-Irish, allowed West Virginia to secede from Virginia. And Germans who lived in primarily German communities have had cordial relationships even with the native Americans (think of the Pennsylvania Deutch).

If you want to argue that some white people resent minorities, I wouldn't doubt that, but tarring and feathering all people of European descent as such is disproved both by historical evidence and present-day attitudes.

You may want to pretend "things" are wonderful--doing so suits your purposes so well--but you couldn't be further from the truth.  Yes, we've made progress since the 1960s, but this dialogue clearly indicates we still have a long way to go.  Race relations will remain negative as long as white males like you continue to display such a condescending, superior attitude towards blacks, latinos, etc.  I'm not surprised though.  Prejudiced apathy is endearing, isn't it?

I don't think many people who oppose affirmative action argue that things are wonderful (I don't), but rather, that affirmative action would make things much worse. Characterizing the opposition position as such displays your ignorance (which is understandable, as everyone is somewhat ignorant in something) or a willingness to set up straw men (which is not understandable, and is very intellectually dishonest).

Furthermore, based on the content of your reply, I'd argue that you're the one displaying a "a condescending, superior attitude" towards people who disagree with you, branding them with the presumption that their arguments are without merit (since the arguers are racists, bigots, etc.) simply because you disagree with them.

t...

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #42 on: August 27, 2007, 08:26:17 AM »
The excuse that AA just stirs racial division is simply ri-f-ing-diculous, by the way; it's just a way for racists to rationalize their racism. Nothing more.


This is flatly ridiculous, and only someone wilfully blind could believe it.

Put yourself in the shoes of a poor, underprivileged white/asian.  Imagine yourself busting your ass to get into a good school.  Imagine yourself seeing a URM, who may well have had more advantages than you, getting admitted into that school ahead of you even if they had lower grades, scores, etc.  You don't think that's going to make you more resentful of that minority group?  You don't think the same thing hasn't made minorities resentful of whites in the past?

If you want to believe the benefits of AA outweight the negatives, that's fine.  But to ignore the negatives, and pretend they don't exist, is a recipe for disaster, at least if you care about race relations. 

1.You assume socio-economic hardships (or luxuries) are not being taken into account by ad-coms.

2. There is no justification for having a racist attitude - none. Quit being silly.

sharky

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #43 on: August 27, 2007, 03:06:34 PM »
There may be no justification for having a racist attitude, but that should be distinguished from resentment and racial tensions.  It doesn't really matter whether or not you feel that there can be justification for racial tensions. If one of the effects of a public policy is to inflame racial tensions, then that should be taken into consideration and weighed against the public policy benefits.  

To attempt to shut down debate with one sentence and "Quit being silly" shows a very superficial knee-jerk defense of a very complex public policy decision.  

I think in the end, supporting (or opposing) affirmative action is justified by a weighting of multiple values and fundamental beliefs about the role of government and society... if affirmative action leads to an increase of racial tensions and one of his highly valued policy goals is the reduction of racial tensions, then that's a perfectly valid reason for his opposition to affirmative action.  And if you want to debate on that point then you'll need to a) show that affirmative action doesn't lead to racial tension, b) convince him that the benefits of affirmative action outweigh the resulting racial tension by making arguments that cause him to reorder and reweight his values, or c) persuade him that reducing racial tension shouldn't be a policy goal.


t...

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #44 on: August 27, 2007, 03:32:22 PM »

I guess I can largely agree with you here.  No matter how much discrimination a minority has suffered from some whites, it doesn't justify a racist attitude towards all whites, and vice versa. 

However, even if it doesn't justify racist feelings, I'm sure we can both understand how discrimination can in fact create greater resentment and anger.  Just looking at this thread, we can see some obvious anti-white prejudice and resentment, presumably reflecting past historical discrimination.  Expecting poor / working-class whites to be any different is silly.

If our real goal is minimizing racism, the system should clearly be overhauled.

Oh, I'm glad we agree re: the bolded.

The system does need overhauled (hence AA). And now that you clearly understand how "discrimination can in fact create great resentment and anger," you should now be able to sympathize with the resentment and anger minorities feel (and why).




sharky

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #45 on: August 27, 2007, 04:01:20 PM »
tj,

Your arguments just consist of non-sequiturs and discussion-ending one-liners...

t...

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #46 on: August 27, 2007, 04:08:52 PM »
tj,

Your arguments counter-points just consist of non-sequiturs and discussion-ending one-liners...


You're right. I'm too lazy to rehash what has already been quibbled a hundred times over. Nothing new is being said here. I do encourage you to go dig up those threads and read them, though.



PNym

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #47 on: August 27, 2007, 06:59:28 PM »

I guess I can largely agree with you here.  No matter how much discrimination a minority has suffered from some whites, it doesn't justify a racist attitude towards all whites, and vice versa. 

However, even if it doesn't justify racist feelings, I'm sure we can both understand how discrimination can in fact create greater resentment and anger.  Just looking at this thread, we can see some obvious anti-white prejudice and resentment, presumably reflecting past historical discrimination.  Expecting poor / working-class whites to be any different is silly.

If our real goal is minimizing racism, the system should clearly be overhauled.

Oh, I'm glad we agree re: the bolded.

The system does need overhauled (hence AA). And now that you clearly understand how "discrimination can in fact create great resentment and anger," you should now be able to sympathize with the resentment and anger minorities feel (and why).


Wait a sec.

Lindbergh is arguing that the system of AA needs to be overhauled. You agree that the "system does need overhauled," and suggest that AA is an appropriate reform measure for that overhaul. I don't think what you're agreeing to is what Lindbergh is suggesting; your definition of what comprises the "system" must be different than his, as he thinks AA is inappropriate while you argue that it is appropriate.

Also, since you clearly understand how discrimination can in fact create great resentment and anger, you should now be able to sympathize with the resentment and anger un-privileged-by-AA groups feel towards the privileged-by-AA groups (and why).

Do you think a net increase in the amount of resentment and anger within a society is a benefit or a detriment?

t...

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #48 on: August 27, 2007, 07:32:48 PM »
tj,

Your arguments counter-points just consist of non-sequiturs and discussion-ending one-liners...


You're right. I'm too lazy to rehash what has already been quibbled a hundred times over. Nothing new is being said here. I do encourage you to go dig up those threads and read them, though.


In other words, you've been taught that preferential admissions is a good thing, but you can't think of an actual defense for it, or even open your mind to the fact that AA as currently structured is often morally questionable and counterproductive.  Fair enough. 

Not quite, champ. You just haven't blown me away yet.

But don't feel bad. I was in your shoes only a few years ago. ;)

t...

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Re: No more AA at Michigan Law?
« Reply #49 on: August 27, 2007, 07:35:34 PM »