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Old 01-25-2005, 06:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Interesting new take on Affirmative Action

For years, we've seen this debate in one form or another. The Pro-AA side says that it's necessary to make up for past and current injustices. The Anti-AA side says that it's the only legalized form of discrimination that our country has going for it (which isn't exactly true, the military can discriminate pretty much at will for different reasons). Anyway, I was looking through CNN.com and found <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/01/07/amar.affirmative.action/index.html">this link.</a>

It is a very well-thought out argument from a liberal-minded lawyer with an inter-racial child. So, from the start, it gets a few more credibility points than Bubba, who's sister in law once knew a guy that dated a girl that has an online friendship with a court reporter.

The main idea is that giving minorities a leg up in the admissions process allows them to get into more competitive schools that their own accomplishments wouldn't otherwise allow. Then, they end up getting slightly lower grades than they would have gotten in the less competitive schools. Then, as a result of the lower grades, they fall into a dangerous cycle. Lower grades means lower confidence, and less apropos from the staff. Then, after graduation, they have a lower chance of passing the bar. And, even if they pass the bar, they have lower chances to get hired. An employer will more likely take the A+ student from USC before they'll take a C student from Harvard.

My problem with the whole AA debate is that you can't really argue either side without getting flamed as a racist. If you say that AA is good, then you're racist against whites. If you say it's bad, then you're racist against blacks.
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Old 01-25-2005, 07:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think that we should start a new cycle without AA. Someone my not be able to get into a better school to make those lesser grades, but they can get into a state school and do well. This sets up their children to do better, because they have a better start.

With the better grades they can make a firm footing for their family. And allow for upward growth. This is a deferred gratification tactic. Which i beleive in.

I am not racist, I think that there shouldn't be a check place for race or gender on any application.


Edit: it's late and my thoughts are not put together well. Sorry.
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Old 01-25-2005, 07:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mojodragon
And, even if they pass the bar, they have lower chances to get hired. An employer will more likely take the A+ student from USC before they'll take a C student from Harvard.
Aside from the fact that I dispute the notion that academic rigour in Harvard is going to result in a person obtaining a C in Harvard who would otherwise earn an A+ at USC, the employers of each respective school are from different slices of society.

That said, what people holding this kind of attitude seem to not realize is that the process doesn't entail scraping the bottom of the barrel in order to fill whatever seats they feel necessary. It's to help people who already make the cut on their merits.

Aww, those poor white legacy children with their shattered self-esteems! lol, they seem to be doing just fine with their Ivy League C's.
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smooth
That said, what people holding this kind of attitude seem to not realize is that the process doesn't entail scraping the bottom of the barrel in order to fill whatever seats they feel necessary.
That's not what I was trying to say at all. If you'd read the story behind the link, you'd see that the author isn't trying to say they're scraping the bottom of the barrel. He's saying that students at every level of skill wind up getting into a slightly better school than they would otherwise have earned. If a school normally requires a certain level of skill, then those possessing a lower level of skill will not likely do as well in the school.
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smooth
Aww, those poor white legacy children with their shattered self-esteems! lol, they seem to be doing just fine with their Ivy League C's.
Agreed. Look where it got our "leader."
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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it's been a while since i've had any ivy league friends, but IIRC, a C at harvard was basically failing...
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mojodragon
That's not what I was trying to say at all. If you'd read the story behind the link, you'd see that the author isn't trying to say they're scraping the bottom of the barrel. He's saying that students at every level of skill wind up getting into a slightly better school than they would otherwise have earned. If a school normally requires a certain level of skill, then those possessing a lower level of skill will not likely do as well in the school.
I understand that argument, as well as the point in the article.

I'm pointing out that such a view of the process is warped. Schools are not letting people with less skill into their schools. These applicants have the skill, or they wouldn't be elligable to apply. Other factors, besides skill, like class, the effects of a legacy of discrimination, furthering racial horizons on campus, and etc. are what affirmative action in schools try to address.

Now, arguably, A- students might be elevated over A+ students. But how is one to decde whether such grades are a reflection of lackluster skill level than residual effects of racism. In fact, I would suggest the opposite--that persons who overcome incredible barriers of racism, both hidden and overt, have immense levels of skill, ingenuity, and perseverence.

Of course, all of this was predicated upon your framing of the debate. I don't agree with your premises but didn't want to tear into the entire structure of your arguement.

Marinade on this: the author's argument is flawed from the outset. Law school is a trade school. No one has the skill to be an attorney before going through the process--that's the premise law school's operate under. What law school, and other graduate programs, seek is students who have the capability to learn the skill they are about the be indoctrinated into.

What they need are intelligent students, not skilled ones.

And if you are going to embark on a debate on whether grades accurately reflect one's intelligence, well you might as well open another thread because we social scientists got something for that crapola too.
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Hardknock
Agreed. Look where it got our "leader."
I didn't specifically refer to him, I didn't want to go down the rabbit hole of bush hating

Paq,
At the few graduate programs I personally know about, including the Ph.D. program I attend, a C is considered failing. (no, I'm not Ivy).
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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One big problem with affirmative action that I've seen is that it creates the belief that discrimination is necessary.

And you can approach this belief from two directions:

(1) affirmative action (a form of discrimination) is necessary to "balance the playing field" because discrimination in the opposite direction is inherent in society.

(2) discrimination is necessary in order to "balance the playing field" in response to affirmative action (discrimination in the opposite direction).

So in other words, the whole idea behind affirmative action is that the two forces balance each other to create "equality". But if the two forces balance each other, need each other and are dependent on each other, then what's the difference between them? Aren't they symmetrical? If one is wrong, isn't the other wrong also?

You could say, once racism is entrenched, affirmative action becomes necessary to balance racism. Or you could say, once affirmative action is entrenched, then you need racism to balance affirmative action.

In any case, you can see where this leads to. We now have a society where discrimination is seen as good and desirable. And a government that keeps track of everybody's race and ethnicity.
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smooth
I'm pointing out that such a view of the process is warped. Schools are not letting people with less skill into their schools. These applicants have the skill, or they wouldn't be elligable to apply. Other factors, besides skill, like class, the effects of a legacy of discrimination, furthering racial horizons on campus, and etc. are what affirmative action in schools try to address.
provably false. i certainly have the baseline ability for getting into the engineering programs at MIT, but i'm nowhere close to being as qualified as the top echelon of people who do get the slots. just because you have the baseline skills doesn't even come close to proving that you are most fit among the applicants.

how can levels of discrimination be measured? i know a black missionary family who spent the last 15 years in kenya... should their kids be given special consideration for admission? also, the bit about their presence being valuable for "furthuring racial horizons on campus" is the most demeaning thing i've read in a while. for myself, i will never EVER accept something i did not earn so that my skin color will furthur the horizons of someone else. you may as well stick these people in a damn zoo.

the most unjust thing about affirmative action is the sneering looks and hushed conversations the minorities who DID make it without a patronizing hand-up. they cannot remove themselves from the stigma. they cannot shake the suspicion that they took a more deserving person's place.
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Old 01-25-2005, 09:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by irateplatypus
the most unjust thing about affirmative action is the sneering looks and hushed conversations the minorities who DID make it without a patronizing hand-up. they cannot remove themselves from the stigma. they cannot shake the suspicion that they took a more deserving person's place.
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Old 01-25-2005, 09:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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My opinion is that race should have no bearing on anything ever. This is the problem as i see it. Minority students are consistently put in schools that they don't belong in and arent as qualified. Pitting them against smarter white students. This only furthers the notion that they arent as smart. It is sad really that this problem hasn't been solved or well thought out.
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Old 01-25-2005, 09:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by irateplatypus
provably false. i certainly have the baseline ability for getting into the engineering programs at MIT, but i'm nowhere close to being as qualified as the top echelon of people who do get the slots. just because you have the baseline skills doesn't even come close to proving that you are most fit among the applicants.

how can levels of discrimination be measured? i know a black missionary family who spent the last 15 years in kenya... should their kids be given special consideration for admission? also, the bit about their presence being valuable for "furthuring racial horizons on campus" is the most demeaning thing i've read in a while. for myself, i will never EVER accept something i did not earn so that my skin color will furthur the horizons of someone else. you may as well stick these people in a damn zoo.

the most unjust thing about affirmative action is the sneering looks and hushed conversations the minorities who DID make it without a patronizing hand-up. they cannot remove themselves from the stigma. they cannot shake the suspicion that they took a more deserving person's place.
luckily for you, you don't have to consider a lot of what I posted--given that you are as white as my wife.
I don't understand why you would think that my colored presence would demean your educational experience as a white man. but perhaps your exposure to the special hardships I've endured as a consequence of the amount of pigment in my skin will broaden your horizons, regardless of whether you feel discomfort from your priviledged position in society.

You reap the benefits of your skin color every time you walk down a street, apply for a job, and engage with those alabamians you just referenced in another thread. You didn't earn any of that priviledge--it arrives at your door purely as a consequence of your ancestors.

The suspicion of my merit and ability comes from your mind--I didn't create it. You need to re-evaluate those thoughts, I don't need to "shake" anything.

and yeah, your friend from kenya will get special consideration. I'm curious what your application process entailed--there are numerous essay sections to detail special life circumstances.
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Old 01-25-2005, 09:14 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by sob
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his point would have accurate had he laid the blame on racists, not affirmative action.
The most unjust thing about this is that racists snear at people at all for any reason. And they will find any reason to justify their sneers. That's one of the main problems with racists, they hide under all sorts of veils.


and back to the thread, this isn't a "new" take on AA, it's an old and tired argument. And now you see a lot of peope coming out of the woodwork to throw their collective, white weight behind it.

your opening salvo smacked of the validity of a model minority's opinion.
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Old 01-25-2005, 09:15 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by irateplatypus
the most unjust thing about affirmative action is the sneering looks and hushed conversations the minorities who DID make it without a patronizing hand-up. they cannot remove themselves from the stigma. they cannot shake the suspicion that they took a more deserving person's place.
Or they get labeled Uncle Tom's...
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Old 01-25-2005, 09:17 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smooth
I'm pointing out that such a view of the process is warped. Schools are not letting people with less skill into their schools. These applicants have the skill, or they wouldn't be elligable to apply. Other factors, besides skill, like class, the effects of a legacy of discrimination, furthering racial horizons on campus, and etc. are what affirmative action in schools try to address.
Provably false in my graduate school, as documented by disciplinary actions by the state licensing board against the AA babies.

Quote:
Now, arguably, A- students might be elevated over A+ students. But how is one to decde whether such grades are a reflection of lackluster skill level than residual effects of racism. In fact, I would suggest the opposite--that persons who overcome incredible barriers of racism, both hidden and overt, have immense levels of skill, ingenuity, and perseverence.
Managing to get considered for admission to graduate school is hardly grounds to say you've "overcome incredible barriers of racism." However, I've seen many that have immense prowess in presenting themselves as "victims of racism."

Quote:
Aww, those poor white legacy children with their shattered self-esteems! lol, they seem to be doing just fine with their Ivy League C's.
Pardon me, but your racism is showing.
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Old 01-25-2005, 09:52 PM   #17 (permalink)
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The whole point of AA is that it is trying to help minorities who are decent students or above average to try to go to college; minorities statistically live in poorer neighborhoods and make much less money. AA helps give these kids a chance that they probably wouldn't have had if they had not done well in school. It doesn't let stupid kids in, you have to have decent grades to get in college, but if AA wasn't their these kids probably who should go to college probably wouldn't because they can't afford it. So it all depends on how you look at it. AA gives less unfortunate kids a chance at a life that they probably wouldn't have had otherwise and continue their family's cycle of poverty. Also for you people who think this just pertains to minorities your wrong it also pertains to women too, who are also undercut in the working world for being who they are, women.
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Old 01-25-2005, 10:21 PM   #18 (permalink)
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The main problem is that AA is deeply flawed.

1. There is a problem with admissions of "unqualified" applicants who aren't ready for the collegiate level of academia.

2. I believe it would be more productive to redirect AA funding to the k-12 level of education so that they can be better prepared and actually get into colleges on their own.

This is by no means racist or patronizing but rather pragmatic and practical. In the meantime, going to community college and then transferring to a state school or other is a great way to further a college education. And not just for minorities but for all sorts of folks who just weren't ready or couldn't cut it the first time around.

Remember, there are a lot of good state schools and it's cheaper too. Community Colleges are a great intermediary step to help prepare for that upper division and last 2 years of university. It doesn't help anyone when the kids getting in aren't prepared and get demoralized and stuff.

So back to the main part: Getting kids (of all types) to be prepared for college. It starts with the k-12.
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Old 01-25-2005, 10:25 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I believe the affordabiliy issue is bunk. There are all types of financial aid, loans etc available, especially for minorities. That is the worst excuse I have ever heard: "I can't go to school cause I can't afford it" Of course you can because you can not NOT afford it. Very few people actually pay for a college education cash out. Most of us have to have financial aid, loans etc. That's why it's smarter to cut two years at the community college where it's loads cheaper. Then you only have to pay for the last two years at a state or something which is still cheaper.

People, you can afford it: defer all other gratification firts. You don't even need to work part time either. Figure it out. Responsibility, accountablility.
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Old 01-25-2005, 10:50 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by drakers
The whole point of AA is that it is trying to help minorities who are decent students or above average to try to go to college; minorities statistically live in poorer neighborhoods and make much less money. AA helps give these kids a chance that they probably wouldn't have had if they had not done well in school. It doesn't let stupid kids in, you have to have decent grades to get in college, but if AA wasn't their these kids probably who should go to college probably wouldn't because they can't afford it. So it all depends on how you look at it. AA gives less unfortunate kids a chance at a life that they probably wouldn't have had otherwise and continue their family's cycle of poverty. Also for you people who think this just pertains to minorities your wrong it also pertains to women too, who are also undercut in the working world for being who they are, women.
sheesh, thank you drakers, I totally spaced that factoid.
The largest group of beneficiaries of affirmative action programs are upwardly mobile, white women.
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Old 01-25-2005, 11:00 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smooth
I didn't specifically refer to him, I didn't want to go down the rabbit hole of bush hating

Paq,
At the few graduate programs I personally know about, including the Ph.D. program I attend, a C is considered failing. (no, I'm not Ivy).

in the grad program i'm in right now, a C is enough to make your future in doubt....well, ok, it's enough to force most people out of the program. I just remember something to the same effect being in place for ivy league undergrads as well. I just haven't heard in a while nor have i experienced it firsthand.
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Old 01-26-2005, 09:21 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jorgelito
I believe the affordabiliy issue is bunk. There are all types of financial aid, loans etc available, especially for minorities. That is the worst excuse I have ever heard: "I can't go to school cause I can't afford it" Of course you can because you can not NOT afford it. Very few people actually pay for a college education cash out. Most of us have to have financial aid, loans etc. That's why it's smarter to cut two years at the community college where it's loads cheaper. Then you only have to pay for the last two years at a state or something which is still cheaper.

People, you can afford it: defer all other gratification firts. You don't even need to work part time either. Figure it out. Responsibility, accountablility.
Are you serious? First of all, you have to get off your parents income to get even enough loans to help pay for college. And second, not everyone wants to use debt as a solution to go to school. You are nieve at the problem at hand. Money just doesn't grow on trees in financial aid.
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Old 01-26-2005, 01:51 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by drakers
Are you serious? First of all, you have to get off your parents income to get even enough loans to help pay for college. And second, not everyone wants to use debt as a solution to go to school. You are nieve at the problem at hand. Money just doesn't grow on trees in financial aid.
not to mention those points are particularly relevant. AA in education doesn't award public money to minorities, it allows them a slot in the program. They either obtain or possess the funds to pay for the courses, their tuition doesn't change as a function of race.

In the cases where graduate programs provided means for students to attend the program, the money (or job) is allotted to all the students, not just the minorities. We could point to various low level scholarships (like diversity funds = ~$1-2000 dollars, which might buy books) to refute my statement, but then we'd have to see whether that money stems from public coffers. Funds from the Ford Foundation are privately donated--so they don't count either.

But the point is that AA isn't about tuition or money, it's about access. The student still has to obtain funding from some source. The two aren't linked together at the admissions level.
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Old 01-26-2005, 02:15 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I don't think that these invisible barriers of racism are as prevelant as many believe, and therefore AA merely allows inferior candidates entry. If you're capable of entering on merit alone then all AA can do is bolster what will already suffice, if it proved necessary, you beat out superior competition due to race, and thats as good and right as AA.
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Old 01-26-2005, 04:23 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Hardknock
Agreed. Look where it got our "leader."
exactly.

a c student at any college, getting into a business school, and it's at harvard?!?!?!?!? moving on to running oil companies (not much success there)... owning/managing a baseball team and trading away sammy sosa?!?!?!!?

things like this can and do occur in our society, but the opportunities are not there for everyone.



Quote:
Originally Posted by theusername
My opinion is that race should have no bearing on anything ever. This is the problem as i see it. Minority students are consistently put in schools that they don't belong in and arent as qualified. Pitting them against smarter white students. This only furthers the notion that they arent as smart. It is sad really that this problem hasn't been solved or well thought out.
of course your statement presumes that minority students are consistently not as qualified and don't have what it takes. but then again, if you've never seen it, you wouldn't know.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Xell101
I don't think that these invisible barriers of racism are as prevelant as many believe, and therefore AA merely allows inferior candidates entry. If you're capable of entering on merit alone then all AA can do is bolster what will already suffice, if it proved necessary, you beat out superior competition due to race, and thats as good and right as AA.
if you don't know the members of a given admissions committee, then you wouldn't know what barries, visible or invisible, that exist.


from personal experience, i'm one of a handful of african-americans in medical school at emory university. i graduated with a 3.6, had multiple acceptances into medical school. i was a part of the largest group of african-american students ever accepted to emory in 2000 with a group of 16 people (out of a class of 114)... yet people will claim that we were admitted to satisfy requirements and that we're not qualified to be at a top 20 medical school.

how long have african-americans been accepted into medical school at emory? 42 years (interestingly enough, the first african-american admitted into emory's medical school was also the first african-american admitted into the university of georgia). 42 years isn't a long time at all.

sadly, emory hasn't come close to eclipsing the number of 16 since that year.

who sits on the admissions committee/board? only one african-american

it's engendered in the history of the institution, and the barriers of acceptance are seen on the racial/ethnic make up of the admissions committee. combine that with the issues that emory university has had with admitting african-american and other minorites into it's undergraduate instituion, professorships, and other graduate school programs, and it becomes quite evident... it's a much harder struggle than you would ever imagine.

but of course, if you don't know, you don't know. and if you don't know, you can claim it doesn't exist.
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Old 01-26-2005, 05:26 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Drakers,

I don't think you understand: A college education is not as out of reach as everyone seems to think it is. There is a whole host of options and choices out there. Problem is, people are just too lazy or irresponsible to use those resources. Going into to minimal debt for college is hardly a big deal. If it is, then one obviously has different priorities. It's called deferred gratification, and a college education is one of the best "investments" anyone can make.

Besides, not all colleges ar $40,000 a year. There are plenty of state schools (good ones too) that are under $10,000. Are you telling me it is too difficult to visit a schools admissions office and financial aid office to see what kind of offer one can get?

I buy my clothes at Goodwill, take the bus, don't own any DVDs, CDs, XBOx etc, drink Bud Light cans at home instead of going to a bar, cook all my meals at home, clip coupons etc, went to a community college ($150 tuition for a semester), borrowed my books from the library, qualified for a Pell grant, then my grades were good enough to start getting more grants, scholarships and then transferred to a 4-year State University ( a good one too) where I am doing well and got a good financial aid package including grants, loans and scholarships. At most, I will only owe $8-9000 after I graduate. Not a bad investment at all. I know people who have that as a balance on their credit card bills cause they bought stupid shit and couldn't live beneath their means. Their priorities were different.

So, before you start accusing me of being naive, do some research first and you'll see that it's not as hard as everyone makes it out to be (it's not super easy either) but if people started taking personal responsibility and accountablility they too could succeed.
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Old 01-26-2005, 05:32 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Smooth,
The question of affordablilty is one that people often make to accuse the system of being racist or at the very least affordability restricts college access to minorities. That's one of the arguments. I was just refuting that aspect of the issue.

Quote: drakers
but if AA wasn't their these kids probably who should go to college
probably wouldn't because they can't afford it.


Regardless,

AA just doesn't work right. The problem is at the k-12 level. Not necessarily the college level, that would be my main point.
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Old 01-26-2005, 08:06 PM   #28 (permalink)
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It's unforuntate that something as simple as AA can be dismantled, reverse engineered, analyzed and critiqued to such degree and with such troubling results.

AA is really simple.

Think of it this way. When your car needs an alignment or the steering column is otherwise broken, it can drift in one direction. To compensate and ensure the car travels along a straight line, you must counter the drift by steering in the opposite direction of the drift. This tactic successfully negates the drifting, producing the desired result: a straight line. That it requires compensation to produce what is, under ideal mechanics, the desired result, is simply a matter of life - if your car drifts, you must compensate the steering.

That is AA, right there. Society is racist and gender discriminatory. AA is a means of compensation to artificially produce the desired, ideal, result: parity between races and sexes. You might argue that society is not racist and therefore does not require an artificial method of stabalization, but if you made that argument you would simply be wrong: there is empirical evidence that society is discriminatory. As such, there are really two options: AA or Something Else. If you have an idea of what this Something Else is that can steer society back on course, by all means share it. If you have no idea what Something Else might be, you really need to accept AA and the faults that it includes by nature.

Of particular absurdity is this concept that AA itself is harmful to the very people it has been put in place to protect. Smooth addressed this issue best: any harm that you perceive towards someone who could have or has benefitted from AA is simply an aspect of your own mind, not an inherent attribute of AA itself. Since that is the case, it can be dismissed as the imaginary problem that it is.

And lastly, to those that claim AA is, itself, discriminatory - yes indeed it is. That is the counter steering affect you perceive. Of course AA is not what anyone could call a perfect solution. Rather, AA is the necessary reaction to discrmination. If you have the perfect solution, or even just a better reaction to discrmination, by all means let us know. But assuredly, you are entirely incorrect to claim that there is either no need for a reaction or that there simply is no discrimination. Racism exists, ignoring it will not make it go away and doing nothing about the consequences of it is to accept it and encourage it (if you never counter steered your car, you would eventually turn around, never getting where you want to go).
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Old 01-26-2005, 08:34 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Two wrongs don't make a right.

If someone steals from you, it isn't ok for you to then steal from me. Compensation in this case is flawed.

Instead of AA, fix the problem at its base level.

K-12 education. Fix the k-12 education. Then, on college admissions, get rid of race and gender categories, and issue everyone a number thereby producing an application that is impossible to discriminate against. I would get rid of all preferential treatment including alumni offspring status, legacies, donor offspring, athletes etc.
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Old 01-26-2005, 08:53 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manx
To compensate and ensure the car travels along a straight line, you must counter the drift by steering in the opposite direction of the drift.
Exactly. And this means that in order for your car to stay on the road, it has to be permanently damaged. As soon as the underlying problem fixes itself, you careen off the road, because you're compensating for something that is no longer there.

So AA requires racism in order to stay "on the road", or in order to keep the level playing field.

As long as AA exists, then racists are justified in saying, "Racism is fine, because it balances all those discriminatory AA programs. We need a level playing field, and as long as AA is in force, there won't be one unless racism balances the programs." It's a vicious cycle, with racists on one side of the fence justifying themselves by accusing the racists on the other side of the fence. Back and forth, over and over.

So your car's steering mechanism continues to go ever more haywire, so that eventually you're steering off at a 90 degree angle to compensate.

And you have an institutionally racist society, inside and out, where the idea that racism is good to counter racism is practically inborn.

How long can you trust a government like that? A government that keeps close tabs on the race and ethnicity of all its workers? How long before someone decides that one race (e.g. Jews) have so much unfair advantage that they deserve to lose some of their constitutional rights in order to "compensate" for the damaged steering mechanism of that metaphorical car?

I completely understand your argument, but I think this is a dangerous road you're going down.

Last edited by raveneye; 01-26-2005 at 08:55 PM..
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Old 01-26-2005, 09:02 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raveneye
As long as AA exists, then racists are justified in saying, "Racism is fine, because it balances all those discriminatory AA programs. We need a level playing field, and as long as AA is in force, there won't be one unless racism balances the programs."

I completely understand your argument, but I think this is a dangerous road you're going down.
Nonsense. This is only a problem if we accept the delusion that there is no racism by virtue of the supposed (but nonexistent) complete offset of racism due to AA. AA does not cure racism and as such, the affects of racism are still apparent. The only way for AA to contribute to the increase the "original" racism is if AA is ignored and racism is ignored. That is either so unlikely as to be moot or simply not possible at all.

As for the possible exuse from a racist, claiming that it is now THEY who must offset the adverse affects of AA, that is purely delusional. AA is instituted and can be insitutionally adapted. Racism is not and does not alter or otherwise adjust itself based on a list of rules and regulations. Racism is a self-propogated aspect of society, AA is a self-instituted aspect of society. The former is a deep-rooted effect which causes (or necessitates, anyway) the peripheral latter.

There is nothing dangerous about pointing out the road we are on. In fact, it is dangerous to deny we are on it. As long as people fight the concept of AA, we are in trouble because to do so is to deny racism, which then requires more AA. The goal is to decrease racism and thereby decrease the necessity of AA.
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Old 01-26-2005, 10:09 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Disagreeing with AA is not denying racism.
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Old 01-27-2005, 12:51 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manx
There is nothing dangerous about pointing out the road we are on. In fact, it is dangerous to deny we are on it. As long as people fight the concept of AA, we are in trouble because to do so is to deny racism, which then requires more AA. The goal is to decrease racism and thereby decrease the necessity of AA.
There are people who are not racist and don't deny racism who disagree with the concept of practicing discrimination against one group to alleviate discrimination against another group. Especially when the first group is not guilty of gender or racial discrimination. It's making the sons pay for the sins of the fathers.

It would probably be better for all concerned if the admissions folks had no idea what race and gender the candidates are. Our ultimate goal is to end sexism and racism in our society and I believe AA will do more harm than good.
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Old 01-27-2005, 06:27 AM   #34 (permalink)
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No civilized government should be in the business of restricting people's fundamental civil rights based on their race. I think we all believe that.

Now you might not think that the right to be admitted to college based solely on your record is a "fundamental civil right." Reasonable people might disagree there.

But where do you draw the line? What rights are inviolable, and what rights can the government mess with at will? When does the government start to restrict your right to privacy based on your race, your right to free speech based on your race, your right to bear arms based on your race? Or your gender? Or your sexual preference?

This "level the playing field" argument that Manx is making, taken to its logical conclusion, can be used to rationalize all sorts of injustices that no civilized society should tolerate.
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Old 01-27-2005, 08:29 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xell101
I don't think that these invisible barriers of racism are as prevelant as many believe, and therefore AA merely allows inferior candidates entry. If you're capable of entering on merit alone then all AA can do is bolster what will already suffice, if it proved necessary, you beat out superior competition due to race, and thats as good and right as AA.
Wow, you don't have much tolerance on your part. Most minorities go to schools who have little money to lure good teachers to their schools, their is a cycle out there that is continually repeating itself, which is poverty. How will blacks or any other minority be at any equal level with us white people if they continue to go to schools that are crappy. If the republicans would get off their asses and look at the real problem this wouldn't be a topic to talk about. The real problem is that Bush created the "No Child left behind" which is more like "No child that goes to private schools should be left behind" (sarcasm done), but federal money should be helping our schools more to help solve our inner-city school problems, in the big cities.

I'm sure I will be lambasted for these comments, so begin as you please!!
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Old 01-27-2005, 08:49 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flstf
There are people who are not racist and don't deny racism who disagree with the concept of practicing discrimination against one group to alleviate discrimination against another group.
You may disagree with it, but until you come up with an alternative that works just as well, you have no business working for the removal of it.
Quote:
Especially when the first group is not guilty of gender or racial discrimination. It's making the sons pay for the sins of the fathers.
Sorry, but this is nonsense. Racism is not something that happened years ago. It exists today in every human being on the planet in varying degrees. It's a part of human nature to accept that which is similar to yourself and reject that which differs.
Quote:
It would probably be better for all concerned if the admissions folks had no idea what race and gender the candidates are.
This is primarily impractical, particularly when applied to job applicants. There is not going to be any hiring without a face to face interview. Beyond that, it is yet another method of ignoring the reality that racism and discrimination exists.
Quote:
Our ultimate goal is to end sexism and racism in our society and I believe AA will do more harm than good.
Well, you are wrong.
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Old 01-27-2005, 08:49 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jorgelito
Disagreeing with AA is not denying racism.
Yes it is.
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Old 01-27-2005, 09:12 AM   #38 (permalink)
 
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an aside to the central argument in this thread:

it is a wonder that harvard has to spend any money on marketing ever, because you have comercials for it floating out of films (good will hunting) and new stories...

in the current academic job market, harvard is not that different from any number of other schools in that you do not have a particular concentration of good faculty there as over against other places---partly as a function of harvard's particular tenure system, partly as a result of the distribution of endowments across universities in general. fac migrates where the cash is, frankly. it is quite the paradigm of an oppositional culture. o yes it is.

i really detest the whole legacy thing. the motivations are obvious: alumni families can buy lowered admissions standards for their kids by playing the possibility of future donations to the university. universities are interested in the money. families are interested in cultural capital.

the lowering of admissions standards for legacies is a routine bit of class-based privilege--one that i rarely hear conservatives whining about (tho the one thing bush said his entire first administration i agreed with was an offhand remark about this subject)....conservatives in the main have no problem with class privelege--they just prefer to privatize it. the worldview you run into in conservative media-land militates against being able to even raise the matter--because wealth is associated with higher virtue, the results of wealth in skewing processes like admissions to university can only be understood as following logically from the wealthy possessing higher virtue than the rest of us.

i assume the same foul tracing of market ideology applies at some level in their understanding of obvious, systemic inequalities in public education that follow from tying funding for schools to local property taxes--if the right was serious at any level at all about eliminating discrimination, they would start by flattening funding to public schools. but they dont--they want private schools, so the problem of class can be exacerbated on the one hand, while pundits on tv and radio can say, at the same time, that the problms are being addressed on the other.

given this, that the same ideology would work so hard to fashion arguments against affirmative action is surreal.

anyway--on the question of the "c" being understood as failing in the ivies: i do not know where this idea comes from, but at the undergrad level it is simply false.
at the graduate level, things are otherwise. but you can get bounced out of grad school for fucking things up with your committee just as easily. in many ways, grad school is a kind of extended lesson in deference-formation, in developing new and improved ways of instrumentalize social relations, etc. that is not all it is, of course...but this is a non-trivial element of it.


end digression
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Old 01-27-2005, 10:27 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manx
You may disagree with it, but until you come up with an alternative that works just as well, you have no business working for the removal of it.
It doesn't work that way. One certainly can fight for the removal of such a solution, even when there isn't an equally efficient solution, when the solution in question is unconscionable and repugnant. When the means aren't justified by the end.

Quote:
Sorry, but this is nonsense. Racism is not something that happened years ago. It exists today in every human being on the planet in varying degrees. It's a part of human nature to accept that which is similar to yourself and reject that which differs.
AA's a macro-perspective solution that has too many micro-level injustices to be acceptable. It's wrong to assume that a given hirer will be racist, even when some are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manx
Yes it is.
No, it really isn't. Perhaps you'd like to outline why you think the two positions cannot be separated.
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Old 01-27-2005, 10:53 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Quote:
Racism is not something that happened years ago. It exists today in every human being on the planet in varying degrees. It's a part of human nature to accept that which is similar to yourself and reject that which differs.
And it will always be a part of human nature. Just like stealing, lying, and cheating, etc. But we don't have the government allow stealing from innocent people to make up for the fact that stealing is a fact of life in our society.
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