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  1. #1
    your resident asshole
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    Default Why isn't "affirmative action" based on socioeconomic status instead of race?

    I guess I understand the intentions of affirmative action, but it just seems like such an unfair system. It seems to me that minorities generally "need more help" in this area because many are of low socioeconomic status. When you take minorities of a higher socioeconomic class, things seem to get more fair.

    At the risk of sounding like a whiny, bragging, bitchy, privileged white girl...I'm going to vent a bit. A few years ago I applied to a somewhat prestigious university (not like Ivy League or anything...calm your jets) and didn't get in. My GPA was quite high, my ACT was not outstanding, but definitely above average, and I took quite a few AP classes. I didn't get in to the school, probably because my essays were quite terrible and my extra curriculars were a bit lacking. On the other hand, one of my black friends had a much lower GPA and ACT score than I did, but she got in. Her scores were much lower than the median scores for the university. She didn't end up going there because it's quite expensive (I don't think I would have either), but it made me royally pissed off.

    Another frustrating thing is that my cousin is half Native American, so she got to go to college for FREE. She went to school, but never even ended up using her degree or getting a job (it's been years since she graduated). So I guess the U.S. tries to give back to the Native American population in this manner, but she is not involved at all in her Native American heritage. Her father was the one who is Native American and she hasn't seen him in a long time. And on top of that, all of her children will be able to go to college for free as well because they are 25% Native American.

    I've even heard of some weird "reverse affirmative action" for Asian students. The hell is up with that??

    Why is all of this fair? It seems to me that it would make much more sense for universities to go "easier" on people of lower socioeconomic status. In poorer areas, education is of a much lower quality, and people never live up to their potential. While schools do seem to understand this, they also put too much emphasis on the archaic system of the color of a person's skin instead of how much money they have.

    Why is it important for a school to have a "diverse" population? There is a high population of people of Middle Eastern descent in my area, so there are more of people with this heritage attending my university. But why does the university need to be "proud" of things like this? Why do we have to fill out anything regarding our race when applying to schools? Why can't someone just look at how intelligent a person is before letting them in, not what they look like or even their gender or name??

  2. #2
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    My two oldest friends are black, both with a deep political interest in the condition of blacks in America. After some seventeen years of their acquaintance, I have learned from their interest that you can be sure the statistics are there - blacks are discriminated against to this day at an alarming rate, one that a white's intuition couldn't hope to reach. You have to look at the statistics with partiality far removed from the picture to get a good appreciation for the scope of the problems involved. Even blacks have been shown to adversely discriminate against other blacks when compared to other racial groups, for example.

    When compared apples to apples like this, sure, it doesn't make sense. The universe isn't so static, however. There are dozens of variables that contribute to the ongoing pursuit of freedom for all, or at least, the closest semblance we can put on.

  3. #3
    Blind Guardian Haven's Avatar
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    It's only slightly related, but I just want to say don't hate those who are struggling to get by just like you. It's easy to hate people you're competing with for the same meager opportunities, but none of them created the system we struggle with. If you're going to hate someone, hate those that benefit from this imposed scarcity that keeps you in line. Hate those who would keep anyone from getting an education and rising through the ranks without mountains of debt to chain them to a desk.
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    To fuck with white people.
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  5. #5
    your resident asshole
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    Quote Originally Posted by superunknown View Post
    My two oldest friends are black, both with a deep political interest in the condition of blacks in America. After some seventeen years of their acquaintance, I have learned from their interest that you can be sure the statistics are there - blacks are discriminated against to this day at an alarming rate, one that a white's intuition couldn't hope to reach. You have to look at the statistics with partiality far removed from the picture to get a good appreciation for the scope of the problems involved. Even blacks have been shown to adversely discriminate against other blacks when compared to other racial groups, for example.

    When compared apples to apples like this, sure, it doesn't make sense. The universe isn't so static, however. There are dozens of variables that contribute to the ongoing pursuit of freedom for all, or at least, the closest semblance we can put on.
    Oh, I understand that discrimination and racism are still very much alive and will probably never go away completely, but I fail to see how this sort of thing exists at a university level.

    Let's say you apply for a job somewhere. First, you fill out a form. You have to write your name on the form and I can see how discrimination could start there. If you have a name like "Mohammed" or "Laquisha," people will immediately know your ethnicity and have the opportunity to discriminate against you. But let's say you get an interview. Now there is no mistaking your ethnicity. If you have a "white" name here, it won't be enough to cover you. I can see how discrimination would be huge here.

    But now let's say you apply to a university. There is no personal interview. You don't know my ethnicity unless I have an ethnic name. BUT people are able to discriminate against others because we have to fill out a stupid box that says whether we're black or white or purple.

    It seems to me that a simple discrimination fix for universities would be if names were hidden during the application. I see NO reason for the terrible method of overcompensation that is currently implemented.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haven View Post
    It's only slightly related, but I just want to say don't hate those who are struggling to get by just like you. It's easy to hate people you're competing with for the same meager opportunities, but none of them created the system we struggle with. If you're going to hate someone, hate those that benefit from this imposed scarcity that keeps you in line. Hate those who would keep anyone from getting an education and rising through the ranks without mountains of debt to chain them to a desk.
    I don't hate these people. They're my friends and family. I just hate the system.
    Last edited by /DG/; 10-16-2013 at 10:56 AM. Reason: typo

  6. #6
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyGeek View Post
    I guess I understand the intentions of affirmative action, but it just seems like such an unfair system. It seems to me that minorities generally "need more help" in this area because many are of low socioeconomic status. When you take minorities of a higher socioeconomic class, things seem to get more fair.

    At the risk of sounding like a whiny, bragging, bitchy, privileged white girl...I'm going to vent a bit. A few years ago I applied to a somewhat prestigious university (not like Ivy League or anything...calm your jets) and didn't get in. My GPA was quite high, my ACT was not outstanding, but definitely above average, and I took quite a few AP classes. I didn't get in to the school, probably because my essays were quite terrible and my extra curriculars were a bit lacking. On the other hand, one of my black friends had a much lower GPA and ACT score than I did, but she got in. Her scores were much lower than the median scores for the university. She didn't end up going there because it's quite expensive (I don't think I would have either), but it made me royally pissed off.

    Another frustrating thing is that my cousin is half Native American, so she got to go to college for FREE. She went to school, but never even ended up using her degree or getting a job (it's been years since she graduated). So I guess the U.S. tries to give back to the Native American population in this manner, but she is not involved at all in her Native American heritage. Her father was the one who is Native American and she hasn't seen him in a long time. And on top of that, all of her children will be able to go to college for free as well because they are 25% Native American.

    I've even heard of some weird "reverse affirmative action" for Asian students. The hell is up with that??

    Why is all of this fair? It seems to me that it would make much more sense for universities to go "easier" on people of lower socioeconomic status. In poorer areas, education is of a much lower quality, and people never live up to their potential. While schools do seem to understand this, they also put too much emphasis on the archaic system of the color of a person's skin instead of how much money they have.

    Why is it important for a school to have a "diverse" population? There is a high population of people of Middle Eastern descent in my area, so there are more of people with this heritage attending my university. But why does the university need to be "proud" of things like this? Why do we have to fill out anything regarding our race when applying to schools? Why can't someone just look at how intelligent a person is before letting them in, not what they look like or even their gender or name??
    There are several issues intertwined here.

    1. Diversity. There are important things to be learned from people who are unlike us, not the least of which is that not everyone IS like us, and it is better to appreciate and make use of these differences rather than fear or denigrate them. This makes diversity a value in and of itself, but not necessarily one that trumps other values, like hiring the most qualified candidate for a job. At the point of hiring/admissions, it should be a tie breaker at best. Before that point, however, outreach activities to underrepresented populations are fair game. Encourage a diverse pool of applicants, then choose the best based on merit.

    2. Affirmative action is meant to correct past exclusionary behavior that historically was based on outright prohibitions rather than simply inability to pay. Though Jim Crow lawa are gone, many of these and other prejudices remain and continue to influence especially workplace decisions. I'm not sure whether giving an edge to people with lower income or social status will help here, or how one would do it. It makes more sense in education where expense is a huge issue. It is the poor students of any racial or cultural group that need the benefit.

    3. There are two aspects to university enrollment. First is meeting the entrance criteria (being admitted), second is being able to pay for it. As your example shows, your black friend was given preference in admissions, but still could not afford to attend. If universities really want to enroll more students of lower socioeconomic status, there is no substitute for dealing with the cost. Plenty of high-achieving students of all demographic groups cannot attend universities that admit them just because of this.
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  7. #7
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    Holding people to a lower standard just because of their race is perpetuating racism. It is that simple.

    Giving a boost to those who are financially compromised is closer to 'equal opportunity' and respectable. Realistically there is no such thing as equality or freedom. Both extremes are scary; one is big brother and one is anarchy. Any way you slice it, the poor, in any society, are at a disadvantage and opportunity will never be completely equal. Same with the chronically ill, or people with severe disabilities. But giving them chances to climb up, albeit knowing they have to work a lot harder to do so, is something I am in favor of. Categorizing people by race for ANY reason is something I am not in favor of; it perpetuates racism. To me, "black, white, Indian" etc is just a descriptor used to describe someone's physical appearance, like "black hair/ blond hair" etc, and also to indicate something about their ethnicity which can lead to interesting conversation. However.. it's not a reason to get a job, be given money, be held to a specific standard, etc; and if it is turned into this, then racism is perpetuated.

    My middle school gave out black achievement awards. How are black people supposed to feel about that? Like "blacks are supposed to be stupid so we'll reward you simply for achieving despite this obvious disability?" That is SICK and degrading and insulting. My friend who was black was given one of these awards and did not accept it; she's a straight A student, and wanted to be rewarded for her performance not her race. She also found it insulting to her race.
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  8. #8
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    Aff action is discriminatory. Within the same line of logic it could be argued that any person or group which have been slighted in the past deserves
    To be helped through discriminating against the majority.

    It seems like setting a house ablase to light up the oven
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  9. #9
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EcK View Post
    Aff action is discriminatory. Within the same line of logic it could be argued that any person or group which have been slighted in the past deserves
    To be helped through discriminating against the majority.
    Someone deprived by discrimination years ago cannot now be helped by giving an advantage to others currently in the same demographic group. We need instead to make sure those contemporaries are treated fairly. This includes:

    1. Indentifying and addressing biases that overshadow actual accomplishments. We see this in those experiments where hiring supervisors are given essentially identical resumes, one with a female name, one with male; or one with a name having obvious ethnic identification, the other generic. The applicant with the male or generic name is considered more qualified by a significant margin. Removing names from resumes or applications, whether at work or university, can help, but often these documents contain other identifiers, and yes - at the interview, many of the common distinctions leading to prejudice are obvious.

    2. Enabling people in underrepresented groups to gain the qualifications for later work and educational opportunities. Sometimes, especially in some geographical areas, members of certain minority groups really are less qualified, since they did not have the opportunity to get the background. Perhaps their high school offered no AP courses, and extracurricular activies were scarce or expensive. Rather than admit marginally qualified candidates, better to address the lack of preparation earlier in the person's life so they become qualified.
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  10. #10
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Relevant thread is relevant.


    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    You might have come across the uproar over Susan Patton's letter urging ivy league women to marry while at university. Here's Ross Douthat's take:

    SUSAN PATTON, the Princeton alumna who became famous for her letter urging Ivy League women to use their college years to find a mate, has been denounced as a traitor to feminism, to coeducation, to the university ideal. But really she’s something much more interesting: a traitor to her class.

    Her betrayal consists of being gauche enough to acknowledge publicly a truth that everyone who’s come up through Ivy League culture knows intuitively — that elite universities are about connecting more than learning, that the social world matters far more than the classroom to undergraduates, and that rather than an escalator elevating the best and brightest from every walk of life, the meritocracy as we know it mostly works to perpetuate the existing upper class.

    ...

    It would be like telling admissions offices at elite schools that they should seek a form of student-body “diversity” that’s mostly cosmetic, designed to flatter multicultural sensibilities without threatening existing hierarchies all that much. They don’t need to be told — that’s how the system already works! The “holistic” approach to admissions, which privileges résumé-padding and extracurriculars over raw test scores or G.P.A.’s, has two major consequences: It enforces what looks suspiciously like de facto discrimination against Asian applicants with high SAT scores, while disadvantaging talented kids — often white and working class and geographically dispersed — who don’t grow up in elite enclaves with parents and friends who understand the system. The result is an upper class that looks superficially like America, but mostly reproduces the previous generation’s elite.

    Complete article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/op...eton.html?_r=0

    He doesn't even mention the fact that a lot of the minorities that are at these schools aren't the best and brightest African-Americans, but just rich privledged kids from foreign countries.
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