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  1. #1
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Default Positive Discrimination

    I was inspired by a post in another thread.

    So what's your stance: Equality in all cases, or positive discrimination can help society?
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  2. #2
    Courage is immortality Valiant's Avatar
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    "Negative" and "positive" are in the eye of the beholder.
    Some people might think of women not being able to become Navy SEAL's or other spec-ops a positive thing, because they don't need to risk their life with such bad odds.
    Others, like yourself probably, would hate this kind of discrimination.

    Mightier than the tread of marching armies is the power of an idea whose time has come

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    Senior Member bluebell's Avatar
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    At a college here a few years back, a particular department set up one or two female-only academia positions. I could kinda see why they were doing it (to increase the number of women academics in that field) but it grated on me. IMO, it's better to look at the reasons behind severe gender imbalances in particular areas and see if they can be addressed in other ways. Female-only positions have the potential to reinforce sexist stereotypes such as women aren't capable of getting 'real' positions on merit.

    I personally would hate to get a job via positive discrimination (unless I was absolutely desparate for money and needed a job more than I needed self-respect).

    That said, I'd be interested to hear if anyone has an example of where positive discrimination has worked well.
    ...so much smoke pouring out of each chromosome.

  4. #4
    I'm a star. Kangirl's Avatar
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    My general rule/belief is equality in all cases. If women can pass the same tests the men do to become Navy SEALs then I have no problem with them doing the job. But if they can't, standards shouldn't be lowered for them.

    In many ways I think positive discrimination can actually be harmful to minorities in terms of it giving ammo to people who like to say things like "x is only here because of x's sex/race/orientation and not because of x's abilities".

    Apart from that it's just a practical stance. I want people in jobs who are the best at them and I think judging people on their skillz alone is the most efficient way to create this scenario. This means that in terms of extremely physically demanding jobs men are generally going to be more suited to them than women (yes, there are exceptions).

    EDIT:
    Female-only positions have the potential to reinforce sexist stereotypes such as women aren't capable of getting 'real' positions.

    I personally would hate to get a job via positive discrimination (unless I was absolutely desparate for money and needed a job more than I needed self-respect).
    Agree with the above - I wouldn't want to get a job that way, either.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member bluebell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kangirl View Post
    My general rule/belief is equality in all cases. If women can pass the same tests the men do to become Navy SEALs then I have no problem with them doing the job. But if they can't, standards shouldn't be lowered for them.
    That's how I see it for physically demanding/risky jobs.
    ...so much smoke pouring out of each chromosome.

  6. #6
    / nonsequitur's Avatar
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    Post about positive discrimination in a professional context:
    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...tml#post559361

    My views with regards to discrimination in general is quite a bit more complex. Our cognition is reliant on discrimination to make decisions. We need it to decide if something is "good" or "bad". Often, many people don't realise that they're discriminating against groups of people based on personal prejudice.

    As such, when an employer is looking to hire people, he may feel a stronger connection to a male, who talks sports etc. with him as opposed to the shy female contender who has better qualifications but stutters and blushes. He's not discriminating against the female because of her sex. He's choosing the male because he feels a stronger connection to other guys.

    Multiply this several-million-fold (most high-level management is male) and you have what looks like systematic, sexist discrimination.

    At the same time, I don't support implementing laws that specific a quota system because it will perpetuate the belief that most women don't get to where they are based on ability.

    When I spoke about a "cultural revolution" in the post I linked above, what I was referring to specifically was the need to educate people about difference, and how differences can lead to more a more well-rounded (and therefore effective) organisation. The stereotype of the ambitious, type-a female (who is "more like a male") elbowing everyone in the tits and balls in her attempt to get to the top is a pretty well-founded one. Employers look for this sort of people because they're aggressive and ruthless (and therefore more "effective" at getting things done).

    We need to convince people that there are other ways of doing things in business and in society. That alternative methods (e.g. diplomacy, subtlety, negotiation) can be more effective, and that there's no gender difference in the people who have these skills. Only then can you achieve true equality.

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    Senior Member edel weiss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluebell View Post

    That said, I'd be interested to hear if anyone has an example of where positive discrimination has worked well.
    This might be a bit of an extreme example, but it's an interesting story, nonetheless.

    In a village in India, a quota system was instituted for women to be given a place in the local governing body. A few village women were elected to posts, much to the dismay of the local community - how could women who had spent most of their lives at home be involved in such important governing matters?

    Now, there was a problem in the village regarding toilets, there weren't any. This was okay for the men, since they used the fields. But the women were unable to, as a result of which they were forced to suppress the need in the daytime and go the fields after dusk. Naturally, this brought about a lot of health problems for the women.

    So, the elected women decided to spend some of the funds on building toilets, which was met with strong opposition by a lot of people who thought it was a waste of resources. The women went ahead with it anyway, as a result of which the village women are now able to use the toilets, and lead healthier and happier lives.

    The entire village is happy now, even the men, once they realized the benefits. And some of the women were re-elected next term without any quota, men had a new-found respect for women, other women felt encouraged, and girls felt like they had someone to look up to.


    Of course, I would personally not want to get a job through postive discrimination. But that is because I don't need it - I've been brought up by a well-off family who are educating me as much as they can. Why would people who have never faced negative discrimination need postive discrimination?
    But there are other people who would need it, and those policies are for them.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bluebell's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing that. Interesting. So, quotas can work to break down strongly held prejudices where there has been no precedent set yet.

    I guess it depends on the degree of the prejudice. I know a few women personally IRL who were the first ever to take a particular course or career path. But perhaps the barrier they were breaking wasn't an external one but more of an internal one, if that makes sense.

    Edit: My posts on this topic are from living in a Western developed country - I can only really comment on what I've seen here.
    ...so much smoke pouring out of each chromosome.

  9. #9
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    I was inspired by a post in another thread.

    So what's your stance: Equality in all cases, or positive discrimination can help society?
    It appalls me! As long as we keep saying to people "you wouldn't have got this job on merits, you got it because you are black/disabled/<insert minority here>" it reinforces the differences in the minds of the populace.

    I had the same thing happen in my previous job, where a lady I was working with received literature explaining that the mentoring programme was designed to help women achieve positions of management that they wouldn't otherwise get. That is horribly condescending.. and of course reinforces a feeling of being less able in the recipient. We were both horrified.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Shadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluebell View Post
    At a college here a few years back, a particular department set up one or two female-only academia positions. I could kinda see why they were doing it (to increase the number of women academics in that field) but it grated on me. IMO, it's better to look at the reasons behind severe gender imbalances in particular areas and see if they can be addressed in other ways. Female-only positions have the potential to reinforce sexist stereotypes such as women aren't capable of getting 'real' positions on merit.

    I personally would hate to get a job via positive discrimination (unless I was absolutely desparate for money and needed a job more than I needed self-respect).

    That said, I'd be interested to hear if anyone has an example of where positive discrimination has worked well.
    Definitely. I'd want to know that I got the job because I'm good at it, not for any superficial reasons. Especially because your colleagues will always look at you as the 'token' whatever. I'm all for a level playing field.


    Quote Originally Posted by edel weiss View Post
    This might be a bit of an extreme example, but it's an interesting story, nonetheless.

    In a village in India, a quota system was instituted for women to be given a place in the local governing body. A few village women were elected to posts, much to the dismay of the local community - how could women who had spent most of their lives at home be involved in such important governing matters?

    Now, there was a problem in the village regarding toilets, there weren't any. This was okay for the men, since they used the fields. But the women were unable to, as a result of which they were forced to suppress the need in the daytime and go the fields after dusk. Naturally, this brought about a lot of health problems for the women.

    So, the elected women decided to spend some of the funds on building toilets, which was met with strong opposition by a lot of people who thought it was a waste of resources. The women went ahead with it anyway, as a result of which the village women are now able to use the toilets, and lead healthier and happier lives.

    The entire village is happy now, even the men, once they realized the benefits. And some of the women were re-elected next term without any quota, men had a new-found respect for women, other women felt encouraged, and girls felt like they had someone to look up to.


    Of course, I would personally not want to get a job through postive discrimination. But that is because I don't need it - I've been brought up by a well-off family who are educating me as much as they can. Why would people who have never faced negative discrimination need postive discrimination?
    But there are other people who would need it, and those policies are for them.
    I think this a good example of where positive discrimination is useful. In certain countries where there might still be prejudice against women/people from certain races, giving them the opportunity to prove themselves is essential for any progress in attitudes. It only really happened in Britain during the First World War, when women had to take over the jobs that men had left so they could fight, and it was discovered that, lo and behold, women are capable of them too. It's exactly this same effect shown in edel weiss' story.
    However, in modern Western countries I think it's ridiculous. There's still sometimes discrimination in pay (a woman doing exactly the same job as a man might still be paid less. Sickening.), but generally, if you want to achieve something, it's possible. Attitudes have moved on, but you still have to work hard if you want the job because employers want capable people, regardless of superficial attributes. If you're a white male who's worked hard, is more than qualified and is desperate for the job, but someone less able and less bothered gets it because of something neither you or they can help, that must be a soul-destroying experience.

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