How to address modern racial inequality: affirmative action?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by CNHander, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. CNHander
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    CNHander Rookie

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    So I graduated third in my graduating class of 800, I've logged over 350 hours of community service, scored a 2280 on the SAT, I'm an Eagle Scout (and Senior Patrol Leader of a troop of over 100), and did a ton of extracurricular activities to boot.

    However, I was rejected from Stanford. The rejection alone was not a surprise at all, because there are many other very well qualified applicants like myself. Yet one of my close friends, an African-American, with a somewhat underwhelming record (under 85th percentile gradewise, no outside activities to put on a resume aside from band) was admitted. (I'm white.) Stanford proudly proclaims that it practice some form of affirmative action. What the heck is this? Do we, as a culture, really need to have equality of outcome for all races, rather than simply equality of opportunity? Should universities (and employers and other organizations) really be so pressured to appear politically correct that they slip into reverse discrimination?

    I may be inferring too much from too little information, but I don't that's likely; what factor, other than race, could have admitted him and rejected me?

    Racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. are all very serious problems in America (see the Presidential election..), but how is affirmative action or anything like it ethical or just? Both racism and affirmative action (intentional or not) influence someone's judgment on the basis of prejudice, that minorities should be given extreme abnormal disdain or privilege. Instead of fighting prejudice with prejudice, wouldn't it be better to address the root causes of the problem? That is, address harmful internet sites, inadequate education leading people to mis-infer that correlation implies causation, certain environments and subcultures that encourage children growing up to become racist (certain small Southern towns), and of course ensuring equality of opportunity for as many people as possible.

    But enforcing racial diversity for diversity's sake behind force of law, institutional ruling, or simply underlying prejudice is wrong, for the same reason that enforcing a single "pure race" behind the KKK or a Hitler is wrong; diversity or non-diversity are not underlying principles that should be appealed to. Rather, justice, and individual merits, skills, accomplishments, and talents are what should be taken into consideration.

    Otherwise, if we as a culture continue to judge people based just on what group they can be classified into, we will just become ever more divided, which will further unjust prejudice, to the detriment of the nation.


    Oh, and to presuppose an objection, I'm not looking for sympathy. I got into a good school anyway, and besides, my own personal circumstances mean very little in the broad scheme of things. Rather, I'm looking for someone to give a good logical defense of why affirmative action may be a just policy.
     
  2. CNHander
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    CNHander Rookie

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    Some may think of criticizing me for not explaining how hundreds of years of slavery, systematic discrimination, and racism can be addressed, so here are some positive suggestions. The way I see it, affirmative action tries to address the effects (lower income levels, higher unemployment) rather than the causes (generally lower educational potential due to systematic inequality/racism), and so is only as permanent as long as the African-American manages to hold onto his or her job, which may be short, especially given the current economic situation. Since AA doesn't treat the causes, it would have to be practiced forever to retain its effectiveness, because as soon as it stops, we're very close to the original situation again.

    The solution is not to say or make people act as if a particular African-American's qualifications are greater than they actually are. The solution is to make it so that African-Americans' qualifications (on average) ARE the same as others. I suggest that, rather than treating the symptom through affirmative action, we treat the disease itself. For instance, in my state, funds for local schools come from taxing the surrounding properties. If one lives in a poor, primarily African-American neighborhood, your school will also be quite poor. This is obviously an idiotic policy, which serves only to further inequality among students and schools. In addition, I have heard that some African-American culture, greatly influenced by popular rappers, is somewhat self-depreciating and does not carry all that much respect for the most important thing, education, nor so much for getting a job and working. I don't know how correct these rumors about some subsets of AA culture is, but if there may be a little bit of truth to them. I don't know. Or, there exists in my neighborhood an organization which seeks to pair up poor, typically unmotivated minorities from unprivileged neighborhoods with a more well-to-do mentor, who helps them with schoolwork, encourages them and gives them advice, and most importantly, helps them to become motivated to fully attend college. We need more programs like that, which help future families to fervently seek success on their own, without any outside help necessary.

    Better to correct and encourage those, which help to permanently treat the causes of inequality, than affirmative action, which is temporary, unjust, and shortsighted.


    To make an analogy, A and B are twin brothers and have to take a test tomorrow. Imagine that B was assigned a lot of homework for other classes and so didn't study much for the test, and got a B. Brother A has more time to study and gets an A. Brother B doesn't know the material very well, so does not deserve an A. However, that happened because he was denied equal opportunity; he had little time to study for the test. Would the just thing be to give him an A regardless, even though he doesn't know the material well? Of course not. The just thing would be to make sure he doesn't get much homework from other classes on test days. Same for AA; if one is less qualified one shouldn't be as likely to get a job. The solution is not to give them the job; the solution is to provide for equal opportunity so that the subject would be equally qualified.


    I also forgot to mention this in my original post: other important components of an application are recommendations and the "creative essays." Some of it might be explained by my not doing that well on those. It's hard to make something "creative" when there isn't really a concrete topic or known concrete expectations... at least, that's how it is for me. That's why I like forums or regular assignments much better. But my personal experience doesn't matter; my point is that affirmative action is not right.
     
  3. chanel
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    chanel Silver Member

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    Ideally affirmative action would offer the placement to the minority candidate if ALL OTHER factors were equal. If two teachers are competing for the same job and their resumes are comparable I say give it to the minority But egragious cases like this and the New Haven firefighters show that AA has become justification for reverse racism. I believe it is a form of slave reparations.

    And as far as improving ed for minorities more money will not improve achievement It has been tried and failed miserably in NJ The only way to improve school drop out rates and minority rep in college is to force parents to get involved And that won't happen as long as big daddy gubmint is the sole care giver.
     
  4. CNHander
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    CNHander Rookie

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    I would definitely be more likely to support something like that.
    You sure about that? My post was referring to school funds being mis-allocated. If an African-American lives in a poor area, predominantly AA, the school will be poor (and likely pretty bad) as well. Stopping policies like those would go a long way towards enabling equality of opportunity across races, wouldn't you agree?
     
  5. Fatality
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    Fatality SunCrackedSoul

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    if you feel youve been treated illegaly then file a lawsuit if not then man up and go about your business
     
  6. Ravi
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    Ravi Diamond Member

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    Maybe they wanted a black guy instead of you...or maybe your writing style had them gagging and committing suicide in the teacher's lounge? I can only judge on what you've written, and my eyes were rolling back in my head with boredom after the first paragraph.

    Oh wait, I see you mentioned that at the end, that it could have been your essay. I think you've nailed it.
     
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  7. Big Black Dog
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    Big Black Dog Gold Member Supporting Member

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    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Wake me up when we start beating this dead horse some more...
     
  8. Ravi
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    Ravi Diamond Member

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    Truthfully, I didn't get into my first choice either but I never thought to blame blackie. I figured it was my own fault for screwing around in tenth grade. Maybe I can sue for years of damages. :eusa_eh:
     
  9. Anguille
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    Anguille Bane of the Urbane

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    Lack of respect for education is certainly not limited to subsets of African-American culture.
    Thanks for being honest about that. Till I read that I was not entirely sure you were recounting something that really happened. That could well be the reason, that he had better recommendations and wrote better essays or maybe did better in an interview. Also, your friend's mother or father could be a Stanford alumni. That's how Dubya got into Yale. Still, I don't don't doubt that mistakes are made and injustices happen during the college application process.

    As chanel said,"Ideally affirmative action would offer the placement to the minority candidate if ALL OTHER factors were equal." and I agree with that method of promoting equality in out society and I think it has worked well so far, though I look forward to the day when affirmative action is no longer needed. It's a badly understood policy and certainly not a perfect one.
    I'm glad you still got into a good school
     
  10. AllieBaba
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    AllieBaba BANNED

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    It's not badly understood. It had its place and time, and now it's over.
     

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