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affirmative action - Accretions

Fata Morgana
2003-11-14 18:16
affirmative action
Public
artisticartistic
Affirmative action is good in that it attempts to mitigate the inherently caucasian-patriarchal structure of our society, yet it can also reinforce that structure by contributing to the idea that women and other minorities aren't really qualified. The ideal would be to change the rhetoric of patriarchal fields to be more inclusive of women and other minorities. But that's difficult, to say the least.

My thoughts on having NO affirmative action is similar to my thoughts on the recently-defeated Proposition 54, which would have banned the collection of lots of important racial data: in a truly integrated, race-blind, non-patriarchal society, racial data and arrirmative action aren't necessary, but we sure as hell aren't there yet, as is shown by the number of white males in engineering, law, and politics; the number of black males in prison; and the lack of women in positions of power or wealth.
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fanlain
fanlain
2003-11-14 18:35 (UTC)
hmm
what about the poor whites that have similar economic situations as every other minority but aren't even considered a minority but are factored the same as a majority? i think we shouldn't be tying affirmative action with any economic/exceptional rules but instead teaching tolerance by acceptance of all races and helping out all races that need it economically rather than highlighting any particular race.

it's kind of hard for me to accept how hard of a struggle i've had to go through - harder than some minorities around me who were better off AND getting better funding b/c of their skin color and not b/c they needed it - but yet at the same time finally make it graduate school and get beat up by a minority for being white.

affirmative action is a failure b/c if affirms a lack of tolerance and treating certain groups with "special" incentives to "help" them w/o factoring for who it hurts, if they need that help other than superficial reasons which can't be proven, and at the same time highlighting that they are "different" or "special" and are treated as such. you can't force tolerance, even with incentives.

i don't think we should be supporting policies like affirmative action. its very nature prevents us from getting anywhere close to the "there" that ppl want to achieve.
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fanlain
fanlain
2003-11-14 18:36 (UTC)
women
i make a fair bit more money than other women who have had the same or similar degrees as me. maybe some of them even came from better backgrounds than me. i don't attribute that to my being a woman but maybe it's b/c i actually worked hard for it?
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fanlain
fanlain
2003-11-14 18:41 (UTC)
administration
when i was in undergrad, i got yelled at for applying for minority scholarships - b/c i was white. i pointed out that i'm the minority of the white superclass that actually doesn't have the finances that is supposed to be so oppressively over say, non-whites. apparently that's not a viable arguement despite the fact that there are non-whites who were in far better positions than me getting far better funding.

my coworker's daughter (white) was not granted admissions at uc davis but yet a non-white with lower scores was granted admissions - b/c she was not hite, not b/c she actually should have been there. and now this person carries resentment against minorities. can you blame her? how is that teaching tolerance?

that is why affirmative action does not work. what's happening is a lot of reverse discrimination. and yes there are more whites in numbers so you have to look at proportionally what those numbers mean in terms of the race. and i think hiring should be done on merit, not race - and token hiring should be done away with. if we want to move toward tolerance, we're not going to get it by making exceptions, hurting whites and trying to spout equality rhetoric all at the same time. that makes no sense.

personally, i'm so strongly opposed to affirmative action and other race-based decisions b/c i've seen how hard it is to be poor white and try to make it anywhere - just as hard and increasingly harder than it is to be non-white.
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stevendj
2003-11-18 09:50 (UTC)
Re: administration
But your co-worker's daughter probably wouldn't have gotten in even if there was no affirmative action. There were probably thousands or tens of thousands of white applicants with scores above the lowest affirmative action candidate's, and not all of them could take his place. In fact eliminating affirmative action entirely would increase white admission only slightly, according to a Michigan Law Review study.

If you want to make it easier for white students to get into UC-Davis, worry less about affirmative action and more about the federal budget deficit. Budget cuts at the federal level are putting a tight squeeze on state budgets, meaning less funding for state college. The deficit also gives Bush cover to cut Pell grants as well, which directly hurts poor students of all races. All this so rich families can pay the smallest percentage of their income in federal taxes in decades. Affirmative action is a distraction--a tiny effect--compared to the much larger problems the economically disadvantage face that we know how to solve.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2003-11-18 20:52 (UTC)
Re: administration
Not Pell grants! Those sustained me through my years at Cal! Those and subsidized loans, and um, scholarships from evil, er, overly-aggressive technology corporations. *hangs head*

Anyway, good point - poverty is a major problem, and one that statistically falls along racial lines anyway. Mitigating that is a form of affirmative action in itself, but wouldn't let people like Lenore or me (though being a woman in engineering makes me a "minority" to many) fall through the cracks.
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fanlain
fanlain
2003-11-18 21:30 (UTC)
Re: administration
But your co-worker's daughter probably wouldn't have gotten in even if there was no affirmative action.

I think it's poor that someone who has lower test scores should get in above someone else, regardless of race.

probably thousands or tens of thousands of white applicants

I don't think that's been proven. If the numbers are that disproportionate, the problem can't be resolved at the admissions level and perhaps should be addressed much sooner and not choosing what color skin you have over your actual education level to have the aptitude to perform. It's clearly a funding issue in low income (which is white and non-white btw). I think ppl make it an unfair race issue which does unfairly hurt those who are in the majority who are actually better prepared to be there.

In fact eliminating affirmative action entirely would increase white admission only slightly, according to a Michigan Law Review study.

Sure, and there are also studies that dispute these same numbers. It all depends upon the interpretation.

If you want to make it easier for white students to get into UC-Davis, worry less about affirmative action and more about the federal budget deficit.

What I don't like about this issue if you argue against affirmative action, people assume that you want it to make it more fair to whites. I don't. It should be fair to all. I think this is a poor statement that clearly doesn't reflect much thought. There is a problem with the federal budget deficit - I agree. I think it's poor that we're spending 80 billion for the military, 50 billion for education, and far less than 1billion on the arts. Note that my objections here cover more than just education. Obviously if these numbers were adjusted, they would affect education as well. And I would cut programs like affirmative action that encourage racism - just in a positive light so people accept it rather than a negative light like the Ku Klux Klan. However, when you start categorizing people by race - whether for positive or negative means - you are encouraging racism and we go a long away against tolerance. I would argue strongly that affirmative action has failed to deliver. I think it's a good program in philosophy and poor in execution.

Educational disparity goes far beyond race and should also address the white minority that faces the same problems, if not worse as some of the other non-white minorities. It's an economic issue and not a racial issue.

Budget cuts at the federal level are putting a tight squeeze on state budgets, meaning less funding for state college.

Well, that's a part of the problem. There's a lot of mismanagement in state spending. About 40% of California's budget goes toward education, comparable to other similar states. Decisions made in Sacramento has had a harsh impact on our schools.

The deficit also gives Bush cover to cut Pell grants as well, which directly hurts poor students of all races.

And the American people, by not impeaching Bush, also empower him to spend 80 billion dollars for more military funding for a war we shouldn't be involved in. Perhaps it'd be best to take even a small % of that to save the Pell grants for all races, not just non-white, who are in serious economic situations.

All this so rich families can pay the smallest percentage of their income in federal taxes in decades.

And 80 billion in a war we shouldn't be involved in? I think before criticizing the rich, we should demand of the President why there's improper spending of honest taxpayer dollars - of all economic levels, to justify the lack of proper information & the "weapons of mass destruction". I think these are bigger problems than what % of taxes the wealthy are paying. It's not fair to expect the wealthy to finance everyone else either so it needs to be balanced.

Affirmative action is a distraction

I agree. I also think it's going to be a continuing problem for decades to come because no one wants to deal with this issue while they hide under "bigger problems" as well. And we'll never truly gain racial tolerance.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2003-11-29 11:29 (UTC)
(no subject)
One reason I support affirmative action is that I find it disturbing that the students with the highest SAT and ACT scores are predominantly white and Asian. (Here is a graph showing means, but not percentiles, for California.) But it's also true that students who have high scores are more likely to have come from richer families.
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