Jump to content
Political Discussion Forums
scribblet

Affirmative Action Explained

Recommended Posts

If you hire someone over someone else not based on merit but based on skin color that is defacto racism, is it not?

Not in the least. Do you even know what racism is?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not in the least. Do you even know what racism is?

Well there are a variety of definitions, but I'm willing to bet if I told you I hired Jim instead of Joe because Jim was a White man and I give preference to White men when I hire people, almost everyone would call that racism.

Edited by Scotty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well there are a variety of definitions, but I'm willing to bet if I told you I hired Jim instead of Joe because Jim was a White man and I give preference to White men when I hire people, almost everyone would call that racism.

Most certainly they would. But that says nothing about Affirmative Action programs or how they are implemented and is certainly says nothing about Affirmative Action programs being "institutionalized racism" now does it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

100% bullshit. A person from a poor family has every opportunity to get an education through funding sources such as loans and bursaries (need based) as well as scholarships (merit based).

And yet people from poor families don't succeed as often as do people from wealthy families.

Must be genetics....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You made the statement, now back it up. If you are unable to, then we'll chalk that down it lack of ability or knowledge. If you can, but choose not to, we call this a dodge. Are you an artful dodger Bonam of do you simply lack the ability back up your assertion? In either case then, you'd be talking out your ass.

I have backed it up. Affirmative action means selecting candidates, at least in part, on the basis of their skin color (or gender). When selections are made on the basis of race, that is racism. Where the program or policy that requires these selections to be made on race is mandated by government, it is institutionalized racism. It does not matter whether such a program has good intentions or not, or even if it has good effects or not, it is still institutionalized racism. You cannot deny this without totally warping the meanings of the words "institutionalized" and "racism".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And yet people from poor families don't succeed as often as do people from wealthy families.

Must be genetics....

The state can only do so much for people. If they graduate high school with decent grades and have the motivation to go to college or university, the funding is there for them to do so. A lot does depend on parenting and connections, that is not something the state can provide or replace for people if their parents are crappy or absent or don't know anyone. Again, differences between rich and poor obviously do exist, but these are NOT a justification for race-based affirmative action, as I've already stated several times.

Edited by Bonam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The state can only do so much for people. If they graduate high school with decent grades and have the motivation to go to college or university, the funding is there for them to do so. A lot does depend on parenting and connections, that is not something the state can provide or replace for people if their parents are crappy or absent or don't know anyone.

I understand; I'm only objecting to the "meritocracy" ideal, which gives us Michael Ignatieff and George W. Bush; in which Bill Gates himself claims his success is dependent upon a confortable upbringing and early and free access to computers; in which "legacy" admissions to elite universities comprise a sort of perverse sort of "affirmative action" that, rather than raising ire, is chuckled at fondly as "the way of the world" (note the difference in responses, which may well suggest an intense elitism and adoration of aristocratic beneficiaries in our "classless" and "egalitarian" culture); as Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice both say that affirmative action is responsible for where they are now, even as they're among those bizarrely held up as "evidence" that it's not needed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand; I'm only objecting to the "meritocracy" ideal, which gives us Michael Ignatieff and George W. Bush; in which Bill Gates himself claims his success is dependent upon a confortable upbringing and early and free access to computers; in which "legacy" admissions to elite universities comprise a sort of perverse sort of "affirmative action" that, rather than raising ire, is chuckled at fondly as "the way of the world" (note the difference in responses, which may well suggest an intense elitism and adoration of aristocratic beneficiaries in our "classless" and "egalitarian" culture); as Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice both say that affirmative action is responsible for where they are now, even as they're among those bizarrely held up as "evidence" that it's not needed.

I'm not a fan of legacy admissions either. Legacy admissions are not a government mandated and enforced system, however. It is the choice of a few specific schools, and many schools do not have such policies.

As for examples of high-up politicians, consider Obama's own statement on the matter:

“An emphasis on universal, as opposed to race-specific, programs isn’t just good policy: It’s also good politics.”

So what I've been saying in this thread is essentially the same as the position of America's first black president.

This also finds extensive popular support in the US:

If Obama does propose a new preferences program based on class, not race, poll numbers suggest it would indeed be “good politics.” A Rasmussen poll published last week found that 58 percent of Americans opposed government programs that offered “special treatment to women and minorities,” compared to 26 percent who support such a policy.

Though hardly a top issue for most voters, a majority of Americans believe a candidate’s “position on affirmative action programs is important in determining how they will vote,” according to Rasmussen.

An analysis of surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press shows that a majority of whites are of two minds about affirmative action, with most supporting the idea of government programs that make “special efforts” to “make up for past discrimination” and yet most opposing programs that directly favor minorities and women.

When race and gender are removed from the equation, support increases dramatically: A 2005 Pew poll found that nearly nine out of ten whites reported support for a policy that would help Americans from “low income brackets” to “get ahead.”

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0808/12421_Page2.html

That's from two years ago but don't think things have changed very much since then on this issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And yet people from poor families don't succeed as often as do people from wealthy families.

Must be genetics....

Of course not, but it's not necessarily poverty itself that is the big obstacle either.

I believe that the biggest advantage a child can have in life is good parenting.

And (I hope this is not too controversial a statement) a lot of people who are poor in a financial sense are poor for reasons that make them lousy parents as well.

That's not to say that poor people are inherently bad parents, or that well-off people are inherently good parents. Just that a lot of people who are poor are poor for a reason, and that their kids are probably going to learn how to be poor from their parents because they have little chance of learning anything else from them.

My parents were both farm kids who grew up in circumstances that would be considered extreme poverty by modern Canadian standards, but both went to university and obtained degrees. (a while back we argued about whether a university education is more attainable or less attainable than it used to be, but that's a topic for a whole 'nother thread.) What my parents' families provided them instead of money was an environment where a tireless work ethic was required. Surely examples like theirs argue against poverty itself being a great barrier in our society.

-k

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course not, but it's not necessarily poverty itself that is the big obstacle either.

I believe that the biggest advantage a child can have in life is good parenting.

And (I hope this is not too controversial a statement) a lot of people who are poor in a financial sense are poor for reasons that make them lousy parents as well.

It's not controversial; it's a conventional elitist piety. I suggest it more often goes the other way (poverty helps to induce bad parenting)....if we're going to approach it from such a simple, cause-and-effect manner, which doesn't seem wise, frankly.

My parents were both farm kids who grew up in circumstances that would be considered extreme poverty by modern Canadian standards, but both went to university and obtained degrees. (a while back we argued about whether a university education is more attainable or less attainable than it used to be, but that's a topic for a whole 'nother thread.) What my parents' families provided them instead of money was an environment where a tireless work ethic was required. Surely examples like theirs argue against poverty itself being a great barrier in our society.

My family comes from similar circumstances....but I was taught by my wise and compassionate parents not to take personal success as evidence of others' character failures.

Edited by bloodyminded

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most certainly they would. But that says nothing about Affirmative Action programs or how they are implemented and is certainly says nothing about Affirmative Action programs being "institutionalized racism" now does it?

Affirmative Action says some people have lower IQ and lower dexterity and need extra help. Even if they can speak English and are born here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not controversial; it's a conventional elitist piety. I suggest it more often goes the other way (poverty helps to induce bad parenting)....if we're going to approach it from such a simple, cause-and-effect manner, which doesn't seem wise, frankly.

I know people (and I'm sure you do too) who are poor because they have no work ethic and no sense of personal responsibility. (ironically, a lot of people like this complain about affirmative action, or that "the immigrants are taking all the jobs.") Some of them came from environments where they had every advantage in life and still failed to achieve anything for themselves.

I go over to somebody's place and listen to them complain about how the government isn't doing enough to help them get back into the workforce or how they can't save enough money to take the courses they want or how they're stuck in debt and they can't get out, and I look around and see brand new magazines and full ashtrays and empty beer bottles.

What's she going to teach her kids? How to feel sorry for themselves and make excuses and blame others for their failures.

My family comes from similar circumstances....but I was taught by my wise and compassionate parents not to take personal success as evidence of others' character failures.

If people as poor as your parents and my parents can go on to attend university, then surely poverty itself isn't the obstacle holding back others.

(btw: the "is university affordable?" thread I mentioned.)

-k

Edited by kimmy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know people (and I'm sure you do too) who are poor because they have no work ethic and no sense of personal responsibility. (ironically, a lot of people like this complain about affirmative action, or that "the immigrants are taking all the jobs.") Some of them came from environments where they had every advantage in life and still failed to achieve anything for themselves.

I go over to somebody's place and listen to them complain about how the government isn't doing enough to help them get back into the workforce or how they can't save enough money to take the courses they want or how they're stuck in debt and they can't get out, and I look around and see brand new magazines and ashtrays and empty beer bottles.

What's she going to teach her kids? How to feel sorry for themselves and make excuses and blame others for their failures.

If people as poor as your parents and my parents can go on to attend university, then surely poverty itself isn't the obstacle holding back others.

But everybody can't be defined by the successes--or the failures--of specific people. A lot of folks are caught in circumstances which are formidable. The same standards you apply can be applied to you and me and every middle class person...who isn't a millionaire, but technically could conceivably become one. What's holding us back?

Lots of stuff is holding us back.

It's not all a simple matter, where we can recite the "personal responsibility" mantra. That's only a part of a much larger story.

Further, and on at least a somewhat related note, I would contend that our economy depends on there being people with little means. They are needed. If everybody somehow "succeeded," the standards would be forced to alter in concert with these successes, so that the impoverished remained with us no matter what.

Finally--and this is a crucial point--I can tell you with certainty (ie plenty of direct experience) that plenty of poor people work their asses off...a lot moreso than, say, writers of Economic Opinion, or Currency Traders, or what have you. So laziness is obviously not the distinguishing factor of people with little money.

Edited by bloodyminded

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But everybody can't be defined by the successes--or the failures--of specific people. A lot of folks are caught in circumstances which are formidable. The same standards you apply can be applied to you and me and every middle class person...who isn't a millionaire, but technically could conceivably become one. What's holding us back?

Why should everyone strive to be a millionaire in the first place? I wouldn't say no, but neither do I particularly desire it or aim towards it. I have other goals.

I challenge you to find evidence of a correlation between wealth and happiness in the wealth range above the middle class.

Lots of stuff is holding us back.

Not really. Nothing's holding me back. I could probably be a millionaire in 5 years if I dedicated my life to the goal.

It's not all a simple matter, where we can recite the "personal responsibility" mantra. That's only a part of a much larger story.

Larger perhaps, but not "much" larger. An individual can overcome immense obstacles, of the kind that simply never or very very rarely exist in Canada, and still succeed.

Further, and on at least a somewhat related note, I would contend that our economy depends on there being people with little means. They are needed. If everybody somehow "succeeded," the standards would be forced to alter in concert with these successes, so that the impoverished remained with us no matter what.

By definition, no matter how rich society gets, there will always be a spectrum of wealth, yes. The Western poor of today are richer by far than they were a few hundred years ago, however. I'd argue that once someone has enough that they have food security, shelter security, can afford decent clothes and the occasional entertainment, can afford the necessities of the age (car, internet, cell phone, etc), they shouldn't really be considered "poor" any more even if they are at the back end of the wealth curve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why should everyone strive to be a millionaire in the first place? I wouldn't say no, but neither do I particularly desire it or aim towards it. I have other goals.

I challenge you to find evidence of a correlation between wealth and happiness in the wealth range above the middle class.

I made no such claim, so have no obligation to prove it.

Not really. Nothing's holding me back. I could probably be a millionaire in 5 years if I dedicated my life to the goal.

Well, then we'll never know, will we?

And--like I said--your personal experience does not undermine my point.

Larger perhaps, but not "much" larger.

I think it's much larger. We have divergent opionions on this, that's all.

An individual can overcome immense obstacles, of the kind that simply never or very very rarely exist in Canada, and still succeed.

Some individuals can; some plainly cannot.

We're edging into that strange realm in which we're told that hypotheticals trump reality itself. Why? It's never concretely explained.

Edited by bloodyminded

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But everybody can't be defined by the successes--or the failures--of specific people. A lot of folks are caught in circumstances which are formidable. The same standards you apply can be applied to you and me and every middle class person...who isn't a millionaire, but technically could conceivably become one. What's holding us back?

Lots of stuff is holding us back.

It's not all a simple matter, where we can recite the "personal responsibility" mantra. That's only a part of a much larger story.

Further, and on at least a somewhat related note, I would contend that our economy depends on there being people with little means. They are needed. If everybody somehow "succeeded," the standards would be forced to alter in concert with these successes, so that the impoverished remained with us no matter what.

Finally--and this is a crucial point--I can tell you with certainty (ie plenty of direct experience) that plenty of poor people work their asses off...a lot moreso than, say, writers of Economic Opinion, or Currency Traders, or what have you. So laziness is obviously not the distinguishing factor of people with little money.

Some people dont want to acknowledge how huge a factor simple "chance" is in what people normally define as success. Its true that merit is a big factor as well, but as far as the aquissition of wealth goes its extremely important to come out of the right uterus, at the right geographical location.

People of course LIKE to think we live in a meritocracy because admitting to themselves that we dont live in anything close to that would demean their own accomplishments.

But the difference in the odds of aquiring a large ammount of wealth for child that comes out of a poor uterus in a slum, and one that comes out of a wealthy uterus uptown is astronomical.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But the difference in the odds of aquiring a large ammount of wealth for child that comes out of a poor uterus in a slum, and one that comes out of a wealthy uterus uptown is astronomical.
The odds of aquiring a large amount of wealth with an IQ of 120 is astronomical compared to the odds for someone with an IQ of 80.

Equality of opportunity is something to strive for. Equality of outcome is impossible to achieve and not even worth discussing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know people (and I'm sure you do too) who are poor because they have no work ethic and no sense of personal responsibility. (ironically, a lot of people like this complain about affirmative action, or that "the immigrants are taking all the jobs.") Some of them came from environments where they had every advantage in life and still failed to achieve anything for themselves.

I go over to somebody's place and listen to them complain about how the government isn't doing enough to help them get back into the workforce or how they can't save enough money to take the courses they want or how they're stuck in debt and they can't get out, and I look around and see brand new magazines and full ashtrays and empty beer bottles.

What's she going to teach her kids? How to feel sorry for themselves and make excuses and blame others for their failures.

If people as poor as your parents and my parents can go on to attend university, then surely poverty itself isn't the obstacle holding back others.

(btw: the "is university affordable?" thread I mentioned.)

-k

If people as poor as your parents and my parents can go on to attend university, then surely poverty itself isn't the obstacle holding back others.

Youve got to be kidding. Anecdotal evidence that two poor people went to university is proof that "poverty itself isn't the obstacle holding back others"???

Man... :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The odds of aquiring a large amount of wealth with an IQ of 120 is astronomical compared to the odds for someone with an IQ of 80.

Equality of opportunity is something to strive for. Equality of outcome is impossible to achieve and not even worth discussing.

The odds of aquiring a large amount of wealth with an IQ of 120 is astronomical compared to the odds for someone with an IQ of 80.

Yup intelligence, work ethic, and creativity are all factors. But the child of someone with 20 million dollars in assets is virtually certain to be wealthy whether they have an IQ of 80 or 120.

Equality of opportunity is something to strive for. Equality of outcome is impossible to achieve and not even worth discussing.

You cant have one without the other. As long as outcomes vary wildy from one person to another, there will also be disproportionate levels of opportunity for their children. Thats one of the important motivating factors in the competitive system... the ability to leave behind a legacy for your children, and the ability buy them the things they need to succeed.

I disagree that Equality of Opportunity is something to strive for. Its not even remotely possible in our system. The very most we can ever hope to do is level the playing a tiny little bit, and make sure that we dont have too many kids that cant get a good education etc. But thats FAR from "equality of opportunity", and in absolutely no way is it a "meritocracy".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made no such claim, so have no obligation to prove it.

No, but you implied that we should be striving for greater wealth and that something is holding us back. That begs the question of why we should strive for greater wealth.

Well, then we'll never know, will we?

Shrug, I've achieved every other goal I've set my mind to so far. Living in Canada is easy mode, whatever your origins.

And--like I said--your personal experience does not undermine my point.

True, I just don't buy the whole disadvantaged family background making it impossible to get ahead thing. Let me tell you, my own family were no better off over the last few generations than the lowliest black slaves in North America were. My great great grandmother had 7 children, only 2 survived the collectivization of farming, the rest starved to death or died from easily curable sicknesses. My great grandmother had 9 children. Only 2 survived WWII. My grandfather had 5 children, only 1 survived Stalin. My father wanted to get a university education, but was forbidden to enter the program he wanted because of what was considered his race. Maybe those of us who survived and descended from that should just be broken victims sitting down and begging for handouts. But that doesn't get you anywhere.

I think it's much larger. We have divergent opionions on this, that's all.

My opinion is based on direct evidence to the contrary, based not just on my own family but many many others that have also prospered within a single generation of no longer being the victims of extermination and repression.

Some individuals can; some plainly cannot.

Cannot, or will not? A lack of motivation/determination, I would argue, are a far more common problem than a fundamental lack of ability.

We're edging into that strange realm in which we're told that hypotheticals trump reality itself. Why? It's never concretely explained.

Interesting point. Why do we craft the policy of affirmative action, based on the mere hypothesis that it might help to compensate past wrongs, and ignore the reality that such a policy is institutionalized racism and precisely what got us into this mess to begin with?

Edited by Bonam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some people dont want to acknowledge how huge a factor simple "chance" is in what people normally define as success. Its true that merit is a big factor as well, but as far as the aquissition of wealth goes its extremely important to come out of the right uterus, at the right geographical location.

The most common excuse of unsucessful or lazy people.

For example is Hungary the "right geographical location"?

Did old Mrs. Soros have special uterus? (Billionaire Soros came here with nothing - and no English)

Is Croatia "right geographical location"?

Did old Mrs. Herjovec have special uterus? (Robert Herjovec came here with 20 bucks - for the whole family)

It all depends on luck. And as one entepreneur descibed luck; "the harder I work the more I get of it"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But the child of someone with 20 million dollars in assets is virtually certain to be wealthy whether they have an IQ of 80 or 120.
Only if they inherit the money. If they have to make their own their advantage is much less.
You cant have one without the other. As long as outcomes vary wildy from one person to another, there will also be disproportionate levels of opportunity for their children.
And these disadvantages can be addressed with free education, scholarships, funded apprenticeship programs. What we cannot do is achieve equality of outcome and any policy that is attempts to achieve that is idiotic.
The very most we can ever hope to do is level the playing a tiny little bit, and make sure that we dont have too many kids that cant get a good education etc. But thats FAR from "equality of opportunity", and in absolutely no way is it a "meritocracy".
It is as far as I am concerned. meritocracy does not imply every starts life with the same cards. people with higher intelligence or a unique skill will always start with an advantage. family circumstances are no different. Edited by TimG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, but you implied that we should be striving for greater wealth and that something is holding us back. That begs the question of why we should strive for greater wealth.

Shrug, I've achieved every other goal I've set my mind to so far.

True, I just don't buy the whole disadvantaged family background making it impossible to get ahead thing. Let me tell you, my own family were no better off over the last few generations than the lowliest black slaves in North America were. My great great grandmother had 7 children, only 2 survived the collectivization of farming, the rest starved to death or died from easily curable sicknesses. My great grandmother had 9 children. Only 2 survived WWII. My grandfather had 5 children, only 1 survived Stalin. My father wanted to get a university education, but was forbidden to enter the program he wanted because of what was considered his race. Maybe those of us who survived and descended from that should just be broken victims sitting down and begging for handouts. But that doesn't get you anywhere.

My opinion is based on direct evidence to the contrary, based not just on my own family but many many others that have also prospered within a single generation of no longer being the victims of extermination and repression.

My opinion is based on direct evidence to the contrary, based not just on my own family but many many others that have also prospered within a single generation of no longer being the victims of extermination and repression.

Interesting point. Why do we craft the policy of affirmative action, based on the mere hypothesis that it might help to compensate past wrongs, and ignore the reality that such a policy is institutionalized racism and precisely what got us into this mess to begin with?

That begs the question of why we should strive for greater wealth.

That question is answered nicely here.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=jbkSRLYSojo

True, I just don't buy the whole disadvantaged family background making it impossible

Well you dont need to buy that because nobody has made that claim.

My opinion is based on direct evidence to the contrary, based not just on my own family but many many others that have also prospered within a single generation of no longer being the victims of extermination and repression.

Your opinion is based on anecdotal evidence and it does nothing to strenthen your point. Nobody is claiming its impossible to escape poverty though ones own effort and merit. LOTS of people do. What people are arguing is a significant (huge in fact) statistical disadvantage.

Theres no GUARANTEE that the son of a multi million air will be wealthier than the black, lesbian daughter of a welfare recipient. But statistically its extremely likely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Theres no GUARANTEE that the son of a multi million air will be wealthier than the black, lesbian daughter of a welfare recipient. But statistically its extremely likely.

This still does not support the need for race-based affirmative action, which is the main thrust of the debate in this thread.

Anyway, why is this even bad? Should a parent not have the chance to use what they have earned in life to confer some advantage onto their child?

Edited by Bonam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...