Why Do Liberals Support Affirmative Action?

I will freely admit to scanning the last bit of this thread…

that said, my response to the OP is


And this

There is still a soft racism. I’ve seen it at work. It eliminates good workers based on a just a few foibles (or the wrong sounding name) in near unconscious ways.

I’m not arguing for Affirmative Action, either. I’m just saying we need SOMETHING to mitigate against the new soft racism on both sides (weak and can’t do vs. victim needs lower standards).

Which, if any, of the following statements is false-[ul][li]Group X as a whole has suffered discrimination in the pastGroup X as a whole has an average IQ score about one standard deviation below the average[/ul][/li]

See, that, I have no problem at all. Stronger enforcement of existing anti-discrimination laws and/or a more thorough investigative process are great.

In The Next American Nation, Michael Lind argues strongly that race-based affirmative action should be abolished, while at the same time a large number of vigorous “social escalator” programs should be introduced to improve the lot of poor and working-class Americans of all races. I find this persuasive. Just don’t do the one without the other.

However, I should hasten to add, the study on “black” names is not probative wrt racial discrimination. People may very well have a bias towards names that they’re familiar with. Personally, I have to wonder what the stats would be if they sent out resumes with names like Billybobob McPhee along with Shaquqanda Shabaz.

Without getting more information, there’s no real way to know what people were reacting to. A far more interesting experiment, in my view, would be to do something like have applications from "Emily and Brendan ", but have Brendan put down something like he served as the CEO of the local “blacks united for thus and such” or whatever.

It’s also worth pointing out that there are numerous factors involved.

And interestingly enough, if you check the data, that not all of the people with weird names like “Uneek, Uneque, and Uneqqee” were black.




(The last explains why it’s wrong to label AA as a “black” program)

I clearly defined what a noble goal would be. Making more money doesn’t fall into this category. Sorry to disappoint you.

What? FYI, it’s impolite to tell someone want they want and then castigate them for it.

Yes, I’m all for socioeconomic diversity in addition to racial and cultural diversity. Do I want an institution to mirror society perfectly? No. There’s no such place anyway. But I would like it to approach it in a reasonable way. I’m not surprised you don’t understand this, based on our previous interactions.

No it’s not, and I again implore you to stop reading my mind and putting words in my mouth. If you can’t debate me without stooping to this level, then I’d rather not talk to you at all.

But sometimes it’s not clear how well someone can do their job just looking at what’s on the resume. Or even listening to them during the interview. Interviewers should take a wholistic approach to applicants. My point is that sometimes a wholistic approach includes things like racial, cultural background–things that don’t necessarily show up in either interviews or resumes.

If all the problem students were white males, there seemed to be a deep cultural gulf between the faculty and these students, and I had two applicants that met all the basic qualifications–then yes, I would say, I would say hire the white male candidate if possible. I can easily envison a situation in where it would NOT be a white male (a black women with experience in predominately white schools, a white woman with experience raising white boys). And I wouldn’t pick any random white guy who strolled into my office. But I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable linking a white male with strong teaching abilities with likely success in white male students.

My father is an educator, and he’s practices affirmative action for males when he’s hiring for teachers. He recognizes that men and women teachers have different styles and ways of reaching students. It has become taboo (dare I say, PC)to speak of such differences, but they exist.

Listen, it’s a crap shoot when you get down to two candidates anyway. Miss Swarthmore might be the next Michelle Pfeffier in Dangerous Minds, while Mr. Morehouse might be the next Candyman. Let’s say the two were exactly the same in every way, including their performance during the interview. Would it be safer for me to go “enie meenie miny moe” rather than say, “Mr. Morehouse might make a good role model for those detention boys.” The opponents of AA either want us to believe that everyone can serve as the exact type of role model or that educators shouldn’t be in the job of finding role models in the first place. I don’t agree with either of those positions

It’s not discomfort or prejudiced I think needs to be accomodated. If in the scenario I laid out, I was working at an affluent school serving only black kids and I decided to reject the white candidate because I was concerned the students wouldn’t like her, then I would be wrong since I would be trying to accomodate bad behavior. But if I felt that black students were not being adequately served by my faculty, not just because of their race but because of their lack of cultural know-how, and that a black candidate might bring in something special (like cultural knowledge), then IMHO it wouldn’t be wrong for me to favor the next black candidate a little more than a white one. Especially if otherwise, they’re pretty similar.

If a businessman was working in a predominately white environment and all of his staff were blacks but all his clients were whites, AND he believed that he would get more business by diversifying a bit, I wouldn’t blame him at all if he decided to hire a white person. I think the context calls for the solution.

It’s irrefutable that members of minority groups often feel uncomfortable–whether because of simple paranoia, justifiable fear of prejudice, or cultural miscommunication. One way of fixing these things is by wishing them away or insisting that minorities take a chill pill. Another way is by showing them that they are a part of the system and that there are friendly faces waiting for them on the other side of the counter. Sometimes it takes a face that looks like theirs to do this.

A person who also had experience as a “self-defeater” as well as a black male.

Wouldn’t it make your eyes open just a little bit if you heard a thuggish youth say, “I can’t do this, man. The white man’s trying to bring me down!” and you heard his teacher say, “That’s a bunch of shit. I’m from the same background as you, look just like you, and here I am, making it!” Would Miss Swarthmore have the same credibility? Could she serve as a role model in quite the same way?

In the scenario I laid out, race and gender are qualifications because they carry with them experience that cannot be laid out in an resume or fully exposed in an interview. And if you think a disruptive student is going to behave the same with a five-foot-one woman versus a six-foot-three guy, then we’re operating on totally different wavelengths and will never see eye-to-eye.

I haven’t played fast and loose with my defintions. You’re the one who’s defined the word to mean any and every self-serving thing.

True. But let’s say Miss Swarthmore is also charismatic, in particular when it comes to academics and intellectual pursuits. Mr. Morehouse’s charisma comes out more when he talks about young boys and self-discipline. Who’s charisma should I value more? And what might their individual passions tell me about their own experiences and strengths?

That you can only come up with ridiculous rebuttals shows that you aren’t really interested in debated intelligently. A social workers knows what they’re community is. As does an elementary school teacher or a police officer. People working in the community know who their community is. They’re the people who come into their office, sit in their classroom, wave to them when they patrol the streets, and come crying to them when they have problems. If you’re a public servant–and it’s clear you are not–you don’t worry about boundaries and jurisdictions. All you care about is carrying out your duties as best as you can.

That’s true, which is why I don’t favor AA for people based on hair coloring.

Likening race to hair color in a social context is ludicrous, however. Perhaps if we had a history of people being denied rights, being killed and beaten, being moral debased, and being discriminated against based on hair color, you’d have a point. So kindly put down that silly rhetoric.

If I give you money but not the guy who lives next door to you, does he have the right to complain?

Do disparities in scholarship money constitute a denial of opportunity? Can you still get a scholarship even though you aren’t elibigle for the United Negro College Fund?

What does it tell us? Why should the child of a stock broker killed in 911 get extra financial assistance than a child of a janitor killed in a car accident? Why should a child of a firefighter be more worthy of assistance than a child of a teacher?

And you’re supposed to be the logical one? Is this supposed to be some slam-dunk refute to my point? It only makes you look like a slave to words and definitions.

Being labeled a member of a minority is no more meaningful than being labeled a child of firefights, 911 victims, or God. If you can only see the unfairness of race-based scholarships but not the ones have other arbitrary criteria, that makes you blind to realities of the world. There will always be peanuts given to people based on things they had no control over.

But, if I started a competing auto company and hired the best candidate because I am not bigoted, but Henry Ford hired the 3rd best, he may still be profitable, but I should win out, right?

Not in one spot, but across every position in the whole company. Henry Ford (just in our example) would be excluding a massive amount of talent from his organization while I would be embracing it?

I realize that there are other factors in business besides quality employees, but because of his (hypothetical) discrimination, Henry Ford would be starting at a disadvantage, no?

>There’s no such thing as race, therefore AA is based on a false premise.

This odd sentiment keeps popping up here and there. Shodan, you don’t elaborate in this case.

I’ve heard it said that there is more genetic variability within people of each race than there is on average between races, and that therefore there is no such thing as race. Shodan, is that your point here? If so, the point is a misleading one. For one thing, to presume that there is such a thing as race is not to presume that people of different races can’t be more similar than people of the same race can. For another, the statement can’t even be explained unless its conclusion is incorrect, because without the concept of race the statement is meaningless.

Pretty clearly, people are using SOMETHING as the basis on which to discriminate against others of different ancestral groups, and it isn’t detailed knowlege of their genealogies.

Said another way - if there were no such thing as race, no doubt the people who have been put at a disadvantage on the basis of race will be immensely relieved to find out their experiences were just a bad dream.

Win out? You think there can be only one automobile manufacturer? You think that there would be no customers who would buy Ford’s cars specifically because of his stance?

The third best candidate for any given position is still going to do a pretty damned good job. There are a LOT of people out there.

No, unless you can demonstrate that the third best employee would cause enough of a drop in quality to keep racist buyers from purchasing his products. Can you do so?

In addition to monstro’s cites, here’s another plus an excerpt:

From the American Psychological Association:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the more Americans focus their ire of Affirmative Action on black people–to the exclusion of white women, Latinos, Native Americans, and others (including white men)–the more I become convinced that we’re not ready to scrap it yet. This ignorance is taking forever to eradicate.

I’ll deal with your sister’s absurd post later, yours at least is blissfully short and irrational.

To begin with, you’ve just agreed that your sister supports racism, by the way. Interesting, eh?

It’s worth stating that the part you did quote is both sloppy and stupid, and gives no cite of any actual study, nor a link to any actual numbers. In fact, they waver. Non-minority groups benefit as much if not more? Which is it? As much? More? What do they base this on? What evidence? What numbers are they basing this crap claim on? Funny enough you accidentally forget to include the massive wiggle room by which they conclude that non-minorities benefit “as much if not more”. Funny that the APA doesn’t understand APA citation form, eh?

Well gee, lookit:

Ah so white benefit as much if not more, because they’re not going to touch on actual figures, or any real statistics, but boy if more white women benefit, whites as a whole benefit! Damn, isn’t it interesting that those whites are all the same, and if one benefits, others around them do? Marvelous thing, that communicative property. I wonder how many of those white women are actually married to non-whites. But we don’t deal with actual numbers of facts in GD, we can safely rear back and imagine that any white woman automatically is hitched to a white man and has white kids. I should’ve thunk it.

I wonder why they avoided any actual hard numbers? Perhaps because they want to claim that people who don’t actually benefit in any direct manner, at all, benefit tangentially? Might slimy to advance an argument claiming that whites benefit “more” than anybody else when your own cites say nothing of the sort.
Funny that you left that part out. Accidents do happen.

On the issue of AA being necessary because people call it a black program? That’s rather amusing considering the people who’ve made that claim in this thread are, among them, a self appointed Liberal Spokesman… and Jesse Jackson. Can you find anybody opposing AA who does so based on it being a ‘black issue’? No? Odd…
In other words, because those people who support it say it’s a “black program”, it has to continue because it’s obviously not working. So because your allies champion the program for wrong reasons, it has to continue.
Your argument swallows its own tale. Who’d a thunk it?

Now as you obviously have a position that’s even flimsier than your sister’s, I’ll leave you to dig up a few more cites that don’t say what you claim. You can post at me all you want.

This reminds me of the debate about torture where many people who were against torture also claimed that it never works.

Let’s not engage in wishful thinking, ok? As a general matter, affirmative action benefits blacks (and other non-whites) and hurts whites (as well as many Asians).

There is no such thing as race. Scientifically it has as much basis as phrenology or phlogiston. Yes, it has a societal context… which many of those who decry racism do their best to support, reinforce, and perpetuate.
If, in actual terms, talking about various “races” is as scientifically valid as talking about whether someone is Atlantean of Lemurian, then it’s up to us to actually bring that change to fruition.

To continually prop up definitions which we know aren’t true only leads to their perpetuation. How could it do otherwise? And how can people legitimately complain when a Klanner says “blacks are bad” if their position is “blacks are good?” As soon as you’ve allowed “blacks are …” to become a valid construction, you have no choice about what someone puts in there.
We can go on acting as if race is a matter of vital importance, or begin to change the world such that concepts of “race” are no more used as accurate descriptors of innate qualities than Brahmin and Untouchable are.

Most people can condemn the caste system as absurd and ludicrous, as not an accurate way to classify people. Many do the same with “race”, but still act as if it’s a good system of classification.

Some people use tarot cards. Some use astrology. Some use religion. Some use race. Some use gender.

Why should we privilage any of those over the others? Shall I be the Prince of Swords, ‘one of those New York Jews’, ‘just another American’… rather than FinnAgain?

There is no thing as race.
There is also no such thing as demonic possession or witchcraft. And yet, people were still murdered by the Inquisition based on spurious grounds. Just because some external force will act (and even persecute you) as if someone was a real and accurate descriptor? It don’t make it so.

Good lord. This tactic is beneath even your argument. Your first cite says nothing about whites being helped more than minorities, it saying something about white and minority women being a greater percentage of AA’s actions than minority men. Your second cite mentions nothing about it, at all, isn’t cited (but does have a bibliography). Evidently NOW is getting high school students to write their broadsides. The third cite has no specific figures, and after your first two bad-faith cites, I’m not wasting a single minute of my time trying to figure out if you pulled another fast one, if you actually meant to answer the question with that cite.

I asked for proof of your claims. You gave me google-vomit.

Mmm hmmm. A father, slaving away to put food on his table, afford braces for his kids, doctors’ appointments, new shoes, shiny new bikes, piano lessons and a great college education? He’s totally not noble and totally self-centered.

What a coincidence, you’re making up your own personal definitions of words when it happens to look like it gives your argument more weight. Well gee. if that aint just a lucky coincidence for you. Eh, eh? What’re the odds that a word whose definition you’ve made up just happens to support your position?

Janus would be proud. Why am I not surprised that you would ask support for a double standard?
And to add charges of a lack of comprehension to a hypocritical argument, not only am I a public servant, but my duties involve caring about leaving the world a better place than I found it in, and helping educate children in critical thinking in order to become active consumers of information.
You know, so they won’t advance racist and sexist arguments.

I know, assuming that you’re actually using a word to mean what it means, instead of making up your own definition and changing it as we go? That’s totally my fault. When you say that something wouldn’t be for you because it wasn’t a microcosm, you weren’t just rationalizing?
Even though you admit that it would be functionally impossible to have a microcosm. So your disagreement was based on a spurious objection. So you were just rationalizing.
Bowl me over with a feather.

Your argument does to language what the digestive tract does to cupcakes.

Yes yes. When Klanners say “Those darkies can’t teach in white schools, they have nothing to offer.” that’s racism and that’s bad.
When you say that whites can’t offer anything to racist black children, that’s progressivism.

I know, and Klanners wouldn’t feel uncomfortable linking a black male with strong teaching skills with unlikely prospects of success in a white school." But your judgements based on race are just fine. Theirs are wrong.
Ya know, cuz.

Like most of your past claims on pedagogy, you’re blowing smoke. Much like claiming that differentiated instruction and student-centered teaching can ‘set children up for failure’, this bit of a sexist argument is smoke on the breeze. You can’t or won’t acknowledge that some-but-not-all women teach a certain way, and some-but-not-all men teach a certain way, but to talk about ‘men’ and ‘women’ as if they were fungible groups is a sexist position.

Again, a male chauvinist pig saying that women are weak and indecisive, and that men are strong and natural leaders? Bad. Monstro saying that you can tell something about a person based on their gender? Good.

I wonder how much space there really is between your argument and a Klanner’s, other than what traits they ascribe to amorphous and ill defined groups.

Seperate but equal. Wonderful idea… but I wonder if it’d stand up with the courts, eh? :rolleyes:

And again, the only difference between your position and a Klanner who said “Darkies should’t teach good Protestant Christian children” is that you couch your race-based policies in the language of civil rights, while discriminating.

Yep, there, the daylight between your position and a Klanner’s is obliterated. If a Klanner says “Go away Boy, your type aint wanted here.” That just fine. After all, the community (which you refuse to actually define) might even support the Klanner. So we’ve got mob rule and racism, vetted and approved by your logic.

Well shit, if someone has an irrational objection to something, the thing to do isn’t to clear things up, but to * cater to them*. I don’t know what all these people who talk about a Victim Culture are going on about. :smack:

So instead of, ya know, teaching people that not everybody is fungible, that they can relate and empathize with people in disparate circumstances and that they’re more the same than different (eg. “take a chill pill” :rolleyes: )… we should tell them that they’re part of the system by showing them that they have to be apart from the system, that there are friendly faces by reaffirming any bigotry they have and by showing them, with no doubt at all, that they’re not supposed to mix with folks who are different than them, except under special circumstances.

Well, as the kid you’re championing is a racist shit, I sure that catering to his racism is morally abhorrent. As if a white woman of a white man or a Hispanic man, etc… couldn’t offer valid life lessons on dealing with adversity, being an honorable and hard working person, etc… Nope, only a black person could do that!

Of course, yet again, the daylight between your argument and that of Klanners shrinks. They, too, would support only hiring white teachers if racist students said “Hey you monkey, what can you teach me about growing up in a white neighborhood in suburbia?” They, too, would only want a white teacher to fill that position.

Nope, that’s just a rank sexist and racist position.
Their qualities are their qualities. Being a woman doesn’t make the woman soft spoken. Being a man doesn’t make the man a good disciplinarian. The racist position that someone’s race “carries with it” anything other than a simple tautological statement is one that you and Klanners share in common. The only real difference is that you have something that roughly boils down to “minorities good” and they have a position like “minorities bad.”
Neither of you are capable of dealing with a position like “people are individuals”.

You really shouldn’t be surprised that racism isn’t stamped out in this country when you’re doing your best to keep it alive and well for “noble” reasons. If someone can say “A black man would be just right for this position, we want to hire blacks,” the same exact logic support them saying “A black man would just be wrong for this position, we don’t hire blacks”

Like most of your flights of fantasy about pedagogical matters, this is absurd. It’s sexist, too.
I’ve seen, first hand, little old ladies calm down a class of unruly teens much better than even a big-strong-man would.
That you don’t even consider this as a possibility just shows, again, that there’s precious little daylight between your sexist argument and a chauvinist pig’s sexist argument.

You’re right. Working to exhaustion in order to give your family a life is not noble and is totally self serving. Totally.
Totally right.

Sure you want to talk about who won’t debate intelligently?
Dead sure?

Your “definition” is riddled with holes, fallacies, and is self contradictory. It’s also a dodge. To start with, not all of those people would have the same definitions. A teacher might not even know about a childless family on the edge of town. A cop might not even see a person off his beat. Hell, he might be a racist and believe that only “good, God fearing Protestant white people” were true members of the community. Should we go by his definition? A bureaucrat might say that the county line defines the community, and a family whose two houses straddle opposite sides of the line might disagree. Some might say criminals weren’t members of the community. Some might say that drug dealers, or drug users, weren’t proper members of the community. Some might consider the local town to be a community, some might consider the entire city to be one big community. Is a transient a member of the community? How about people who vacation there? What if they vacation 11 months out of the year? Six? Three? Two weeks? Not even an argument as bankrupt as your could possibly ignore that the answers to those questions wouldn’t be the same for everybody.

That you seem totally unable to even conceive of this possibility shows that you have reified your generalizations and are approaching them as if they were real, objective things. By the way, the fallacy you used is appeal to authority.

Your mypoic focus on one bullshit category that has no scientific validity has blinded you to what actually has gone on in reality. People have been beaten, murdered, legislated against and oppressed for “looking Jewish” or “acting Rom”, or “having an Irish sounding last name.”

What you seem unable to grasp is that hair color is no more an accurate measure of a person than skin color. That the general culture someone comes from tells us nothing about who they are as an individual. And that your logical fallacies are the exact same ones used to justify racism.

The fallacies of division and composition don’t suddenly become rational just because you think you’re using them for a ‘noble’ purpose.

Take a fish bowl. Put ten dollars in it. Mark seven “for Hephalumps” and the other three “for Hephalumps or Woozles”. Then change it so that only five are marked “for Hephalumps”. Have the amount of dollars available for Woozles gone up, or down?

Is there an unlimited number of dollar bills in the fish bowl? Can dollars are reserved for Hephalumps be used by woozles?
Is there a limited number of dollars in the scholarship fund? Can dollars that are reserved for minorities be used for non-minorities?
Why is the issue clear when nonsense words are used, but you can’t grok it when race is the subject?

Could it tell us that their parents died? Which would tell us that they were dealing with grief and loss? Whereas knowing someone was black or Jewish would tell us only that they were black of Jewish? Do you honestly not understand the difference between operational definitions and something that tells us nothing about a person, other than who their ancestors were or what color their skin is?

Note, by the way, that I didn’t support such limited scholarships, I merely pointed out that their definition was at least operational rather than inconsequential.

  1. It sure aint you.
  2. Yep, it is. It’s sad when debating someone who doesn’t even realize that their argument has been refuted. Having a parent die means you know, for a fact, that the child is dealing with the loss of a parent. Race doesn’t enter into the equation. Nor does gender, or ethnicity. Belonging to a certain “race” or “culture” or “SES level” tells us nothing other than the basic tautology. “That person has black skin. That person comes from America. That person’s parents make 50 thousand a year.” You know fuck-all more. Just like you don’t know whether or not a gay person loves show tunes (:rolleyes: ) or if a Jewish person keeps kosher, or if a black person feels persecuted, or if, or if, or if.
    You continually and aggressively fail to understand that the presence of vast variation within groups which are amorphous and ephemeral, in any case, prohibit the use of the fallacy of division.
  3. I know it must seem that way to you. When someone talks about something not being a good idea because it’s not a “microcosm”, I assume they’re using the word to mean “microcosm” and not “wibble wibble hopskotch katang”. When someone talks about someone’s characteristics, I assume they’re talking about who they are as a person and not who their grandparents or people who happen to have their same skin color might be. When someone talks about an action being ‘noble’, I assume it talks about anything virtuous instead of arbitrarily not applying to giving your children a good life. When someone uses the word ‘community’, I assume they realize that it’s a generalization, generalizations very rarely perfectly map reality, and that the presence of conflicting definitions would invalidate its use as a justification.

If, suppose, you’re contending that words mean whatever you say they mean, and the only point is who is to be master? Yeah… you’re the master of words instead of a “slave” to 'em.
You should be proud.

And yet again you say you support a policy that is, in your own words, unfair. You knowingly support a position which, by your own admission, is a fucking unfair policy. So you admit that your goal is not fairness, and thus not justice, but directed unfairness based on race and gender.
And I could point out again how I simply described how an ‘orphan scholarship’ would simply differ from a race-based one, but never said I support it… but, really, what’s the use?

I’m getting the urge to call up my parents and thank them for sacrificing for me and my brothers, for years, in such a self centered and non-noble display. Boy, I’m really gonna lay into my dad for being such a self-centerd ignoble jerk and working 70 hours weeks for decades so that his children had a good life! The bastard! Any my mother, that self-centered cow! She went to work for close to a decade while suffering from spinal stenosis because two of us were in college at once, and she wanted to make sure we didn’t get out swamped with debt. What a selfish cunt!

The World According to Monstro is a nice place.

Ah, quit your wallowing in victimization. AA helps whites and Asians if only for the fact that half of these groups are women. That makes a whopping 40% alone who stands to benefit from AA. But we’re suppose to overlook that in favor of flaming the dark-skinned 12%? Bump that shit.

According to this cite:

All the positions in bold are areas where women are underrepresented and therefore could get a hand up through AA. That’s not even including engineering and the computer sciences–areas where female underrepresentation is common knowledge but I’ll go ahead and provide a cite for this anyway.

There’s really no rational reason why blacks have to be at the center of the AA debate all the time. According to this analysis, there’s evidence that systemic bias in media coverage of AA contributes to this fixation. It is quite interesting that even though blacks only make up 12% of the population, (and this is nationwide…go to Iowa or Maine and see how many brown faces you see) and yet the first thing that people complain about are The Blacks. This despite the fact that white women and Latinos (14.8%) are two groups that outnumber blacks and also benefit.

Pointing out the facts is not wishful thinking. Sorry.

Yep, exactly. We’re given wishy-washy non-claims, stats that don’t give a total number of hires, and a fallacy of composition fallacy whereby “white women” becomes “white people, men included”. My fiancee’s sister, for instance, is married and has two children with a black man. Would helping her we ith AA also help “white people, men included”, or do we see the triumph of ideologrsy over accuracy?

Never mind, of course the outcry we might expect from various minority groups if the only people AA actually helped were already wealthy and well educated. As if, while helping only the richest and most well educated among minorities, rather than those who actually need it, one might claim “see, we’re helping minorities!”
Can’t say enough about phrases like ‘some but not all’ and actually dealing with individuals rather than pretending that any white woman who is helped by AA can stand in for “whites.”

And of course we’re given the illusion of precision. If women, men, or three toed sloths increase in percentage, does that tell us why? As if a mere percentage increase in female CEO’s, without also analyzing whether or not more women are entering MBA programs and/or have worked in corporations long enough to attain seniority, would tell us anything.
It’s the same government nannyism that doesn’t care about the reason why there are few engineers. Who needs to conduct a valid statistical study and see what career paths individual women want to pursue, or how many women even apply much les are rejected/accepted to engineering programs? If everything doesn’t match up with demographics, to the T, then injustice must be occurring.
We can take it on faith.

But but but… we are assured that even if Asians and white men lose out on jobs and admittance to top-flight educational programs, due to racial preferences, white women will somehow lift them up. Even white women married to black men will, somehow, benefit white men. If some white women do something, “whites” do it. And by the same standard if someone blacks are criminals “blacks” are criminals, and if some Hispanics are in gangs ‘Hispanics’ are in gangs.

And people wonder why the fight against racism isn’t progressing faster.

Incidentally, there is a huge number of “valid statistical studies” out there on this subject. Unfortunately for amateurs, valid typically means peer reviewed and not free. At the very least, ten seconds of searching yielded a few abstracts.

First Abstract

Second Abstract

Of course, the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study is a goldmine.

Abstract 3

Abstract 4

I could go on all day. There is a lot of data out there, and the literature is enormous. I can’t say whether or not any of these particular articles support any side’s point of view because, lacking JSTOR access, I can’t read most of the damn articles. But both the abstracts and the first paragraphs are tantalizing.

To make a long story short, the truth is out there. It is muddy, complicated, and not always easy to interpret if you are not a statistician. We don’t have to take much of anything on faith.

Since a disproportionate percentage of blacks and women live in poverty, I support affirmative action. It is easy to reduce the pervasive poverty that exists in large segments of the black community and among single mothers to a lack of ambition, less ability, or bad choices, but there is real inequality in the circumstances between upper income families and poor families. A poor kid attending a high school with a 60% drop out rate and limited course offerings is not going to score as high on a standardized test compared to a wealthy kid attending a quality private or public school. Affirmative action is intended to promote diversity and equalize opportunity.

Many universities use a point system to weight applicants. This allows universities to consider race, gender, or economic status. Less advantaged students, regardless of race or gender, are given consideration based on their circumstances. Affirmative action helps the less advantaged; blacks and women comprise the bulk of this group.

Sheesh. Let’s not make this personal, ok? For what it may be worth, my livelihood is largely unaffected by affirmative action.

I concede that AA helps some whites. But overall, common sense says that it’s impossible for every racial group to be net better off on average because of AA. Some racial groups will be net better off on average; and some racial groups will be net worse off on average.

Well, do you agree that whites as a group are net worse off on average because of AA? Or do you claim that all of the major racial groups in the US are net better off on average because of AA?

So the arguments regarding the role of AA in offsetting the persistent and often institutional racism and gender discrimination that is part of modern society despite great strides is being well covered.

What about the other argument for AA? Not its benefit to those of discriminated groups, but its perceived benefits to the institutions and organizations that practice AA?

If I have two candidates each sufficiently qualified for a particular position, and one has marginally better test scores (which I know will be, at that level, only poorly predictive of significantly better performance), and the other brings a different background and set of experiences into my company or organization, am I justified in considered the latter as my preferred candidate?

Whether or not you personally believe that “race” or gender reflects significant diversity of experience in real life, or whether or not you believe it really brings a value added to a company or organization, the goal of a diverse organizational membership for the sake of benefitting the organization itself is ethically justifiable.

And while I know that this is an arguable point, if it is true that such diversity helps the organization as a whole, nay society as as whole, as I personally believe it does, then it is indeed possible for “for every racial group to be net better off on average because of AA.”