Affirmative Action Treats

Help help I’m being opressed!

But yeah, those College Republicans. Great, stand-up guys,

The student’s exercise was a gross simplification of the issue. They probably omitted a few prices:

Black or female students could not purchase a product at all for any price or with any amount of talent or determination

Black students paid a higher price than whites for the same product because no one in their family had purchased the product before

Does affirmative action have its merits? Yes. Can it be taken too far? Of course. Personally I would rather err on the side of building a more diverse environment for our universities. In 50 years affirmative action may be a relic that no one believes in, but it has its place now.


I believe that you believe that there are individual aspects. I’ve believed this since for some time. Before today even.

I also believe that you believe that there are aspects that are not about individuals. I believe that’s false. Believe it or not! (in a creepy Jack Palance voice)

<double post>

Hey, I didn’t press that button twice! You guys believe me… right?

Yeah, I was thinking something like this. If they were directly analogizing to affirmative action, I think it’d look like this instead:

Harvard’s overall rejection rate is 90%. Let’s say 200 people apply to buy cookies from Harvard for $1. They only have 20 of them to sell, unfortunately. There’s a bunch of ways to hand them out: sell them to the highest bidder (income), allocate them based on how badly they pyschologically want the cookies (competitive), how hungry they are (need), how important the work they’ll do following eating the cookies is (merit), demographics (race/sex/etc.).

Let’s say Harvard decides to do it as follows. They decide they’ll sell 18 cookies to whites and 2 to blacks, to match the relatives proportion in the population. They put all the white people in one batch and randomally choose 18 of them, and put all the black people in one batch and randomally choose 2 of them.

If in the two hundred people trying to get a cookie there’s 190 white people and 10 black people, the white people have a 9.4% chance of getting one, while the black people have a 20% chance of getting one.

Shocking, isn’t it? Those darn blacks are taking all the cookies; they have a double acceptance rate! Until you realize that if the cookies weren’t handed out based on the demographics of society - they were handed out proportiontal to the demographics of the applicant pool - it would only improve an individual caucasian’s chances of getting in to 10%. Even if you completely take out the black applicants, that only improves an individual white applicant’s chances to 10.5%.

In other words, it doesn’t make a damn difference to whites what the black acceptance rate is. By contrast, the gap in this student example is absolutely enormous; a price gap of up to 100%. They’re wildly distorting things, and unsurprisingly people get pissed. It’s a touchy subject.

Not that that excuses them or the cowardly administration, but gimme a break.

Again, it comes down to whether you think things that aren’t right on the individual level are ok when they kinda sorta maybe might balance out on the systemic level.

Not that that excuses them or the cowardly administration,

Moment of agreement. Noted. Cherished.

but gimme a break.

EDIT: fixed quotes

“Curse Affirmative Action! Without it I’d have an infinitesimal chance of getting into a slightly better school than I did!”

Usually unmentioned when this comes up is that it’s not like the 1% of the majority that gets knocked out is going to be washing dishes. They’ll get into a slightly worse school.

That’s a generalization, of course, and I wouldn’t lean too hard on it. I’ve gotten steadily more radical as I have grown older (I’m now 41).

I’m a fucking minority: white man. :wink:

Well, I guess any injustice is okay as long as you don’t end up washing dishes or anything.

Straw Man


We’re going to have to change the name of the site to Quarter to Three Strawmen pretty soon.

I see a whole lot of individuals who will never have the opportunity (or be severely hindered) to fully achieve their potential, and that this situation will pass on to their children, and their children’s children, and their children’s children’s children, and…
Because of structural aspects.

Thankfully one of our resident Swedes will be educating us on racial realities now. Seriously Anders, no offense, but do any black people even live in Sweden? Hispanics? Asians? This isn’t to say Sweden is a better or worse place for it, but you aren’t exactly near the issue either.

You know, if a socialist paradise like Sweden can’t fix such problems, I don’t see why we should even bother trying!

Well, we have Turks, Kurds, Bosnians, other Balkan groups, Finns (but they hardly count), Chileans, Somalians and other African groups, Persians, Iraqis, Peruvians, Romani and any other group you’d care to mention. Most of them at my job, actually.
But yes, I am far removed from the US and its problems, and I don’t think I am fit to educate anyone about anything, and didn’t try to. If you get all defensive because I happen to see a structural imbalance unlike any other in the world in the situation with black people in the US and this is somehow wrong, you are of course free to enlighten me.
I’m awfully sorry that I that example of structural imbalance and mentioned that it is a good idea to correct structural imbalances in general, even though I’m a Swede, and therefore must ALWAYS take the moral high ground, in it and have the answer to every question of inequality in the world, while rubbing your noses in it. BECAUSE THAT’S JUST THE THING WE SWEDES DO. Awful impolite of me.

Does affirmative action have its merits? Yes. Can it be taken too far? Of course. Personally I would rather err on the side of building a more diverse environment for our universities. In 50 years affirmative action may be a relic that no one believes in, but it has its place now.

It has merits for those who would gain advantage because of race. Who determines when it has been taken too far, or when it has lost it’s place. The government? A majority of the people, or just the oppreseed ones? Who determines which group is more oppressed?

This is directly analogous to the socialist doctrine: to each according to his need. It’s an attempt to redistribute ‘fairness’ instead of income. Except with racial fairness, there is no standard to determine the time when the goal of the policy has been reached. The ‘need’ will be continuous as long as people claim to have a need. Whether this need is legitimate or false, cannot be determined either. At least with money, we can count to make sure everyone has the same. With this insane policy, the ‘wealth’ that is being redistributed is peoples attitudes, not anything tangible or controllable by legislation.

When the principle of government is to treat people fairly regardless of race, why have a policy that clearly does not? Yes, the government has had ‘slavery’ laws in the past, but taking these laws away is the path to equality, not instituting another racist policy to “make up” for past disgressions. Unfairness + unfairness != Equality

Your numbers are screwy (90% rejection rate would mean 20 cookie people would get cookies!), and fictional – you just arbitrarily presume there’s 190 people of one group trying to get in, and 10 people of the other, and then make “fairness” conclusions based upon numbers you’ve made up.

In many circumstances, the percentage of people from a “group” applying for a position is radically different that the percentage that group represents in society as a whole. What if it’s more accurate to state that there are 50,000 “race A” people trying to get the cookies, and 30 “race b” people who are hungry enough to line up for cookies - suddenly, using the same formula for judging relative fairness, the numbers are radically different if you are alloting 20 cookies to race b people, just because they represent 10% of the overall population (or 10 cookies, to keep your numbers). Your numbers, and resulting fairness conclusions, are completely meaningless.

Discriminating on the basis of race is always wrong. Trying to address discrimination by deliberately duplicating the exact same offence, is inane, and legitimizes the very conduct that you’re trying to prohibit - conduct that should be abhorrent to all rational individuals, and never justified under any circumstance.

Whoops, forgot to edit that number. Fixed.

My point was “the acceptance rate for minorities to highly selective schools has little or no affect on the acceptance rate for the majority.”

In your 50,000/30 example, the chance for a majority individual to get in drops from .6% to .2%. In other words, from nearly zero to nearly zero; sure, it drops by two-thirds, but the number is already so small to begin with that it’s a secondary effect, compared to the extremely large number of applicants and extremely small number of slots.

Maybe it’s me, but I just can’t get upset about a drop from .6% to .2%; it’s a crapshoot to get in anyway.

I’m actually rather ambivalent about AA, I’m just tired of seeing the downsides exaggerated.

Who determines when it has been taken too far, or when it has lost it’s place. The government? A majority of the people, or just the oppreseed ones?

Well since we’re in a democracy, the majority does, more or less.

Forgot to mention: if college entrance is supposed to be so even-handed, what about Harvard setting aside 10% of its slots of the children of alumni?