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News Affirmative Action

  1. Jan 31, 2005 #1
    I searched for a previous topic of this nature, but didnt find any. What are your ideas about Affirmative Action in the education system? If you don't know what it is, in quite briefness, it is a program that gives the "underpriviliged" a boost for getting into colleges and universities.

    My stance : Anything that helps out or deprives someone based on their race is discrimination. The fact that hypothetically my asian neighbor, whose family has the same income, has a better chance of getting into a certain university (like UofMichigan) becasue he's asian is complete discrimintaion against me.
    As for UofM's policy, they also give the boost based on your economic situation and the city in which you reside. This is how any sort of oppurtunities for the underprivilaged should be given. But race/sex/sexual identity and so forth have no place on an application. I don't understand how the need for the University to have cultural diversity outweighs the needs to be indiscriminate agaisnt races.

    Your views?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 31, 2005 #2
    This would perhaps be better suited for the Social Sciences, or Politics, forums.

    While it's here though...I agree with you. I think it's a violation of one's Constitutional rights for them to be discriminated against, even if it's the opposite of the usual kind of discrimination.
  4. Jan 31, 2005 #3
    All people should be treated equally. Your Asian neighbour is as much a human being as you are, or as I am. Just because he looks differently, speaks a different language, and has a different country of origin, should not mean that he should have a better chance at getting a job, getting into a school, etc than you.
  5. Feb 1, 2005 #4
    As I see it, it's the same mistake that the feminists have been making. In their fight for "equality" they have simply unbalanced the scales in a different direction.

    If it was wrong for white males to oppress females or members of other races, then it is equally wrong for those females and other races to suppress the rights of a white male.

    Fortunately, I'm puertoriceno, so I can speak objectively about such things :smile:.
  6. Feb 1, 2005 #5
    I am in favor of affirmative action.

    Let's face it: People of color often have a hard time making it in white culture dominated America. I am basing this on statistics of violence, drugs, teen pregnancy, property values, income, education.....we have to face the problem.

    The best thing we can do to help is to offer them oppurtunity.
  7. Feb 1, 2005 #6
    Asians are generally not considered underrepresented minorities in higher education. Thus, affirmative action tends to work against, and not for, them in that milieu.

    Berkeley's estimates of what would happen to white and especially Asian enrollment if affirmative action were done away with are quite conservative. Yet they yield the following indications: Asians would go from 40 per cent to 55 per cent of the student body. Whites would go from 30 per cent to 35 per cent. Hispanics would go from 15 per cent to 5 per cent. Blacks would go from over 6 per cent to under 2 per cent.

    Such an outcome makes clear the extent to which Asian-descended students are currently discriminated against.
  8. Feb 1, 2005 #7
    I would suggest searching for "Affirmative Action":
    https://www.physicsforums.com/search.php?searchid=119335 [Broken]

    Showing results 1 to 25 of 105
    Search took 0.35 seconds.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  9. Feb 1, 2005 #8
    Curiously, you only get relevant results after result 50.
  10. Feb 1, 2005 #9


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    So why advocate helping "people of color"? Shouldn't you advocate helping people who are disadvantaged because of violence, drugs, teen pregnancy, property values, income, and education?
  11. Feb 1, 2005 #10
    For that search, I checked the individual posts radio button. If you would like to see only threads with the phrase affirmative action in the title:
    https://www.physicsforums.com/search.php?searchid=119358 [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  12. Feb 1, 2005 #11
    I think Hurkyl scores the most points on this one...the more aid is given to those based truly on their desire to help themselves the more effective the aid should probably be. Affirmative action is a bad solution to a worse problem, but times change, eventually there's likely to be a not as bad solution to a bad solution and so forth.
  13. Feb 1, 2005 #12
    I have personally always thought that a university should place less emphasis on the ethnicity of the applicant and instead look at the economic background that the applicant hails from. Say you get two applicants, one from a wealthy and one from a poor background, who have the same SAT scores. In general, the one from a poor background likely had to work a lot harder to get that SAT score whereas the one from a wealthy background probably had resources at his disposal the poorer applicant did not have. This implies that when it comes to work ethic and determination the poorer applicant has more than the wealthy one, which is a much better judgement of charecter.
    The point of this is affirmative action ignores many people who are Asian and white who overcame adversity to get to their position. Because targeted minorities make up large parts of the lower income bracket they would still be favored when it matters in applying.
    I'm not sure what all of this would do for financial aid, however. Because it might affect that part of college admissions and if you can't pay for college then you can't go, which would drive away the poorer applicants anyway. Hmmm.
  14. Feb 2, 2005 #13
    But what if one applicant is from a middle income with a 1300 score and the other from a poor income with a 1200 score, which would you pick? Keeping in mind that the goal of this improved system should naturally lead to a fair degree of equality between the various groups of people since we all have on average the same desire to suceed right? Where does a desire to suceed come from though, and what is considered successful? And if I grow up always seeing one group of people get ahead won't I immitate that group?
    I'm not so sure, I mean it's hard to say where to draw the lines, I don't even know if poverty leads to a general decrease or increase of financial ambition, I would guess it leads to a majority of decrease and a very small minority of extreme increase but it's just a guess, if being born into a low income family with high crime and drugs and all that stuff overwhelmingly affects the individuals future to the point that it's say 95% predictable that you won't have the ambition or something to pursue such an educational opportunity even if it's there would you still support such a system, or is it a societal or cultural problem of some sort? The true problem could still be shrouded under a blanket of false solutions or there may be no problem at all to some, If you don't consider yourself or others to be in any group but I wonder what the consequences are of seeing things that way...
  15. Feb 2, 2005 #14
    Let's look at this whole thing in another way. What if whites suddenly became a minority and the roles were reversed? Would it then be right to say they should get better treatment? Of course not! Affirmitive action is rasism, only its target is the majority, not the minority. If two people apply to a school the only thing the schoold should know about them before enrolment is their acidemic record. That way the best student gets in, be it majority or minority. The idea that swinging the pendulam to the other extreme to fix a problem is ludicrous and, to me, laughable because the problem will still be there, only polarized in the opposite direction.
  16. Feb 3, 2005 #15
    Minorities often have to work harder to get to the point where they can apply for college then do whites. This is not just because of crime and poverty, which are part of the problem, but also because the education system is made by whites, for whites.

    Currently, public education is terrible because they treat everyone as if they are the same. As if we all learn the same way and are interested in the same things. So if you don't fall in to that narrow category of the way the government thinks students should be, you will be fighting an uphill battle. I'm white, and the school system was incompatible with me; it seems to me that the chances of this are even higher for non-whites.
  17. Feb 3, 2005 #16


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    Non-whites include east asians and "browns" from southern asia. They do well in strong education systems, as anybody can see. Look at who wound up on top in the international math education trials.
  18. Feb 3, 2005 #17


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    Economic impediments are not always compelling, though I'm sure they can be. I grew up fairly disadvantaged and do hail partially from minority ethnic groups, but I still had access to the free public library and I spent quite a bit of time there educating myself as a kid to make up for the sad failing of public education.
  19. Feb 4, 2005 #18
    The main thing should be reaching out to people(not specific groups) who want to help themselves, if our "equality" laws followed that principle and didn't make distinctions of age, race, or colour, society might follow and stop making so many distinctions as well...or society might make more laws to further aid distinctions.
  20. Feb 6, 2005 #19
    :grumpy: So bad.

    I say if schools are to concern themselves with social engineering, the most efficacious way is by instilling in their present student body with virtues.
  21. Feb 6, 2005 #20
    Originally usa was dominated by european culture. It was the europeans who essentially created the country. However, now there is unequal opportunities for all. The ethnic europeans are discriminated against simply because the people with similar ethnicity seem to do better than africans/ mexicans. The asians however do equally well as the europeans. This seems to highlight that the problem of disparity in achievement is due to problems other than discrimination. The Jews do much better than average, and have a much higher income than the ethnic europeans. If the ethnic europeans are discriminated against, then the Jews should be ultra discriminated against.
    You say that USA is white culture dominated. From where I am sitting, it is black culture dominated. I can hardly think of current white male music stars and most of the sports stars are black. So according to your logic, because whites are not black they deserve special consideration in order to help their self esteem.

    However, I am against all discrimination based upon ethnic origin.

    It is racism and only supported by racists.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2005
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