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Affirmative Actions case at the Supreme Court

  1. Apr 1, 2003 #1

    Kerrie

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    What do you all think of the case with Affirmative Action at the Supreme Court? For those of you who are not familiar with it, read this link:

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/04/01/scotus.affirmative.action.ap/index.html

    An attorney for white students who were denied admissions to a college because of race went took this case to the supreme court regarding the point system used in determining admissions. If you note, 20 points is given to those of "underrepresented racial-ethnic minorities", whereas those who had shown leadership and service to their country were only given 5.

    Personally, I believe equality should be for all, and race should have nothing to do with admissions to a college or for consideration of a job. Skin color (or lack of it in this case) is not a factor of whether someone will be successful in college or in a job. Quotas in order to "prove" that a college or company of high reputation diversifies does not do anyone justice in the end.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2003 #2

    LURCH

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    Ultimately, I think reverse discrimination harms those it is intended to serve. After all, if one can get 20 points just for being black or hispanic or whatever ethnicity, then why develope such qualities as leadership or service to the community, when they're only worth 5? In this way, racial "minorities" are encouraged to slack off and put forth less effort to improve themselves, since such effort would be unnecessary and therefore wastefull.

    I did not see the final decision of the Court, but the few minutes of the debate I saw seemed to indicate that they were leaning towards supporting the petition, and declaring this form of race discrimination unconstitutional. I hope they do.
     
  4. Apr 1, 2003 #3
    well i hope they declare it unconstitutional, that would do something to imporve my faith in our justice system.
     
  5. Apr 1, 2003 #4
    At stake is the freedom of the University of Michigan and other universities to use carefully tailored means to achieve a diverse student body. Standing against them are the Bush Administration and a handful of misleadingly named organizations with which the Administration has close ties, such as the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), Linda Chavez's Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO), and Ward Connerly's American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI). Key right-wing foundations have bankrolled these groups for the past dozen years. The CIR, which brought the Michigan cases, is also responsible for the notorious Hopwood case, which overturned affirmative action throughout the US Fifth Circuit. Bush's Solicitor General, Federalist Society veteran Theodore Olson, argued Hopwood on behalf of CIR.

    Determined not to further antagonize minority constituencies, whose votes Karl Rove covets, the Bush Administration's brief argued that the answer is to bring in so-called "percent solutions," under which fixed percentages of top students are admitted from a state's high schools. Olson followed White House tactical instructions for advancing the agenda of the right and opted for percent solutions in the friend-of-the-court briefs he submitted on the Michigan case.

    Leaving aside the dubious value of these solutions (which have been devastatingly criticized in two recent Harvard Civil Rights Project reports), they may be only a way station on the road to the judicially engineered resegregation of American business and education. CEO is already targeting these "solutions"--which are in effect in Texas, Florida and California--as race-based and therefore unconstitutional. The antidiversity industry is also targeting the outreach efforts that Harvard researchers determined was responsible for maintaining minority enrollments.


    Alfred Ross & Lee Cokorinos
    http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030414&s=ross

    Universities, especially top Universities, have a definite interest in promoting a diverse student body - they aim to create a forum of ideas and discussion.

    Because race has a political, economic and social component, professor of psychology Patricia Gurin finds that when people who have lived on the darker side of our racial divide have access to our classrooms and our faculties, white and nonwhite students alike achieve better intellectual growth and improved capacity to participate in our multiracial democracy. The rhetoric of quotas shuts down the conversation about racially diverse classrooms and their relationship to the learning environment. It also diverts our attention from the real double-bind that distorts the face of higher education in America.

    The first thread in the double bind is the artificial scarcity created by the overinvestment of state resources in prisons because of mandatory minimum sentences and three-strikes laws, which has starved educational budgets. As a result, many students who want to attend public institutions of higher education cannot, both because of rising tuition costs and because the competition for admission is fiercer than ever. And competition for the more selective public universities is especially tough, because the schools function less and less as educational greenhouses and more and more as status markers and gateways to elite networks.

    The rising number of applications requires ever more efficient means of sorting candidates. This helps explain the second thread of the educational double-bind, our worship of simple, uniform measures of qualification, which I call "testocracy." The central problem is that Michigan, as is true of most elite educational institutions, has allowed its admissions standards to be driven by the rankings posted by a newsmagazine. No one wants to admit the dirty secret of higher education: In the name of merit as determined by U.S. News & World Report, the current system emphasizes efficiency and brand valuation over individualized assessments; test scores over initiative, persistence and creativity; and wealth over diversity.


    Lani Guinier
    http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030210&s=guinier

    The Nation, read it, love it.
     
  6. Apr 1, 2003 #5
    It took less than thirty seconds to find the Harvard reports mentioned by Ross and Cokorinos:

    Evidence Challenges Sweeping Claims that Percent Plans Provide a Viable Alternative to Affirmative Action

    http://www.civilrightsproject.harvard.edu/news/pressreleases.php/record_id=28/

    Here is a great briefing on the issue (including history) at hand:

    http://www.civilrightsproject.harvard.edu/policy/legal_docs/Revisiting_diversity.pdf

    It is a long read, but if you care enough to vote in this society....
     
  7. Apr 1, 2003 #6

    LURCH

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    No matter how one may try to dress it up, denying someone enrollment to a college because of the color of their skin is wrong.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2003
  8. Apr 1, 2003 #7
    I say, "poo on affirmative action".

    "Reverse" discrimination is not going to help society.

    If it has anything to do with minorities being primarily poor and underpriveleged, then make/expand programs to help low income students/etc., not use racial criteria. How about income-based affirmative action? There are plenty of minority people who have better opportunities (more money, better high schools) than I do, and I am white. Don't make it race-based. Address social problems directly.
     
  9. Apr 1, 2003 #8
    Quite frankly this is ignorant. No one has ever been shown to have been denied entrance into Michigan because of their skin color. This is why the whole focus is on the system in place. The argument for affirmative action has always centered around two points:

    1. Diversity (which is damn important in a University)
    2. The difference in test scores between white (particularly white male) applicants and minority applicants does not show a difference in ability or merit, it simply shows a difference in birth. This has been supported by many studies. For instance, Hispanic women score much lower than white women on the math portion of the SAT but no difference in college math grades show up. The wealthy have a decided difference on SAT scores and grades - tutors and SAT classes make a huge difference on "paper". However, the difference in performance both in and after college shrinks dramatically (sadly, the economic status of one's grandparents is a better prediction of economic success than education).

    All of the arguments against affirmative action normally given fall on a huge fallacy: the assumption that objective (hell even decent) standards are available in college acceptance. It ignores the real issue: What makes us think that our standards can cope with ethnic and economic disparity? By all accounts that deal with a little thing called "reality", they don't and their validity for showing merit and potential does drop off in the comparison of deviant ethnic and economic groups.

    Now, that is not to say that all affirmative action is good - that certainly isn't true. Maybe these students do have a good case sadly being masked by right-wring money and agenda. But whenever you see a simple argument that challenges complex systems, be weary, be very weary. This leads to what I refer to as "Ayn Rand logic".
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2003
  10. Apr 1, 2003 #9
    If you don't think that their are major social problems grounded in race and ethnicity, you are ignorant. What are you defending? The University? Or non sequitur conclusions about college entrence scales?
     
  11. Apr 1, 2003 #10

    Njorl

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    I used to subscribe to the argument that some conservatives make. They say that affirmative action programs could be economically based and still produce racial diversity. The problem is, if the programs before the court are ruled unconstitutional, having racial diversity as a goal will be ruled an unconstitutional. Any program, even without racial factoring, which has racial diversity as a goal, will be deemed unconstitutional, so the above mentioned economic preferences would also be ruled unconstitutional.

    I have always opposed the notion that racial preferences should only be used to redress specific identifiable grievences. Let's face it, white people have the vast majority of wealth and power in this country. Like people of any race, most are very prejudiced. This acts as a huge advantage for white people in general, and a disadvantage to other races. Most forms of racial prejudice are still legal, or, if illegal, are impossible to prove. The few instances of institutional affirmative action used to redress statistical inequities (as opposed to specific inequities) that result in reverse discrimination are insignificant in comparisson.

    Njorl
     
  12. Apr 1, 2003 #11

    russ_watters

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    Njorl, therein lies both the problem and the solution - don't use racial diversity as a goal. People with economic impediments need help and should get it regardless of race. Racial diversity should NOT be a goal, it should happen on its own. And if it doesn't happen on its own, no big deal.

    I don't understand why people get so fixated on diversity. Grambling is a fine school and has very little diversity.
     
  13. Apr 2, 2003 #12
    Something taht bothers me is that everyone acts like the ONLY thing that gives you extra points is race...if you go to a private school, and your parents went there, you get alot more points than for being a minority. Further, the 'minority' points can also go to white students from low income families...maybe you guys should look a little deeper before you judge.
     
  14. Apr 2, 2003 #13

    russ_watters

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    Zero, did you check the admission scorecard? Being a legacy gets you *FOUR* points. Being black (or low income) gets you *20*. Huge difference. And being a low income person is a separate point award. The implication is that a rich, priveleged black person gets the same points as a poor white one. They should remove the racial points. Here is the scorecard in case anyone missed it:

    Please note that if the goal were simply making up for a socioeconomic disadvantage, the score for being a minority would be extraneous since you can only get one category of miscellaneous points. Points can be awarded for race alone.
     
  15. Apr 2, 2003 #14
    I know this might seem a bit off topic but I promise I'll bring it home in the end.

    Does the US Constitution mandate that states provide a public education system for their residents?
     
  16. Apr 2, 2003 #15

    Kerrie

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    Alias~

    good question, I would like to know, but my lack of time due to my crazy life is hindering me from researching it...although this has to do with a private education and not public...

    Dan~

    I completely agree with what you are saying...here's a point to consider-what if the tables were turned and whites received the 20 points and minorities received 5? and how many blacks apply to this college that are able to achieve the academic standards vs. the white capable of doing the same? isn't there a bigger white population then minority population?

    if ANYONE feels discriminated due to their color, then there is no equality for all...
     
  17. Apr 2, 2003 #16
    I thought we were talking about a state college?!
     
  18. Apr 2, 2003 #17

    Njorl

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    Kerrie,
    The miscellaneous points are not for racial minorities. They are for under-represented racial minorities. You may disagree with it, but there is a stated justification for this preference. What could a justification for a racial preference for white people possibly be other than overt racism?

    Many colleges used to practice covert forms of racism. Some might still, I haven't looked into it recently. My schoool, for instance, gave an admission preference for out-of-city applicants. Out-of-city applicants were almost exclusively white, while in-city applicants were about 25% black. The preference for "legacies" which almost all universities use is very discriminitory. Discretionary admissions tend to be children of people with connections, who are usually white. Preferential admissions to universities for some white people is a fact. It is just not a mandated fact.

    Njorl
     
  19. Apr 2, 2003 #18

    russ_watters

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    Not specifically, no. Thats federal law.

    Thats misleading at best, Njorl. Things like legacies are not strictly geared toward race. It is a biproduct. There is only one racial goal that is being actively pursued - increasing black (and minority) enrollment.
     
  20. Apr 2, 2003 #19
    Hmmm...I wonder, though, at who these students are that are being kept out. I'm sure no one with a 4.0 is missing out on going to college because of race.
     
  21. Apr 2, 2003 #20

    Kerrie

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    when i think of public education, i guess i think of public schools, such as K-12...it is completely voluntary for one to attend college and therefore i linked it to being "private", if that clears up the misunderstanding...
     
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