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News What's affirmed?

  1. Jan 2, 2007 #1
    Suppose a particular, distinguishable subgroup of the population were socially disadvantaged - very poor and with a troubled history of discrimination. Suppose further (for thought) this group had a very unique, success-oriented culture, so that many of its individuals were highly driven and ambitious. Now let's make this effect huge - so big, that this culture, though tiny in numbers, completely dominated competitive college programs.

    Please, for the moment, endorse affirmative action and its principles. Now then - would you affirm individuals of this unique culture, because they are very disadvantaged, or would you affirm against them, because even if they are all dirt poor, they're still disproportionately represented because of their merits? In other words, do you see affirmative action as a means of compensating for economic conditions, or as a means of generating statistical equality?

    (The situation I made up shows that they can be diametric opposites. In fact, a real-world example inspires this "made-up" situation, though I'm not mentioning it to keep things clear).
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2007 #2


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    It seems clear. The intent of affirmative action is to reverse the effects of past discrimination. Your description suggests that this demographic appears to have successfully recovered, and thus no longer needs the aid of affirmative action, at least in the context of college admissions.

    I can't see how affirming "against" this demographic (that sounds like management-speak!) is, in any way, in the spirit of affirmative action.
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