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Affirmative Action Hurts Asians but by in large doesn't help Blacks/Hispanics
in Politics

By JustAnAllMightFanJustAnAllMightFan 269 Pts edited July 19
I will start off by saying that AA, is an incredibly flawed system but not for the reasons some of you may think. It's been harmful to Asian Success but what many don't know doesn't as a whole help blacks/Hispanics get into college. There has always been a narrative used by some Anti AA members of the hardworking Asian scholar having his opportunity thrown away to an underachieving brown delinquent. Factually, this is untrue as white females benefit more from AA than any other group.
If we look at racial sat score Harvard admissions section of the SAT,admits an average of 704.
The average Sat score for black admitted students for each section is 715 for whites it is 745,  Asians have an average if 770. That puts black students at an average of a 1430, Whites at a 1490 and Asians at a 1520. Most college admission workers consider a 1430 and a 1490 test score to be in the same range, meaning you can't really derive that a 1430 student is less capable than a 1490 and therefore must take into account other factors such as personal statements and extra curriculums. Meaning that you can't label one score being chosen over the other as discrimination because they are indisgusiable. In addition a 1430 SAT is still an incredible score. Black Harvard admitted students still have average SAT scores higher than 94% of the population. In addition Black and Hispanic applicants tend to focus more on extracurriculars and have more letters of recommendation which personally I guess is an attempt to make up for their SAT scores. Asians are still discriminated against in terms of SAT but they aren't being denied to allow incompetent students to participate, as most AA applicants are middle to upper class and as a result do well educationally. To add onto this, take into account that the SAT is still heavily flawed and doesn't accurately measure a students potential, as it leaves out many other measures of intelligence/capability such as creativity.
The two studies above go more in depth but in the simplest terms, white women are enrolled in higher rates due to AA policies and have some of if not the largest employment gains out of any other racial/gender group in the united states.
In addition, AA primary benefits middle to upper class African Americans. This is not really an unfair opportunity as blacks in higher income brackets have the resources to get tutors, go to better schools, and afford better equipment, putting them on equal standards as their Asian peers who on average, have these resources. Thus it isn't really giving away an opportunity to a brown person who doesn't deserve it but rather taking two equally qualified candidates, with one brown and the other Asian and giving the incentive for the black/Hispanic candidate to get the opening. We can argue about the moral ramifications of this, but the claim that students are having their opportunities being thrown away to people who did not have the qualifications to deserve them is false.
The source above shows admissions by race and class. Lower income black students still have a harder time getting into universities compared to middle and upper class black students. AA is actually failing black and hispanics as a whole because they overwhelmingly favor the minority who are well off vs the majority who are low income or under the poverty line. Which could explain why black/latin student rates are still low in comparison to the percentage of the population each make.
As both groups are still underrepresented in universities. Considering the practice has been around for decades you'd think that the rates would be proportional by now. Instead, the policy favors well off minority students who don't need it as much as their peers.
70% of Harvard's admitted applicants came from the richest 20% of families with only 3% coming from the poorest 20% and 5.3% coming from the bottom 40%.
To be apart of the bottom 20% your earnings have to be below 18,000 annually. For the bottom 30%, it must be below an annual earning of 30,000. The average earnings of a black family is about 40 grand. Key word, family. According to the source below the average earnings of a single black female is 25 grand and black male 33 grand
About 70% of black children grow up in single mother households so most black children are actually in households with an income around the 25,000 figure. Placing them on average, slightly above the bottom 20%.
Yet most of Harvard's admitted students were black
However about only 8.3% of admissions are in the bottom 40%. So what is the problem? It is evident that a vast majority of brown children being admitted due to AA are those who are already wealthy and thus have the resources to put them on equal footing as asian students and  don't need the policies as much.
This isn't exclusive to Harvard as most other IVY leagues favor students in the upper income brackets. We can assume that this is the same for other top US universities such as MIT.
So is AA a problem? Yes. But the notion that AA gives opportunities to children who did not qualify is false as a majority of recipients are those who are already middle class to wealthy. Which explains why black and Hispanic enrollment is still low. As a whole, minority students aren't seeing any benefits from AA so the narrative that they are robbing Asians of opportunities is false. The policies are clearly biased towards those not in the bottom 50% and ironically benefit white women at a higher rate.
We should aim to make AA more focused on class and implement reform to economically disadvantaged neighborhoods so that disenfranchised demographics can actually see benefits.


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  • all4acttall4actt 135 Pts
    I disagree that AA needs to be refocused or rewritten.  It just needs to be thrown out.

    Admission boards should have no reference in the students packets that refer to their, sex, race, or ability to pay the tuition.  It should be soely placed on an individuals achievements.

    If they want to help the underprivileged rise to a university then they need to start by fixing the problems in the primary schools.
  • edited July 23
    I believe we can walk and chew gum at the same time. As of now AA based on class is necessary. Take for example you have two children
    1 is a child below the poverty line where statistically he is more likely to live in a single parent household. As you said, he goes to a school that is low quality, his neighborhood is full of crime, and he does not have the economic resources to afford better technology or tutors. Since he lives in a single parent home, he has to take on more duties such as cooking,shopping and watching over the house, leaving him little time or resources to focus on his academics. Yet at his school he still manages to get a 3.8 and a 1400 sat. 
    The 2nd child is a middle class child who goes to a great school with plenty of the latest tech, tutors, and a healthy homelife. He has a gpa of 4 and a 1480 sat.
    In reality the child living under the poverty line has just as much academic potential as the latter and it wouldn't be fair to deny him the chance to show his full potential due to circumstances out of his control. That poor child worked harder and is just as intelligent as his peer and if he had the resources his wealthier peer had he would have the same scores.
    Individual achievements are heavily influenced by their environment so when base someone solely on their scores we fail to get an accurate scope on their full academic potential. In an ideal world, AA would take into consideration the situation I laid out above and judged children based on a mix of their economic status and achievements. Sadly, AA rarely reaches out to children in the bottom 40%. However, AA rarely gives underperforming children slots. Statistically speaking students have a much higher chance of having their spot stolen by a child who has legacy (meaning his family donated to the school) than a child that did not earn AA.
    In the long term an accurately used AA would fix the academic disparities we see so that it would no longer be needed.
    I do agree that we need to tackle the economic disparities as you stated however it wouldn't be productive to cut out AA as of now because there are plenty of children similar that I mentioned above who still manage to outperform expectations but don't quite score as well as their wealthier peers do to them having way more outside factors. These children have the same academic potential as their peers, denying them equal opportunity would be counterproductive. Consider if we held a race where there is one competitor who is carrying another human being on her back and another competitor who was at not disadvantage. The competitor who was not carrying someone wins the race but can we really conclude that she is the better runner?
    In reality economic status must play a role in admissions because it gives us a greater picture of a student's true ability.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3408 Pts
    edited July 24
    When one's race, gender, religion, immigration status, sexuality or any other characteristic not related to their merit and competence factors in the decision whether to accept that person to a given position, the individual is no longer being seen as an individual, but as a member of some group - which is unfair towards the individual. There is nothing I would find more insulting than to learn that, for example, I was only accepted to my current PhD program due to my, say, immigration status. I would like to believe that I have enough things in my resume to make me acceptable without considering these other irrelevant political factors. If I do not, then I would not want to be here in the first place; I would not deserve being here.

    Various statistics demonstrate that minorities accepted with help of an "affirmative action" tend to perform worse than regular people accepted on regular grounds. This is not surprising: if the minority was underrepresented in the given field in the first place, then it is only possible to increase its presence by lowering the standards of acceptance. What happens when the standards of acceptance for, say, "Blacks" are lower than standards of acceptance for "Whites"? Well, it is obvious: the accepted "Blacks", on average, will perform worse than accepted "Whites".

    As a consequence, affirmative action leads to acceptance of individuals who are not fit to be there. In education, this leads to them struggling with the program of studies, often dropping, or finishing with poor grades. In workplace, this leads to them occupying token spots, producing little, not building their resume and having poor career perspectives.

    There is a reason virtually all jobs and academic programs feature rigorous merit-based selection of candidates: it is not only done for the sake of the employer/department, but also for the sake of the applicant. Accepting someone to a program they are not fit to be in is harmful to them, just as much (if not more) as not accepting them to a program they are fit to be in.

    There are many concerns to be had with treatment of some minorities in the modern First World, but "affirmative action" is not a proper response to those concerns. It does nothing but sweep the problem under the rug, while damaging countless individuals. High-skilled candidates are not accepted due to strange quotas, and their potential is never realized - while low-skilled candidates get more than they bargained for and fail at whatever they are accepted to.
    Merit-based selection system is the only practical way to go. Any other system will lead to inferior outcomes for many people, and to superior outcomes for very few, if any.

    I've done pretty well for myself, getting accepted into a top-25 PhD program in mathematics. I am pretty darn good. But you know what... Had I been accepted to Princeton and gone there, I would be dead meat. I know my limits well; there is no place for me in Princeton. Accept to Princeton the best of the best in the world, and let us, very good, but not the best of the best, folks take positions which we can reasonably handle, yet which still challenge us to our limits.
  • edited July 24
    Individuals should not be based solely on their economic race or outside status. Key word, solely. It should be a combination of those factors. Your largest misconception is that we live in a society leaning more towards equality than inequality, which is incorrect. Take for instance my scenario above with the two children. It is impossible to conclude that the student from the poor background is less deserving of the opening than his peer. Objectively speaking attaining a 3.8 GPA and a 1400 Sat while you were at the disadvantage of having no economic or academic resources, going to a lower quality school, living in a single parent household and taking on far more responsibility is equally if not more impressive than attaining slightly higher grades while having a steady high income and plenty of resources. This isn't generalizing people into groups, in fact it's quite the contrary; my ideal version of AA would be to look at each individual and his circumstances and take that into account along with his achievements. Quite frankly a student who did nearly as well as his peers but had more outside negative factors has just as much academic potential. To go back to my scenario, if we were to give the poor child with slightly lower grades the same resources as his peer he would have scored just as if not higher. By going strictly off of achievement we are doing those who had other factors holding them down a disservice. We must take into account these economic factors because in reality not every student is under the same level of difficulty. Not every student has the fortune of having help.
    In addition you based your reasoning off of a version of AA that does not exist. AA rarely goes to students in the bottom 40%. If you read my original post most the recipients of AA are those who are middle class to wealthy. 14% of Havard's 2018 accepted applicants were black but only 8.3% of its accepted were in the bottom 40% while a majority of black students are in the bottom 40%. We cannot say that AA isn't working because it has yet to go the children who actually need it. The data examining the effectiveness of AA is mixed
    No ivy league college has had more than 15% of black students not graduate. But even then this doesn't tell us much because as I said before AA rarely goes out to black children who are economically disadvantaged. In addition you made the fallacy that AA would incite other businesses to hire those who do not meet the academic qualifications. In reality this isn't the case. AA rarely goes out to those that did not meet the academic standards,especially since most recipients are wealthy. All AA in universities and career does is take 2 equal candidates and give the incentive for the business to hire the black brown or female candidate. He/she still technically meets the qualifications. In our last discussion you seemed to have stuck by the philosophy that the law stops any inequality from happening. Thus, you should know that admitting unqualified candidates due to their race,ethnicity,gender over qualified candidates is illegal and punishable by law? Technically speaking you have a much higher chance of having your opportunity taken by someone who has family ties to the facility vs the economically/socially disadvantaged. 
    In addition, many of these children who had slightly lower SAT scores often compensated it for more letters of recommendation and showed better leadership in extracurriculars along with equal GPAs.
    I do agree that we need to dive deeper into the root of the problems and not just solely rely on AA. However having an economic AA is still necessary due to the process of fixing the educational, social, and economic problems facing poor neighborhoods will take some time. In an ideal world AA based on economic status would help relieve the problem in the meantime while we tackle these issues. All in all looking at each individual's circumstances along with his scores is more effective in painting his/her academic potential. I will say that a poor kid who has scores way lower than his wealthy peer does not deserve to take his spot. For instance even if we were to account for economic/social disadvantages a 2.5 900 sat child, does not have an equal academic ability as a 1500 4.0 wealthy student. However a low income 1450 sat student vs a 1520 high income student or a 900 sat low income student vs a 980 high income student can be judged more in depth. You make the generalization that I am arguing for the incapable to be given opportunities just because of his race or income when I am not. What I am arguing is that someone who scores slightly lower but has less economic resources isn't necessarily less suited for a position than a wealthy student who did slightly better than him. You mentioned merit. Based on the scenario I mentioned, that poor child who had much more forces working against him and little help but still managed to exceed expectations has just as much if not more merit than the student who got slightly higher scores with more help and no disadvantages. Numbers are really only a representation of the factors that manifested them. It would be shortsighted to base individuals solely on numbers and not the difficulty it took for them to achieve such number. Until our society approaches more social/economic equality then we must take into consideration (not judge solely, but take into consideration) their inequalities so we can come closer to fully understanding their overall academic ability. 
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3408 Pts
    edited July 24

    I do not think that we live in a fairly equal society, nor would I want to. I want to live in a meritocratic society. I want to live in a society where a person is judged by what they do, not by who they are. Where it is about their skills and achievements, not about their age of the color of their skin.

    People are born to different circumstances, parents, nations, etc. I did not choose to be born in Soviet Union, but that is how cards were laid out. What I could do is make the best out of what I had - and so I did. When you make the best of what you have, then it does not matter what you have at the beginning - you can achieve anything you can possibly dream of.

    I do not care about how richer someone is than me, how smarter someone is than me, how more beautiful someone is than me... I care about myself and what I can do with what I have. I respect those who do the same. I do not respect those who point at things they cannot change, or at things they can change, but do not - and claim to be disadvantaged. Everyone is disadvantaged in many ways; not everyone lets it stop them, however.

    When applying to a university program, one of the first things you are typically asked - before any questions about your educational or research background, extracurricular achievements, etc. - is your race. Your race, your gender, your ethnicity (in the US, they specifically ask if you have some Latino roots, for some reason), your age, your place of birth, your immigration status. All those things that should not affect at all whether you are accepted or not - are asked of you before anything else.
    It is clear that merit is not the sole determinant here, which is deeply wrong, in my opinion.

    In academia and industry, extensive measures are taken to separate one's merit from their irrelevant traits. For example, it is fairly common for university exams to be graded by professors in a double-blind way: students do not know what professors are going to be grading their work, and the professor does not know whose work he/she is grading. This way it is assured that any possible prejudice, personal factor, etc. are almost fully (not fully; sometimes it is possible to figure out whose work you are grading by their writing, for example) eliminated, and only the merit of the work is evaluated.
    See, if universities did not ask the applicants' race, gender, etc., then it would be impossible for them to discriminate by race, gender, etc. Anonymity solves the problems of prejudicial discrimination at their root.

    But no, universities want to know the color of your skin, your gender, your sexuality, whether you have ever been a victim of sexual violence... Which allows the people working there to fully exercise their prejudices at the expense of many applicants.

    Why do Chinese people disproportionally overrepresented in virtually all universities in developed countries compared to, say, Vietnamese people? Simple: China simply produces better graduates at the top of the distribution. And those graduates are fully capable of succeeding in top PhD programs in top universities worldwide.
    But here someone comes and says, "You know what? We have too few Vietnamese people, compared to the Chinese people. Let us introduce some quotas, so Vietnamese people are admitted more often, and Chinese people - less often". That is a horrible decision, and it will harm many Chinese people - and for what, so some Vietnamese people can come here, get into programs they are not fit to be in, get somehow artificially dragged through them - and graduate with no job perspectives, thus having to go back to Vietnam? 
    Oh, but there is one upside of this: university bureaucrats from "diversity" departments can pat themselves on the back and say, "We have made our university more equal!"
    No, you have not. Equality is not determined by the skin of what colors your students have. It is determined by what those students can do. And one's skin color does not say anything about what they can do.

    Affirmative action is discrimination, plain and simple. And the idea that discrimination can be countered by even more discrimination is preposterous. You do not beat racism by being a racist; you beat racism by saying, "Race is irrelevant", and never thinking about it again.

    Lastly, you seem to have the popular nowadays idea that test scores determine everything at universities. Not at all. The admission committee members are not simpletons; there are some accomplished people there who know that test scores do not tell the whole picture. They will look at the applicants' other accomplishments, at their individual circumstances, etc.
    But all of those things should be directly relevant to the applicant's overall merit. They should not be the color of their skin, whether they have grown up with two or one parent, etc.
  • edited July 24
    Firstly the Chinese immigrants do better than Vietnamese immigrants in college programs because most chinese immigrants who came here were already wealthier and educated and thus could provide the same resources for their children. The Vietnamese were not and thus were behind on the generational wealth game and consequently could not have the latest technology, or tutors, or economic resources. What many don't know is that Asian americans have the largest, wealth gap out of any other racial group in the US. I would not want the economically poor Vietnamese students with a overall obviously unimpressive resume to be let in. However the students that do have an impressive resume that may be slightly weaker than the resume of the richer students they are competing should be taken into consideration. Because as I said again, if we were to take over the negative factors holding said students back from their full potential and put them in a place where they are on equal setting with their peers, (such as in a university) they would match or even surpass their wealthier counterparts academically. Again, I am not arguing for giving opportunities to students who are obviously unqualified. I am for taking a selective few students who exceed expectations while being in a very counterproductive setting and not automatically labeling them inferior to applicants who got slightly higher scores while having much more help.
    Actually you proved my point with people playing with the cards they are dealt. This is effectively what I want and AA can help accomplish this. 
    Letting unqualified students in strictly due to their appearance or income level is discrimination. However making the observation that not every student has the same level of help and we need to take into account each by his individual circumstances is not discrimination. It's getting the best scope of one's full academic potential.What I mean by AA is not automatically letting students in just because they tick the right boxes, it is having more in depth look into what each accomplished in their respective situations. If stating the fact that a student who has a resume lacking behind a few steps in quality but had multiple negative economic forces making his climb more difficult, does not necessarily make him less suited then a student who had a slightly stronger resume while having plenty of wealth and no forces holding him back, is discrimination then our definitions of the word differ greatly. My version of AA is something that you said you wanted regarding the ideal, society to judge someone based off of what they do. It's just that my version combines the factors that either helped or prevented them from doing more/less.
    You're under the guise that these factors don't matter when in reality they do. Your feelings aside, someone's home life, income level, and school quality can either inhibit or advance their results. All I am asking for is something you basically agreed with me on (when you said to look at each individual's circumstances) to analyze the settings along with the results and not just base one's ability off of one alone.
    "I don't care how richer someone is to me". You caring or not is irrelevant. Those are your feelings,and while you have the right to hold such as we all do, your or my feelings hold no weight to the fact that richest students go to schools with the best resources, the most extracurriculars, and consequently get the most impressive applications. What I am arguing is basically what you said, "To look into each individuals circumstances". Weather you came from a one or two parent household and your economic background are relevant because they give us a greater scope of the difficulty you achieved those things under, and your potential if you were put in an neutral setting. Again to back to my previous example with the two students. One rich student has an resume that has slightly higher scores, more extracurriculars, more letters of recommendation. That student had the most advanced resources, went to a richer school that consequently has smaller classrooms meaning he could have a closer relationship with his teachers and therefore get more letters of recommendation along with him having experienced educators to help him write a better personal statement.  And the other applicant had a resume, let's say that was 10% percent weaker had only one parent at home which automatically means he had to take on more responsibility which results in less time that could be spent on school, was in overcrowded classrooms, with outdated books and technology, had teachers who did not care, and overall had less help, but he, as you preached worked with the cards he dealt and still produced a resume that was slightly weaker than his colleague's. We both know that if the disadvantaged student did not have as many factors holding him back the two resumes would be equal. Let us take your advice and ignore the economic backgrounds of both and ignore the fact that child A had help with all of the aspects of his resume and child B accomplished everything by himself. With that information out of the picture can we determine that the wealthier student is overall the better choice?
  • @MayCaesar
    If you don't mind, I would appreciate it if you answered the question at the end of my previous comment. By doing so I will be able to examine if our views have more in common then we think or if we differ.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3408 Pts

    I was dealt far worse cards at the beginning of my life than 99.9% Americans - yet my educational outcome was better than that of 99.9% Americans. I have never made excuses, never appealed to some sort of unfairness of the world. I simply studied like my life depended on it, and studied, and studied - until I had built up strong enough resume to get where I am.

    Having worse cards dealt to you is not an excuse. If someone was far richer than you and "bought" far better education than you, then - too bad - you are at a disadvantage. It is up to you to compensate for that disadvantage with hard work. Or not - and then bear the consequences of such choice.
    If I am on the admission committee and I see two resumes with the exact same results, but one belonging to a person from a renown Japanese private school, and another belonging to a person from a random school from Afghanistan - then I will actually favor the Japanese person, because I can trust their background. I do not know what to make of the Afghani person, and I cannot even fully trust their resume, considering the degree of corruption in that part of the world.
    So worse cards dealt in life, if anything, is an argument against accepting someone, not in favor of that. And if nothing, it is a factor that is to be completely dismissed. Only pure academic credential should matter.

    Now, in real admission process, more factors come into play. And those factors usually, again, come down to the applicants' effort. I got into my current PhD program by literally driving for 15 hours straight to the campus from home and going out of my way to meet ~20 different processors there. My educational background is somewhat unconventional, as I had been in physics for over a decade, switching to mathematics - and I knew that I was at a handicap. So I did everything I could to compensate for it. I would drive to the campus of every program I was interested in, no matter how many hours the drive took, and meet everyone I could there, sometimes for a few days in a row - dismissing my natural introvertness as something in the way and going for it.
    My dedication and passion were recognized, professors got to know me in person and my strong and weak sides (which I was very open about, knowing that, in such things, honesty is more marketable than self-praise), and I got a few very attractive offers - ones I would almost certainly never get otherwise.

    But nobody ever cared about my race, my nationality, my gender, my sexuality, my religion... This is not what I sold myself to the committee members on. And I would never want to know that these things played a positive role in the process. I believe that my credentials and actions speak for themselves; I do not need any collectivist attributions to support my resume.

    There are always ways to get the education you want. I do not care if you are in the middle of a warzone; as long as you have eyes, you can read books. And if you do not have eyes, but have fingers, you can still read books, even if the selection is limited. If you have neither eyes nor fingers, then you might be in trouble - but, hey, some things simply cannot be overcome, and they, again, need to be adapted to.
    I am not a great-looking guy. I realize that, were I more good looking, I would be more successful at my romantic life. I do not complain about it though. I do not demand any "affirmative action" to give me romantic partners. It is what it is: this is what I have, this is what I am to live with - and that is fine. Not everyone gets the best cards. And nobody owes anyone any cards.
    I knew a guy whose arms had been cut off above the elbow due to an accident in his childhood. He had had 4 wives... Looks are not an excuse. They may be a handicap, but any handicap can be overcome. Ultimately, a handicap is only a handicap if you believe it is a handicap.

    So no, I am not particularly interested in the applicant's background, unless there is something in it that is directly relevant to their abilities and skills. Perhaps someone had a Master's thesis ready, but their house burned down along with the thesis, and they never got their degree - if their story sounds genuine, I could take it into account.
    But I am not interested in "I grew up in a poor neighborhood, went to a bad school, and so never could realize my potential". I am sorry, it is unfortunate - but I realized my potential in a situation far worse than yours, so do not tell me that you are a victim of your environment. Tell me something better than this. What have you accomplished? Perhaps you have done something spectacular, but, for some reason, it was never widely recognized.
    I want to hear "I did X and Y". I do not want to hear "I would have done X and Y had I had better circumstances". Maybe you would, maybe you would not. But the fact is, you have not, and that is that.
    Or, at least, tell me what skills you have and how you acquired them. Again, do not tell me, "I would have acquired these skills if..." No "if"-s. "If"-s belong to fantasy fiction.

    Had I been born on Hollywood Hills in a family of a billionaire, I would probably be a Princeton student right now. I am not. Too bad. Life is a harsh mistress. At the same time, I could be at Princeton right now even given my circumstances. I would just have had to work far harder for that than I did. I did not. It is my fault, and mine only. And same goes for everyone.

    I have met and heard of people who achieved far more than I ever could, and who had some of the worst life circumstances imaginable. Have you read about Stephen Hawking? Or Nick Vujicic? Or Yeonmi Park? If they could accomplish what they did, then anyone can.
    Affirmative action dismisses achievements of these heroes and assumes that they are anomalies, not valid role models. This is a very inhumane outlook, and I will never accept it.

    Affirmative action is plain discrimination, no matter how you coat it. It does not matter how small of a factor it is; minor discrimination is still discrimination. If someone had a slightly lower SAT score than someone else, everything else being the same, and you went to look at their race to make the decision - then you partook in racial discrimination.
    And, hey, there are valid cases for racial discrimination. But this is not one of them. One's race does not change anything about them that must be important to the university administration.

    Lastly, I absolutely cannot stand this dismissive attitude: "Of course this person had a better educational outcome - he was rich, after all, and had a lot of help!" It is still their accomplishment. However much money you have, however many tutors you have - you still have to put in the work, hard work, to get a stellar resume making you eligible to be accepted to Harvard and Stanford. It is your achievement, and you should be proud of it.
    Looking in other people's wallets and casting negative judgments of them based on that is one of the lowest things one can do. People's wallets are their private business. People should stop sticking their nose where it does not belong.
  • edited July 25
    You're making perhaps the most common fallacy when countering arguments explaining systemic discrimination; that is using an individual experience to somehow explain the massive inequality in the system. And when we do that, we are really just side-stepping the problem because the reality of it gets in the way of our feelings towards the subject. You feel that economic inequality isn't a huge factor in academic success so you use your personal experience to counter the facts of the matter in front of you. Frankly operating off of those feelings means little, because in the end if we were to operate off of your logic then we would continue to face massive levels of economic and social inequality which would therefore lead to a greater welfare state and crime which are both things that in the end would negatively effect everyone regardless of status. You have the right to your feelings but in the end, your comfort in ignoring the reality of the ineffectiveness of the system does not change the fact that the system exist.
    You have every right to state your positive personal experience and how that somehow negates the negatives that far, far, more people face everyday. But I will be here to counter with the reality that intellectually that argument makes no sense. Your arguments stem from that of basic survivor's bias; under unfair conditions you have succeeded so now you use your individual story as a method to discredit the factuality that for every you, there are dozens to hundreds to thousands of people who put fourth an equal amount of effort, who did everything "the right way" but still did not succeed. In reality if we were to switch the outcome meaning you worked just as hard and did everything as you did in this timeline but achieved only negative results, you would acknowledge that as a whole, we do not live in a meritocracy. Now we have been over this for a quite a number of times, and if you want to continue to use that method you are free to. However, I will let you know that that argument means little to me because at the end of it all, it's centered in feelings.
    In reality if your argument of if "I made it so can you" then logically speaking people would grow tired of facing rampant poverty,discrimination, and violence and just make success happen. But we don't see that on a large scale because factually the system we have in place actively prevents such a result from occuring.
    In addition, you are misrepresenting my argument. Once more I will explain. We should not recklessly handout opportunities to people who are not ready for them. This as you said, would lead to massive inefficiency. However, what I am arguing for is to take a select few who have slightly weaker credentials than their counterparts who had the resources to achieve better, but still have the potential to succeed and give the opportunity to reach that potential. Such as the child I used in my last example. If we gave that child that opening therefore putting him environment where there are no factors actively holding him back, he will have the possiblity of reaching his full potential. Now if he does that or not, now that he is in a productive environment, his failures along with his successes will be completely of his own doing and not the fault of his surroundings. This is not looking at a resume and saying "oh he's black and poor?! Bingo!" and slapping an accepted stamp on it. This is meticulously examining what each applicant was able to accomplish over varying levels of environmental difficulty and examining how he will preform in a neutral setting
     Contrary to your feelings, someone's economic background is an indicator to their academic success. Otherwise the average family income of a student who was accepted into Ivey League wouldn't be $300,000. Otherwise, 70% of Harvard's wouldn't be in the top 20%. If we really lived in society where people were rewarded for for their actions then our massive wealth inequality and low wealth mobility wouldn't exist. 
    You are right that these inequalities aren't an excuse. Excuses are fallacy. The fact that there is massive economic discrimination in our college admissions is a fact, it has been proven by multiple studies from thousands of accredited social scientist and organizations. Therefore someone not being given opportunity even when we can tell that they have the potential to make the most of said opportunity isn't an excuse, it's a real life factual occurrence.  You are operating off of the emotion that I think that Wealthy students do not deserve the positions they are given, when in reality this is quite the contrary. I have a great deal of respect for all of those who make it, however I will acknowledge the fact that due to factors that are out of one's control some will have less help getting to the same position as others. Therefore, I will focus my attention on that group because it is the one that needs it the most. It is correct that wealthy students who get into top schools have to put in a great deal of effort to get into top schools but as much work as they have to put in, those who don't have access to the tutors and resources you speak of have to work even harder. And often times said people without these resources work twice as hard and don't get quite as high as results as those who do. Logically speaking an economically disadvantaged student who got 10% less the results of a wealthy student but had a 1/10 of the help worked harder and has equal academic capabilities. Hence denying him the chance to fully express such, is not fair.
    If we were to go by your logic and base admission solely on academic credential then we are missing out of thousands of anesthesiologist,  defense attorneys, geological scientist, and dozens of other experts who worked harder, had just as much potential, and when accounting for the backgrounds were academic equals but will not be given the opportunity because due to their negative environment they had variety of factors that took away the time, effort, and possibility of them maximizing their abilities. This in turn will ironically come back to hurt us because those same people who were denied have a higher chance of becoming criminals, having unplanned children,  becoming homeless, or relying on public assistance which results in more money coming out of our paychecks to help maintain these people who would be beyond self efficient if they were given the chance to preform in a neutral environment. Thus morally even if you have no empathy for them because you were a part of the few who succeed, economically and practically it would still be in your best interest to help those who show potential to be great have a productive platform. Frankly speaking our feelings aside, your economic status does matter otherwise we would have a more diverse assortment of economic backgrounds of those in our top schools and positions. So you have every right to hang on to the narrative that these factors don't matter as much but I've come to find out that narratives and comfort matter very little when it comes to bridging the gap of our society.
    Also to commentate on your example with the Japanese and Afghani applicant. Don't you think that automatically assuming that the Afghani is unsuited for the position due to the environment he came from (which he has no control over) is ironically part of the problem of the social/economic inequality we see today? Personally, if the Afghani candidate had a obviously horrendous resume then I will not accept him. However if his resume was admittedly not quite as strong as his competitor but I know he has a strong work ethic and potential to be great in his position because despite the negative factors holding him back he was still able to have a resume that was almost as strong as his counterpart who had way much more environmental factors helping him, then at the very least I would in fact take him more seriously. 
    Might I add that compensating for that disadvantage with hard work is EXACTLY what I am stating that my version of AA would be like. Candidates who don't have quite as equal results but clearly worked harder to get such result due to them attaining those results with much much more factors working against their favor should have that taken into consideration and if need be, should be given the opportunity.
    Anyways, I looked over your response and still couldn't find a solid answer to my question. So, to go back to my previous situation if we were to go by your logic and ignore the economic backgrounds of both and look strictly at the results, can we accurately conclude that the wealthier student is overall academically superior to the other student?
  • edited July 25
    Also might I add I am not in favor for AA based on race, I am for AA based on economic background. If that black kid clearly had all the economic social and educational resources to do better but still failed then admitting him over his equally privileged counterpart wouldn't be fair, but if he were severely economically disadvantaged,  had way less quality fallacies but still had impressive results relative to the ceiling of his environment the I will consider him. I don't see how giving someone an opportunity because he had slightly lower results but still had to go through much more adversity is discrimination. I know if that student had what the other had he would do better, all of the evidence is right there, that isn't discrimination. That is thoroughly examining the difficulty and amount of work put forth along with the results and being able to paint a more accurate picture of who is the better applicant. I am not punishing the other child for being wealthy, I am rewarding the economically disadvantage child for working harder and still having a resume that could compare with his counterparts even when he had a fraction of the help.
    Same logic applies if it were a poor white child who went to only horrendous schools, had no help nor resources but was competing with a black child in the top 20%. If that white child had a resume slightly weaker than the black child, I would a still consider admitting or even admit him because he was able to do nearly just as much with less. If that child had just as much he would be able to do even more. I am aiming to get the students who have the highest potential at my school.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3408 Pts

    My success is not a feeling or an anecdote; it is a fact. It is also a fact that I am not a superhuman able to do something other people are not; the fact that not everybody achieves success does not mean that achieving success is impossible.
    I am tired of this dismissal of all inconvenient evidence equality fighters constantly make. My success, as well as successes of millions people who started out with nothing in conditions most Americans would not believe can apply to anyone in this Universe, are not an anomaly to be dismissed. If you dismiss it, then you are standing on a quick sand, and your point is collapsing under your own argument.

    If one's conditions determine their outcome, then you are welcome to explain all those examples I mentioned, including mine. Somehow we all defied this supposed determinism. How did this happen? Did we have magical powers bestowed on us by the Universe? Or is something else at play here, something equality folks are so afraid of?
    This something is the idea that people are not the same. They are not equal. Equality is a myth. Different people have different bodies, minds, conditions, etc. And that is fine, that is how the nature works. That is what creates true, meaningful diversity which makes this world so vibrant and interesting to live in. I would not want to live in a world of clones with the same genetics, growing up in the same factory-produced incubators.
    Different people, among other things, make different choices - and get different outcomes.

    I have never said anything about there not being discrimination in the society. My point is independent of whether there is discrimination or not. Whether someone discriminates against you or not, you still have the power to make any choices you want and try to act on them.
    I am also well aware that people with more resources at their disposal have it easier in life in many ways, than those with fewer. That, again, does not affect my position. Like I said, I do not care how someone came to having the resume they do; I care about the resume itself. A person who really had something that could demonstrate their ability to succeed in the program or at the job should have already put that information in the resume, so it can be considered by the committee directly, without making any arbitrary inferences based on the person's wealth, skin color, etc.

    I do not see anything wrong with economical inequality. One of the reasons is, I do not have a habit of looking in other people's wallets. Their finances are their business. I do not care how much richer or poorer someone is than me; it is their business to care about their wealth, not mine.

    For your last question from the previous comment, one can never conclude anything with certainty in the admission process. One can only make informed guesses. If someone's resume looks better overall to me than someone else's, then a reasonable informed guess would be that the former person is more likely to succeed if admitted, than the latter. The opposite judgement would make little sense. How much their resumes would differ in the alternative Universe in which they both realized their full potential - that is of little interest to me as far as the admission process goes. I know I have never realized my full potential, and I do not know anyone who has. Realizing one's full potential requires an extraordinary commitment and lack of mistakes in life, one which a real human being is unlikely to have.

    Penalizing applicants based on the wealth of their parents is a horrible idea. You want Mark Zuckerberg's daughters to have to show better academic performance than some random guy's daughters in order to compete on equal grounds for the same positions, simply because their dad happened to be a billionaire? What kind of approach is this - penalizing children for the success of their parents? Even Soviet communists had a saying: "Son is not responsible for father's actions" - and those were as far towards equality as few have ever been.
    This is an abhorrent idea that should be purged with fire.
  • edited July 25
    I never claimed that you or the minority that made it have superpowers. You want me to explain you and the minorities' success? Probability. Statistically speaking for every you, as I have mentioned before there are thousands who worked just as hard as you and did not make it. Chopping up the majority's failure as them not trying hard enough is frankly an immature and illogical response especially when there is plenty of evidence that is not based on anecdotes (note anecdotes are technically factual but aren't as intellectually credible because they represent an individual story which is inherently covered in bias) that disprove your whole world view. You want me to explain your personal experience, I will do so if you can do me one better; disprove the statistics, data, and probability that the majority who are born at a disadvantage stay in their respective wealth brackets. Predictably you will showcase the same survivor's bias in an attempt to disprove factuality and I will shake my head and put out that massive fallacy.  Different environments push people to make different choices. That explains why most students in the top universities come from wealthy families and most crime ridden areas are areas with poverty. People make choices based on the resources they have. Poor resources equals a higher chance of poor choices and vice versa Cause and effect 101. If you deny this and try to apply your survivorship bias on this then you are effectively denying the basic foundation of social science and honestly if you choose to take that direction, then there's very little we can go from there. If you deny the basic ideals of proven theories then it will be impossible for me, or even minds greater than mine to move you on more complex rationale.
    As for your M.Z example, it depends. Quite frankly if the daughters of billionaires who had the best teachers, resources, and technology outperform by a small margin a student who had virtually nothing, then I can't conclude that they are academically superior. To me, and to most people, if we were to put his daughters and the other child in an neutral setting where both had the same access to the same things as the other, then all of the evidence and reasons goes towards the other child preforming equally as well if not better. You are operating off of the emotion that I want to purge the wealthy of give handouts to those who don't deserve it when in reality I am being logical. Regardless of your or my feelings, it is impossible to conclude who is academically superior by just going off the results. We need to account for the school quality, the access to resources, the quality of technology, the emotional environment, home life, access to extracurriculars in both the school and in the neighborhood in general because they are all very important factors in a student's academic success. Going strictly off of the results without accounting for the various other factors is irresponsible due to it leaving thousands of other applicants without opportunity thus increasing our wealth gap, decreasing our wealth mobility and leading to an overall increase in social unrest. 
    Based on this I beg to differ that my judgement makes little sense. Frankly, I can not fathom how you validate ignoring other factors in an applicant's ability and just going solely off of results. I am not an expert in the sciences, but I do believe most with even a basic understanding of human sociology will have trouble understanding your reasoning.
    There is a difference in being dismissive and being logical. Logically speaking using the success of the few as a reason to deny that systematic oppression holds the majority down from reaching any substantial success is full of holes and fallacy. As I said before, if your reasoning held true then the majority would have done it already. Implying that the majority are negatively indoctrinated to mediocrity is a argument that has no factual backing and is centered around feelings. It's an argument often made by those who feel too much pride in their own success that they would rather sit in the comfort in their narrative rather than having their world view challenged. Honestly, the best way I can explain it is as intellectual bedrock; once one disproves all of the others arguments the latter will eventually hide behind a sentiment that is too broad to accurately point out the fallacy. In the shortest sense, I can disprove this argument with the fact that if these obstacles could be handled, then no one would fail to conquer them. All logic dictates that it would make no sense for the majority of humanity to settle for pain and mediocrity because they are lazy. Basic reasoning states that there are obstacles in place that actively make it impossible for most to succeed above a certain level. We see this basic reason proven in various studies and played out time and time again. You can attempt to keep using this fallacy but I fail to see it's worth in our discourse.
    It is correct that it is rare for one to see his full potential so allow to me to rephrase. When you have more emotional, economic, and educational support it is more likely for you to come closer to your full potential. So based off of this fact, technically someone who did not have this support who has results 10% lower than someone who does have all of this support, most likely has a higher ceiling and thus deserves a neutral platform to attempt to reach said ceiling.
    You seem to be basing your whole viewpoint in your emotions that stem from your survivor's bias. You FEEL that someone's economic status is irrelevant to their academic results, when in reality this is untrue, the wealthier students on average produce better results. You FEEL that this idea "deserves to be burned with fire", when reality states that logically it is more accurate to assess a combination of academic, environmental, economical, and emotional factors in order to paint the best picture of an applicant's ability. This clouds your judgement and makes this discussion repetitive. 
  • edited July 25
    Also that statement regarding the son and father is wrong. Statistically your parents success is the greatest indicator of yours regardless of race gender or religion. A child of two parents with bachelors degrees is more likely to attain one over the child of two high school dropouts. It seems to me that you are using that statement for something it wasn't intended for.
    If you would like I can ask for a neutral third party to examine both of our arguments and see who is correct or did a better job in presenting his point of view. I would like to learn how to grow so I can better my debating skills. 
    Sorry for posting two posts.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 3408 Pts

    That is not how statistics works. Statistics shows the difference in the outcomes; it does not take into account how hard different people worked.
    It is also not just about working hard; it is about working smart. Hitting a wall with one's head for hours straight is hard, but it is hardly a productive work.
    Any person finding themselves in my situation and doing the same things I did would get the same outcomes I did. That they chose a different course of action is what makes their outcomes different.

    I am also not interested in statistics, predictors, etc. when it comes to discussion of what the individual can accomplish. "Statistically", I should be a Putin worshiper, a Russian nationalist living in that frozen wasteland - yet I am not. Statistics does not apply to the individual - and if you, like me, believe that the individual is the primary and not the "group" the individual belongs to, then you will agree that statistical factors you have pointed out do not invalidate my arguments.

    Why do you constantly refer to those "neutral settings"? There are no "neutral settings" in life. A person who has received a great and expensive education obviously will, in general, be in a great academic shape - and good for them. What does it matter how they would have done in a parallel timeline? It is this timeline that we all live in. Dreaming about alternative histories is fine and all, but not very constructive.
    The academic results are the best the admission committee has in deciding which applicants are most qualified for the positions. Nobody is an oracle able to foresee everything. Meritocracy is not about making accurate predictions; it is about making informed choices based on the demonstrated expertise of different applicants.
    When you go to a dentist, do you care about what childhood the dentist had 30 years ago, or what expertise they have demonstrated so far? It is no different in academia or the general job market. The most observably qualified candidate should get the position.

    I am completely emotionless when discussing these things. You keep prescribing me positions which I do not hold. My position is not that X, Y and Z factors do not play a role in one's success; my position is that it does not matter that they do as far as the candidate selection process goes.
  • edited July 26
    Not meaning to be "that guy" but Putin's approval as of March is 63% and the nation with the highest patriotism is the US with a rating of 41%. So Statistically speaking there is actually a good chance you are neither. Also, there is nothing wrong with being emotionless in these things, honestly during this whole discussion I have used logic over my own personal emotions so you can't really claim (not saying that you are) that I am full of emotion when talking of these issues when I am not. Also I find it ironic that you have labelled yourself emotionless in this discussion, when ironically you have showcased more emotion than I have ("this deserves to be burned with fire" comes to mind).
    In terms of your experience with anyomous professors grading your work, that offers no validity to your point because you are already in the university where you have equal setting to everyone else. I am stating strictly admissions not when both students are already in.
    In addition, there have been plenty of people who worked smart, and made strategic choices yet still did not succeed because the opportunity wasn't out there. Many if not most of our minority/people from poor backgrounds that are celebrities or even just disenfranchised people who aren't celebrities but found success got to where they are through hard work, but most importantly by circumstance meeting a person/organization that could help elevate them to a better status. Most have come out to owing their success to a mentor, friend, or whoever was in an economic/social to their success. However, these people/groups who can provide these opportunities are often not in these low income areas more than they are, hence the probability of those living in such conditions meeting these people are low. Which in turn, explains why the majority fail while a minority succeed.  Explaining away the statistics in poverty in correlation to academic success as "most people just not working smart" is still a very cheap and illogical way of explaining this phenomenon. Mainly because there are still thousands of children who work smart yet only a few from that group will find themselves moving up on the economic ladder. These differences aren't how "smart" someone worked but the amount of opportunities available. We still have yet to find an accurate way to measure intelligence, so we can't claim that the wealthy are inherently smarter than the poor. Those in bottom 20% have less access to opportunity to maximize their intelligence/skill then those in the top 20%, thus a majority in each bracket stay in their respective places.
    As for my point on neutral setting, i believe a true neutral setting can never be achieved. However we can come close to this. For instance having one child grow up in a economically devastated area and another child living in an extremely wealthy area is a less neutral setting then say putting both in the same university where they will both have access to the same things. By going strictly off of the results and not the various factors to what lead to them those two children will have two completely different qualities of higher education even though their capabilities dictate that they are deserving of the same quality. Thus they the two will not be on a neutral setting due to one continuing to face way more adversity then the other. We can eliminate this by having both children enter the same university ensuring that the field will be more even and who ever out preforms the other will be a more accurate description of their performance. Also, we have to consider alternate scenarios because they give us a greater scope of one's ability. I don't see how dismissing the student I used in my scenario earlier simply based on his results is logical when we both know that if he were placed in the same position as his wealthier peers, his academic success would match theirs'. By that logic, if you and I were to race each other in a 400m event, but you were carrying another human being on your back and I was at no disadvantage and I beat you, then based on your reasoning we can conclude that I am the better runner because hey we can't go into alternate timelines am I right? For that is all fantasy. 
    Might I add that considering all of the alternate realities and their corresponding outcomes is a basic method in decision making. Our greatest generals achieved victory by meticulously sorting through all of the alternatives and deciding on the best outcome. A great boxer will be able to predict all of his opponent's potential moves and plan accordingly. A parent when deciding how to discipline her child will take into account all of the plausible methods and how they will affect the child in the future and chosing the best course of action. Analyzing the alternatives is one of the main factors in what makes humanity succeed over other species.
    Might I add that you seem to be making my arguments into something their not. I am not asking for anyone to be an Oracle, I am asking for us to achieve perfection as nearly as we can. This should not only be the goal with college applications but the goal with everything humanity faces. Frankly, there is no argument you can use that deciding who is the better applicant strictly off of the results is a better method then combining the results along with the environmental, economical, and emotional factors. I am confident enough in this fact that I will be willing to contact several admissions officers (I personally know a admissions officer at West Point) and ask them which method will provide the most accurate results. Even when searching up factors in college admissions,  characters and work ethic are one of the main factors brought up. Being able to succeed when you have a multitude of factors working against you is a huge indicator of both character and work ethic. So even if we are to go by your reasoning by going strictly off of the official factors listed by college/job admissions, economically disadvantaged students still deserve to be taken into consideration when comparing them with their peers who have slightly higher numerical measurable credentials. The problem with selecting candidates based off of only their observable qualities is that we leave a collection of other factors out of the equation. From my viewpoint, logic dictates that we hire those who have the most potential because in the long term they will be the most productive. An economically disadvantaged student who did slightly weaker then a wealthy student, still has a higher ceiling thus more to offer, making him the more logical choice. You're attempting to use simple questions as a means to validate your view on a very complex subject.
    In addition you are once more making the mistake of using the individual to represent the system of as a whole. Individually their are outliers, but statistics give us the greater viewpoint of humanity as a whole. Otherwise we would be able to chop up systematic discrimination based off of class,gender, or race as non existence since a select few found success. In reality, that would be effectively ignoring the issue as a whole leading to more unrest that we will eventually feel the blunt of. Sociology 101 states that statistics show what an individual is more likely to accomplish. We should still judge each individual by his specific circumstances in AA however we will find out that the results as a whole will be based off of the statistics of a group. Allow me to explain:
    If we were to use my version of AA which is strictly economic, we would still see more black children getting AA than white children since the former has a higher rate of poverty than the latter.
    I am not calling your experience in itself feelings, I'm stating the fact that how you use your personal experience as a method to explain away things you do not like, your feelings because at the root your position is centered in your emotions (no matter how hard you try to deny this) rather than fact. The reasoning behind my selection process is more valid. You try to contradict my reasoning because at the root of it all, you FEEL dislike for it. Not dislike stemming from reason, but dislike stemming from emotion. I am not a psychiatrist but it seems as if due to your success you do not want others who grew up in just as difficult if not more chaotic situations to be given a helping hand. Instead you'd rather they try to make success happen while existing in a place that makes that success impossible. Or in other words, you others to suffer the inequalities you did because it suits your skewed definition of earning something. Coming from a psychological standpoint, this is understandable but nevertheless wrong. In the end, you are right you aren't special, the reasoning behind your success is that you were a part of the many that worked smart but was also a member of the few in the probability of having access to an opportunity. Perhaps you feel jealousy towards a potential reality where more opportunity is granted to those in disadvantaged environments? Perhaps at the core of it all, you feel distain that in the plan I am suggesting, opportunity will come easier to those who need it because you did not get those chances as easily? Quite frankly, I don't know. Nevertheless the point I am trying to make is that throughout this debate you have become increasingly obviously emotional thus it makes it difficult for me to pull you towards reason because you will use feelings to validate any inconsistencies in your position. When in reality if we were to ask a large group of admission specialist a majority if not all, would side with my reasoning, because it makes the most sense.
    Although I would like to move you on this, you do have the right to feel what you feel, it is your right after all, but it does not change the fact, that logically, your argument is wrong.
  • edited July 25
    I am enjoying this debate though.
  • markemarke 334 Pts

    There is no doubt that affirmative action has proved to be a huge boost to the amassing of great wealth by golddigger minority women of color like Pocahontas Warren.
  • @marke
    Yeah Elizabeth pretty much dug herself in a hole with that one. I don't blame people coming after her.
    If you're trying to make the claim that AA has helped minorities, it hasn't because most of it goes to well off blacks and hispanics who don't need. Technically speaking if minorities really had been receiving AA for all of these years then their college enrollment numbers would be relative to their population, but they're not in fact they are considerably far below. The majority of both of these groups who are under the bottom 40% rarely see any AA, which is why I purpose a plan based on economic status.
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