Positive Discrimination

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brindlb
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby brindlb » Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:47 pm UTC

I agree. Though I'm still anti-discrimination, It's a very hadline Tory/Republican to say that the poor being poor is their fault because they're lazy. Just because you are clever enough to get into a good college and work your way out of a poor background, doesn't mean to say your poor background didn't make you disadvantaged.

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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby 3.14159265... » Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:57 pm UTC

You're conflating end result with fairness of the process again.


Did you think about what I said?

There will always be variation. Within individuals, withing any two groups etc. We can try to minimize it, but it will only go so low before you have to infringe on personal rights of people.

Canada is nice. I can become anything I want given that I work for it. Thats enough for a Utopia.

I (and many other people I know) don't need Affirmative Action. What I really would have liked though, was that when I arrived in Canada that my teachers treated me as though I was as smart as everyone else though my English was not good. Rather than try to baby me for a couple of years before they realized I was one of their top students.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby tantalum » Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:40 pm UTC

brindlb wrote:I agree. Though I'm still anti-discrimination, It's a very hadline Tory/Republican to say that the poor being poor is their fault because they're lazy. Just because you are clever enough to get into a good college and work your way out of a poor background, doesn't mean to say your poor background didn't make you disadvantaged.


Accusing a statement of being "republican" doesn't change its truth status. I would also argue against your calling it republican - more like libertarian, actually - the philosophy that everyone has their freedom to achieve what they want. Second, you seem to be equating "minority" with "poor background", which is partially, but not completely true. Whether the poor should be given help in education is a whole different question from whether minorities should be given help in education/the workplace.

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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby brindlb » Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:18 pm UTC

Perhaps thats true. Normally I assosiate hard-line Tories here like Thatcher with hard lin republicans like Raegan. Thatcher certainly believed that the poor were poor because of laziness, which isn't true.
I have also been careful not to imply that all minorities are poor, and not all majorities are rich.
I agree that that is a different discussion- that's what I said to Quixotess when she brought up that issue.

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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby 3.14159265... » Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:34 pm UTC

I agree. Though I'm still anti-discrimination, It's a very hadline Tory/Republican to say that the poor being poor is their fault because they're lazy. Just because you are clever enough to get into a good college and work your way out of a poor background, doesn't mean to say your poor background didn't make you disadvantaged.
I haven't claimed it didn't make me disadvantaged. I am claiming that the amount of variation is acceptable.

I offer myself and many other students who came from poor backgrounds as an example. I would like to ask all those in favor of AA, to give a personal example of a person who is in need of AA.

If the example is from Canada thats even better. I don't mean a hypothetical example, I mean a real one. Then give a way to help that person by classifying him under a group and helping that whole group. Then analyzing what helping a group like that would do to society. Then I want you to tell me if it's still a good idea.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Belial » Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:39 pm UTC

I offer myself and many other students who came from poor backgrounds as an example. I would like to ask all those in favor of AA, to give a personal example of a person who is in need of AA.


Umm.

Racism/Sexism is more or less invisible on an individual basis through the hiring, evaluation, and firing process. It's difficult-bordering-on-impossible to point out one specific case of it, because any given case could have been something else. Hell, most of the employers themselves don't even realize they're doing it.

It's only when you look and realize that disproportionate numbers of minorities are getting shafted in these areas, and doing studies into how, that it emerges as a thing, and even then it's impossible to assess an individual decision in anything but subjective terms and general trends.

Therefore, your request is flawed.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby 3.14159265... » Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:54 pm UTC

Well if we can't figure out who is getting screwed over on an individual basis, isn't it wrong to just "help" out the whole group?

Do you really believe there should be no variation within groups?

Why not instead, do everything on an individual basis? For example, if you can't afford university you go talk to a financial aid officer who helps you find a way. Rather than get $1000 for being the "first in your family to go to university".
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Indon » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:02 pm UTC

brindlb wrote:Education does require money, but although on average minorities are poorer, I suspect there are an overwhelmingly larger amount of poor white people (as in Britain, only 5.6% are ethnic minorities, and the bottom 15% are what I would call relatively poor- plus the fact that not al of tha 5.6% will be poor), so, providing equal education to the poor does not favour deliberately or not certain demographics- therefore, it is not discrimination of any kind.


Your very odd logic aside, there's more to discrimination than just racial discrimination. Positively discriminating in favor of the poor is still discrimination - just a more readily accepted version of it than positive sexual and racial discrimination.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Belial » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:06 pm UTC

Well if we can't figure out who is getting screwed over on an individual basis, isn't it wrong to just "help" out the whole group?


Why not?

If we acknowledge that, for example, african-americans make up 30% of the population down here in america land (no idea if that number's right)....

...and that there's nothing inherent to black people that makes them less qualified...

...then, all things being equal, they should make up about 30% of the work force in any given field. Give or take.

So you take the most qualified of the black applicants until you reach your quota (probably lowballed in the 20% range) and then hire at your whim.

Unless you're trying to say there's something about black people that would make their MOST QUALIFIED unable to stand up to par with the rest of your work force, then you should have a work force roughly as qualified as if you'd hired with your whim across the board. The only difference was that you were required to set aside any subconscious biases while picking your black applicants. They still had to be qualified. And they still had to work hard. And they still had to compete with each other. They just couldn't be dropped because "there's something I like about Jim Caucasian".
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby brindlb » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:10 pm UTC

Technically, Indon, you're right. But in this discussion, we are only discussing racial discrimination. I don't think anyone would try to argue that the poor shouldn't be helped. Positive discrimination for the poor is not discrimination as we are discussing it.

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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Indon » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:14 pm UTC

Belial wrote:If we acknowledge that, for example, african-americans make up 30% of the population down here in america land (no idea if that number's right)....

Numbers I've heard have been 13-15%.

The CIA World Factbook says it's about 13%. Take the CIA's word for it.

And brindlb; yes, we are primarily talking about racial (and to a degree, gender) discrimination. But I think we could use socioeconomic discrimination as a kind of control: what precisely distinguishes racial discrimination from socioeconomic discrimination, for instance? It seems that both functions exist to close a gap between groups, after all.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby brindlb » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:23 pm UTC

Both functions do attempt to close gaps, true. But what distignuishes, for example AA, from social security to the poor, is that AA deliberately favours poor black people over poor white people. I hate to use the cliche, but it's Basic Human Decency gone mad. How is it fair to treat poor black people better than por white people. Perhaps it costs less money to help a minority, plus it gets and PC mad people off the government's backs.

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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby 3.14159265... » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:27 pm UTC

What do you think of a policy of having a certain number of engineering students that are girls at university?

Why are you assuming homogeneity in people's desires. Thats practically telling them that they should be like the rest of the "white" people.

Make it possible for anyone to become anything (I believe this is highly true in Canada), then let people do what they want.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Indon » Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:49 pm UTC

brindlb wrote:Both functions do attempt to close gaps, true. But what distignuishes, for example AA, from social security to the poor, is that AA deliberately favours poor black people over poor white people. I hate to use the cliche, but it's Basic Human Decency gone mad. How is it fair to treat poor black people better than por white people. Perhaps it costs less money to help a minority, plus it gets and PC mad people off the government's backs.


Hadn't this thread already established that two individuals, one of a discriminated-against race, at equal income levels are not equally likely to get a job? (if only due to the pervasive, "There's something I like about Joe" syndrome)

I honestly don't think that, once you factor out socioeconomic influence, the distinction is all that large. But it's there, and if we're going to correct a small problem with a policy, theoretically we could have a correspondingly small policy.

And I'll have you know that in America, it's hard to get the government to figure out that positive socioeconomic discrimination is obviously a good thing.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Yakk » Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:54 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Well if we can't figure out who is getting screwed over on an individual basis, isn't it wrong to just "help" out the whole group?
Why not?

If we acknowledge that, for example, african-americans make up 30% of the population down here in america land (no idea if that number's right)....

...and that there's nothing inherent to black people that makes them less qualified...

...then, all things being equal, they should make up about 30% of the work force in any given field. Give or take.

So you take the most qualified of the black applicants until you reach your quota (probably lowballed in the 20% range) and then hire at your whim.

Unless you're trying to say there's something about black people that would make their MOST QUALIFIED unable to stand up to par with the rest of your work force, then you should have a work force roughly as qualified as if you'd hired with your whim across the board. The only difference was that you were required to set aside any subconscious biases while picking your black applicants. They still had to be qualified. And they still had to work hard. And they still had to compete with each other. They just couldn't be dropped because "there's something I like about Jim Caucasian".


I'd bet that, given the lower socioeconomic status of [GroupA] (who make up X% of the population) in america, that fewer than X% of the best Doctors, Engineers, etc would come from the [GroupA] population. On the other hand, I'd bet that more than X% of the best, say, Basketball players would come from the [GroupA] population (Basketball is a cheap, "pickup" sport, popular in the lower socioeconomic classes).

If you simply force everyone who hires Doctors to hire X% [GroupA] Doctors, and presuming my thesis above is accurate, then you will not get the best Doctors for the clients of the Doctors. People will quite rightly observe that "[GroupA] Doctors almost all suck". And if you force (100-X)% of Basketball players to be [GroupB] (=complement of GroupA), then people will quite rightly observe that "[GroupB] basketball players almost all suck".

In both of these cases, there may be quite explicit and qualitative standards: and you'll be able to clearly see that the [GroupB] basketball players suck ass (on average), and the [GroupA] Doctors had a lower standard of graduation than the [GroupB] Doctors.

You might say "so what" -- but in some of these cases, the competence of those who are doing the job matters. People die. Large sums of money is made or lost. Lives are ruined. Lives are saved. The wealth of the nation and it's citizens improves, or is damaged.

Instead, target the corrective action at the point where you end up with X% of the [GroupA] Doctors being the top candidates.

You can even deal with the Job Interview problem by having "scrubbed" pre-interview resumes (like blind auditions for orchestras), and then if X% of the interviewed people are [Group1], then X% of the jobs have to go to [Group1] (possibly over an industry, somehow?).

Because I support the rage of the person who was passed over in a job over a clearly less qualified applicant, simply because of their race or sex. Regardless of the races or sexes of the people involved.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby mrandrewv » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:13 pm UTC

I agree with one thing that "3.14159265..." said, it would be ideal if we levelled the playing field and let everyone do what they wanted to do, moderated by their actual ability in that field.

Problem is that is the exact opposite of what is happening. If you are born poor then you are screwed. Unless of course you are lucky enough in the genetic lottery to be so exceptional that you can achieve despite social forces being against you.

Problem is: that isn't a solution. We cannot rely on EXCEPTIONAL examples to justify the continuation of a flawed system. If the structures of society do not work for the AVERAGE person then they DO NOT WORK. Period.

And the whole AA thing gets extra odd here in South Africa where the vast majority are black and poor, and a tiny minority of whites have all the wealth (except for an incredibly small black minority who have also gotten wealthy).

And from what my English friends tell me the UK is just as racist, except over there they divide people on the basis of their accent, instead of their race. In other words if you have a "scouse" accent then you are screwed as far as opportunities go.

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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:19 pm UTC

I don't want to speak for Pi, but i'd find it a little insulting if you passed off all the hard work i'd done to get out of poverty and achieve financial independance as "winning the genetic lottery". Everyone is an average person. Some average people do something with themselves, and some don't.

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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby mrandrewv » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:35 pm UTC

Well no, obviously choice and hard work play a large role as well.

But think about this: what if you were you, but born with epilepsy? or depression? In fact think about things outside of yourself that helped you achieve your success. What if they hadn't been there? Are you still certain that you would have been as sucessful?

My only point was that some people point to the few exceptional success stories and say "See? I told you the system was fair, look at that guy! Ignore the 99.9% who didn't make it."

If the system really was fair then in a single generation roughly 60% of those people born into poverty would be able to pull themselves out of it. Clearly that isn't happening, so clearly the average person is being failed.

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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:47 pm UTC

I have an old study indicating that most people do indeed pull themselves out of poverty.

Basically, it followed a few thousand people in the US over 10 years. Some were in the bottom quintile relative to the total population of the US, some were in the top, etc. It showed a general trend of upward mobility indicating that a person will, over the course of their life, improve their station. The factoid that stood out to me was that according to this study you're more likely to go from the bottom quintile to the top over 10 years than to stay in the bottom quintile.

It'd probably be better if people like you stopped telling the poor of the world that everything is out of their hands and they have no power to improve their lot in life.

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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Ari » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:51 pm UTC

brindlb wrote:
I believe that the best answer to racism is education (for everyone) and time. I can see how much more tolerant my generation is compared to my parents' generation, who are in turn much more tolerant than their parents' generation. There may still be racism, but all the conscious racists I have met are much more likely to be tile layers than HR managers. Unconscious discrimination can and will be dealt with without coercive policies once individuals realize their biases. I honestly don't believe that positive discrimination will accelerate that process.


I read something about the best solution being to provide equal education in this thread, but can't find it to quote. It was pro-discrimination.

I was surprised to see that person thinking that providing equal education would be positive discrimination. That would just be equality- not discrimination. In terms of education, positive disrimination would be providing the disadvantaged with a superior education. Education, education, education, as Tony Blair might say. If someone wants to treat the roots of race/gender based inequality, an equal education would be very effective. Slow, in terms of taking a generation, or perhaps two, instead of forcing it in 5 years- as someone said, attitudes would change for the worse if they changed through force, and this would be the ultimate branch treating solution.
I think it was a combination of the different understanding of what positive discrimination means, and a different experience of racism in our home countries- here in Scotland, racism is really not a problem. The biggest tension (though still a small one) is actually between Britons and Polish Britons.
Unfortunately I would only be able to proide anecdotal evidence for the non-issue of racism. Any racist, of which there are few, would be immediately shunned by everyone, from my experience.


The problem is that essentially the best way to provide equal education is by sinking money into special programs designed to increase the performance of the disadvantaged- hence, positive discrimination. They're treated differently, but based on need rather than prejudice. Sometimes meeting needs involves implementing a quota- which you're right to be suspicious of, as they are often unwieldy and unpopular. That doesn't mean they don't actually serve a legitimate need, however.

3.14159265... wrote:
You're conflating end result with fairness of the process again.


Did you think about what I said?

There will always be variation. Within individuals, withing any two groups etc. We can try to minimize it, but it will only go so low before you have to infringe on personal rights of people.

Canada is nice. I can become anything I want given that I work for it. Thats enough for a Utopia.

I (and many other people I know) don't need Affirmative Action. What I really would have liked though, was that when I arrived in Canada that my teachers treated me as though I was as smart as everyone else though my English was not good. Rather than try to baby me for a couple of years before they realized I was one of their top students.


Yeah, respect is often a lot more important than the material stuff, I totally agree. If we could go directly for respect instead of material problems, that would rock. But how do you disseminate respect throughout a whole society without dealing with the problems of material inequality that make minorities less likely to succeed in life, Pi? How are people going to be able to assume respect for you automatically when they can dismiss you as "just another one of those people", with all of the negative associations they've developed from seeing the symptoms of systematic racial inequality?

Do we teach people respect? How? Even if we have a good answer, isn't it cheaper to just directly remedy the worst material inequalities where possible? Hell, even if racial sensitivity training were cheap enough, how do you even tell when someone has genuinely developed a concept of respect for human beings different to themselves? Do the guessers face off against the fakers?

3.14159265... wrote:What do you think of a policy of having a certain number of engineering students that are girls at university?

Why are you assuming homogeneity in people's desires. Thats practically telling them that they should be like the rest of the "white" people.

Make it possible for anyone to become anything (I believe this is highly true in Canada), then let people do what they want.


Let's talk about this in terms of jobs just because the language is easier for that- the points still apply roughly the same to quotas for courses and so on.

Since when have people been forced to apply for a job they aren't willing to take? Even if you implement a quota that favours them, it's still clearly their own choice whether they accept a given position. The idea of a quota is that you still hire people who want the job, and you still hire people who are qualified for the job. But because you need to be partially representative in your hiring practices, you can no longer afford to allow unconscious discrimination to interfere with your hiring policies. In fact, you have to take steps to "value diversity" beyond the usual corporate sloganeering.

The idea is essentially that you have to set any quotas that you institute at a sweet point- low enough that you're short enough of true representativeness so that racial disadvantage doesn't stop you from finding qualified candidates, yet high enough that the people you're selecting for begin to make up a significant part of the workplace and hopefully change misconceptions about race/gender/etc... from the inside.

I think it's also generally clear that this sort of demand-side positive discrimination needs to be reserved for situations where this type of subtle discrimination needs urgent remedy, rather than for minor cases. The stories Moose shared earlier in the thread sound like this type of affirmative action being applied far too widely and in cases that are too marginal- ie. the problem was the implementation, not the principle.

edited to add:

Gunfingers wrote:I have an old study indicating that most people do indeed pull themselves out of poverty.

Basically, it followed a few thousand people in the US over 10 years. Some were in the bottom quintile relative to the total population of the US, some were in the top, etc. It showed a general trend of upward mobility indicating that a person will, over the course of their life, improve their station. The factoid that stood out to me was that according to this study you're more likely to go from the bottom quintile to the top over 10 years than to stay in the bottom quintile.

It'd probably be better if people like you stopped telling the poor of the world that everything is out of their hands and they have no power to improve their lot in life.


I know I personally wouldn't argue that it's impossible for people to pull themselves out of poverty. Just that it will take a very long time or a very large amount of effort and sacrifice for all but the most privileged and/or exceptional people.

I don't think the argument over trying to speed up the solutions for systematic inequality is so much one of "minorities will never make it without us giving up something! You should be so glad that we're making such a noble sacrifice" (because that's just being racist by trying to be a saviour instead of trying to be an oppressor) as "inequality is too unjust for us to just wait around for the exceptional people to climb out of it one by one, assuming that nobody will come along and try to make things worse, forcing us to start over again." (ie. "why should we wait when it's a problem now?")
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby protocoach » Thu Jul 17, 2008 3:58 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:I don't want to speak for Pi, but i'd find it a little insulting if you passed off all the hard work i'd done to get out of poverty and achieve financial independance as "winning the genetic lottery". Everyone is an average person. Some average people do something with themselves, and some don't.

That's complete crap and you know it. Everyone is not an average person. Dwight Howard is not an average person. Steven Hawking is not an average person. By definition, people at the highest reaches of science, athletics, literature, and other pursuits are nonaverage. If you dramatically go against the trend of people who are most similar to you, you are nonaverage.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby mrandrewv » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:02 pm UTC

Well that's pretty ground-breaking stuff if it's true. I wish we had a more up to date study.

I agree, the poor should not be told that everything is out of their hands. But likewise they shouldn't be told that the system is fair when it isn't.

I thought that the trend in the US is for the gap between rich and poor to be getting larger? I can't remember where I heard that though, so please fill me in if you can.

/me runs off to do some research.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Ari » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:04 pm UTC

protocoach wrote:That's complete crap and you know it. Everyone is not an average person. Dwight Howard is not an average person. Steven Hawking is not an average person. By definition, people at the highest reaches of science, athletics, literature, and other pursuits are nonaverage. If you dramatically go against the trend of people who are most similar to you, you are nonaverage.


While I agree with your point, I'd like to know where you got your psychic powers to tell that Gunfingers does not genuinely believe what he's saying. I certainly couldn't tell he was being insincere, and I think until that point, there's no use in flinging accusations.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby protocoach » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:06 pm UTC

Ari wrote:
protocoach wrote:That's complete crap and you know it. Everyone is not an average person. Dwight Howard is not an average person. Steven Hawking is not an average person. By definition, people at the highest reaches of science, athletics, literature, and other pursuits are nonaverage. If you dramatically go against the trend of people who are most similar to you, you are nonaverage.


While I agree with your point, I'd like to know where you got your psychic powers to tell that Gunfingers does not genuinely believe what he's saying. I certainly couldn't tell he was being insincere, and I think until that point, there's no use in flinging accusations.

Fair point. That was unnecessary, but the idea that everyone is average strikes me as completely absurd, given that we're inundated daily with evidence that that's just not true. Maybe the Olympics build-up is wearing me out. :?
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Indon » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:07 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:I have an old study indicating that most people do indeed pull themselves out of poverty.

Basically, it followed a few thousand people in the US over 10 years. Some were in the bottom quintile relative to the total population of the US, some were in the top, etc. It showed a general trend of upward mobility indicating that a person will, over the course of their life, improve their station. The factoid that stood out to me was that according to this study you're more likely to go from the bottom quintile to the top over 10 years than to stay in the bottom quintile.

It'd probably be better if people like you stopped telling the poor of the world that everything is out of their hands and they have no power to improve their lot in life.


That study doesn't address how much of this 'upward mobility' is a result of other people becoming worse off. If, as an extreme example, I lived in a state that got hit with a massive hurricane in which millions lose their homes and jobs, and I don't, I've technically improved my relative station in life because I've pulled ahead of those people.

Without discussing this phenomenon, I don't feel the study's conclusion of:

The aforementioned study wrote:Income mobility reflects improvement in the lower four quintiles, but this fact has been virtually ignored in public discussion of income trends.


Is particularly sound.

Though, I do agree that the USA has exceptional income mobility compared to many other nations.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby 3.14159265... » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:15 pm UTC

Problem is that is the exact opposite of what is happening. If you are born poor then you are screwed. Unless of course you are lucky enough in the genetic lottery to be so exceptional that you can achieve despite social forces being against you.
I will have to disagree. I don't learn things faster than most people, I don't memorize things better than other people. I do work harder than other people though and spend most of my leisure time contemplating science rather than social issues (perhaps why I am bad at social things... lol).

Yeah, respect is often a lot more important than the material stuff, I totally agree. If we could go directly for respect instead of material problems, that would rock. But how do you disseminate respect throughout a whole society without dealing with the problems of material inequality that make minorities less likely to succeed in life, Pi? How are people going to be able to assume respect for you automatically when they can dismiss you as "just another one of those people", with all of the negative associations they've developed from seeing the symptoms of systematic racial inequality?
If you are talking about racial profiling, I am against it. The solution to Racial profiling isn't racial profiling (AA). Racial profiling is based in the same logic as AA.

Do we teach people respect? How? Even if we have a good answer, isn't it cheaper to just directly remedy the worst material inequalities where possible? Hell, even if racial sensitivity training were cheap enough, how do you even tell when someone has genuinely developed a concept of respect for human beings different to themselves? Do the guessers face off against the fakers?
Auditions in music are almost always done blind (The interviewers don't see the interviewee), I don't know why we can't do that with everything.

Ari I am all for helping people on an individual basis and assesments. I am against blanket solutions, because essentially they are racist and just like all racism ineffective.

Seriously there are two points that none of the people who are for AA seem to understand or at lease concede. Lets talk about them:

1) Assesment based on race or gender is ineffective and useless. There shouldn't be postive or negative discrimination based on it. If it had been useful we wouldn't have gotten rid of the negative one.

2) There will always be variation, minimizing variation will come at the cost of infringing personal liberties. I say no to that. I would rather be poor and free to choose, than the stereotypical "perfect middle class white man" telling me I should be more like them.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby protocoach » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:22 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:
Do we teach people respect? How? Even if we have a good answer, isn't it cheaper to just directly remedy the worst material inequalities where possible? Hell, even if racial sensitivity training were cheap enough, how do you even tell when someone has genuinely developed a concept of respect for human beings different to themselves? Do the guessers face off against the fakers?
Auditions in music are almost always done blind (The interviewers don't see the interviewee), I don't know why we can't do that with everything.

Because music, unlike speech patterns, accents, or inflections, doesn't have traits that allow listeners to pinpoint the race or gender of the musician. Plus, employers aren't going to want to hire people for important work based on blind interviews.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby mrandrewv » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:26 pm UTC

Sorry dude, whether you like it or not you are an exceptional case. The simple fact that you have a computer and the education to use it means that you are wealthy than most of the people on the planet.

Also it is impossible to know how much of your abilities are based on hard work and how much is pure genetics. It's almost certainly a combination of the two.
It's all very interesting...

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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby mrandrewv » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:38 pm UTC

Ok, I have found a problem with that study you cited: it doesn't measure poverty.

If you look in the introduction they explicitly state that individuals who were too poor to file a tax return were not considered for the study.

So even if the study is accurate (which we can't tell because they don't give enough information, so let's assume it is) it still doesn't say anything about whether individuals can claw their way out of poverty or not.

Of course I still haven't found any new data to support my claims, so I shall keep looking ;)

P.S.: i just love the way the report refers to those too poor to file a tax return as an (and I quote) "underclass".
Yeah...that's not classist at all...
It's all very interesting...

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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby 3.14159265... » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:44 pm UTC

Sorry dude, whether you like it or not you are an exceptional case. The simple fact that you have a computer and the education to use it means that you are wealthy than most of the people on the planet.
AA is not meant to be for people in Nigeria when practiced in Canada. It's meant for Canadians.

I have said nothing about helping the poor, without welfare my family would have had a lot more trouble the first year. That was enough of a boost though, and it wasn't AA. It was on an individual basis and thats why it works. The process is still to lenient though I know many people (I would say 50% of Afghan families) who end up receiving welfare money, but also work and not report their taxes. Then they grin thinking "They have tricked the white man", when in reality they have forced themselves into a life of poverty. Blanket solutions don't work.

Also it is impossible to know how much of your abilities are based on hard work and how much is pure genetics. It's almost certainly a combination of the two.
I don't think there is that much variation within humans (The middle 95% of us) that genetics matters for even 1/100 of what you get.[/quote]
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Ari » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:49 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:
Yeah, respect is often a lot more important than the material stuff, I totally agree. If we could go directly for respect instead of material problems, that would rock. But how do you disseminate respect throughout a whole society without dealing with the problems of material inequality that make minorities less likely to succeed in life, Pi? How are people going to be able to assume respect for you automatically when they can dismiss you as "just another one of those people", with all of the negative associations they've developed from seeing the symptoms of systematic racial inequality?
If you are talking about racial profiling, I am against it. The solution to Racial profiling isn't racial profiling (AA). Racial profiling is based in the same logic as AA.


Sorry? I'm not suggesting any specific type of positive discrimination there at all- I'm more asking you how you see us having the same effects, but without resorting to positive discrimination. I'm saying, how do you get people to respect you as an equal when they can look around at their wider society and find people who look so much like you who are compelled to make poor choices because they're disadvantaged by crime, poverty, poor education, poor health, disrespect, and discrimination? How do we give people like you, who aren't white straight men but are nevertheless perfectly successful and self-sufficient, the respect of being assumed to be just as good as the rest of us, when you still have to deal with stereotypes that are perpetuated by the more disadvantaged people in society?

3.14159265... wrote:
Do we teach people respect? How? Even if we have a good answer, isn't it cheaper to just directly remedy the worst material inequalities where possible? Hell, even if racial sensitivity training were cheap enough, how do you even tell when someone has genuinely developed a concept of respect for human beings different to themselves? Do the guessers face off against the fakers?
Auditions in music are almost always done blind (The interviewers don't see the interviewee), I don't know why we can't do that with everything.

Ari I am all for helping people on an individual basis and assesments. I am against blanket solutions, because essentially they are racist and just like all racism ineffective.

Seriously there are two points that none of the people who are for AA seem to understand or at lease concede. Lets talk about them:

1) Assesment based on race or gender is ineffective and useless. There shouldn't be postive or negative discrimination based on it. If it had been useful we wouldn't have gotten rid of the negative one.

2) There will always be variation, minimizing variation will come at the cost of infringing personal liberties. I say no to that. I would rather be poor and free to choose, than the stereotypical "perfect middle class white man" telling me I should be more like them.


There are a lot of problems with "blinding" people:

1) Most work or study environments aren't blind. Thus, even after you've qualified, you're still likely to suffer significant discrimination, because the blindness has to be lifted for a practical work/study environment.
2) Because you qualified in a blind test, it's possible that the person who chose you won't "own" the context of chosing you as a member of a minority race/woman/queer/disabled/whatever, and will retroactively decide they made the wrong decision and attempt to make things hard for you.
3) You have to ignore positive things about yourself that relate to your race/gender/sexuality/disability if you want to maintain the blind selection. For many government service, social welfare, and charitable organisations these could often be incredibly relevant and positive qualifications.

Every time we've brought up quotas, we've talked about implementation- because quotas are only effective when they're not a blanket solution. Quotas are about getting a foot in the door for people who would otherwise be discriminated against, and letting them prove themselves on their merits from there on. They create role models, they ensure class mobility for people of all backgrounds, and they allow communities that aren't composed of white straight men to start their own business interests and build up their own wealth independently, and consistently with their culture.

I certainly agree with you that, as a rule, assessment based on race or gender is useless- or rather, worse than useless- it's actively harmful. The problem, however, is that we are currently in a clear situation where much of society unconsciously does it anyway. If society is rife with negative discrimination, one of the quickest ways to remedy large concentrations of it is to offer smaller amounts of positive discrimination to effectively dilute it and allow the slow natural process of people growing to know and respect each other to take root there. We don't do it by stopping people from doing what they want- we do it by opening up even more choices to them.

If you want more women as engineers, you don't force women who are studying languages to change majors. You first start programs that encourage women to continue to study science and mathematics, then you start programs that make it easier for them to get into engineering degrees. (ie. subsidising their tuition, assigning them mentors, making specific scholarships available to them, etc...) Eventually the result should be positive enough that you can scale down the programs as more women decide to keep their options open and choose engineering on their own. With any luck, even later you could scrap such programs if the workforce starts looking very representative.

You'll notice that at no point have I suggested giving anyone anything they didn't earn or didn't choose. I simply suggest we empower people to choose options that demographically speaking, they're poorly represented in. It still has to be their own resolve, skills, determination, and values as a woman (or other allegorical substitute) that got them there.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Belial » Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:03 pm UTC

Pi wrote:Auditions in music are almost always done blind (The interviewers don't see the interviewee), I don't know why we can't do that with everything.


The reason we can't do this is the reason I've been giving, off and on, since this thread began:

EVEN if you could abolish the in-person interview, and even if you could somehow make the entire hiring process blind....

YOU CANNOT MAKE THE WORK EVALUATION PROCESS BLIND. Getting hired is just the first step. If you get hired, but you get consistently passed over for promotions you deserve, or get dropped from the workforce the moment layoffs raise their head, all because your boss doesn't recognize your work the way s/he does the wholesome white male in the next cubicle, you're not doing so hot.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby 3.14159265... » Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:10 pm UTC

Let me put it this way:

"The harder I work, the more luck I seem to have".

Can you Ari or Belial please give me an example of a single group that needs AA that can not have it's deserving individuals receive it on an individual basis?

I am not against empowering people. I am against blanket solutions that help "loafers". I myself having come from a "disadvantaged" background can give you many examples of "loafers". Furthermore I can say that those that end up eating away from the charity of the system are actually further disadvantaged because they are put in a "comfortable" position, where they choose not to work anymore.

I have a strong knee jerk reaction to assessing individuals based on groups. Can you guys show me a study that proves that any kind of AA has created an improvement? Something similar to what the Jig-Saw experiment did for integration.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Belial » Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:14 pm UTC

I am against blanket solutions that help "loafers".


.....

Unless it's your position that your entire race is made up of loafers, then the loafers would be competing with the less-loafish and the downright-not-loafish-at-all.

So the loafer wouldn't get the job as long as there was someone more talented and driven of the given ethnicity to take it from them.

Kindof like....the whole rest of the world.

I have a strong knee jerk reaction to assessing individuals based on groups. Can you guys show me a study that proves that any kind of AA has created an improvement?


Jestingrabbit posted the studies earlier in the thread.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Indon » Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:24 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:Can you Ari or Belial please give me an example of a single group that needs AA that can not have it's deserving individuals receive it on an individual basis?

Dude, Joan of Arc is not an argument that women didn't need some help back in the middle ages. There will be people who can overcome any arbitrary amount of discrimination, up to and including blatant murder on the streets against people of your group. By that argument no group has ever needed help to counter discrimination.

3.14159265... wrote:I am not against empowering people. I am against blanket solutions that help "loafers".

But most people in the majority are loafers, too! You're only equalizing the loafers of disadvantaged groups so they can fairly not-bother-to-compete against loafers in the rest of the population. What about being a privelaged lazy white man means you should get more out of life than a lazy black woman?

*holds up an "Equality for the sloths of the" sign*

3.14159265... wrote:I have a strong knee jerk reaction to assessing individuals based on groups. Can you guys show me a study that proves that any kind of AA has created an improvement? Something similar to what the Jig-Saw experiment did for integration.


Public school integration was rather a form of affirmative action, as it was a legal mandate for proportional (100% of all present populations) public school attendance.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Ari » Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:36 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:Let me put it this way:

"The harder I work, the more luck I seem to have".

Can you Ari or Belial please give me an example of a single group that needs AA that can not have it's deserving individuals receive it on an individual basis?

I am not against empowering people. I am against blanket solutions that help "loafers". I myself having come from a "disadvantaged" background can give you many examples of "loafers". Furthermore I can say that those that end up eating away from the charity of the system are actually further disadvantaged because they are put in a "comfortable" position, where they choose not to work anymore.

I have a strong knee jerk reaction to assessing individuals based on groups. Can you guys show me a study that proves that any kind of AA has created an improvement? Something similar to what the Jig-Saw experiment did for integration.


Helping "loafers" is only bad if it is done in a way that enables them to continue to loaf. Even if policies to empower disadvantaged groups don't deal with the "loafers", they haven't failed. The goal was to speed up the social mobility of those groups enough to have a broader impact on society. The fact that some people don't want to, or more often, aren't able to get ahead is a far stickier problem to deal with, and I'd say it's really its own can of worms. You're also dismissing the very real possibility that a lot of successful white men are loafers that have simply found a cushy job through their connections- why shouldn't we deal with these people just as urgently? (hah, apparently Indon bet me to that point)

"Assessing individuals based on groups" is exactly what positive discrimination attempts to discourage, by trying to reduce the net effect of discrimination in society. It's only so controversial because it involves fighting a big fire with a smaller fire.

As for studies on affirmative action? They pass the google test in terms of improving key indicators- I'm off for the morning though, so I'm not going hunting for studies that have gone incredibly in-depth. (and because I'm also lazy and like to argue with logic rather than empirical facts :) )
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Jul 17, 2008 5:54 pm UTC

mrandrewv wrote:Ok, I have found a problem with that study you cited: it doesn't measure poverty.

If you look in the introduction they explicitly state that individuals who were too poor to file a tax return were not considered for the study.

Huh, it does say that. I wonder how they did taxes back in the eighties? The way it works now, you file a 1040EZ if you got any income. I did it at the pizza place i worked at in high school for crying out loud.

Well, if that's all it takes to render this data meaningless to you, then feel free to continue with your negative world view. That's the only study i've got.

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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Belial » Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:08 pm UTC

The way it works now, you file a 1040EZ if you got any income.


Ummm? No? There's a cutoff point below which you don't have to file at all.

Unless they changed it in the past...three or four years.
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Re: Positive Discrimination

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:14 pm UTC

So...did i file for no reason then? Now i'm confused, because i distinctly remember filing in high school and if there's a cut-off it's got to be higher than $200 a week.


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