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Affirmative Action

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    Affirmative Action

    After reading Umar's thread, I thought this might be an interesting topic to address.

    Does affirmative action have a positive effect on the country's workforce? What about on various demographics?

    To me, affirmative action has had a positive impact on the segment which has been traditionally discriminated against. African Americans and women, or minorities in general have gained employments based on affirmative action at places which have been dominated with caucasians. This has opened doors for the rest to follow suit.

    Nevertheless, I think affirmative action will live out it usefulness in this century. With the movement of minorities into various positions and having the proper exposure to the opportunities that were non-existent in the past, the segment of traditionally disadvantaged should minimize.

    As for AA's effect on the workfore, I think it has been both positive and negative. There have been folks who've been riding this train to advance their careers where they didn;t belong on the basis of their credentials. And then there have been folks who've gained positions which they derserved but couldn;t get their foot in the door because of existing discrimination.

    Thoughts? Comments? Allo Temaater?

    Affirmitive action is being used in a much different way than it was supposed to.

    It was intended to give disadvantaged groups equal rights and opportunities, not special rights. There is a great book bt Dinish D'souza titled "A Liberal education" which addresses the abuse of affirmative action in academia.

    Its negative in both senses. Many folks who dont deserve to be at a certain institute or company get there due to this...which is counterproductive. And those who are from these special groups, but are talented and get somewhere due to their hard work always have this stigma attached to them that they got unfair advantage due to affirmative action even though they did not.

    On a side note, why do they advertise some job fairs as minority recruitment? while they really mean Black recruitment?
    The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.


      I agree with you about the non-derserving getting a hitch off of this. Though, I am not so sure about the stigma.

      I think that stigma may only exist until the person has proven his competency. After which, it should remove doubts from the skeptics about the right of that person being there.

      You're right about how AA is being abused by non-derserving individuals. But I think its a given! There are always folks who would abuse benefits, whether it be AA or Social Security or Unemployment. Its because of this abuse that I think AA will most probably be phased out or completely eliminated in this century.


        AA is one of the best form of public policy that this country has instituted. Without it, there would be inequality across the spectrum. The best case study is the US Army where population is represented proportionately among ranks. The basic tenement of AA is not preference-based quotas, but an “equal opportunity” to compete for jobs, admissions, etc. When the system is abused, it is not to say that that is the result of having such a policy. As Ghalib stated, no matter what, systems are always meant to be abused. The AA laws came out of the civil rights laws of the US (article 68 of chapter 7).

        The most recent example is when the regents of the University of California abolished admission quotas reserved for minorities, the minority enrollment decreased substantially. With the same token, minority enrollment increased in the top private CA schools after the UC abolition of quotas, because minorities abandoned campuses like Davis and Berkeley, and went to places like Stanford and USC.

        Given the history of discrimination in this country, it is crucial to have such systems to ensure that minorities are represented in every facet of life, be it workplace, academia, or battleground. It is true that there are abuses in this system, but not to have such a system in place will result into bigger abuses. Imagine all white country clubs, all white schools, all white workplaces, etc.

        Finally, even places like Harvard have preference based enrollment policies. If merit alone is the criteria, 70% getting into Harvard will be Chinese mainlanders (not to say that others are less smart).

        There is nothing wrong with giving someone a helping hand.


          Originally posted by NYAhmadi:

          There is nothing wrong with giving someone a helping hand.

          As long as its not at the expense of others.
          Unfair advantage is unfair advantage. How would one feel if someone less deserving than them get a chance that they could not get.

          If I have better and stronger case for admission to a certain program but I dont..and someone with a weaker case gets in due to AA then there is something wrong.

          If there is not then they should start making special alloances for chinese americans who want to play college aand pr basketball...for equal representation and opportunities afforded sake.

          I am a very very strong supporter of Equal rights...and can never support special rights.
          The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.


            Apparently, Florida has started to eliminate AA as part of it's academic institutes' policies to grant admissions based on gender and race representation. Under Florida's former admission policies, universities could use race as a factor in granting admission to applicants. However, they eliminated the AA requirement for 10 public universities as part of their admission granting decisions.

            I personally think that AA is an effective program (if not abused) in certain institues of society while it may not be such a good choice in others. Educational institues are one example of it. If Chinese students are brighter and pass the merit then so be it. Let the other racial student pool work harder to make their place in the system. It may seem a bit extreme but ideologically it does not seem fair to me that a bright student, regardless of his/her race is not given the opportunity he/she deserves based on a factor that he/she personally does not have any control over.

            I think the aspect of AA which prohibits the practice of not giving the opportunity to the deserved based on race is an excellent step and much needed.

            However, allocating the quota system or representation of minorities in the name of equal rights is not a very clear cut notion. It does have its goods and bads. May be the approach should be taken more systematically than directly for certain institutes.

            For example, certain job levels (managerial, executive level etc) require special talent and skills. So promoting/giving job to somebody solely based on AA is not fair. However, if a company examines its job grade matrix and decides that say jobs upto grade 14 level can have a distribution based on some level of varying skills and representation and by complying with AA won't hurt the core business then AA won't be such a bad idea at all. Entry level or management trainee level jobs are few other examples where AA can be beneficial to the disadvantageous.

            Another rather paradoxical factor is that in its start, AA needs to be limited at a lower to middle level layer of workforce positions. It's a start, and eventually equal representation will produced more experienced, skilled, and diverse upper middle level and beyond workforce out of it, after many years of experience and learning.