Axis Mundi X discussion

Affirmative Action???

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message 1: by John (new)

John (jilsao) OK, So I notice that in my state (Missouri) the November ballots include an initiative to remove affirmative action. The actual wording is:"No organization shall discriminate nor give preferential treatment based on race, gender, etc..."

I'm of two minds on this (which is two more than usual). On the one hand, having never been affected by affirmative action, I don't particularly mind it.
On the other hand a black professor who tours the land fighting it makes an interesting point when he claims it's insulting to minoritys as it implies a lower standard has to be applied to non-whites.

In face to face discussions on this I've heard everything from "reverse racism" to "slavery reparation", neither of which make much sense to me.
If it helps black students counter discrimination in college admissions then I'm certainly for keeping it, but I don't know that it's still really needed in that respect. Anyone out there snubbed by a school? Turned down because of race (white or black)?
How much does this still count in the country in general?

So, how does Missouri go? Affirmative action, take it? or leave it?


message 2: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments Affirmative action seeks to undo an established injustice. No doubt there. Problem is the model...current models are quota based. So...that suggests that pure percentages eliminate the problem. I'd take issue with that, not to mention the fact the businesses are forced to hire based on quotas as opposed to actual ability. In the end, we all lose. Let's address the real issues and not try to paper over them with feel good solutions.

message 3: by Charissa, That's Ms. Obnoxious Twat to You. (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) | 3620 comments Mod
What would you suggest as a practical way to combat discrimination, NB?

Servius  Heiner  | 1980 comments Mod
I agree that "quota's" are not the answer. I deal with a Quota problem all the time. I can not fire her because she is like 1 of 30 women on the line. I was directly told a few months ago to let it go. THE FUCKING BITCH DOESN"T WORK! What she does accomplish is done wrong. We are too well paid here to have that attitude. The thought of her keeping her job scares the shit out of me because the rest of us are in danger of getting laid off. But we all know she will still be here. It makes me sick.

message 5: by J (new)

J Preferential treatment of minorities is no better than preferential treatment of white, heterosexual men. Businesses are forced to hire and keep employees based on something other than accomplishment or ability.

My father started his business with ten dollars in his pocket and an old truck. To simply say he worked hard to earn his reputation for quality is an understatement. He worked hard. He earned it. He also has a reputation as a good and fair employer. He expects his employees to do their job and they are justly compensated. His company builds water towers. Well, I can weld. So say I apply for a job. My welding is not really so great. Not the quality you might desire to hold together a billion gallon water tower. But I'm a woman. If he doesn't hire me I could sue. If he fires me I could sue. No matter how inefficient and outright bad I am at the job I have him in my pocket because I can sue and he could lose everything he's spent his life working for. That's wrong. And it's demeaning to me. It does little to encourage me to become better at my job. I don't have to. I'm secure. Because I'm a woman. His company regularly loses contracts, even when he's the low bidder or the most appropriate company for the job because he's white. His company is at a disadvantage because the owner is a white male. That sucks for him, it sucks for his employees, and it sucks for whoever has to hire a company to build a multi-million dollar water tower based on the color of someone's skin.

There’s no arguing that discrimination still exists. I don’t know what a practical solution would be. I know affirmative action costs though. It costs society time and money and it costs the individual the respect of their co-workers and possibly their own self respect.

message 6: by RandomAnthony (last edited Apr 25, 2008 12:06PM) (new)

RandomAnthony I agree with J on the issue of skills and affirmative action. For example, I want the best teacher for my kids. I don't want someone getting the job because of their skin color or ethnic background if they're not the best candidate. That said, we actively try to recruit diverse teachers in my school distric to increase diversity. But they have to be able to teach well.

I do think affirmative action has some role in colleges and training but that's a complicated issue. Let me tell you a story. Gather around, everybody. Ok, my wife comes from an affluent family. One of the first times I visited my wife's parents in Florida (another reason why I hate Florida, but that's another thread) her dad and brothers took me to the driving range. The golf kind. I wore an AC/DC tshirt. You know how you get that feeling that everyone is looking at you and you did something wrong? I felt that. Apparently you're not supposed to wear t-shirts at the driving range. There are no signs and nobody warned me. You're just supposed to know. Now, I hate f--king golf, and I don't like unwritten, class-based rules, but if you need a simple, sort of silly example of hegenomy around something stupid that didn't have a lot to do with skin color, there you go.

Extend that to a first year, first generation college student. Maybe she didn't go to the greatest high school. All the kids around here went to top-notch high schools, summer camps, music lessons, etc. and all their parents have advanced degrees (sidebar...I believe parents' educational levels are a strong predictor of a student's college success). She really wants to do well but has to work a shitty job on the side to afford college while none of the other girls around her have to do so. She's not a great writer and her parents can't help her because they never went to college and don't know how to write very well. Maybe english isn't her first language.

Does that student deserve extra support to level the playing field? Extra support? Hell yes. She deserves a shot to get those skills, whether its welding or whatever, so she can leave school and compete with the other welders and people like J's dad wouldn't have to worry about hiring her.

I know this is a complicated subject, but we don't all start with the same advantages, and I support giving people opportunities so they can compete with others who have had every resource handed to them by their family contexts. Now, if the resources are there, whether from their family or scholarships or support or whatever, and they don't take advantage of them, then their ethnic backgrounds shouldn't matter in the hiring process. I hope I'm making sense.

message 7: by Jackie "the Librarian", Cool Star Trek Nerd (new)

Jackie "the Librarian" | 1818 comments Mod
Hurray RA! Hurray Donna! I agree, affirmative action is a complicated issue. Things are better than they used to be, but racism is still a factor in our society.
And so is poverty, which has an even worse effect on children getting a good education than race. Forget "No Child Left Behind" with its unfunded mandate requiring schools to magically produce better educated children without any additional funding.
I'd like to see more money, federal or state, I don't care, put into better school facilities, better equipment and textbooks, smaller class sizes, and better pay for teachers. How can you attract the best talent out there to be teachers, if you don't pay competitively?
And I'd like more money put into assuring that the kids who come to school have adequate nutrition so they can learn. I know there are some programs already in place, but in a lot of places, they stop during the summer, and those kids who rely on school breakfasts and lunches are suddenly without them. Whatever the faults of the parents, I want the kids of this country to have enough food. Period.
Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now.

message 8: by Not Bill (new)

Not Bill | 1062 comments My suggestions? First, I'd point to the previous posts...very good insights on the big picture. Now for the elephant in the room. Currently we have a very distructive monologue regarding race in this country. Until that monologue becomes dialogue, we're not going to make much headway. As long as race baiting demogogues a la Sharpton, Jackson and their ilk continue to the annointed spokestools for the African-America experience, and as long was White America continues this self indulgent, false sense of White Guilt, we're going to be stuck where we are.

message 9: by John (new)

John (jilsao) Yeah, It's a good idea on paper but it just doesn't seem to be doing much good. So, I think as soon as I'm done checking the Obama box in November I'll vote to get rid of it. I wish I could do the same to "No Child Left Literate..."

On the subject of racial discourse, did anyone see the end of "Meeting David Wilson" on MSNBC? I missed the results of the genetic test, but wouldn't be very surprised at all to see the former slave family and former owner family have some common DNA, ya know, the plantation girls get bored right? ;-)

Thanks all for your insight,

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