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Is a Affirmative Action still necessary and relevant in America today?.. Explain

  • Nov 14, 2012 · 7:00 PM

President Kennedy introduced the term “affirmative action” in 1961 to address the issue of racial discrimination that existed at that time. To say affirmative action is no longer necessary is to say that racial discrimination no longer exists. If we say that racial discrimination does exist and still resist against affirmative action, it would seem we are either saying we do not care to provide solution or we are saying that affirmative action is not the best solution. If the latter is the case then one should be ready to find a fitting alternative.

It gets into sticky territory when we ask the question of whether or not a law should be put in place using the same methodology and idea to counter the very activity that we wish to discourage. The focus should be on equal access and opportunity to all. This appears to be easier said than done. It would appear that people do not want to behave fairly so we have to create rules with penalties, incentives to shape behavior and beware of unintended consequences.

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  • Craig Y.

    I think it is at a different time in history when affirmative actions were needed. The minorities are moving up in most fields, perhaps not in the corridor of power. But that power is based on certain infrastructures. I am not optomistic that is being maintained. The white professionals especially in the technical areas are retiring and new ones are not filling in. They are aspiring to more lucrative professions like lawyers, finance or managers in general. The more challenging, hard science and hard thinking, there is a lack of whites. The system is being hollowed out. The whites need helps.

    October 16, 2012

    • Craig Y.

      There has been a change of fashion in the last 50 years. Because of Kennedy calling, a lot of white got into the technical fields and has been the backbone of the society. Now they are retiring. Young ones are geared towards more lucrative professions like law, finance, business. There is a problem of continuation of technology. NASA for instance, we cannot go back to the moon now. The talents gone.

      October 23, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Hi all,

      Apropos to last night's discussion, I highly recommend the PBS documentary below. It was produced by Walter Williams, an economist and professor from George Mason University and based on his book by the same title. The YouTube version is in 6 parts, each about 10 minutes. A lively but well-moderated debate challenging many of Williams' points begins in Part 3.

      Note: this was filmed in the mid 80s so figures cited, such as the minimum wage, differ greatly from those of today.

      1 - State Against Blacks
      http://www.youtube.co...­

      Once you complete each part, you can link to the next...

      Again, I very much enjoyed our meetup and learned a good bit from the exchange.

      Regards,

      Jeff

      November 15, 2012

  • Gene R.

    Nicely done! The session provided a helpful review and framework to continue thinking about this issue.

    November 15, 2012

  • John W

    Preliminary questions:

    Jeff-If 6 billion individuals pursue their own goals, how do they resolve issues when the goals conflict? It would seem chaos would emerge, not efficiency.

    Craig-How do efficiency and affirmative action differ such that one is more important than the other? You state that Asians "never seem to benefit from affirmative actions". What is your definition of a benefit relative to this situation?

    Both-Am not sure I understand what is meant by 'reverse discrimination' since one says it exists and the other says it doesn't. Is this an ontological issue or an epistemological one?

    November 9, 2012

    • Craig Y.

      The Asians are accused of too docile thus losing the opportunities available to them. The rights of individuals and racism are associated with Western expansion in the last 400 years. Before that China for instance many times were under foreign rules and then they were overthrown. When the new rulers were on top they invented all sorts of schemes for justification. The mongols treated Mongols as the #1 class, whites (or colored eyes peoples) as the seocnd class and the Chinese as the third and fourth class. Manchu's royalities controlling China are manchus. But when the regimes were overthrown, all the schemes went out of the window. In 1800 China had 1/3 of the world's GDP and looked down on everybody. (The Europeans were barbarians. thought they cannot fight on ground because their pents too tight to run. They said the European man has one extra ball.) Then the world turned upside down against them. What I am saying those attitudes are man-made and changeable.

      November 9, 2012

    • Craig Y.

      Jeff: I have heard that years ago. Some Cambodians and lao people got welfare and dependency cycle and not doing that well.

      1 · November 9, 2012

  • Craig Y.

    Racism though intrinsic to the American society is just a fashion. The attitude changes with time depending on the standing of the race. Case in point the Greeks, Britain... favorates of God once upon a time. Of course there is a lag time between the change of the foundamentals and attitude.
    US has to really concerned about the successes of her foreign policies and the fiscal crisis. If they are not well taken care of, her standing in the world will change in the next 20 years.. following the steps of Britain and Greece.

    November 9, 2012

  • Craig Y.

    At this time in history, US is trying to keep competitive in many fields and with decreasing funding. The question is: Is efficiency more important than Affirmative actions from a practical point of view for the whole country. In the best schools, reverse discrimination is taking place against Asians who are more qualitifed but rejected because they take a disproportional share of the student body. But there is still a glass ceiling against Asians, who never seem to benefit from Affirmative actions. The country is being hollowed out without sufficient whites to take over the retiring whites in techinical fields and not sufficient blacks to be interested. The technical jobs are being outsourced to Asia.

    November 9, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      John - Systemic racism has always been much more a product of state enforcement than of a voluntary society, whether all out slavery, Jim Crow, or so-called affirmative action. Otherwise, it's far too costly for businesses to block off entire segments of the population from ones market share or employee base, especially when competing firms will gladly fill the void. This is costly in ones personal affairs as well. Of course, I don't doubt that individual bias and other irrationality have been a factor influencing such laws, but this sort of mindset seemed to have been trending downward long before the state jumped in front of the parade. This, it would seem, as far more to do with the continuing ease with which we travel and trade with others all over the world.

      November 9, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      (Cont'd from above.) As far as modern times go, the number of mixed race marriages alone seems to suggest that empathy deficiencies or other evolutionary biases, if existent at all, are easily managed.

      Strictly speaking, I don't really consider freedom to be a strategy, but if it were one, I would certainly favor it over force in uniting people in as peaceful and harmonious a manner as is possible on this earth.

      November 9, 2012

  • John W

    There is a blog entry entitled 'Why Race Still Matters' (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-work/201206/why-race-still-matters) that describes 2 studies on in-group/out-group dissonance. The MIT study indicates race alone effects one's empathy and compassion for others. The UCLA study shows empathy for pain is effected by in-group/out-group perspectives. The notion of out-group reflects the old evolutionary bias of 'difference' as a potential threat. We are in a world in which interactions are on the increase and collaboration between groups is rising. White males have been at the forefront of our political decision-making. Yet, voting demographics reveal that white males have diminished dominance in elections. It would seem some plan for collaboration is prudent/rational, given the changing social dynamics. Thus, it would seem the question is 'does affirmative action facilitate achieving collaboration?' And, if not, what strategy would you propose in its place?

    November 9, 2012

    • Craig Y.

      The culture of US has too much emphasis on three things: money, sex and race. If you look in the long term those attitudes are subject to change like fashion. I strongly agree in a culture of contention, for many reasons, collaboration is the key for our survival.(I think that is a very appropriate topic to discuss at this time.) Culture change will take a long time.

      November 9, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      CY - I equate most of what we call culture to some form of irrationality, generally given some degree of legitimacy, if not reverence, by biases on the part of many towards antiquity or tradition (i.e., repetition). The best way to counter the negative aspects of culture is to promote critical examination of both the old and the new.

      November 9, 2012

  • A former member

    A former member changed the date and time from Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 7:00 PM to Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    October 15, 2012

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