• Article by: Ðavid A. Osorio S

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    • jjramsey

      Two problems:

      1) It’s straw feminism.

      2) It assumes that affirmative action works by lowering standards for those groups being favored by affirmative action — which is not necessarily the case.

      • Hi @disqus_vCxqSOwdaO:disqus, about your comment:

        1) I agree, that’s why I talked about affirmative action.

        2) I guess you could find a public policy of affirmative action that doesn’t lower the standards, but the principle behind the critique stands: we shouldn’t be making public policies based on biological traits.

        3) So, I guess you agree with my post when the case involves public policy lowering standards for any group.


      • Otto Greif

        If affirmative action does not lower standards then what is it doing?

        • All the examples of affirmative action I can think of are lowering standards, but maybe @disqus_vCxqSOwdaO:disqus can provide one instance where that is not the case.

    • I read somewhere that what we call “affirmative action” in the U.S. is sometimes referred to as “remedial discrimination” elsewhere. I am having trouble remembering the source, but I think it might be Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature. I’m reading it now and might have confused it with something else though. I bring this up because I think it is generally understood that affirmative action is discrimination; it is viewed as a strategic form of discrimination applied to remediate past injustices.

    • Beaker

      Has anyone ever said that affirmative action is not discrimination? I would like a source on that. As far as I am aware, everybody knows it is, that’s why it is also often called positive discrimination.

      As for examples where it doesn’t lower the standards, at least in the Netherlands and Germany, you can encounter vacancies that state that “in the case of two equally qualified candidates, preference will be given to a [insert group of interest here]”. Although it has been some time since I spotted job adds with such a line or similar. This policy does not lower standards, if you are the objectively better candidate, you’ll still get the job if you don’t belong to said group.

      Regarding not making policies based on biological traits, the problem is that that there often was discrimination based on biological traits, of the negative kind. Women, people of color and other minority groups often were discriminated against when applying for colleges or jobs or when operating in the workforce. PoC often also were at a disadvantage due to the racial history in the US. And as far as I can tell from the research on this topic, there are at least indications that this discrimination is still present. It would seem to me that this needs to be addressed, and doing so almost automatically will lead to policy based on biological traits. Affirmative action has been one of the proposals of a counter measure to address this. Whether it is an effective policy is still debated, but I don’t think it is a bad policy à priori, even if it involves lowering standards.

    • jg29a

      Personally, I bend mostly consequentialist on this issue: affirmative action seems reasonable when short-term discrimination is likely to pay larger dividends (e.g. getting certain minorities into academia or politics, so that they will feed resources back into their communities and serve as role models), but nerfing the physical requirements of elite military forces is completely insane. Nothing is to be gained by an irrational ideology throwing lives against the brick wall of nature.

    • jjramsey

      I noticed that there’s a significant difference between the kind of “affirmative action” described in the cartoon and that commonly accused of lowering standards in universities. In the cartoon, K’sara is supposed to have an easier test than the men to gain the title of “Elite Hunter.” Yet affirmative action in universities is often accused of inducing a “mismatch,” because even though the admission standards may be lowered, the standards for actually getting the degree are not.

      If the cartoon were a better analogy for how affirmative action is commonly practiced, there might be lower requirements for allowing K’sara to take the test in the first place, but the test itself would be the same as the men’s.

    • Leisuresuitbruce

      I used to think the same thing until I became the AA reporting agent at my former company. The math is not that you have to hire an inflexible percentage of workers based on the number of female or minorities in the general population.

      The math is that you have to hire in proportion to the female and minority of the population who qualify for that position. It goes further in that it measures only from the geographic population (custodians are hired locally but marketing VP’s might be a national search) where you actually get your employees.

      Following that example, If the local custodian population is 75% minority and you only have 20% minority in your custodial staff then your compliance is suspect. But if marketing VP’s are nationally at 20% minority and you have 20% minorities in that position then you are on target.

      On the other hand the legal justification for AA was that gov’t actively backed discrimination before the civil rights act. And since that act did not magically end the reality of discrimination, SCOTUS decided that gov’t needed to actively back anti-discrimination. They decided to take an ‘affirmative action’.

      Thus says the middle aged white man.

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