PDA

View Full Version : "Discrimination".


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Mike Sigman
10-17-2009, 06:14 PM
Given the number of times I've seen the word "racist" on AikiWeb, I thought this would be a good thought-starter about the scope of what "racism", "racist", and "discrimination" mean. In my opinion, the use of personally-directed words of emotional-index is usually an attempt at coercion.

Note the remarks about the Jewish quotas that were in place until relatively recently in many "liberal" elite colleges. I remember reading about those quotas, but I never saw any uproar from the liberal side of the spectrum... and that's telling.

http://volokh.com/2009/10/17/asian-american-applicants-and-competing-rationales-for-affirmative-action-in-higher-education/

If nothing else, I'm glad to see that some more clinical discussion of the factual issues is beginning to surface.

lbb
10-17-2009, 06:45 PM
Given the number of times I've seen the word "racist" on AikiWeb, I thought this would be a good thought-starter about the scope of what "racism", "racist", and "discrimination" mean.

Ok...so you claim you want to talk about definition...

In my opinion, the use of personally-directed words of emotional-index is usually an attempt at coercion.
...and you immediately derail your own proposed discussion into one of usage.

Meaning. Usage. Two different words. Which do you want to talk about, and moreover, why???

Mike Sigman
10-17-2009, 06:51 PM
Ok...so you claim you want to talk about definition...

...and you immediately derail your own proposed discussion into one of usage.

Meaning. Usage. Two different words. Which do you want to talk about, and moreover, why???Ummmm.... why the diversion from the topic, Mary. Your interpretation of a sub-topic has little to do with the comments on the URL and my original intention. Which I thought was pretty clearly stated. Try not to avoid the topic on the URL so much.

Best.

Mike

lbb
10-18-2009, 03:34 PM
Ummmm.... why the diversion from the topic, Mary.

Ummmmmmm, you diverted it yourself. Do you want to talk about meaning, or do you want to talk about usage?

(or do you, instead, want to agitate the feces...again?)

Mike Sigman
10-18-2009, 05:22 PM
How about if I just agree with you in spirit that the article is an inconvenient bit of truth and pretend that it doesn't exist? Would that make it easier? :p

Mike

thisisnotreal
10-18-2009, 05:24 PM
... why those are positively the best *kind* of feces!

Mike, This is a dangerous topic. What's up? Everyone knows it when they see it. And some people see it (or its reverse-) almost everywhere. double lose. Even the assertion that someone is racist serves a purpose nowadays.
Collectively, we've lost our marbles.
Do you really need more confirmation?

here is a t shirt i'm gonna buy (http://rumplo.com/tees/tee/10619-you-used-to-be-alright-what-happened)

also; i think of you when I see this clip.
here's the idiot Ali-G wasting Andy Rooney's time.
clip here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRGC-5LjJ2M&feature=player_embedded)
enjoy ; )

Mike Sigman
10-18-2009, 05:31 PM
Mike, This is a dangerous topic. What's up? Why is it a dangerous topic? You've been 'coerced' into believing it is because of the now too common passive-aggressive attacks by people who want others to believe as they do or suffer the consequences. Talk freely. Quit worrying about what the politically-correct peanut gallery thinks. ;)

Mike

When next they come for you, they will be wearing Birkenstocks and driving Priuses. ;)

Aikibu
10-18-2009, 05:58 PM
Why is it a dangerous topic? You've been 'coerced' into believing it is because of the now too common passive-aggressive attacks by people who want others to believe as they do or suffer the consequences. Talk freely. Quit worrying about what the politically-correct peanut gallery thinks. ;)

Mike

;)

Okay Dokay then!!! Let me be quick to point out that I don't give a rats ass what someone else's POV on Discrimination is really.... Unless it's wrong....

There's your KOAN for the day Mike...:)

William Hazen

Mike Sigman
10-18-2009, 06:03 PM
Okay Dokay then!!! Let me be quick to point out that I don't give a rats ass what someone else's POV on Discrimination is really.... Unless it's wrong....

There's your KOAN for the day Mike...:)

William HazenLet me think about that. :p Is it single-entendre or double-entendre???? :D

Everything I say is a lie.

Mike

Aikibu
10-18-2009, 07:33 PM
Let me think about that. :p Is it single-entendre or double-entendre???? :D

Triple...You know like... Germany Japan, Italy, or Father, Son, Holy Ghost, :)

Everything I say is a lie.

Mike

We "liberals" agree. LOL :D

All in good fun of course....

William Hazen

Mike Sigman
10-18-2009, 07:35 PM
We "liberals" agree. LOL :D

All in good fun of course....
I'd agree.... but, then... everything I say is a lie. ;)

Mike Sigman

Michael Varin
10-18-2009, 07:36 PM
In the spirit of this thread:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJ882QYzr-M

Mike Sigman
10-18-2009, 07:39 PM
So much for the discussion of discrimination against Asians, eh? 'Tis to laugh, the topic of selective outrage. :rolleyes:

mathewjgano
10-18-2009, 10:15 PM
It's hard for me to find where to begin so I'll just start somewhere and see where it takes me.
I believe in the American Dream, which I take to mean an equal playing field for everyone. I also believe in creating systems to lift up the "bottom" of a society. I believe that is our societal obligation.
I believe Affirmative Action in higher education shouldn't be about race, it should be about economic status.
My "understanding" of Affirmative Action is that it is supposed to be a direct response to the long-term effects of racism in America. It basically says that to some degree, the best and brightest should give up seats in order to allow people who are still good and intelligent a chance at the best opportunities in order to promote growth in whatever particular community they hail from. I can buy this. A strong society means individual compromise to some degree (the difference between liberty and license as one prof once told me). It's still a band-aid response and I think it falls short in one major way: by the time people are ready to go to college it's too late. Affirmative Action efforts would be better served funding the ridiculously underfunded public schools...the ones that are in poor neighborhoods...which is the place where most people develop their life-long habits which will then determine their relative degree of economic success...generally speaking at least. So, that said, I think it needs some serious revamping.
Rambling aside I'll return to my earlier idea that Affirmative Action should probably be based on economic situation alone. In this way it still address the real issue as I see it.

Aikibu
10-19-2009, 01:20 AM
I'd agree.... but, then... everything I say is a lie. ;)

Mike Sigman

So True....

William Hazen

rroeserr
10-19-2009, 12:17 PM
I believe Affirmative Action in higher education shouldn't be about race, it should be about economic status.
Why is it ok to take money from one group of people by force and give it to another group of people?

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. --George Washington

Aikibu
10-19-2009, 12:28 PM
Why is it ok to take money from one group of people by force and give it to another group of people?

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. --George Washington

Like we did in Iraq???

William Hazen

rroeserr
10-19-2009, 12:43 PM
Like we did in Iraq???

William Hazen

What's your point? Are you actually implying that I support the Iraq war?

heathererandolph
10-19-2009, 12:47 PM
Well, there is a lot of unfairness. People complain when a black is accepted into an institution of higher learning with lower scores (even though scores are not the only criterion used to judge individuals, there are other requirements which can be viewed with more subjectivity) anyhow, say just for the sake of argument this person is not as well qualified academically as someone else. If we are going to be comparing unfair situations, what about the white students who are accepted into the institutions also with lower academic preparedness, for various reasons. Students whose parents went to the school, students with wealthy parents, students with various situations that distinguish themselves from other students in the eyes of those making the decision. Nobody is hollering about these situations and saying that a wealthy student should not have been taken in their place.

Mike Sigman
10-19-2009, 01:02 PM
Well, there is a lot of unfairness. People complain when a black is accepted into an institution of higher learning with lower scores (even though scores are not the only criterion used to judge individuals, there are other requirements which can be viewed with more subjectivity) anyhow, say just for the sake of argument this person is not as well qualified academically as someone else. If we are going to be comparing unfair situations, what about the white students who are accepted into the institutions also with lower academic preparedness, for various reasons. Students whose parents went to the school, students with wealthy parents, students with various situations that distinguish themselves from other students in the eyes of those making the decision. Nobody is hollering about these situations and saying that a wealthy student should not have been taken in their place.So your reply to a wrong is that "there are other wrongs, too"? That being the case, we should all just do as we please, I guess. Let's go tell that Asian guy "tough luck, loser". But wait... why don't we tell that to anyone who is not on our "special" list? Why just stop with discriminating against Asians? Every man for himself!

Either everyone is "equal" or they're not. Which is it to be?

Mike

rroeserr
10-19-2009, 01:31 PM
Either everyone is "equal" or they're not. Which is it to be?

Mike

Everyone is equal Mike, just that some are more equal than others...

Ron Tisdale
10-19-2009, 01:36 PM
I guess start with an "equal" opportunity to do the work involved, and go from there. One issue I've always had with certain forms of AA is the fact that in some minds, it means an "equal" place at the trough, rather than an opportunity to do the work and benefit yourself and society.

Sure, in attempts to rectify things we probably (most of us, anyway) all call aggregious, some eggs are broken. Thinking these issues through is always a good thing. An African American is now president. Do we still want to use race (questionable term in and of itself) to determine opportunity? Perhaps as suggested, economics is a better way to go.

But before we get too ahead of ourselves...let's just remember that what I post below still goes on:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/10/19/interracial.marriage/index.html

Best,
Ron

rroeserr
10-19-2009, 01:52 PM
I guess start with an "equal" opportunity to do the work involved, and go from there. One issue I've always had with certain forms of AA is the fact that in some minds, it means an "equal" place at the trough, rather than an opportunity to do the work and benefit yourself and society.

Sure, in attempts to rectify things we probably (most of us, anyway) all call aggregious, some eggs are broken. Thinking these issues through is always a good thing. An African American is now president. Do we still want to use race (questionable term in and of itself) to determine opportunity? Perhaps as suggested, economics is a better way to go.

But before we get too ahead of ourselves...let's just remember that what I post below still goes on:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/10/19/interracial.marriage/index.html

Best,
Ron

You're side stepping the question of why it is ok to take money from one group of people and give it to another by force. It's not ok to take someones life by force, it's not ok to take someone's liberties by force, than why can you take someone's property by force?

What's the point he got fired; problem solved. Do we need a new special law that will waste money - so the politicians can show they are doing something about the problem? Should we create a task force, and a witch hunt? Should we water board him until he thinks its ok for black and white people to get married? Maybe its because there isn't enough black judges? Maybe there are black judges out there that don't like black men marring white women...

- or - if the government didn't control marriage people would be free to marry whom ever they wanted? Why should we ever let anyone decide what we should do with our lives?

Marc Abrams
10-19-2009, 01:53 PM
I guess start with an "equal" opportunity to do the work involved, and go from there. One issue I've always had with certain forms of AA is the fact that in some minds, it means an "equal" place at the trough, rather than an opportunity to do the work and benefit yourself and society.

Sure, in attempts to rectify things we probably (most of us, anyway) all call aggregious, some eggs are broken. Thinking these issues through is always a good thing. An African American is now president. Do we still want to use race (questionable term in and of itself) to determine opportunity? Perhaps as suggested, economics is a better way to go.

But before we get too ahead of ourselves...let's just remember that what I post below still goes on:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/10/19/interracial.marriage/index.html

Best,
Ron

Ron's point is well taken. I frankly am amazed at the number of people who conveniently believe that our country has "moved beyond" petty bigotry. Maybe I just have very good ears. I still hear anti-semitic, anti-black, anti-asian, anti-hispanic,...... comments on a regular basis just in the New York metropolitan area. Certain parts of this country can even "specialize" in their own particular form of bigotry. Bigotry is not the exclusive domain of the rich, poor, middle class, conservative, or liberal,.... We as a country still have a long way to go until people can truly be judged on who they really are inside. Until that time, we may need to try and counter-balance bad trends. That will always make some people upset. As a white, Jewish male, I have been on the receiving end of both bigotry and the wrong side of attempts to right the balance. It would be simple and convenient for me to blame the attempts to rectify and balance our society. I vented and developed a greater degree of sensitivity as to what it meant to be on the short-end of the stick in the game of life. That has only lead to me becoming more accepting of differences and open to possible solutions to vexing problems.

Marc Abrams

ps.- I did not take a graduate teaching position that was offered to me in Louisiana many years ago because of the remarkable degree of bigotry that exists in that state. Unfortunately, not that much has changed.

Ron Tisdale
10-19-2009, 02:19 PM
You're side stepping the question of why it is ok to take money from one group of people and give it to another by force.

No, I am not. I presented a view that maybe it's time to re-evaluate some things, and I supported another poster's suggestion that it may be time to look at presenting opportunities to people based on need. Not taking money away from people...universities award grants from a pool of money that is most likely from a combination of sources. If they allocate that money based simply on economic need...exactly who is getting money "taken away from them"?

If I chose to discuss the topic at hand in a sensitive manner, how is that "sidestepping"? Even if it is...what is wrong with sidestepping, per se? We do it in martial arts all the time. Sometimes it's quite effective.

It's not ok to take someones life by force, it's not ok to take someone's liberties by force, than why can you take someone's property by force? Good question...why don't you ask the supremes about Eminent Domain? Let me know their answer...

I suggest you are using hyperbole because your arguement is weak. Otherwise, it would stand on it's own without drawing in other (in your view, more button pushing) issues.

What's the point he got fired; problem solved.

Uh, actually, re-read the article...he has not been fired yet.

Do we need a new special law that will waste money - so the politicians can show they are doing something about the problem?

Uh, did *I* make that suggestion? Is that what *you* think we need? I suggested no such thing.

Should we create a task force, and a witch hunt? Should we water board him until he thinks its ok for black and white people to get married?

Again, did *I* suggest any such thing? Was it suggested in the article? *I* think you should try to calm down...hyperbole works best when used sparingly. ;)

Maybe its because there isn't enough black judges? Maybe there are black judges out there that don't like black men marring white women...

Actually, that would be because there **aren't** enough black judges...it's a matter of aggreement. And I'm quite sure there are a paucity of minority judges relative to the population in many places in this country still. But I haven't suggested any remedy for that. But you just did ;)

- or - if the government didn't control marriage people would be free to marry whom ever they wanted? Why should we ever let anyone decide what we should do with our lives?

Good point...let anarchy reign. :eek:

Anyhoo...

Best,
Ron

Marc Abrams
10-19-2009, 03:09 PM
You're side stepping the question of why it is ok to take money from one group of people and give it to another by force. It's not ok to take someones life by force, it's not ok to take someone's liberties by force, than why can you take someone's property by force?

What's the point he got fired; problem solved. Do we need a new special law that will waste money - so the politicians can show they are doing something about the problem? Should we create a task force, and a witch hunt? Should we water board him until he thinks its ok for black and white people to get married? Maybe its because there isn't enough black judges? Maybe there are black judges out there that don't like black men marring white women...

- or - if the government didn't control marriage people would be free to marry whom ever they wanted? Why should we ever let anyone decide what we should do with our lives?

Robert:

The issue of taking money from one group to give to another by force works both ways. Some of your tax dollars goes to support the poor and some of your tax dollars go to support super-wealthy corporations. Certain people only seem to get upset when the money goes to the less fortunate.

It is okay in certain circumstances to take somebody's life by force. That can range from justifiable homicide to the imposition of the death penalty by the state.

It is okay in certain circumstances to take somebody's liberty by force. That is commonly called incarceration by either a state or the federal government. Heck, INS can hold you for awhile without even having to level a charge against you.

It is okay in certain circumstances to take your property by force (as Ron pointed out) and that is called eminent domain.

Your proposed solutions to the "injustice of peace" sounds a lot like the attitude and policies of the last administration. If you really do not like anyone deciding what you should do, then I would recommend that you buy your own island and live on it by yourself. In a world of people living together, structures get created that do exactly what you complain about. That can range from a dating relationship to a government.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Ron Tisdale
10-19-2009, 03:13 PM
That can range from a dating relationship to a government.

I'm not sure which one of those is easier to control... :eek:

Best,
Ron

rroeserr
10-19-2009, 03:15 PM
No, I am not. I presented a view that maybe it's time to re-evaluate some things, and I supported another poster's suggestion that is may be time to look at presenting opportunities to people based on need. Not taking money away from people...universities award grants from a pool of money that is most likely from a combination of sources. If they allocate that money based simply on economic need...exactly who is getting money "taken away from them"?
From tax payers...for wars, welfare, gov't largess, foreign 'aid', etc. A private entity (person, university, charity, non-profit) giving away money of there own free will is fine, but no one should force you. If it's a public university then the entrance criteria should be equal for everyone.

If I chose to discuss the topic at hand in a sensitive manner, how is that "sidestepping"? Even if it is...what is wrong with sidestepping, per se? We do it in martial arts all the time. Sometimes it's quite effective.
In order to give money to someone based on economics or race it has to be taken from someone else. People always address the giving, but never the taking.

Good question...why don't you ask the supremes about immenent domain? Let me know their answer...
Emminet domain is spelled out in the fifth amendment, and they have to provide just compensation. It's limited to public use. They can't take your land, give you nothing, and than give the land to Haliburton, or Acorn. The gov't can tax income on you because of the 16th amendment. My understanding is that it was originally passed on the promise that it was only used to tax rich people, after the Supreme Court found income taxes unconsititutional. However they are still only supposed to spend money on the general welfar (ie, everyone) which they don't....How is giving aid money to pakistan the general welfare?

Uh, actually, re-read the article...he has not been fired yet.
I thought I read today that Gov. Jindal fired him. Sorry.

I suggest you are using hyperbole because your arguement is weak. Otherwise, it would stand on it's own without drawing in other (in your view, more button pushing) issues.
It's not hyperbole. It's in the Declaration of Indepence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Which pretty much lifted from Locke:
"All mankind... being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions."

I'm not pushing buttons, I want to know why people think it's ok? Locke didn't, and he was certainly influencetion with the founders.

Good point...let anarchy reign. :eek:
The legitatment function of the US government is to protect your liberties. That doesn't mean 'let anarchy reign'. If what you are doing infringes on the liberties of others the government, which is force, has the duty to protect those liberties (like fire that judge). It doesn't however have the right to tell you what to do or think.

Later,
Robert

Ron Tisdale
10-19-2009, 03:32 PM
Well, I am certainly not smart enough to answer all the ills of America in this one thread. How 'bout we stick to the Affirmative Action portion of the current discussion?

It's not hyperbole. It's in the Declaration of Indepence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Your current quote is...your previous statements were not. I don't think we have much disagreement there.

I'm not pushing buttons, I want to know why people think it's ok? Locke didn't, and he was certainly influencetion with the founders.

Well simply ask, and if I can, I will answer.

I think it is ok for the government, in some limited cases, to address wrongs committed during the time that government was in power (I am referring to the overall power structure, not a particular time one party or another was in power). Things like that which come to mind are racial discrimination as in slavery and its aftermath and the confinement of American citizens to camps during WWII. The govenment actively supported those things for many years. It FAILED to do what (according to those recent quotes) it should have done. In so failing, it fostered an environment that in my mind, NECESSITATED remediation. I think this is evidenced by how long those conditions continued even in the face of slowly changing mores.

BUT...when does the time for such remediation (especially at the expense of others not at fault, who are not even beneficiaries of the flawed system) end?

I personally find that to be a valid and interesting topic for discussion, and an area where it is likely some change is needed.

It doesn't however have the right to tell you what to do or think.

Hmmm, no one seems to be telling either of us what to think. ;)What to do however...until the tax man is out of our pockets...that one is problematic. Not to mention that some actions the govenment proscribes as harmfull to society I personally have no problem with what so ever. Oh well...life is hard.

Gotta run take care of the parents, have a good night!

Best,
Ron

rroeserr
10-19-2009, 03:40 PM
The issue of taking money from one group to give to another by force works both ways. Some of your tax dollars goes to support the poor and some of your tax dollars go to support super-wealthy corporations.
[/QUOTE]
How about we stop using force to give money to either groups of people?

Certain people only seem to get upset when the money goes to the less fortunate.
I don't. Corpritism and the welfare state go hand and hand.

It is okay in certain circumstances to take somebody's life by force. That can range from justifiable homicide to the imposition of the death penalty by the state.

It is okay in certain circumstances to take somebody's liberty by force. That is commonly called incarceration by either a state or the federal government. Heck, INS can hold you for awhile without even having to level a charge against you.
Of course you have a right to defend yourself. If I do something that infringes on someones natural rights I should punished. A far as the death penalty goes, I'm not a fan. I don't there is ever a good reaon for taking a life, unless you have to defend yourself.

Your proposed solutions to the "injustice of peace" sounds a lot like the attitude and policies of the last administration.
No. I don't want marriage to be an issue of the state. There is no reason to give out a marriage license other then control or income. If two guys, two women, black guy/white girl, whatever want to get married, I don't care. It's not my business.

If you really do not like anyone deciding what you should do, then I would recommend that you buy your own island and live on it by yourself. In a world of people living together, structures get created that do exactly what you complain about. That can range from a dating relationship to a government. Or I respect people's choices, and as long as they don't infringe on my liberties I don't care what they do? The difference between dating, and the government is I entire into the 'contract' of my own free will, and can leave of my own free will. The government does serve a legitimate function but being a 'parent' is not one of them.

Later,
Robert

rroeserr
10-19-2009, 03:54 PM
The issue of taking money from one group to give to another by force works both ways. Some of your tax dollars goes to support the poor and some of your tax dollars go to support super-wealthy corporations.
[/QUOTE]
How about we stop using force to give money to either groups of people?

Certain people only seem to get upset when the money goes to the less fortunate.
I don't. Corpritism and the welfare state go hand and hand.

It is okay in certain circumstances to take somebody's life by force. That can range from justifiable homicide to the imposition of the death penalty by the state.

It is okay in certain circumstances to take somebody's liberty by force. That is commonly called incarceration by either a state or the federal government. Heck, INS can hold you for awhile without even having to level a charge against you.
Of course you have a right to defend yourself. If I do something that infringes on someones natural rights I should punished. A far as the death penalty goes, I'm not a fan. I don't there is ever a good reaon for taking a life, unless you have to defend yourself.

Your proposed solutions to the "injustice of peace" sounds a lot like the attitude and policies of the last administration.
No. I don't want marriage to be an issue of the state. There is no reason to give out a marriage license other then control or income. If two guys, two women, black guy/white girl, whatever want to get married, I don't care. It's not my business.

If you really do not like anyone deciding what you should do, then I would recommend that you buy your own island and live on it by yourself. In a world of people living together, structures get created that do exactly what you complain about. That can range from a dating relationship to a government. Or I respect people's choices, and as long as they don't infringe on my liberties I don't care what they do? The difference between dating, and the government is I entire into the 'contract' of my own free will, and can leave of my own free will. The government does serve a legitimate function but being a 'parent' is not one of them.

Later,
Robert

mathewjgano
10-19-2009, 05:47 PM
Why is it ok to take money from one group of people by force and give it to another group of people?

Why is it ever ok for anyone to impose their will on anyone else? Yet we do it all the time and call it ok; good even. We as a nation impose our wills upon all sorts of places all across the globe...and in the name of the greater good. Is the greater good more valuable than individual good? Most people only seem to think so when it suits their individual purposes. That's probably a little cynical on my part, but I'll be a monkey's uncle if I don't see almost every day.
I think it is a dangerous action to redistribute wealth, but dangerous isn't always bad. I can see how government funds, money which is already taken by force through taxes, could be applied to help people who are born into a situation where they have less means. I believe the only authentic purpose of government is to ensure some standard of living and I believe that where people are found to be lacking in that regard, it should make efforts to help. Perhaps there is a better way than using money, but I look right here in the Rainier Valley areas of the Seattle School Dist. where my wife (a teacher) was given a 50.00 materials fee after paying 25.00 into the PTA (as I recall) and compare that to the significantly higher amount given at the wealthier school she dealt with, and I have to wonder why the kids who live in a poorer neighborhood must have less resources. Clearly that's not an equal playing field.
If anything, I tend to believe those places need more resources than the wealthy neighborhoods in order to combat the relative hole these kids start out in compared to their wealthier neighbors...not to mention the other negative influences which tend to infest relatively impoverished areas so readily.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. --George Washington
And yet he was our first president president (and has the best birthday I might add). So government is somewhat nefarious and yet he supported it by acting as one of its most powerful agents. If anything I think you're making my point for me that we can engage in dangerous activities for a greater good. It's dangerous sure, but it can be good too. The devil is in the details and I submit the problem isn't a matter of whether government is involved, it's a matter of social ethics...not taking more than you need, or at least giving what can be spared when you see someone else who is in greater need than you.
BUT...that's my belief. I believe for a society to be strong it must have a strong other-regarding set of behaviors or it ceases to be social and as I see it, the only reason mankind has progressed as far as it has is because of our ability to work and learn together.
Anyhow, before I get to rambling on tangents...
Cheers,
Matt

Mike Sigman
10-19-2009, 10:31 PM
BTW.... here's a good example of what "equality" always comes out to be:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article6879553.ece

Aikibu
10-19-2009, 11:38 PM
BTW.... here's a good example of what "equality" always comes out to be:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article6879553.ece

A Perfect example of discrimination on your part...Where I come from the Clinical Term and Logical Fallacy is known as Selective Perception and is typical of most internet debates....You ignore any data/facts that does not support your side of the argument and voice your "side" as an absolute aka "ALWAYS comes out to be"...All good Debates give the speakers the ability to argue BOTH sides of the topic (That made debates such a blast in college...you never knew what side of the debate you were going to be judged on first and always had to argue both sides!!! LOL)

Thank God we have a policy maker in the White House and master of finding fact through his use of the Trivium to explore solutions to such issues as health care.

The Last President thought the Trivium was a three cheese pizza. :)

Now if you're goal was to illustrate the fact folks use absolute rhetorical phrases as a means to proof their arguments and that is a form of discrimination well....

I dig what you're saying man. :D

William Hazen

jss
10-20-2009, 02:24 AM
A private entity (person, university, charity, non-profit) giving away money of there own free will is fine, but no one should force you.
Does this mean you want the US and Europe to repay South America and Africa for the gold and the people that were forcefully taken from them? Should the U.S. give all of its land back to the Native Americans?
How far back do you want to go to right all the wrongs that have been committed? Or do we forget about the past and be thankful we're on the rich side of the fence?

rroeserr
10-20-2009, 12:46 PM
I think it is ok for the government, in some limited cases, to address wrongs committed during the time that government was in power (I am referring to the overall power structure, not a particular time one party or another was in power). Things like that which come to mind are racial discrimination as in slavery and its aftermath and the confinement of American citizens to camps during WWII. The government actively supported those things for many years. It FAILED to do what (according to those recent quotes) it should have done. In so failing, it fostered an environment that in my mind, NECESSITATED remediation. I think this is evidenced by how long those conditions continued even in the face of slowly changing mores.
When the US govt payed the Japanese reparations they gave it directly to the people effected. Not the ancestors of the people effected from ancestors of people that did something horrible. If we're going to blame ancestors why not go back, and demand money from the Dutch, Portuguese, and British? Should we give people of Irish decent money for the horrible treatment the received during the 1800's?

Later,
Robert

Allen Beebe
10-20-2009, 01:58 PM
Should we give people of Irish decent money for the horrible treatment the received during the 1800's?

Yes please! No wait . . . let's see my Dutch and British parts would have to pay my Irish part? I think my Native American part might have a few words to say about that . . . my German and Scottish parts appear to be planning something as well but I can't determine what just yet.

Hogan
10-20-2009, 02:06 PM
When the US govt payed the Japanese reparations they gave it directly to the people effected. Not the ancestors of the people effected from ancestors of people that did something horrible. If we're going to blame ancestors why not go back, and demand money from the Dutch, Portuguese, and British? Should we give people of Irish decent money for the horrible treatment the received during the 1800's?

Later,
Robert

Does that mean I won't get mine? You see, people from Europe were routinely captured & sold into slavery by African's back in the day: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1403945519/ref=cm_rdp_product, & I was hoping to get some.

Ron Tisdale
10-20-2009, 03:56 PM
Please note that *I* did not mention reparations as in MONEY specifically. Remediation is correcting a situation which is incorrect. How people choose to do that MAY involve money, or it may not. If it involves money, it MAY involve paying money to individuals, or it may not.

I like the way you guys put words in other peoples mouths. If you don't want to have a serious conversation, but just to give the White Man's Gripe, just say so. Otherwise...

Best,
Ron

mathewjgano
10-20-2009, 07:36 PM
When the US govt payed the Japanese reparations they gave it directly to the people effected. Not the ancestors of the people effected from ancestors of people that did something horrible. If we're going to blame ancestors why not go back, and demand money from the Dutch, Portuguese, and British? Should we give people of Irish decent money for the horrible treatment the received during the 1800's?

Later,
Robert

I don't think it's about blame. This isn't punitive. This is recognizing that groups of people were put in a bad situation over such a long period of time that simply removing the negative bias isn't enough for returning them to a "fair" state. Obviously the specifics of what that means are debatable, but the simple fact is that in some groups poverty is as heavily pervasive as it is because they were sytematically attacked and stolen from. When after two hundred years or more of overt and subversive discrimination those groups remain the poorest people in the nation, I believe it's not unreasonable to suggest extra resources come from the national collective that is said to be our government. Native reservations are one such example of a set of cultures which I believe deserve reparation-minded action.

Another possible factor to the "why" of AA, albeit a more off-topic one, is crime, which always seems to manifest more readily in poor areas because opportunism becomes a more accepted M.O. So many people think more cops equals less crime and I firmly disagree (knowing a small variety of criminals). It curbs crime a bit, but is a band-aid solution at best. Make it so these economically poor groups have more means than they do (which equates to more resources, including educational systems most notably) and I believe the perceived necessity of crime, and thus it's relative states of tolerance from within those same social groups, will go down.

Mike Sigman
10-20-2009, 07:51 PM
I don't think it's about blame. This isn't punitive. This is recognizing that groups of people were put in a bad situation over such a long period of time that simply removing the negative bias isn't enough for returning them to a "fair" state. Well, wait a minute.... many Asians who immigrated to the U.S. went through *centuries* of adverse conditions, slavery, and so forth. What about them? Yet statistically, Asians seem to excel by dint of hard work, and so forth. Should we discriminate against them, as in the original post, because we have favorite groups we want to pay back, and so on? In other words, when exactly do you figure to honestly start treating everyone equally and expecting the same work ethic from everyone? Give me a time estimate.

Also there seems to be an undercurrent of "balancing the books". Shouldn't we look at the contributions and costs totally on all sides?

Lastly is the bit about "slavery". In the long view, slavery happened to many peoples, but it's long since gone in the U.S. However, it's still common in Africa, as it has been for centuries. Heck, even various American Indian groups kept slaves from other tribes, if it comes to that, but what about nowadays? Why is it that slavery is so horrible, yet almost no one tries to eradicate it from African countries where it still goes on? Almost not a peep. The topic dies in silence every time it's brought up (as I expect will happen this time... no one truly wants to crusade against slavery, do they?).

My point in the original post was that here are Asians who underwent the worst of conditions yet have worked the hardest and brightest in their efforts and are therefore discriminated against. Did you know that "minorities" are under-represented in the medical doctor ranks in California... because there are so many Asian medical doctors that the politically-correct police decided it was better to count them as "white" so they wouldn't distort the numbers? It's not about discrimination... it's about peoples' favorite causes, which have all the zealotry of religious fundamentalism.

My 2 cents.

Mike Sigman

mathewjgano
10-20-2009, 11:32 PM
Well, wait a minute.... many Asians who immigrated to the U.S. went through *centuries* of adverse conditions, slavery, and so forth. What about them? Yet statistically, Asians seem to excel by dint of hard work, and so forth...Give me a time estimate.
The specific amount of time isn't the point. Are you saying you don't think the protracted history of racism against different groups of people isn't partly to blame for the general state individuals may find themselves in? I couldn't say exactly why Asians statistically seem to have done better. Do those statistics differentiate between relatively new arrivals and those who have been here for those hundreds of years? Do they articulate anything about what kind of hardship those particular asians endured if any? Ultimately I don't think race should be a factor in accepting applicants to university or anything else, but I am willing to accept the possibility of arguments which address why one might consider it. I think if we're going to attempt to create laws that improve traditionally impoverished groups we need to base the criteria on the present state of individual need.

Should we discriminate against them, as in the original post, because we have favorite groups we want to pay back, and so on? In other words, when exactly do you figure to honestly start treating everyone equally and expecting the same work ethic from everyone?
Certainly not. Demand the same work ethic, absolutely, but find ways to provide adequate access to adequate resources. I'm also saying where we see people in need, let alone whole societies in need (or subcultures/whatever depending on how one wants to classify things), I think it is smart to invest in their wellfare for a variety of reasons.

Also there seems to be an undercurrent of "balancing the books". Shouldn't we look at the contributions and costs totally on all sides?

I'm all for looking at the costs and contributions on all sides and evaluating the proper response based on that. I couldn't say what exactly is the right thing to do. Give one man 10 bucks and he'll use it productively and perhaps learn charity; give it to another man and he learns how to pan-handle; we ought account for both eventualities.

It's not about discrimination... it's about peoples' favorite causes, which have all the zealotry of religious fundamentalism.
I tend to agree. People do like to feel good about themselves and many have little understanding of some of their favorite causes, let alone how they compare to others'.

Mike Sigman
10-21-2009, 09:09 AM
The specific amount of time isn't the point. Are you saying you don't think the protracted history of racism against different groups of people isn't partly to blame for the general state individuals may find themselves in? Well, I dunno. We have a history in the U.S. of people arriving here with terrible histories of persecution, poor living conditions, etc., and in one generation becoming quite successful. I.e., in one generation people can pull themselves up to the top of the society in the US. Are you suggesting that not all people can do this? I.e., not all people are as able as others? What's that going to do to the theory that everyone is equal? Are you trying to throw a wrench into a close-held belief that people are not like animals but are uniformly capable across the species??? ;)

I couldn't say exactly why Asians statistically seem to have done better. For whatever reason, it's a known fact that they do. Some groups tend to do better on tests (i.e., they figure out the right answers) than others. Should we discriminate against them or 'hold them back' for some politically correct reason which, in effect, discriminates against them and is a slap in the face response to all the hard work they did? Many liberals believe that this is exactly what should be done. Remember, it was liberal institutions that enacted Jewish quotas in our Ivy League colleges.
Do those statistics differentiate between relatively new arrivals and those who have been here for those hundreds of years? Do they articulate anything about what kind of hardship those particular asians endured if any? There used to be a lot of argument about that in attempts to rationalize it, but ethnic neutral testing seems to indicate that Asians in Asian and emigrants to other countries, not just the U.S. tend to score better than whites and other groups, with the exception of the Ashkenzis Jews. But that information is a digression from the topic at hand. You appear to be looking for a way to justify discriminating against the Asian guy who couldn't get into the college he wanted, despite having scored higher than others who got in.
Ultimately I don't think race should be a factor in accepting applicants to university or anything else, but I am willing to accept the possibility of arguments which address why one might consider it. I think if we're going to attempt to create laws that improve traditionally impoverished groups we need to base the criteria on the present state of individual need. And effort and ability. Already there are studies showing that letting people in with low admissions scores ultimately doesn't do them a lot of good if they can't compete, can't graduate, can't pass a bar-exam, medical boards, etc. Maybe if we just turned a blind eye to color and let the people who can succeed succeed in whatever field they choose to follow? I tend to agree. People do like to feel good about themselves and many have little understanding of some of their favorite causes, let alone how they compare to others'.

I think many people don't/can't reason about issues, but instead base their insistences on their beliefs. In some cases the belief is a religious one. In other cases it is a partisan belief which they hold strongly.... but that's just as much a religion as the other one, because they will *insist* that others follow their beliefs. ;)

YMMV

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
10-21-2009, 09:34 AM
True, this is normal for Democrat-controlled Chicago, but it's the sort "equality" stuff that a lot of crooked behavior hides behind:

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2009/10/university-of-illinois-richard-herman-resignation-clout-admissions-urbana-champaign.html

Ron Tisdale
10-21-2009, 10:06 AM
Hi Mike,

Lastly is the bit about "slavery". In the long view, slavery happened to many peoples, but it's long since gone in the U.S. However, it's still common in Africa, as it has been for centuries. Heck, even various American Indian groups kept slaves from other tribes, if it comes to that, but what about nowadays? Why is it that slavery is so horrible, yet almost no one tries to eradicate it from African countries where it still goes on? Almost not a peep. The topic dies in silence every time it's brought up (as I expect will happen this time... no one truly wants to crusade against slavery, do they?).

There are groups that DO try to eradicate it. I don't know how wide spread the knowledge of that is, but those groups and individuals are out there, and there are many people who want to crusade against it.

One of the worst parts of what goes on now, is that underage girls become slave concubines in many parts of western Africa. Quite frankly, it is despicable, and should be eradicated.

But that really is not the topic of this particular thread...the question here seems to be what actions, if any, are justified in the US to remediate the damage done to specific communities impacted by not only slavery, but years of legal discrimination afterward, up to and including the burning down of entire African American towns.

I'm not sure that comparisons between the misery of groups is really at the crux of the arguments. The question is, of the groups that remain disadvantaged today, what sorts of things can government and society do that make sense?

Personally, paying money to individuals doesn't seem like the way to go. Rewarding the Black middle class through the current Affirmative Action programs doesn't make much sense either.

That's why I agreed with an earlier poster about looking at programs to help specifically economically disadvantaged individuals obtain education.

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
10-21-2009, 12:19 PM
There are groups that DO try to eradicate it. I don't know how wide spread the knowledge of that is, but those groups and individuals are out there, and there are many people who want to crusade against it.
Sure, there are few small groups and some number of individuals who are interested in actually trying to stop slavery, but that percentage of the black population who is so outraged at slavery that they get involved in the effort is miniscule, wouldn't you agree? I.e., the horrific idea of "slavery" seems almost a rallying call than something most people are worried about. The "poor" and "economically disadvantaged"... I dunno. I feel sorry and want to help some percentage of those people and I do. People who got there by their own bad choices, decision not to work, to not finish school, etc., I don't feel particularly sorry for. If you put out a safety-net that rewards poor choices, you'll never correct the amount of non-productive people relying on the work of others. Should everyone in your dojo be given a shodan even though they didn't do the work? ;)

One of the worst parts of what goes on now, is that underage girls become slave concubines in many parts of western Africa. Quite frankly, it is despicable, and should be eradicated. I agree. Now how about that Asian guy who busted his butt but got passed over in favor of people who didn't put in the amount of hard work he did... or who weren't as smart? Is that a fair situation?

But that really is not the topic of this particular thread...the question here seems to be what actions, if any, are justified in the US to remediate the damage done to specific communities impacted by not only slavery, but years of legal discrimination afterward, up to and including the burning down of entire African American towns. "Remediate"? Shouldn't we do a full accounting of how much has been done to whom and how much it has cost society, etc., if we're going to talk about balancing the books? Should we do reparations to Asians who get passed over by Yugoslavians who get into colleges when they didn't do the work? How much reparations has already been done, BTW? It appears that you're talking about blacks getting some form of reparations. I think most blacks in this country are not really derived from blacks whose ancestors were slaves in America... should all blacks get reparations? Tricky topic. Maybe it would be worth developing on another thread. I'm more interested in the selective definition of what "discrimination" is. It seems to be a matter of whose ox is being gored, doesn't it? ;)
I'm not sure that comparisons between the misery of groups is really at the crux of the arguments. The question is, of the groups that remain disadvantaged today, what sorts of things can government and society do that make sense? What can they do themselves, those groups? Let's compare the performance of various groups to the same groups overseas and compare the success ratios in order to be sure what the problem is. In the case of the Asians (particularly Chinese and Japanese), their performance as a group seems to be uniformly high all over the world.
Personally, paying money to individuals doesn't seem like the way to go. Rewarding the Black middle class through the current Affirmative Action programs doesn't make much sense either.
There's no easy answer, Ron. I could argue either side, but there still wouldn't be an easy answer. In terms of humans as animals and looking at adaptive survival mechanisms, there's obviously going to be some differents between groups that evolved in different areas, each group as survival as possible for the given conditions. I think what the problem is is that there is an almost religious belief that "evolutions works but it doesn't really apply to humans". Until society works that out, there will always contention. BTW, what's interesting is how various countries handle this problem; not just the U.S.

FWIW

Mike

Marc Abrams
10-21-2009, 01:09 PM
Given the number of times I've seen the word "racist" on AikiWeb, I thought this would be a good thought-starter about the scope of what "racism", "racist", and "discrimination" mean. In my opinion, the use of personally-directed words of emotional-index is usually an attempt at coercion.

Note the remarks about the Jewish quotas that were in place until relatively recently in many "liberal" elite colleges. I remember reading about those quotas, but I never saw any uproar from the liberal side of the spectrum... and that's telling.

http://volokh.com/2009/10/17/asian-american-applicants-and-competing-rationales-for-affirmative-action-in-higher-education/

If nothing else, I'm glad to see that some more clinical discussion of the factual issues is beginning to surface.

Mike:

If you are not talking about IT stuff, you seem to be trying to instigate issues because of your clear distaste for liberals, democrats....

In this thread you would like to speak about discrimination and would like to hear more "clinical discussion of factual issues." Step away from your cozy, one-sided intellectual arguments that you proffer and share with us your PERSONAL experiences of discrimination. I would like to hear from you what you have suffered through; what it was like for you; and what you took away from it.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Mike Sigman
10-21-2009, 01:22 PM
If you are not talking about IT stuff, you seem to be trying to instigate issues because of your clear distaste for liberals, democrats....
So Marc.... why are you trying to change the topic to being about me personally? Do you have something against me personally, or do you think a good way to make an argument is to shift it to ad hominem? If you aren't interested in the subject at hand, that's fine. If you feel that you have to start a discussion about me personally, there are other ways to do it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Keith Larman
10-21-2009, 01:46 PM
I feel compelled to post on this. FWIW I spent a lot of years working for a company that developed, validated, etc. employment tests. The reason this is relevant is the original article -- stories of people with high scores being turned away in favor of others with lower scores. In the 17 years I worked there there was not one legal challenge to any test I was involved with. None. That was due to rigorous development methods, validation, but also making sure clients using the instruments were doing so in the correct context and didn't forget the "bigger picture".

We have no bigger picture here WRT to the claim here that Asians with higher scores are passed over for admission. Anecdotes are interesting, but you absolutely have to have a more fleshed out picture to scream discrimination.

The first point is that there are *always* many factors involved in selection. Testing is one. One of many. And usually the test is used as a sort of hurdle. What I mean is this -- it isn't that a person with the highest score is absolutely going to be accepted and then you just count backwards until all slots are filled. What it means is that when all the applications arrive the school will likely automatically send "we're sorry, but..." letters to all those below a certain cut score. Voila, the test has done its job -- they just saves hundreds if not thousands of hours dropping out all those who didn't really have a chance anyway. In other words, they didn't make it over the first hurdle. Period. But once you make it over that hurdle of acceptable score, well, then you start looking at all the other things. At this point the the people selecting are now looking at everything else. The scores are no longer all that relevant if at all.

To give an example of a guy I had experience with at a company who was using one of our tests... The guy was irate -- he got a perfect score on the test. So he figured that meant he should be hired right away. But people who had lower scores were taken over him. Why? Well, his interview didn't go well. He was abrasive and rude. Now considering the job was going to involve extensive projects involving collaborative work with a wide variety of people and personalities... that wasn't good.

So could he say the test said he was the most qualified for the job? Sure. If you *only* look at the scores -- absolutely. But no one only looks at the test scores because they're only one part of a much larger picture. If you look at all the job requirements he was actually very poorly suited. It was a shame because he was very talented in the particular area of technical work. But it doesn't matter how good you are if you can't play well with others, especially when playing well with others is also a necessary condition for the job.

Also there is the issue of discrimination (meaning differentiating performance) at very high score levels. The difference between a high score and a really high score isn't all that much usually in terms of predicting success in most any endeavor. Once you get up past a certain point the predictive ability of the test to discriminate among fine levels goes away. So there is a very real question is a score of, say, the 99th percentile on a standardized test is really all that much better than a score of the 90th. The reality is that they both did vastly better than those who scored at or below the 50th percentile. But should we expect that the 99th percentile person is really better than the 90th percentile guy? In terms of the test itself, sure. But in terms of the thing we're testing for, well, all the other factors will overwhelm any differences here. So in reality all those other factors necessary for success in life become vastly more important in order to predict success.

Anyway, I cringe whenever I hear people start to talk about test scores and notions of discrimination. I spent a lot of years doing studies on the very topic and it can be extremely difficult to pinpoint what is really going on because there are simply many more variables involved. Now of course this does not mean discrimination (in a negative sense) isn't happening. Just that it ain't always so "black and white". :)

So to the original posted article my first question would be "what are *all* the criterion used for admission?" A guy with a super high test scores but shows zero social skills, zero participation in clubs/etc., submits a sample of their writing that shows zero creativity or depth may very well be denied admission in favor of someone with lower test scores but with stellar records otherwise. His high score allowed him to make the initial cut. But once he made the initial cut those test scores may no longer be relevant since other factors come into play. We can discuss whether participation in social clubs, community activities, sports, etc. should be relevant. But those things are taken into account. As are references. As are writing samples. As are transcripts. As are things like "this person rose from horrible adversity and managed to get this far -- what a great choice." sorta deals.

We all knew the geeks in school with zero social skills. And zero street smarts. Often those super high scores would get them better access to higher education, but not always. It's more about getting the foot in the door initially, but after that, there are no guarantees. Especially when there is a huge number to choose from. Educational institutions now more than ever weight test scores as being only a minor part. Sure, you have to score well. But once you get over that hurdle there is still a very long race ahead. And some super high test scorers will have really poorly rounded applications.

So do you want the guy with a well rounded education and high test scores or the guy with no creativity or social skills who scored 5 percentile points higher?

I'll walk away now since the rest of the discussion is well outside my area...

Mike Sigman
10-21-2009, 02:17 PM
Good points, Keith. However, note that being hired for a job and meeting the various subjective qualifications and needs of an employer are different from qualifications to get into a supposed institute whose main purpose used to be educating people in various subjects. When you take a publicly-funded institute of learning and you allow a small group of people to decide non-legally-mandated criteria, sometimes whimsically, you begin to have a problem that is different from the recognized ability of an employer to pick whom he chooses.

In the case of the Asian guy who was passed over, I'd be interested in seeing if rigorous and objectively-defined criteria were used throughout the selection process. If not, then he was discriminated against. ;)

Good discussion.

Best.

Mike

Ron Tisdale
10-21-2009, 02:44 PM
It appears that you're talking about blacks getting some form of reparations.

I was enjoying reading your post...right up to the quote above.

I have never talked about that, and in this thread I specifically said that I do not agree with that. I know you a bit, so I'm sure you didn't mean it the way I take it...but this is the kind of thing that pisses me off in these conversations.

Let's state it again, for the record, once and for all...

I AM NOT IN FAVOR OF REPARATIONS FOR BLACKS AS A RESULT OF SLAVERY.

Now, does that make it any clearer?
Best,
Ron

Marc Abrams
10-21-2009, 02:45 PM
So Marc.... why are you trying to change the topic to being about me personally? Do you have something against me personally, or do you think a good way to make an argument is to shift it to ad hominem? If you aren't interested in the subject at hand, that's fine. If you feel that you have to start a discussion about me personally, there are other ways to do it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike:

I have absolutely nothing against you personally, since I have never met you personally. You know full well that I would love the opportunity to take a seminar taught by you.

I am not trying to change the topic but to shift the focus. The idea of discrimination is one thing. To have personally experienced it adds a layer of reality which is typically devoid in the "clinical discussions" of this topic. As an example, you talked about a "Jewish Quota" at some schools and the "lack of voiced opposition by the liberals." What do you really know of this topic? Do you have any real experience of what it means to be a Jew and confront many different levels and types of anti-semitism? Do you have any real experience of being a black man, woman, or child and facing racist words and actions? Maybe you have experience racism from being a caucasian studying Chinese martial arts?

As an ex-military man, you know full well that there is a difference when a person is talking about military issues and that person had or has mud on their boots (as opposed to no mud on the boots). You raised a topic that is far more than intellectual. Speaking from a convenient place full of facts and ideas is far different than talking about this issue from a place of knowledge.

I, personally, would love to know what your real knowledge is about this subject area so that we can have a discussion based upon real-life issues and implications, rather than ideas, derived from some facts, devoid of real-life experience.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Keith Larman
10-21-2009, 03:03 PM
Good points, Keith. However, note that being hired for a job and meeting the various subjective qualifications and needs of an employer are different from qualifications to get into a supposed institute whose main purpose used to be educating people in various subjects.

Don't worry, I'm fully aware as I also did some work for educational institutions in admissions test validation. But in this case the original story is not saying that other criteria weren't fair or appropriate -- nothing is mentioned at all. The person raising the stink in the original link is basically inferring that since he wasn't accepted (and others he knows with similarly high scores aren't accepted) then it must be race automatically as the reason why they weren't. The inference is that the high score *means* he should have been accepted. That is generally quite far from the truth and hasn't been the case for many years (decades actually). Having been in the field there were serious stinks raised about the predictive validity of the various tests used and *many* schools considered dropping them entirely for those very reasons. But as you might imagine those who worked very hard to get those same high scores (tutoring, test prep services, etc.) campaigned hard to keep them going.

I'm not arguing about how someone *should* get selected for publicly funded education -- that is a gigantic issue and it is remarkably difficult to do this well. It is a well studied area and it is fairly universally accepted that there really isn't any perfect solution. So most universities do their best to balance many different criterion. But my point above was that contrary to the implications of the original link those high test scores simply do not necessarily show discrimination of any sort.

What it might reveal is gross differences in cultural approaches to education, learning, etc. however. But it is just like on the mat -- there are those who've read all the books, can say all the right things, and can pronounce and spell very odd variation of technique names. None of that means they can actually hold their ground in a fight. Same is true of test scores and the educational institutions are intimately aware of that fact. As a result they have to rely on a whole lot of criterion. And most institutions are quite forthcoming about what they're looking for. So if you want to talk about discrimination in the selection processes of educational institutions that's probably a much more fruitful place to look.

Of course for guys like the fella in the original link it is vastly easier to just fall back on the "my scores were super high but they didn't take me -- therefore I'm being discriminated against". But isn't that the very sort of knee-jerk assertion of racism that we should be guarding against?

Ron Tisdale
10-21-2009, 03:24 PM
Nice posts Keith. But hey, you knew that! :)

Best,
Ron

Mike Sigman
10-21-2009, 05:32 PM
But in this case the original story is not saying that other criteria weren't fair or appropriate -- nothing is mentioned at all. The person raising the stink in the original link is basically inferring that since he wasn't accepted (and others he knows with similarly high scores aren't accepted) then it must be race automatically as the reason why they weren't. Oh, I think the article indicated a number of caveats, Keith; it was fairly dispassionate.

Schools have been taking more and more of a social-decisions role that goes far beyond the original question of in loco parentis. They're beginning to set many standards based on what they consider politically correct and forcing people to accept those standards. I don't want anyone to tell me I should go to Chapel on Sundays and I don't want someone to tell me that I must take a mandatory course in creationism... but I don't want other standards foisted on me with the idea that "this is the correct approach to life" when the main function of an institute of higher education is basically education, not social judgement.

As an example of the point I'd make, if a private (or public, in many cases) employer is going to hire a mathematician, they also need to consider how that employee will fit into the workplace and other factors that can affect the business's success. I say that, but note at the same time that the government has been interfering in the criteria a private business uses, sometimes doing bizarre things like insisting a church organization must hire a cross-dressing person or otherwise it will be "discrimination". ;)

A public or publicly-funded education institute that is going to train a mathematician is not a business that is attempting to successfully wrangle a profit. They are using taxpayer dollars with the understanding that they are going to produce as skilled mathematicians as they can. The problem is that these "additional criteria", ones that are not publicly approved or legally mandated, are often being enforced at the whim of a very small number of people who happen to be in power on campuses. It's one thing to set enrollment criteria, but often secretive selection processes that seek to fulfill often not-open-to-the-public goals, is something else entirely. If the tests are a requirement and the requirements are open to public scrutiny and debate that's fine. In the case of the Asian student, though, you're suggesting that vague and obviously undefined (for the student and the public) criteria may be acceptable. I don't agree with that. Suppose they decide that the Asian isn't Christian enough, but they obscure that ... well, you see my point.

If nothing else, just on the face of it, the Asian was discriminated against on the basis of other test scores. If there are other factors, but you don't know what they are, then I think you should be publicly objecting until the school(s) begin divulging their subjective criteria, as long as they're getting public funds. Wouldn't you agree?

Best.

Mike

mathewjgano
10-21-2009, 06:35 PM
Well, I dunno. We have a history in the U.S. of people arriving here with terrible histories of persecution, poor living conditions, etc., and in one generation becoming quite successful. I.e., in one generation people can pull themselves up to the top of the society in the US. Are you suggesting that not all people can do this? I.e., not all people are as able as others? What's that going to do to the theory that everyone is equal? Are you trying to throw a wrench into a close-held belief that people are not like animals but are uniformly capable across the species??? ;)
...You appear to be looking for a way to justify discriminating against the Asian guy who couldn't get into the college he wanted, despite having scored higher than others who got in.
evileyes :D While I will happily make the claim that not everyone is uniformly capable in any given task and that we are indeed "just animals" (neurotic monkeys, to be exact), I'm not trying to justify what happened to the students described in the article (though I am looking to explore why someone might begin to). I'm suggesting why I think Affirmative Action acts as it does and what aspects of it I think are valid or may hold potential merit.
I've primarily described (or tried to) the issue of accessability based on economic situation, trying to partly rationalize aspects of AA by describing the influence of history (i.e. the result of which seems to be a lasting set of negative behaviors in certain communities...which, to be clear, have nothing to do with race). I am suggesting that circumstance may play a bigger role than many people like to believe and that where negative influences seem to be found, it is probably a good idea to apply positive influence, which requires resources of some kind. Ultimately I believe in healing a wound and not just putting band-aids over it, but I recognize the occasional need for band-aids, a temporary solution designed to give momentary slack on a strained system. So I'm also not entirely opposed to idea that some folks in a large society may need to compromise so that other folks might get their foot in the proverbial door.


I think many people don't/can't reason about issues, but instead base their insistences on their beliefs. In some cases the belief is a religious one. In other cases it is a partisan belief which they hold strongly.... but that's just as much a religion as the other one, because they will *insist* that others follow their beliefs.
:D I believe you're correct here. People do have a funny way of cherry-picking what's "important," and then imposing that view on others. The Tyranny of the Should is alive and well.

Keith Larman
10-21-2009, 06:36 PM
But it just isn't that simple, Mike. Universities look at a whole range of things and each one carries some degree of weight. I understand what you're saying about "secret" criterion and things like that, but my experience was there simply weren't 'secret' criterion. It was back in 78 that the Supreme court clarified quite a few things with the Bakke decision. It ruled that schools *could* use race as a criteria but they couldn't use fixed quotas. This introduced the whole notion of the so-called "wholistic review" which is really what most should be discussing.

But in the end, what really happens in my experience is that the selection committee has any number of people who are "no-brainer" selections. High scoring, well rounded, good applications, good references (rich parents?), etc. These are the people all of us would likely agree upon if we were sitting around a table. Then after that you have those who are no-brainers on the other side. Most are excluded (didn't clear the hurdle) by the test. But there are usually a few more. Those can include the sort of rude, abrasive, nasty guy I used as an example. Universities do have to consider all sorts of other things, many of which are at best nebulous attributes. Leadership qualities. Positive attitude. Etc. And the biases of the selection committee will *necessarily* be involved here.

So it isn't so much that it is "secret" as much as it is really hard to define no matter how hard you try. And that problem will not go away regardless.

Mike, I consider you a great guy, we've met, and I'm sure we agree on a ton of things. I respect your opinions as well even if I may not agree with all of them just like any two people normally will. I'm sure we could have beers and be great friends. But if we sat down in a room with 20 diverse people but had to select only 3 we would disagree on at least one selection. Maybe I don't want that one Asian guy with the super high scores (I'll be the bad guy this time -- ;) ) because I found his writing sample trite. Maybe I felt his interview showed a "book smart" kid with attitude but no real creative spark or spirit. You, however, maybe see that with his super high scores he would be perfect for that last spot in the Engineering School. So we disagree. Honestly, of the 20 people we are choosing from *all* of them are qualified. All of them. They couldn't have gotten that far if they weren't. What's left is the selection committee's views on society, culture, the role of education, and maybe even ideas as to likelihood of success due to different predictive factors of personality. We can and will disagree. We will all disagree. But that *is* what these decisions end up riding on.

Now I'm with you 110% if we find out that they're simply picking or excluding one group because "those people make good students". Nah, we're going to have better reasons than that. But in the end the final decisions are usually involving very difficult to quantify aspects.

Also, as a final observation, you could read the young man's article in a couple different ways. One experience I had with testing was doing a large scale testing at a major University for programming aptitude and proficiency. It was interesting because we had the kids who were about to graduate with degrees in comp sci. We had their grades. And we gave them a basic aptitude for programming test and a proficiency test. We also had "biodata" that was fairly comprehensive. In this particular study I found it very interesting that the Asian kids showed the highest grades as a mean score. On the proficiency test (which was designed to measure application of programming skills to actual problems found in work environments) the asian kids scored above average but not in the top. And on the aptitude test they scored just a hair higher than average.

So what did it show? Based on reported work/study habits we had Asian kids who, on the average, spent more than 20-30% more time studying (cultural influences, etc.). That showed up very strongly in their grades. And it appeared to help them do better on developing proficiency during the course of their education as shown by the proficiency test (mastery of the programming language being used -- C language at that time). But their aptitude was really not all that different although it was slightly higher (and the difference was statistically significant if I remember correctly).

Now here's the kicker. We tracked job ratings once they were hired (the project was a joint project of the college and a local large employer). Ultimately the strongest predictor of success was the aptitude test. The grades were the lowest. The proficiency test was better than grades, but still not terribly strong. The aptitude test was the strongest.

So what does that mean in this case? Well, someone needs to develop an "aptitude for college" test. Which ain't gonna happen.

None of this would be surprising to anyone doing selection. After a certain point you've tested all you can test. You've looked at all the grades you can look at. And you're still left with difficult decisions. And since the courts have ruled that ethnicity can be a valid criterion (in terms of things like ensuring a diverse student body but not in terms of quotas), it is one of those things still considered. In the end it is all the "soft stuff" that is what those selection committees use. And there really is no other way. If they were to go via test scores only (the "objective" measure) the quality of selection would go down dramatically.

There are limits to testing. And selection for universities as well as jobs is an art once you get past the limits of the science. And people will always differ on the details. But unless you have a handful of crusty Neanderthals as your selection committee they are usually doing their best to balance a huge number of very fuzzy things.

Now all this said I am absolutely sure there are some colleges doing absolutely stupid things. I was always amazed at how incredibly dumb some of these people could be with this stuff. Some would use test scores as absolute measures of value for these kids, totally ignoring every study showing that the measures ultimately were quite limited in their predictive ability. There are good uses and there are bad uses. The difficulty is coming up with a subtle, nuanced and fair system that ensures improvement of the student body. No school wants people who are going to fail, but some will. No school wants students who don't add anything to the collect, but they get them anyway.

And let me also point out that people sue all the time over this stuff. And it is extremely rare for anything to get very far because these schools know they are being scrutinized and they cannot have even a hint of bias or discrimination.

But all this is vastly more than I wanted to get into. I left that world behind a while back. Y'all have a great day as I'm going to go ship out a sword, watch my daughter's soccer practice, then spend the evening polishing a really magnificent naginata. I'm happy to be out of research. Happy that I don't have to pussy foot around any more with some of these issues. I remember running a very large study right when the "Bell Curve" came out years ago. Argh, what a pain in the butt time to be in industrial psych specializing in testing...

Mike Sigman
10-21-2009, 06:42 PM
:D I believe you're correct here. People do have a funny way of cherry-picking what's "important," and then imposing that view on others. The Tyranny of the Should is alive and well.This is my whole point. If you don't truly just have a level starting-gate and you start making obstacles in the course that only affect certain competitors, it's not "equal". It's discrimination.

Take a look at comparative scores of Asians worldwide and you'll see that proportionally, in regard to educational achievement (which isn't *all* achievements, by any means) they do better statistically. Maybe that's just the way they evolved in regard to some measures of intelligence, but who knows? My problem comes when people try to pooh-pooh their documented achievements and pretend that it just isn't so and that given umpteen trillion dollars, all ethnic groups will perform exactly the same. That's when we get into the scarey world of people who pretend to believe in evolution but who really don't, if you see my point. The trick is to find an amenable way for all things to work out... but one that doesn't involve BS'ing about reality. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Keith Larman
10-21-2009, 06:43 PM
Oh, man, I get on a rip and never answer the question...

If a school is getting public funding I see no problem with requiring some degree of transparency in their selection methods. No worries there. The problem they run into, however, is that it is very easy to nitpick these things as they are necessarily less than objective. One's political views, social views, etc. become relevant to why someone might be picked. And if you look over the threads here I see lots of people I like and respect disagreeing about a lot of things. So being more transparent isn't going to solve anything for some although I think they should be transparent. The real problem is that most think it should be cut and dried who gets selected and why. If it were that easy honestly we wouldn't be having this conversation at all -- it *would* be easy so it would never be an issue. Unfortunately the world is a lot fuzzier than that. And when you're trying to pick among a group who are all eminently qualified, some eminently qualified people won't be picked.

FWIW way back when I was accepted to one Ivy League School with very high standards but was rejected by another. I was also rejected by Duke University (eh?) but was accepted at Occidental College (a small liberal arts college in Southern California).

When there's only 500 slots but 5000 applicants, qualified people will be rejected. Even ones with perfect SAT scores...

Mike Sigman
10-21-2009, 06:54 PM
But it just isn't that simple, Mike. Universities look at a whole range of things and each one carries some degree of weight. I understand what you're saying about "secret" criterion and things like that, but my experience was there simply weren't 'secret' criterion. Actually, you may need to research a lot of articles, some of which have made the news, Keith. There are certainly secret criteria and some have been challenged in court because they attempt to circumvent federal law. Universities do have to consider all sorts of other things, many of which are at best nebulous attributes. Leadership qualities. Positive attitude. Etc. And the biases of the selection committee will *necessarily* be involved here. Nebulous but subject criteria? Ones that are not legally mandated, for instance? Can you give an example? As I said, you may be behind the curve on this one. There are more recent decisions than what you mentioned.
Mike, I consider you a great guy, we've met, and I'm sure we agree on a ton of things. I respect your opinions as well even if I may not agree with all of them just like any two people normally will. I'm sure we could have beers and be great friends. But if we sat down in a room with 20 diverse people but had to select only 3 we would disagree on at least one selection. Maybe I don't want that one Asian guy with the super high scores (I'll be the bad guy this time -- ;) ) because I found his writing sample trite. Maybe I felt his interview showed a "book smart" kid with attitude but no real creative spark or spirit. You, however, maybe see that with his super high scores he would be perfect for that last spot in the Engineering School. So we disagree. Honestly, of the 20 people we are choosing from *all* of them are qualified. All of them. They couldn't have gotten that far if they weren't. What's left is the selection committee's views on society, culture, the role of education, and maybe even ideas as to likelihood of success due to different predictive factors of personality. We can and will disagree. We will all disagree. But that *is* what these decisions end up riding on. Ummmmm.... I'd prefer that arguments not introduce the "you" and "we" aspect, Keith, although I see that you didn't let it get out of hand. Ultimately, think of it as hiring someone who can take money from a customer and return change... no matter what the personality, many businesses can devolve to such a simple description. If, ultimately, you want a successful business, you need to hire the guy who can take the money and return the correct change. All the stuff about the personality is fine, but it's secondary. If the world's best money-taker is not the goal, but the guy who can take some money but makes mistakes with the change is hired, ultimately the business can fail. Essentially, the argument you're making is that it's OK for the business to fail as long as subjective (but undefined) criteria are met. Read the original article and tell me what the undefined criteria art. Oh... you can't? Again I ask... doesn't it bother you that you don't know what the undefined criteria are before you begin defending them????

One experience I had....[snip] OK, but I don't want the discussion to hinge upon your personal anecdotes, Keith... even as much as I like you. ;)

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
10-22-2009, 12:49 PM
Again... this is what really happens, despite all the high-sounding excuses for why they're doing it in the first place:

http://www.discriminations.us/2009/10/one_more_victim_of_illinois_pr.html

Marc Abrams
10-22-2009, 01:21 PM
OK, but I don't want the discussion to hinge upon your personal anecdotes, Keith... even as much as I like you. ;)

Best.

Mike

Mike:

therein lies the problem. Unless you bring the proverbial mud on your boots to this discussion, all you seem to bring to the table are some ideas, thoughts.... without the real human implications. I think that when can begin to discuss real human implications on this subject area, people's opinions as to why they support and do not support certain measures provide the intangibles that are really necessary when handling a topic such as this.

Keith has shared a real life experience, David Orange has talked openly about his father's role in segregation and how that has effected his perceptions. Ron has shared some of his life experiences. I am more than willing to share my own as well. These intangibles, that you want to somehow avoid, take this topic into the real of real human understanding an not simply some idle intellectual pursuit.

Marc Abrams

Mike Sigman
10-22-2009, 01:39 PM
Mike:

therein lies the problem. Unless you bring the proverbial mud on your boots to this discussion, all you seem to bring to the table are some ideas, thoughts.... without the real human implications. I think that when can begin to discuss real human implications on this subject area, people's opinions as to why they support and do not support certain measures provide the intangibles that are really necessary when handling a topic such as this.

Keith has shared a real life experience, David Orange has talked openly about his father's role in segregation and how that has effected his perceptions. Ron has shared some of his life experiences. I am more than willing to share my own as well. These intangibles, that you want to somehow avoid, take this topic into the real of real human understanding an not simply some idle intellectual pursuit.

Marc AbramsMarc, there's a very good reason why issues should be debated/discussed on the merits and personality being left out of it. The topic was "discrimination", not "my personal feelings and anecdotal experiences with discrimination" (feel free to start your own thread).

Think of it like this: A number of posts about internal strength were attempted to be started a few years back. A number of Aikidoists attempted to block or trivialize those discussions by shifting the subject to me personally or other people personally, trivializing, denigrating, and so on. I've actually seen about 3 people, in recent times, apologize for some of those unnecessary shifts of internal strength mechanics into personal diatribe.

The problem was that the discussion of an issue was converted into a discussion about people and then some peoples' opinions about people, and so forth. It's a boringly well-known tactic (and considered low-class) to try to shift an issue discussion into a discussion of individuals, etc. I'm assuming you've never been trained in debate tactics or you'd know this very common fact. It's almost offensive to me to be engaged in a discussion and have someone try to wreck the discussion by deliberately shifting from the issue "to the man". "To the man" shifting of an argument is called "ad hominem". For some reason you insist to me that I should go along with your desire to do it.

Marc, I enjoy discussions of issues and the broad range of facts that can then be pointed to. Personal anecdotes are almost meaningless in any worthwhile discussion. Next thing you'll be asking me to stand up and "witness for Jesus" and tell you what he's meant to me, etc.... that's about the same way I look at your asking me to "witness for discrimination", etc., personally. Let's stick to the issues, please.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
10-22-2009, 01:42 PM
Unless you bring the proverbial mud on your boots to this discussion, all you seem to bring to the table are some ideas, thoughts. That one's really offensive, Marc. Without knowing any of my personal history, you're saying that my comments are worthless unless I first state my credentials to talk? I think that it's better if you allow me to express my opinions without implying they're worthless unless they meet your criteria.

Mike Sigman

C. David Henderson
10-22-2009, 02:33 PM
Sticking with questions about facts, then:

I.e., in one generation people can pull themselves up to the top of the society in the US.

Who do you have in mind, and how high is the "top?"

When they arrived here, how virulent and long-lasting were the negative beliefs of the existing society towards this group of fast-risers? (For example, Chinese and Irish immigrants both faced hostility and discrimination -- the Chinese for much longer.)

What legal and/or social institutions arose around these beliefs that institutionalized discrimination against these "fast-risers?" (Such as immigration laws, laws relating to owning property or running businesses, segregated and/or poorly funded schools, hospitals, and other institutions, the right to vote, slavery, ....)

Before comparing these situations, doesn't it matter whether these situations are fairly comparable?

Are you trying to throw a wrench into a close-held belief that people are not like animals but are uniformly capable across the species??? ;)

Do you have information as to what, say, Jefferson meant by "created equal?" Equal in capacity, for example, as opposed to "equal" according to principles of "natural law?"

There used to be a lot of argument about that in attempts to rationalize it, but ethnic neutral testing seems to indicate that Asians in Asian and emigrants to other countries, not just the U.S. tend to score better than whites and other groups, with the exception of the Ashkenzis Jews.

Citations? I'm particularly interested in the idea that we've developed "ethnic[-]neutral testing," and would like to know what basis existed to conclude the testing was neutral. Is there some peer-reviewed research so concluding? You know the old saying -- GIGO.

I think most blacks in this country are not really derived from blacks whose ancestors were slaves in America...

That's a fairly startling assertion to me -- what is it based on?

Respectfully,

cdh

Mike Sigman
10-22-2009, 02:42 PM
Sorry, David. As I indicated, I prefer not to discuss things with you.

Mike Sigman

David Orange
10-22-2009, 02:43 PM
I don't want the discussion to hinge upon your personal anecdotes, Keith... even as much as I like you. ;)

But Keith's statement was not of his "personal" experience but of his professional experience directly related to the core of the thread: academic testing for college admissions.

Attempting to classify his professional experience as a personal anecdote is...ummmm....how to say it? Dis.... ummm....dis-something.....isn't it?

It really weakens your argument with anyone who's honestly paying attention.

David

C. David Henderson
10-22-2009, 02:46 PM
Sorry, David. As I indicated, I prefer not to discuss things with you.

Mike Sigman

That's certainly your privilege. But it confuses me when you responded to what I said on another thread. It feels tactical.

Mike Sigman
10-22-2009, 02:51 PM
But Keith's statement was not of his "personal" experience but of his professional experience directly related to the core of the thread: academic testing for college admissions.

Attempting to classify his professional experience as a personal anecdote is...ummmm....how to say it? Dis.... ummm....dis-something.....isn't it?

It really weakens your argument with anyone who's honestly paying attention.
I gotta admit... that's one of the funniest posts that I've read in a while, David. So a personal anecdote is not a personal anecdote if it's told about something that happened to Keith during his working hours? :D

David Orange
10-22-2009, 03:39 PM
I gotta admit... that's one of the funniest posts that I've read in a while, David. So a personal anecdote is not a personal anecdote if it's told about something that happened to Keith during his working hours? :D

If he had your job and commented on some experience of discrimination in academic admissions testing, it would be a personal anecdote. But to classify an example of his professional experience in that field as a personal anecdote is really to grab at straws.

Marc Abrams
10-22-2009, 03:58 PM
That one's really offensive, Marc. Without knowing any of my personal history, you're saying that my comments are worthless unless I first state my credentials to talk? I think that it's better if you allow me to express my opinions without implying they're worthless unless they meet your criteria.

Mike Sigman

Mike:

You are reading too much into my statement. I am talking about how real-life impacts your thoughts, ideas, opinions. That is very different than speaking about you as a person. I am not saying that what you are saying is worthless, but to know what your life experiences leads you to take your stated positions is important information.

It is one thing to talk about the impact of discrimination and what should and should not be done about it. Many people talk about the American black community as being so far removed from the slavery days. So few of those people have studied the impact of broken families, let alone the impact of broken families over multiple generations. It becomes so intellectually lazy to point out the time elapsed without looking at the continuity of the impact which still affects some communities today.

In my work with the children of a certain "inner city" black community, EVERY child that I saw, had witnessed a person being killed. Hardly any of them had intact family structures for any appreciable period of time. The intellectual facts fall far short of the real impact of life events that can continue to impact a community for many generations.

I worked with an attorney in Canada where we created a novel approach in suing the Canadian government for past abuses to a First Nation community. We added a pain & suffering component to the suit. When I went through that communities records and mapped the impact of the abuse to that community through multiple generations, I was frankly floored. None of us really could appreciate the severity of the damage done to the psyche and psychological functioning of the people within the community. The Canadian government was smart to settle that suit. Had that information been well publicized, the results can be easily imagined.

These are some real-life impacts from discrimination and the actions that were inflicted upon people. The really sad thing is that no amount of money can provide restitution for damage done. We, as a society, do not really want to acknowledge the depths of the damage that we can inflicted upon one another. We certainly do not want to try and "right" what cannot really be righted.

I have close family friends who were in concentration camps in Nazi Germany. One night, they had an interesting discussion with another friends who refused to buy a German car. This is another area where there can never be justice, nor can there be absolute rights and wrongs about what is right to do today.

I am sorry that you would like to somehow approach this subject from the convenient place similar to a debating club. The "mud on the boots" comment struck you hard because of your history. Your real-life experiences are very pertinent and are really what make a discussion about certain real-life topics necessary. The real gains, losses and understandings of real-life issues go beyond ideas and thoughts that have been conveniently sterilized from reality. People have used the idea of reparation. When you have been tortured, watched your family put to death, taken from your parents as a child, physically abused, sexually abused... there is no reparation, there is no going back, there are no absolutes in how to move forward in life. When you actually work to heal these damaged psyche's, the utter and profound depths of the damage that can go on for generations touches the depths of your soul.

Something as seemingly simple as admissions into a college, can become sterile unless looked through the imperfect, subjective "eyes" of the admissions office in what community they are trying to create and why. A test score is simply a test score. Understanding what led to that test score provides ample information. An IQ of 100 in an upper class community is not the same thing as an IQ of 100 in an inner city environment. There is the indefinable impact of allowing people from disenfranchised communities to create brighter futures. It may not seem "right" in an absolute sense. It is kind of like the mud that gets on some people's boots. For some mud, you would never curse the mud on somebody else. Some have taken that mud and transformed their lives in ways that go beyond our ability to understand in a purely intellectual manner.

This is not an IT discussion. If you want to try and carry on a debate about subjects that lose any sense of reality by treating them as sterile ideas, then I will continue to probe you in an attempt to get you to discuss your ideas, suggestions, .... from a place that we can understand within the complex realm of real-life human experience.

Marc Abrams

Mike Sigman
10-22-2009, 04:16 PM
Mike:

You are reading too much into my statement. I am talking about how real-life impacts your thoughts, ideas, opinions. That is very different than speaking about you as a person. I am not saying that what you are saying is worthless, but to know what your life experiences leads you to take your stated positions is important information.

It is one thing to talk about the impact of discrimination and what should and should not be done about it. Many people talk about the American black community as being so far removed from the slavery days. So few of those people have studied the impact of broken families, let alone the impact of broken families over multiple generations. It becomes so intellectually lazy to point out the time elapsed without looking at the continuity of the impact which still affects some communities today.

In my work with the children of a certain "inner city" black community, EVERY child that I saw, had witnessed a person being killed. Hardly any of them had intact family structures for any appreciable period of time. The intellectual facts fall far short of the real impact of life events that can continue to impact a community for many generations.

I worked with an attorney in Canada where we created a novel approach in suing the Canadian government for past abuses to a First Nation community. We added a pain & suffering component to the suit. When I went through that communities records and mapped the impact of the abuse to that community through multiple generations, I was frankly floored. None of us really could appreciate the severity of the damage done to the psyche and psychological functioning of the people within the community. The Canadian government was smart to settle that suit. Had that information been well publicized, the results can be easily imagined.

These are some real-life impacts from discrimination and the actions that were inflicted upon people. The really sad thing is that no amount of money can provide restitution for damage done. We, as a society, do not really want to acknowledge the depths of the damage that we can inflicted upon one another. We certainly do not want to try and "right" what cannot really be righted.

I have close family friends who were in concentration camps in Nazi Germany. One night, they had an interesting discussion with another friends who refused to buy a German car. This is another area where there can never be justice, nor can there be absolute rights and wrongs about what is right to do today.

I am sorry that you would like to somehow approach this subject from the convenient place similar to a debating club. The "mud on the boots" comment struck you hard because of your history. Your real-life experiences are very pertinent and are really what make a discussion about certain real-life topics necessary. The real gains, losses and understandings of real-life issues go beyond ideas and thoughts that have been conveniently sterilized from reality. People have used the idea of reparation. When you have been tortured, watched your family put to death, taken from your parents as a child, physically abused, sexually abused... there is no reparation, there is no going back, there are no absolutes in how to move forward in life. When you actually work to heal these damaged psyche's, the utter and profound depths of the damage that can go on for generations touches the depths of your soul.

Something as seemingly simple as admissions into a college, can become sterile unless looked through the imperfect, subjective "eyes" of the admissions office in what community they are trying to create and why. A test score is simply a test score. Understanding what led to that test score provides ample information. An IQ of 100 in an upper class community is not the same thing as an IQ of 100 in an inner city environment. There is the indefinable impact of allowing people from disenfranchised communities to create brighter futures. It may not seem "right" in an absolute sense. It is kind of like the mud that gets on some people's boots. For some mud, you would never curse the mud on somebody else. Some have taken that mud and transformed their lives in ways that go beyond our ability to understand in a purely intellectual manner.

This is not an IT discussion. If you want to try and carry on a debate about subjects that lose any sense of reality by treating them as sterile ideas, then I will continue to probe you in an attempt to get you to discuss your ideas, suggestions, .... from a place that we can understand within the complex realm of real-life human experience.

Marc AbramsWhy infer anything negative about me personally or my ability to understand the topic/article in the O.P., Marc? Why do you keep adding assumptions about me personally into the discussion? Are you also assuming that the Asian guy didn't have enough personal experience in "discrimination" that he also shouldn't be involved in the discussion? Perhaps because you feel he doesn't have your personal outlook, experience and opinions? I think you're better off with a sterile discussion than having a discussion that is contaminated by all the subjective tangents that you're insisting should be in it.

And you're still trying to throw me personally into the discussion, after several indications from me that I object to a shift away from the issue to ad hominem remarks. It might be time to drop the insistence that I'm the issue.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
10-22-2009, 04:22 PM
I have close family friends who were in concentration camps in Nazi Germany. One night, they had an interesting discussion with another friends who refused to buy a German car. This is another area where there can never be justice, nor can there be absolute rights and wrongs about what is right to do today. Do all Jews not buy German cars, then? How many years after WWII would you expect a significant number of Jews to hold a grudge against Germans and not buy German cars? Fifty years? 100 years? 150 years? When would be a good time to move on? Ever? Never?
I am sorry that you would like to somehow approach this subject from the convenient place similar to a debating club. The "mud on the boots" comment struck you hard because of your history. Marc, I'm going to take that one personally, too. What is my history that you know it and judge it and make public comment upon it?

Mike Sigman

Marc Abrams
10-22-2009, 04:56 PM
Do all Jews not buy German cars, then? How many years after WWII would you expect a significant number of Jews to hold a grudge against Germans and not buy German cars? Fifty years? 100 years? 150 years? When would be a good time to move on? Ever? Never? Marc, I'm going to take that one personally, too. What is my history that you know it and judge it and make public comment upon it?

Mike Sigman

Mike:

I own an Audi and a Porsche. A rabbi whom I respect, has been talking about Jews needing to create a positive identity beyond the WWII. Once again, there is no absolute. You might find it easy to find a convenient number of years or dollars if we only look at the issue from an intellectual perspective. There is no right or wrong answer to that. I know survivors and survivor families who are doing well. I have worked to help others whose second generation bears the scars.

German Jews had mostly intact, multi-generational family structures which can be a huge help. Then again, look at the Hasidic community. The strong family structure has not exactly been all that helpful in many areas. We know that multi-generational family structures typically help. Imagine the added impact when there is no stable family structure?

If you are Jewish, I would assume that you do take this example personally. Heck, 1/2 of one side of my family was wiped out. What is so wrong with dealing with issues at a personal level. If I am not mistaken, you are a Vietnam vet.. If I am correct, that experience is personal and has helped to shape who you are. Nothing wrong with what has made us who we are, whether negative or positive. It certainly places a lot of who we are and what we believe in a perspective that goes beyond what sterile ideas can ever convey.

You raise topics that raise heckles in people and then you seek to keep the topic at an "intellectual" level. What should we call this process? If you want to discuss issues that involve real-life experiences (thoughts, feelings, behaviors...) it seems disingenuous for you to selectively choose only one part of the human experience that you would like to deal with when "discussing" these topics. Ivory tower discussions are simply that. Maybe you should then raise topics that can easily remain there?

Marc Abrams

Mike Sigman
10-22-2009, 05:27 PM
What is so wrong with dealing with issues at a personal level. It's my inclination to deal with many issues at a personal level, Marc. Very little stands between my doing just that except my reason, personal control, and the law. You appear to want to selectively deal with some issues emotionally and subjectively. The discrimination against the Asian guy was official and it was sanctioned. One of the main tenets of the Constitution is equal treatment under the law. I think a "subjective decision" was indeed made about the Asian guy and nothing has been shown that indicates otherwise. I asked before.... what were the criteria that were used in the decision? You don't know.

You try to shift the topic to other things, apparently because you think there are adequate subjective reasons to discriminate against some people. That was the reasoning of the Nazis, too, if you recall. Remember that the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) was what we would call an ultra-liberal party, nowadays. They were all for organic foods and everything. The point, which you brought up, was that in their idea there were subjective criteria which allowed them to treat different people in different ways. We see how that worked out. Now history is returning.

Arbeit macht frei, na ja? Depends on who decides which people get free and which people get into universities and other subjective criteria that are "for the greater good".
If I am not mistaken, you are a Vietnam vet.. If I am correct, that experience is personal and has helped to shape who you are. You really don't listen, do you? You raise topics that raise heckles in people and then you seek to keep the topic at an "intellectual" level. What should we call this process? If you want to discuss issues that involve real-life experiences (thoughts, feelings, behaviors...) it seems disingenuous for you to selectively choose only one part of the human experience that you would like to deal with when "discussing" these topics. Ivory tower discussions are simply that. Maybe you should then raise topics that can easily remain there?
Pooh. I enjoy debate. I've listened to droning religious types who see everything in terms of their beliefs (liberalism is also a belief system, just as whimsical) and I've tossed out various ideas that highlight hypocrisy. I'm opposed to hypocrisy from either side and I have fun with it. Your oblique assumption that you represent the norm and topics I mention raise "heckles" (I'm assuming you mean "hackles") smacks a little of the sort of belief systems I like to prod in the middle of a good discussion.

One of the interesting aspects I note is that no one seems to really care about the Asian guy's plight, his personal experiences, and so on. Not a peep. The implication seems to be that Asians can't be discriminated against, in the light of "the greater good". The Greater Good was the rationale behind Hitler's transformations of Germany, too (note that you brought up the Hitler topic, BTW).

If there are cloaked subjective reasons for discriminating against Asians, and that's OK, why not cloaked subjective reasons for discriminating against anyone we have no respect for? But anyway, this has given me some food for thought. I think I see why a certain curious phenomenon goes on nowadays that previously made no sense to me. I'll look at it in another thread soon.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Keith Larman
10-22-2009, 08:30 PM
I gotta admit... that's one of the funniest posts that I've read in a while, David. So a personal anecdote is not a personal anecdote if it's told about something that happened to Keith during his working hours? :D

Gotta say this is the first time anyone has waved away my professional experience as lead researcher on a number of large scale studies so lightly. No, I didn't provide references, but would you like me to? Heck, you might even be able to find fragments of my past on google. Try googling my name and Psychometrics. My title was technical director. I ran large scale studies involving a number of educational institutions and companies like Fedex, GTE data services, Sprint, governmental agencies, and others. We even reworked, pilot tested, validated, etc. the ASVAB for the military. I was interviewed any number of times by print media, but most of those were before the Internet was so pervasive so I'm not sure what you will find. And most were in rather geeky publications.

I've probably still got copies of many of the studies I performed. And some of the summary data appears in information packages the company provided to clients.

And Mike, you may be surprised to find out I agree with you on Asian tending to score higher on standardized tests. That's not exactly news in the testing field. Neither is the fact that minority groups often score lower even on tests without any sort of "racial bias". Why these things happen are interesting discussion, but they tend to explode rather quickly.

You posted a bloggish entry of a guy asserting something of interest to me. I found it an interesting topic. Yes, I read it. Closely. I agree completely that so-called "soft" criterion should be looked at. Nepotism, racism, cronyism, etc. are all wrong. But the author looked at discrepancies of SAT scores. Good god, talk about a red flag for anyone in the testing field. I'll try to stick to well documented (i.e., easy to look up yourself) values for this. The SAT, according to published studies, has a correlation reported ranging from .30 to .38. That ain't all that impressive. But you may wish to consider my opinion merely an uninformed opinion. Okay, a pearson product moment correlation of .38 (we'll assume the highest validity to give them the benefit of the doubt) works out to accounting for 14.44 percent of variation of the predicted variable (end of Freshman Year Grades). To compute this yourself look up pearson product moment correlation and look for variation. Or you could take my word for it that all you have to do is square the pearson. Either way... So, over 85% of the variation is not accounted for. And the thing being predicted is end of freshman year grades. So we need to ask how stellar that is as a metric of success. Not bad, I suppose, but when you can only account for under 15% of the variation...

Next point would be how tests like these are used for selection. Tests like these tend to be used as coarse cut scores because they are simply not very good predictors in the first place. So selection criterion *other than* the test is what is used to pick among those who pass the first hurdle.

FWIW a bunch of years ago (and no, I'm not going to dig up references for you) I was asked to look at data for Caltech by a local reporter doing a story. At the time the percentage of asians in the US population (this was around 1998 if memory serves) was around 4%. The percentage of asian enrolled as students at Caltech was around 20%. At the time I compared it with reported data for the UC (University of California) system. The number there was closer to 30%.

The reporter didn't bother with his story. FWIW I just googled the demographics this afternoon and as of now, Asians outnumber whites in the UC system 40% to 38%.

Now, before you get upset at me none of this means anything outside of those schools. It is entirely possible there is ethnic discrimination of Asians at any number of other schools.

But again, I posted what I did because I was a testing geek. And I simply wanted to point out the folly of using SAT scores as some sort of indicator of a problem.

That doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist. But SAT scores aint' exactly a good way to show much.

And fwiw I used you and me as examples in a simple comparison. I was simply trying to say that two reasonable, intelligent and sincere people can differ on whether an individual is qualified. How you could take that as somehow being a prelude to an ad hominem attack is beyond me.

Anyway, I'm done on this kind of thread. Ironically I actually agree with many of the issues you raised about transparency. I even worked on trying to get that with a couple clients of mine in the education world back in the good old days. My mistake was forgetting that threads seem to need to devolve into us vs. them diatribes. And I was just trying to discuss some geeky psychometric points about correlations, test quality, predictive power, and group statistics.

Obviously the wrong place for this.

References available upon request... :eek:

Keith Larman
10-22-2009, 08:35 PM
I should also throw out that for those who'd like to read more but don't want to read dry books on psychometric theory or industrial psych, Malcolm Gladwell's latest book, Outliers, has a chapter or two discussing different cultural approaches to education, studying, etc. He goes into some detail about the positive effects this has on Asian students. You'd probably like the book a great deal, Mike. I certainly did and find no fault in what he wrote.

Now the question I'm pondering is how anyone can post anything without it being just an anecdote... If I have to start posting references the way I used to this place is going to be dryer than the Sahara...

Mike Sigman
10-22-2009, 08:50 PM
Gotta say this is the first time anyone has waved away my professional experience Wait a minute, Keith. Do you understand what "anecdotal evidence" is in regard to a bona fide study? If I cite a case in which I found that a Minnesotan was "below average in I.Q." I cannot extrapolate from that anecdotal case that "all Minnesotans are dumb". In other words, anecdotal tales are almost meaningless, no matter who did them. Do you understand that? And Mike, you may be surprised to find out I agree with you on Asian tending to score higher on standardized tests. That's not exactly news in the testing field. Neither is the fact that minority groups often score lower even on tests without any sort of "racial bias". Why these things happen are interesting discussion, but they tend to explode rather quickly. Regardless, all studies must be part of an open discussion. What I react to is any attempt to not discuss any data because it might be "racist". My sensors go on full alert when someone calls for any legitimate data to be ignored... particularly when they try to use intimidation (real or implied) in their comments. There are some interesting *anecdotes* I can provide to show what attempting to hide factual evidence winds up doing in the long term. ;)

You posted a bloggish entry of a guy asserting something of interest to me. I found it an interesting topic. Yes, I read it. Closely. I agree completely that so-called "soft" criterion should be looked at. Nepotism, racism, cronyism, etc. are all wrong. But the author looked at discrepancies of SAT scores. Good god, talk about a red flag for anyone in the testing field. I'll try to stick to well documented (i.e., easy to look up yourself) values for this. The SAT, according to published studies, has a correlation reported ranging from .30 to .38. That ain't all that impressive. But you may wish to consider my opinion merely an uninformed opinion. Okay, a pearson product moment correlation of .38 (we'll assume the highest validity to give them the benefit of the doubt) works out to accounting for 14.44 percent of variation of the predicted variable (end of Freshman Year Grades). To compute this yourself look up pearson product moment correlation and look for variation. Or you could take my word for it that all you have to do is square the pearson. Either way... So, over 85% of the variation is not accounted for. And the thing being predicted is end of freshman year grades. So we need to ask how stellar that is as a metric of success. Not bad, I suppose, but when you can only account for under 15% of the variation...
Then there's this:

http://www.law.ucla.edu/sander/systemic/final/sanderfinal.pdf
That doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist. But SAT scores aint' exactly a good way to show much. So either testing of some sort is valid or not, right? Do you suggest that all testing is non-valid?

And fwiw I used you and me as examples in a simple comparison. I was simply trying to say that two reasonable, intelligent and sincere people can differ on whether an individual is qualified. How you could take that as somehow being a prelude to an ad hominem attack is beyond me. I think an argument can be made without interjecting any personal comments or perspectives, Keith. Actually and literally, that's a fairly common view, in terms of legitimate debate.

Anyway, I'm done on this thread. Ironically I actually agree with many of the issues you raised about transparency. I even worked on trying to get that with a couple clients of mine in the education world back in the good old days. My mistake was forgetting that threads seem to need to devolve into us vs. them diatribes. And I was just trying to discuss some geeky psychometric points about correlations, test quality, predictive power, and group statistics.

Obviously the wrong place for this.

References available upon request... :eek:Good comments, Keith... plus you sustained your argument from a number of perspectives, which is important to me. The one common factor I note on a lot of internet forums is the presence of "Gollums" (As Bilbo ran, Gollum cried out, "Thief! Thief, Baggins! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it forever!" ) who make no attempt at legitimate argument, as opposed to people who argue legitimately. There are a couple of what I would even call "Super-Gollums" on AikiWeb, BTW. Regardless, as long as someone debates legitimately, I have no problem with the dialogue. What's depressing is the number of people in martial-arts who talk about "Zen" and all that but who in reality are simply people wearing "look at me" uniforms and politics. ;) At least you argue legitimately.

Best.

Mike

Keith Larman
10-22-2009, 09:00 PM
Yes, Mike, I know what anecdotal evidence is. Thank you.

My posts were trying to just have a pleasant conversation about a topic that used to be of interest to me on a professional level. And a pretty common argument that appears is about perceived discrimination based on SAT scores. It is often used but few seem to understand how SAT's are used, what the scores mean, and how universities select students. I've said more than I needed to. And I think i've forgotten that my enthusiasm for the excessively dry field I used to be in isn't necessarily shared. No ulterior motives. No concerns. I had no emotional attachment to it. Still don't.

Carry on...

Mike Sigman
10-22-2009, 09:05 PM
My posts were trying to just have a pleasant conversation about a topic that used to be of interest to me on a professional level. And a pretty common argument that appears is about perceived discrimination based on SAT scores. It is often used but few seem to understand how SAT's are used, what the scores mean, and how universities select students. I've said more than I needed to. And I think i've forgotten that my enthusiasm for the excessively dry field I used to be in isn't necessarily shared. No ulterior motives. No concerns. I had no emotional attachment to it. Still don't.
I feel the same way, Keith. I'd argue with Satan about the correct direction to Hell. ;) If I knew the real direction and he was unsure, I'd make a bet so I could make a few bucks.

Mike

Ron Tisdale
10-23-2009, 02:41 PM
I feel the same way, Keith. I'd argue with Satan about the correct direction to Hell. ;) If I knew the real direction and he was unsure, I'd make a bet so I could make a few bucks.

Mike
Now THAT I believe! But what's with the personal comments?? :eek: :D Just kidding...

Best,
Ron