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Old 10-21-2009, 02:44 PM   #51
Ron Tisdale
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
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

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 10-21-2009, 02:45 PM   #52
Marc Abrams
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
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
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Old 10-21-2009, 03:03 PM   #53
Keith Larman
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
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?

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Old 10-21-2009, 03:24 PM   #54
Ron Tisdale
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Re: "Discrimination".

Nice posts Keith. But hey, you knew that!

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 10-21-2009, 05:32 PM   #55
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
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
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:35 PM   #56
mathewjgano
 
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
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.
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.


Quote:
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.
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.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 10-21-2009 at 06:42 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:36 PM   #57
Keith Larman
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Re: "Discrimination".

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...

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Old 10-21-2009, 06:42 PM   #58
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
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
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:43 PM   #59
Keith Larman
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Re: "Discrimination".

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...

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Old 10-21-2009, 06:54 PM   #60
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
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.
Quote:
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.
Quote:
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????
Quote:
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
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:49 PM   #61
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Discrimination".

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/2009/1...linois_pr.html
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:21 PM   #62
Marc Abrams
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
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
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:39 PM   #63
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
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
Marc, 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
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:42 PM   #64
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
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
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:33 PM   #65
C. David Henderson
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Re: "Discrimination".

Sticking with questions about facts, then:

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
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?

Quote:
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?"

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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

Last edited by C. David Henderson : 10-22-2009 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:42 PM   #66
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Discrimination".

Sorry, David. As I indicated, I prefer not to discuss things with you.

Mike Sigman
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:43 PM   #67
David Orange
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Re: "Discrimination".

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
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

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:46 PM   #68
C. David Henderson
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
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.
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:51 PM   #69
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
David Orange wrote: View Post
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?
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Old 10-22-2009, 03:39 PM   #70
David Orange
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Re: "Discrimination".

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
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?
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.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
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Old 10-22-2009, 03:58 PM   #71
Marc Abrams
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Re: "Discrimination".

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
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
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:16 PM   #72
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
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
Why 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
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:22 PM   #73
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
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?
Quote:
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
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:56 PM   #74
Marc Abrams
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Re: "Discrimination".

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
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
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Old 10-22-2009, 05:27 PM   #75
Mike Sigman
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Re: "Discrimination".

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Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
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".
Quote:
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?
Quote:
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
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