Talk:Affirmative action

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I don't think the term should be capitalized, but I may be wrong. Especially considering that in the article itself, it isn't in it's second usage. Thoughts? ħumanUser talk:Human 02:57, 6 July 2008 (EDT)

Agree. Jollyfish.gifGenghisunbelieving 02:59, 6 July 2008 (EDT)

Promote negative inaction now!

White People never had a problem with Affirmative action when it favored them.[edit]

That statement made in this article is just flat out wrong, many white people opened disagreed with such racist policies! Thus I am removing this line until someone posts a good counterargument to this.JumboCraft (talk) 02:37, 7 September 2017 (UTC)

Clarence Thomas[edit]

Alleging affirmative action against black people one disagrees with politically. That is all. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:31, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

He got the "black seat" on the court to replace Thurgood Marshall. That is all. Not saying GWHB was really happy with it. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:37, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
That does not make him a beneficiary of affirmative action. Did it cross your mind for a second that Bush Sr. might have nominated him because Bush was in agreement with his judicial philosophy? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:41, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
No. Because I am competent at "judging" Bush's political philosophy, and it wasn't in line with Clarecne's. But Bush I had to nominate a "black" to that seat. And Thomas was all he had. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:46, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I meant broadly in agreement, like most presidents are with the judicial philosophy of most judges they nominate. And was the seat on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to which Bush nominated Thomas perhaps also a "black" seat? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 06:51, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Broadly, if so, very broadly. GWHB was Republican-lite; Thomas is, sorry, insane hard right wing. Did Bush nominate him to the CCofA in order to have an "affirmative action" SCOTUS nomination available? Perhaps. — Unsigned, by: Human / talk / contribs
Oh, come now; the non-racial explanation is starting to sound much more plausible. Again, it is quite usual for presidents and judges to differ in such matters as long as they are on the same side of the spectrum. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:03, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Dude, weren't you there? GWHB had to nominate a colored boy to that seat. All he had was Clarence "Coca Cola" Thomas in the bullpen. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:06, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Chickenhawk/NHG/The Legal Department indicates that the NHG says Affirmative Action allowed him to dodge the Vietnam draft, if that aids this discussion at all. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 12:19, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Top Reference[edit]

While I can plainly see that a drop in affirmative action has reduced the number of minorities in Universities, is there any evidence in the reference (or any other) that the students being rejected have equal or higher grades than those being accepted. This is the only way to positively confirm discrimination. If a person is worse than that's a perfectly valid reason for accepting someone else. Hobby (talk) 19:33, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

If everyone starts on an equal footing, then yes. But the point being made by affirmative action is that they don't. These policies are put in place to assist people who are disadvantaged or underprivileged but have the potential for a good education & career, and hence to aid social mobility, not maintain a rigid status quo where only rich kids from rich kid schools get to go to a decent college. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:49, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
Exactly. Remember, people in poverty don't have the opportunity to change schools if they don't like the school, and worse, the schools' quality tends to vary, and there is an unfortunate positive correlation between school quality and money the district has. Affirmative action is supposed to address that, although I'm concerned that it may be exploited. (talk) 19:53, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
If that were true, it wouldn't be race based, but based on income. And no, not all black people are poor and not all white people are rich. Once you start arguing "but black people are more likely to be disadvantaged, so that should be a generalization accurate enough to justify giving them all as a group more privileges" then you open the gate for the opposite, "well white people are more likely to be hard, dependable workers, so that should be a generalization accurate accurate to justify hiring them over black people." In either situation, it's racial discrimination. — Unsigned, by: 2600:8807:5402:5900:7898:141d:601a:3936 / talk

Affirmative action was seen as a good thing when it was first started,[citation needed][edit]

weasel words were seen as a good thing by some people

Seriously? Lots of people thought it was, but I really doubt that that stands as a general claim. AA has always had a substantial and vocal opposition, no? Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 17:15, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

When we don't make it clear whose opinion we're talking about, we can say that pretty much anything "was seen as a good thing". WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:33, 8 June 2014 (UTC)
The reason I added the fact tag is because affirmative action was to serve white people in its first incarnation, one could argue: "When Affirmative Action Was White demonstrates that all the key programs passed during the New Deal and Fair Deal era of the 1930s and 1940s were created in a deeply discriminatory manner. This was no accident. With the United States still in an era of legal segregation, the powerful southern wing of the Democratic Party provided the framework for Social Security, the GI Bill, and landmark labor laws that helped create the foundations of the modern middle class. Through mechanisms that specifically excluded maids and farmworkers and through laws that kept administration in local hands, the gap between blacks and whites actually widened despite postwar prosperity. The publication of this deeply disturbing work promises to create a national debate on the meaning of affirmative action and the responsibility of government."
So one could argue that it was seen as good, which it was, but it's misleading. ·FemiliskFU 15:41, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
I thought the "Affirmative Action was White" thing was only using the phrase "affirmative action" as a modified term to convey meaning effectively. It wasn't actually called "affirmative action" back then, now was it? "Affirmative action", when it really started out as something called "affirmative action" was mostly a measure against inequality, wasn't it? Your reasoning here seems off. Nullahnung (talk) 16:57, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
Are you arguing that modern linguistic labels cannot be applied to the past?·FemiliskFU 16:28, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
They can be applied, yes, but a distinction then needs to be made as to which Affirmative Action is meant when you use the phrase, the one of the past or the one that actually started out with the term? In the case of this "Affirmative Action was thought of as a good thing at first" that we are talking about, the one that is meant is the version that was introduced to help minorities get to more equal status. This distinction is very important when we are trying to discuss things in context like here. Nullahnung (talk) 16:32, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
That's why I'd like it rewritten, to be clearer. ·FemiliskFU 17:49, 10 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, I changed the relevant parts and tried to outline the positive and negative reactions to AA. I've read Katznelson and think that analysis fits in this article, but I kinda think that the article needs to focus on AA in its current incarnation as a way to even out the effects of history, and save the "AA used to be white" material as a distinct section. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 15:47, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
It's still a bit off to me, I'll have a think and get back to you. Something about not addressing criticisms enough, like "golden skirts". ·FemiliskFU 15:57, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
Knock yourself out. I ain't married to the edits or nothing. Father Vivian O'Blivion (talk) 15:59, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Race and gender blindness[edit]

Following the discussion in the IT industry about this touchy subject, isn't it the case that the rational position is that a company should just hire the person that is the best fit for the job, regardless of non-relevant backgrounds? In an ideal situation it doesn't matter what your race, gender or possible disability is. But sadly I can't imagine someone in a wheelchair that has a heavy duty construction job, for example. (talk) 14:19, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

The real world isn't "an ideal situation". Affirmative action is about addressing that. As for giving construction jobs to wheelchair users, Ithat's an unlikely situation which nobody is likely to be in favour of. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 14:51, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
I think the term is "bona fide occupational qualification". Construction work requires you to be able to do heavy lifting, so the wheelchair case would never make it to court and is thus a strawman. CorruptUser (talk) 15:00, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
Hmm, wouldn't people in a wheelchair, when they're not suffering from something affecting their whole body, have a stronger upper body though? (talk) 15:08, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
I believe it occurs rarely that two or more job applicants meet the job qualifications at an equal level. There's almost always someone who has the "edge". I'm not taking in account prejudices here. I just believe that every person is equal on the inside and that it is better to "roll the dice" between equal candidates instead of "affirming". It think it is stigmatizing and that it is possibly causing intolerance. It is no mystery to anyone that some people think like "they're here to get my jerrbs!" when they hear the words "affirmative action". I'm aware that the world isn't an ideal situation. I try to be optimistic when possible - even to ignorant levels, I must admit. (talk) 15:31, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
I don't think Affirmative action means what you think it means. TheAtheistComrade (talk) 15:39, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
Could be. I'm open for learning. :-) (talk) 15:45, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
You think minorities get an advantage and there is no reason for it, yes? If not, please correct me. TheAtheistComrade (talk) 15:46, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
I do believe there are good reasons for it. Minorities suffer greatly from unfair selection bias of some employers. But I think that it is better to "roll a dice" equally between equally qualified candidates to avoid the stigma of inequality. I believe that in an ideal world race, gender and disability shouldn't matter and that diversity should be celebrated instead. (talk) 16:18, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
Why don't you make an account? Minorities struggle to find jobs and such so it makes sense to choose them when candidates are equally qualified. The world is not ideal at all. TheAtheistComrade (talk) 16:22, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
I thought of this as an one-time question, but I will make an account when I find the time to contribute. I'm a frequent visitor to this site and you guys have really helpful content to help with understanding what's really going on in this world of craziness. :-) OT: Random selection should take care of a true reflection of society in the workplace - or in most cases at least the group of people interested in the job that meet the qualifications (see my example of the construction industry in my first post). That's the point of "blindness" in truly random outcomes. It ignores race, gender and disability altogether, thus establishing real equality. That assuming there's universal access to education, healthcare and other social support. I believe that's the main cause of confusion here, since that's commonplace in most of Western and Eastern Europe. (I come from The Netherlands.) I should have pointed out earlier. (talk) 17:10, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
I see what you're trying to say, but here in America it's very uneven due to years of discrimination that it makes sense (right now, until it gets evened out) that being a minority is simply a tie breaker and not a very decisive factor. TheAtheistComrade (talk) 17:16, 15 August 2015 (UTC)


The degree of US-centrism, as well as its obsession with white people, is simply overwhelming, not just for this article but this entire encyclopedia. I came here for a more detailed rational discussion on current issues not completely covered by Wikipedia, and I see this overwhelming preference for discussion of the US and its problems while ignoring the existence of the rest of the world (case in point, one of the most extensive articles that focuses on China other than the article "China" is about the Chinese-owned US debt, and most of it is just a criticism of right wing concerns rather than actually saying what it is). China, where I come from, has a much more extensive and codified affirmative action program, but China isn't even mentioned in this article. It also seems that this entire site basically only acts as a rebuttal of the opinions of right wing people, ie: their views on Islam, feminism, climate change, etc, while barely any attention is devoted to anything else. I came here to have an inclusive, rational discussion, from what I've seen so far I guess that's not what this encyclopedia is about. This encyclopedia is basically the exact liberal copy of conservapedia. I didn't bother taking the time to write this on conservapedia as it seems hopeless there, I took the time to write this here in hopes that someone can actually listen and change something. (talk) 05:40, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

Welcome to RationalWiki. This isn't actually an encyclopedia. You can find out more about the purposes of the site in our newcomers guide and 'What is a RationalWiki article?'. Users tend to write most about the issues which they are most aware of, which does often lead to North America, Europe & Australasia being the main focus of politics articles, as this where most of our editors and readers are concentrated. But this doesn't have to be the case & it would be great if you could add some content about affirmative action in China to the article. ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:31, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
You know this is a wiki, right? If you want to add something, go ahead. Yes, we need better coverage of stuff outside the English-speaking world. I think it's fair to say we have more content than just rebuttals of right-wing stuff. If you want a sampling try RationalWiki:Contents. --Ymir (talk) 07:53, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

Jewish and Asian quota[edit]

I know my chances of getting this into RationalWiki are dim, yet the recent controversy about Asian discrimination based on their race (for being too successful): The evidence seems quite convincing if you look what people actually do rather than what they say. Caltech does not consider race in admissions, and there are twice as many Asians there as in other Ivy League schools. This is also interesting article (something decent from Gladwell!), since it gives an overview on legacy, anti-intellectual and anti-Jewish admission practices in the past:

On a sidenote: Affirmative action is pretty much limited to the US and other Anglosphere countries. There is no hard evidence in this article on its beneficial effects (supposedly the goal is a societal transformation without providing any exact cost/benefit calculation that would make it ), and all objections are explained away by bias. You do for example not explain why Whites males would design tests in which Asians or females score higher than themselves. Or the consequences of undermining meritocracy with so wholistic admission standards that even playing the wrong instrument can make you too uninteresting to get into a math program :| (talk) 00:10, 19 June 2016 (UTC)

Wrong. There is affirmative action in India. We should probably add this to the article. Benn (talk) 13:04, 6 May 2018 (UTC)

New California Law[edit]

Considering the passing of the new law in California requiring women on corporate boards, should this article be updated? Here's a link:

The article currently states: "Another very crude form would be the outright quota. While not seen (and indeed legally and politically taboo) in the US". This is in the section "Implementation". Is the new California law an example of an enforced quota? If not, why? If so, what change should be made to reflect the law? Mikecol05 (talk) 02:28, 2 October 2018 (UTC)

Choice of words[edit]

The line "Nonetheless, the outcome has not been positive in states that have banned affirmative action policies" doesn't make it clear what it means by positive outcomes. Rates of black and hispanic college admissions went down where affirmative action was banned, which is the result of admission selection being based on individual merit rather than race. Isn't that a positive outcome? — Unsigned, by: 2600:8807:5402:5900:9d9c:c234:2c38:9148 / talk / contribs

Doesn't sound like it. I'm more concerned about the lack of sources, as that reference is just a badly formatted note. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 19:27, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Martin Luther King Jr. comes to mind. More sources are always good, but a more impartial tone might also be a good idea. — Unsigned, by: 2600:8807:5402:5900:9D9C:C234:2C38:9148 / talk
Ah yes, Saint MLK, always trotted out when one side can't argue worth shit and seeks to shame the other side's tone. What would MLK think of us rude and blunt types? ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 19:48, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
The article made no argument in the first place. That's why I asked for clarification about what "positive outcomes" are supposed to imply, which still hasn't been clarified. — Unsigned, by: 2600:8807:5402:5900:9d9c:c234:2c38:9148 / talk
Well, just as long as you can justify a moderate tone. Affirmative action actually works by favoring minority applicants from equally qualified admissions rather than just pick the minority one as you implied here. We're supposed to debunk stuff and we tend to take a liberal point of view in the mean time (but not if evidence goes against it, see GMOs), so you have to justify the tone change. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 19:49, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Actually it lowers the bar of certain minority groups so that they can be admitted at higher rates with lower qualifications, with the usual reason given that they're underqualified due to historical grievances. — Unsigned, by: 2600:8807:5402:5900:9d9c:c234:2c38:9148 / talk