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pudge (1)

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Journal of pudge (1)

Friday January 17, 2003
01:13 AM

Racial Discrimination

[ #10036 ]

It is exceedingly odd to me that anyone would think a policy that says "if you are of a race X you get preferential treatment in admissions to the university" is not racial discrimination, on its face. If race X is "white," no one disagrees. If race X is "black," some people say it is not discrimination. Please stop being silly. Really.

That's not to say I think the University of Michigan should be forced to change their policy; they are a private institution and should be allowed to have racially discriminatory admissions policies, if they so choose. But to say the policy is not racially discriminationatory is baffling to me. It is, by definition, discriminating based on race. That it is not a race you think it is bad to discriminate against doesn't change that fact.

That's my main point. I also want to add that I don't understand the purpose of it anyway. They say it is for the sake of intellectual and cultural diversity, but it seems to me both insulting and wrong to say that your culture or ideas are either determined or strongly indicated by the color of your skin. I have a lot more in common with most of the black people I know than I do with white people from South Central L.A., Oklahoma farms, or the West Virginia mountains. If you really want diversity, it should be based not on race, but on economic status, geographical location, and other factors that actually do mean something.

I had a funny thought tonight. We are told that discriminating against people based on race is wrong. We are also told that it is reasonable to discriminate against people based on their ideas (such as, for example, Nazis [oops, I did it now!]). But if your race is a determinant or strong indicator of your ideology, and if I don't like an ideology that is strongly identified with your race, then, at that point, isn't racial discrimination (in some cases) merely a practical and reasonable application of ideological discrimination?

Hm, maybe that is just overthinking things, but I was driving for many hours tonight, and I got bored. Still, the notion that you are different from me in any interesting way based on the color of your skin is just insulting and wrong. It could very well be that you are a boring surburbanite who drives a Honda, doesn't care about politics, watches The Bachelorette, and eats Twinkies, just like half the white people around here. OK, if it is true, maybe noting those facts would be insulting too, but at least it wouldn't be wrong.

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  • The University of Michigan is a public institution, not a private one [].

    I cannot speak to the other point because you used the N word.
    • Someone yesterday told me it was private; I should have done my research. Well, in that case, were I on the bench, I would find for whitey.
  • But if your race is a determinant or strong indicator of your ideology This is where you went really very wrong, believing that there is any link between race and ideology. Not that you are alone in spreading such fud, it's been around since the beginning of time, unfortunately.
    • But if your race is a determinant or strong indicator of your ideology This is where you went really very wrong, believing that there is any link between race and ideology.

      You're quoting out of context there. Pudge said earlier in the post:

      but it seems to me both insulting and wrong to say that your culture or ideas are either determined or strongly indicated by the color of your skin.

      Pudge makes the point that he considers it wrong to consider race an useful factor in determining ideology. He ma
  • I hate to post and run (I have to drive to a funeral and won't be back until Sunday), but what the heck.

    First, I don't come down solidly on one side of this issue or the other. It's far too complicated. Sufficiently complicated that I haven't really sorted out all my thoughts on it either, so forgive any jumbled ideas below.

    Unlike pudge I think the goal of diversity in a student body is a laudable one. It's the reason we don't just use standardized tests and grades to admit students. (Not even mentionin

    • I never said the goal of diversity is not a good one; I said that the goal of racial diversity is an empty one, because racial diversity is far from a guarantee of the divertsity that really matters, which is diversity of thought, of culture, of creed. If all the black people there are rich suburbanites, how is that diverse, in any significant way? The point is that, for the sake of diversity, this school is saying "we would rather accept a black student that is just like everyone else than a white studen
      • Unlike chemical compounds, throwing different groups of people together in college doesn't mean they'll have any better understanding of each other. Integration (not just racial) is a hard thing. It appears that xenophobia and territorialism are deeply bred into us. However, all hope is not lost for diversity. Simply group students together aboard a renegade prison ship, like Farscape's Moya [] and watch the culture misunderstandings melt away as those nasty, jack-booted thug Peacekeepers dog their every step.

  • I don't know about the University of Michigan thing, so I won't comment on that, but there are cases in which positive discrimination is imho a good idea. I can think of two such examples over the past decade in France.

    One is requiring political parties to present at least 45% of women to elections (exculing uninominal ones like the presendentials of course), under penalty of losing part of their public financing. At first it might seem detrimental to democracy to force them to pick what may be les


    -- Robin Berjon []

    • I don't like the law about 45% for women, but I am gratified you see it only as a temporary measure that can later be abolished.

      And I do think that if onen is to reserve seats for people who are disadvantaged, it should be primarily based on factors that do mean something. So helping people with poorer economic backgrounds is OK with me, because that focuses the help where it is clearly needed.

      I agree with you, discrimination is not wrong. Discriminating unfairly is wrong (though that should be a truism
      • I don't like the law about 45% for women

        There had been serious abuse by some parties for years of discriminating against women as candidates. In politics, the reasons for picking a candidate are complex and they thus could not be sued for unfair gender-discrimination. Doing that would have brought forth accusations of it being a political rather than legal attack and so forth. Even the promoters of the law didn't like it much, but it was generally agreed that it was a necessary evil.

        but at un


        -- Robin Berjon []