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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • 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, no?). And discriminating based solely on race has no logical merit, that I can tell. Come on, "get people into the habit of not being racist?" It's a fine goal, one that such discrimination might do well to work toward, but at universities? Racism certainly does not run rampant at universities.

      This brings up a case a few years ago where the courts approved government-mandated affirmative action for a particular business. They had been proven guilty of various racist hiring and promotion policies, so the government mandated "affirmative action" for that company. The courts said that while this sort of thing is largely frowned on, when it is directed at a specific instance of wrongdoing, then it is appropriate.

      I guess the difference is that some people think that this is still needed to combat widespread racism in the country, but I just don't buy it. Racism exists, of course, but we are now mostly beyond the point where we need such temporary measures. What we need is to help people who need help, and "black people" don't need help anymore. We could do a lot more by focusing our efforts on the economically disadvantaged, which will help all of the significantly disadvantaged black people, as well as others.

      OK, I am doing multiple things right now and am just rambling, so I'll stop. :-)
      • 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 []