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NOTE: use Perl; is on undef hiatus. You can read content, but you can't post it. More info will be forthcoming forthcomingly.

All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • 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 mentioning the problems with standardized testing.) It seems to be an accepted fact that someone who gives back to the community (by participating in sports, leading student groups, etc.) has an edge on someone who simply goes to classes. College is not just one class after another, and diversity in experience is one way that universities try to make the 4+ years a broadening experience.

    Diversity comes not only from what you've done but from what you've experienced. And while I agree with Pudge that race is not the sole determinant of different types of experience, it's still a powerful one. Diversity also comes from accepting students from different class backgrounds as well: admissions boards will generally look more favorably on a student from a West Virginia coal mining town who got a 3.6/1250 and had to work to help support his family than a cheerleader from suburban Washington, DC with a 3.9/1380. On a raw numbers level that's unfair as well, but I don't think too many people will complain about it. (Well, the cheerleader and her parents might.) But we pretend that every person in the minority has the same opportunities that every person in the majority has, and I don't think that's true. I've never been passed over for a half hour at a restaurant while people who came after me, white people, have been seated. I've never been turned down for a cab ride, or shadowed by security guards throughout a store, or have people unconsciously check their wallets when I get in an elevator with them. These are powerful experiences, and IMO a university experience is diminished without hearing about them and the way they affect how a person views an issue or fact.

    Finally, IIRC I read an article about six years ago in Wired that proposed one of the unstated purposes of racial quotas was to help build up networks for people who were unable (legally and socially) for hundreds of years to do so. Our president went to Yale because his father went to Yale, his family was rich and even though he had fair grades they came from a well-respected school where lots of other rich kids have gone to Yale over the years. His family has been building up a network over many generations that allowed that to happen. The people benefitting from racial preferences in universies, jobs, etc. haven't had this chance.

    • 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 [savefarscape.com] and watch the culture misunderstandings melt away as those nasty, jack-booted thug Peacekeepers dog their every step.