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Barriers to equal opportunity in education

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On 10/13/2020 at 1:55 PM, MigL said:

The first cause for concern was a 1965 report by a Democrat D Moynihan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_family_structure

It is areal phenomenon, not imaginary.
But its cause is rooted in systemic poverty of Black Americans.

I'm familiar with this old study. Did you know that part of the figure for absent black fathers comes from two things; black fathers who were in prison due to racial profiling and overly punitive sentences, and black fathers who were in fact in their childrens lives but just didn't live in the same home as their children. Basically, a fair portion of that figure were actually black fathers who were sitting down to a family meal with their children almost everyday, who were being labeled as absent fathers purely because they didn't have the same address as their children.

There are also similar figures for white fathers absences. In a questionnaire delivered to kids as part of a more modern study, it turned out that black fathers on average spend more quality time with their children than white fathers do. Even when that white father lives in the same household as their children. 

You also need to keep in mind that at the time of that particular study, racial discrimination was more rampant and the people involved in producing that study, ultimately misled people into thinking that black people were more likely to be bad fathers than white people. It's just not true, that study was extremely flawed and the intent behind it seemed to be used to justify more negative stereotypes of black people. I'm saying this as a white person too, so it's not like I am biased toward debunking this because I'm black. I've seen figures of student demographics in a number of different schools and the pass rates for historically disadvantaged people from ethnicity to disability, are truly shocking.

Even if the study wasn't dubious, it's from 1965. What makes you think it is still relevant today?

I misspoke slightly when I wrote that OP, owing to being pissed off at the time (I really need to stop posting things when I'm in a mood, doing no one any favours that way).

On paper, most institutions are against discrimination in most forms. Which is great, except the individuals they hire, from admissions to faculty, are capable of being biased, racist and ableist and they are capable of hiding this. Which leads to a bias within the institution where staff are allowed a great deal of freedom to practice as much discrimination as they like, by citing some unrelated and irrelevant reason as to why they went ahead with a prejudicial act and since the higher ups claim that their institution is against such acts, they close ranks and double down on the discrimination in order to defend their staff. 

It's gotten to the point where in some schools, even suggesting that you may be being treated unfairly due to a protected characteristic, is seen as more egregious and wrong than someone who is discriminating based on those characteristics and lying about it. 

Personal responsibility cuts both ways. Staff and student both. Students have a personal responsibility to care about and want an education; just as staff in schools have a legal and personal responsibility to give equal access to that education and to make reasonable adjustments for students who are disadvantaged through no fault of their own. 

Here is what disadvantaged people have to go through to take personal responsibility for their education under the current formats; they are expected to do the same coursework as their peers with less support and less resources, they are expected to keep silent about all the little ways the school makes things harder for them vs the majority of it's students. They are expected to show tolerance toward the implicit and explicit biases and prejudices of their peers and the institution itself, even though it makes college life far more difficult for them than it does for the majority of it's other students.

A simple analogy, the disadvantaged are being asked to run a race with a ball and chain in tow, against others who have no such ball and chain and they have to give the unchained a head start too. Despite the ball and chain, some people still finish the race. However if you were to ask one of the people that didn't finish why they weren't able to finish when others did, they would say this; because not everyone can finish a race with a ball and chain attached to them and it's extremely demoralising to know that you're going to be unfairly compared to someone who ran the race without that ball and chain. It is not an excuse to say "I couldn't finish the race because I had a ball and chain attached" it's a reason, it's a cause.

Now I'm not saying there are not people who just can't be bothered to put the effort in when they are given a chance at education without the balls and chains. They are a minority though, so generalising every drop out, every person who does not have a degree, as not having it because they didn't want it enough, doesn't take into account the individuals who put up obstacles specifically meant for them. 

Now; if schools now were as inclusive as it is possible for them to be, then I'd maybe not have posted this at all, I'd maybe not have given up on physics because a teacher said I should since they thought I wasn't "PhD material". Probably because in a school that is truly inclusive, would never have deemed it acceptable for any teacher to be allowed to say such a thing to someone who was disabled and the first of their family to get into higher education. 

Schools aren't that inclusive though, until they are then maybe they should focus less on putting the lions share of the fault on students and more on themselves. Until they are more inclusive, blaming their students who are keen to learn and keen to contribute to society is mostly an attempt to reject any consequences to their own actions and policies when they naturally trip up the disadvantaged. 

Maybe I am biased toward this perspective because I am from a disadvantaged group of people in multiple ways, but that doesn't make me wrong when I say that schools could absolutely do more to produce more competent graduates from all walks of life. Maybe I've just been going to the wrong schools or have been unlucky with the staff I've ended up dealing with. It's not easy to figure out if the contributing common denominator is me or the system of education, however those figures I spoke of earlier would suggest that I can only contribute so much when the school system is failing people.

It's important to keep in mind that some people aren't giving up on their education. They are giving up on the school that is failing to give them one. As Mark Twain says "Never let your schooling get in the way of your education."

P.S sorry for the lateness of my response but I was on my hiatus when you commented about that study, but I've been dying to tackle it since you said it.

Edited by MSC
Mistake

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Welcome back to the 'sparring' match, MSC.

You've outlined many reasons why Black American fathers aren't ( or weren't ) in the home.
Most of them valid.

But that doesn't change the fact that a lot of Black American children are born to homes without a father present.
And,as the mother then becomes the sole provider, and has to work, a lot of these kids don't even make it through high school.
Whatever the reasons for the fathers not being there, even you must admit that makes the situation a lot worse for the kids, and leads to a cycle of poverty.

 The study I quoted is freely available to all, and I would say that, far from being irrelevant because of its age, things have actually gotten worse in the past 60 years, and not just for Black Americans, but for all groups surveyed.
Meanwhile you claim a study, for which you give no link, that 'quality' time is what's really important, neglecting to mention how subjective 'quality' is.
( is being your child's friend higher quality than being his parent ? The two are very different and we both know which is more important, yet better 'quality' depends on whether you ask the parent or the child )

Mind you this is mostly opinion, and understand,I'm not saying that is the only problem. There are many problems to equal opportunity. The large majority of them depend on the group that is doing the oppressing, as opposed to the disadvantaged group. So you can go through life depending on others to fix problems ( and we both know there will be resistance to this ), or you can take the initiative and fix any problems that are in your power to fix.
Last time I checked that was called 'responsibility'.

Oh, and I appreciate that my comments 'interested' you :) .

 

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4 hours ago, MigL said:

But that doesn't change the fact that a lot of Black American children are born to homes without a father present.
And,as the mother then becomes the sole provider, and has to work, a lot of these kids don't even make it through high school.
Whatever the reasons for the fathers not being there, even you must admit that makes the situation a lot worse for the kids, and leads to a cycle of poverty.

Oh absolutely I'd agree with that. I experienced it myself, except it was my mother that left. I was 5 and she walked out on us and was gone for awhile. That being said; she was still a lot more present and emotionally available than my father, who would essentially have arguments with my teachers using me as a proxy. It was like it didn't matter what I was taught, to him, he'd already decided that I was stupid and couldn't be right about anything. Kind of takes the genetic fallacy to a whole new meaning there. Irony. 

4 hours ago, MigL said:

The study I quoted is freely available to all, and I would say that, far from being irrelevant because of its age, things have actually gotten worse in the past 60 years, and not just for Black Americans, but for all groups surveyed.
Meanwhile you claim a study, for which you give no link, that 'quality' time is what's really important, neglecting to mention how subjective 'quality' is.
( is being your child's friend higher quality than being his parent ? The two are very different and we both know which is more important, yet better 'quality' depends on whether you ask the parent or the child )

That's because I was working from memory and got a few details wrong. My bad. I've digged it up and attached it now. The subjective aspect of 'quality' would impact all demographics however. There is a strong likelihood that 1-5% of the present parents, from all backgrounds are abusers and I wouldn't even care to try and guess what percentage were avoidably negligent. I say avoidably as it has already been pointed out by others that it is much more difficult for working class parents to be able to spend quality time with their kids without sacrificing on their required time to earn enough for the basic needs of housing, energy, clothing and food on the table.

Which I think brings us to the most important aspect of this debate. Class based demographics. 

I can accept that we might never have schools that don't unfairly discriminate, but I don't think I can accept a society where the ability to bring discriminating individuals to justice, is determined by how deep your pockets or your parents pockets are.

Which bring us to something extremely important. Probably the barrier we should e focussing on most.

Here is something that is definitely true; it is illegal to discriminate based on race, ethnicity, religion, marriage, sexual orientation, gender.. It is not currently illegal however, to discriminate based on class or caste. They are not protected characteristics. There would be little to stop me or anyone else from denying equality to people because of their socio-economic background. There are means tested scholarships available but it tends to go that either their aren't enough of them for everyone who wants one, or there is no guidance on how to apply for them when they are under applied for. It's why I really like the look of the University of Arizona in Tuscon. They are one of the few institutions that I know of that seem to go the extra mile and try their best to make sure your education is financially achievable and that funding is smooth and debtless. Sucks that it is so far away though. We'd have to uproot and move again and we are thinking of buying a house here in IL...

Sorry, I'm rambling. Suffice it to say, I think this has been a constructive discussion for all involved. 

4 hours ago, MigL said:

So you can go through life depending on others to fix problems ( and we both know there will be resistance to this ), or you can take the initiative and fix any problems that are in your power to fix.
Last time I checked that was called 'responsibility'.

Oh, and I appreciate that my comments 'interested' you

You know I study philosophy and ethics. So you must know by now that you've already opened up a whole can of worms in the subjects of power, control and responsibility, right? I think the stoics and taoists put it best with The Archer. You can draw the bow perfectly, do everything within your control to give yourself the best chance of hitting your mark, and still fail because you cannot control the wind. In this analogy, I see other people as wind. I know I can't control them, I don't want to control them. Yet I can't pretend it is raining when really people are pissing on all of our legs.

nhsr071.pdf

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10 minutes ago, MSC said:

I think the stoics and taoists put it best with The Archer. You can draw the bow perfectly, do everything within your control to give yourself the best chance of hitting your mark, and still fail because you cannot control the wind. In this analogy, I see other people as wind. I know I can't control them, I don't want to control them. Yet I can't pretend it is raining when really people are pissing on all of our legs.

+1

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1 hour ago, MSC said:

You can draw the bow perfectly, do everything within your control to give yourself the best chance of hitting your mark, and still fail because you cannot control the wind.

I like it too, +1.

In life, you try to control what you can.
A good archer will move to a position to shoot with the wind; not cross, or against, it.
It beats never shooting your arrow, or railing at the uncontrollable wind.

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10 hours ago, MigL said:

I like it too, +1.

In life, you try to control what you can.
A good archer will move to a position to shoot with the wind; not cross, or against, it.
It beats never shooting your arrow, or railing at the uncontrollable wind.

The issue is when some archers are allowed to move and others are not.

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16 minutes ago, CharonY said:

The issue is when some archers are allowed to move and others are not.

This set of visuals really helps put it into perspective. Some archers are shooting on still days well lit and flat, while others are shooting into a hurricane in the dark from uneven terrain and yet are getting judged by the same standard.

Teaching about privilege:

https://www.boredpanda.com/lesson-about-privilege-awareness/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

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On 11/23/2020 at 2:56 AM, iNow said:

I have a lot of problems with the idea that promoting 'our'  privileges does anything whatsoever to help those less able, other than to increase their sense of helplessness, and the numbers who will qualify as less-able.

If privilege is the problem, All you can do is reduce the problem. Privilege.

Disabilities, like privilege, aren't a single thing that can be simply addressed by broad group classifications and redirection of resources to 'classes' of need.

It ignores  problems faced. This idea doesn't ask us to recognise  the problem in front of us..  Only a classification we are asked  to compensate.

Not help overcome. We just work around it and hope to make it less visible.

It doesn't value diversity.  It promotes an idea that everything should look the same where ever we stand.

Its a promotion of negative values and expecting a positive result.

A rejection (get rid of it) of environment instead of recognition ( what can I add to create a positive value.). 

The reality of whats in front of me  to deal with, I'm expected to base on beliefs about classifications of people.

And what compensation I owe for my greater value.

My own understanding of biophysics and the language that expresses it says this ideology or biological message is faulty and counter intuitive to further evolution. 

Potential is subject to how we  respond to the conditions we are able to recognise. Which requires we first come to know them. Familiarise. Recognise as part of our own conditions to accept and improve.

 

That says conditions should decide our responses, instead of us responding to conditions. That the value is in our own condition, and not our ability of recognition and response. So its now a question of how to repeat your own conditions universally. Anti-diversity. Conditions decided based on value belief.

It is backwards to me.

 Imposing singular perspectives of conditions, whether or not they apply to the reality in front of you. 

Its the same as  Pedigree Dog Breeders who like to say  "form follows function" 

So decide the form and wonder why function doesn't follow'.

There is cognitive dissonance on one side of this argument or the other.

You see value in form. I see it in function.

Edited by naitche

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And yet we stumble at the start since so few even see the problem, and fewer still acknowledge or adequately understand it. The graphic I shared was about helping us better see it. I made no policy recommendations, but that may be an interesting oath to pursue. 

Edited by iNow

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35 minutes ago, naitche said:

I have a lot of problems with the idea that promoting 'our'  privileges does anything whatsoever to help those less able, other than to increase their sense of helplessness, and the numbers who will qualify as less-able.

No one ever works to solve a problem they are unaware of. It seems self-evident that people must be made aware of the issues caused by privilege prior to resolving those issues.

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Unless perhaps they hope to solve those issues by accident and absent any meaningful intention or purpose 

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I don't understand ...

Is privilege the problem ?
Or, is it actually, lack of privilege for some.

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A distinction without a difference?

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I would say privilege is the problems. If everyone has the same things there is no privilege.

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No distinction ?

Consider wealth.
Is the problem with wealth inequality that some have too much ?
Or is the bigger problem that some don't have enough ?

What some might consider having 'privilege', some others might think everyone should have.

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3 minutes ago, zapatos said:

No one ever works to solve a problem they are unaware of. It seems self-evident that people must be made aware of the issues caused by privilege prior to resolving those issues.

But they aren't caused by privilege.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, MigL said:

No distinction ?

"Privilege" by definition involves disparity. If everyone has the same, whether great wealth or no wealth, there is no privilege.

24 minutes ago, MigL said:

Consider wealth.
Is the problem with wealth inequality that some have too much ?
Or is the bigger problem that some don't have enough ?

I don't consider wealth inequality to be a problem in and of itself. I do however consider issues such the inability to earn a living wage while working full time to be an issue.

25 minutes ago, naitche said:

But they aren't caused by privilege.

I want to live in your world. In my world there are minorities who do not get good jobs because those jobs are preferentially granted to certain groups. Some students don't make it into good colleges because the privileged take their spots. Amongst many other issues caused by privilege.

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

Is the problem with wealth inequality that some have too much ?
Or is the bigger problem that some don't have enough ?

Yes

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If people do not behave in the same way it is because there is a morphological difference between them. That is the fundamental source of inequality. It's also impossible to fix, and there is no reason to either. Should we alter the genetics of the potato so that it will have the same morphology as a dog? Why? Why should organisms be equal? To what end? Give up on this childish dream of equality and accept reality.

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53 minutes ago, VenusPrincess said:

If people do not behave in the same way it is because there is a morphological difference between them. That is the fundamental source of inequality. It's also impossible to fix, and there is no reason to either. Should we alter the genetics of the potato so that it will have the same morphology as a dog? Why? Why should organisms be equal? To what end? Give up on this childish dream of equality and accept reality.

For one; equating a potato and a dog to the dichotomy of a wealthy or privileged to that of a poor or disenfranchised individual is blurring the lines of degree of morphological differences in physiological diversity within one species. 

Secondly, whether their are greater or smaller degrees of differences between people is besides the point, who decides what variant is more valuable than another? 

Thirdly, the argument you are currently employing is not unlike the arguments that were used to justify slavery and eugenics. At one point in time, it would not have been a surprise to hear this variation of your argument: 

Quote

If people do not behave in the same way it is because there is a morphological difference between them. That is the fundamental source of slavery. It's also impossible to fix, and there is no reason to either. Should we alter the genetics of the potato so that it will have the same morphology as a dog? Why? Why should organisms be equal? To what end? Give up on this childish dream of abolishing slavery and accept reality.

Maybe now you'd like to show us your slideshow on Phrenology? Your entire argument seems to imply that those who happened to be born in privileged groups are somehow superior to those that weren't. Which is a slap in the face to everything we know of human history. Privilege resides where power resides, power resides where people believe it resides, peoples beliefs are fickle. We are never more than one revolution away from power and privilege moving on to a different group. 

If you want to argue against equality, defined as the fair and just treatment of everyone, then you're going to have to justify why any of these differences between groups of people has weight in determining who should be valued more. Women and children first? Rich people first? Monarchy? Politicians? Best and brightest? Church? God? Are the altruistic or self serving more deserving of the support of society? You'll also have to explain why this ruling class of yours, does not seem to be able to keep a hold of power for prolonged periods of time. If there is a natural order to things, then why do people never seem to fall into and stay in order?

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8 hours ago, iNow said:

A distinction without a difference?

I think theres a huge difference.

If the problem is an excess, you  equalise  by elimination. And lower the median measurement overall. Its a reductionist solution, based on negative values. Privilege = bad. Remove privilege and ability of response to conditions faced.

Assigning negative value to beneficial conditions (of your perspective or position )will lessen those. If not in your life time, in human evolutionary terms. 

If  the problem is a lack,  you  add value. And increase 'privilege' and the median by which its measured.

 

7 hours ago, zapatos said:

 

I want to live in your world. In my world there are minorities who do not get good jobs because those jobs are preferentially granted to certain groups. Some students don't make it into good colleges because the privileged take their spots. Amongst many other issues caused by privilege.

In my world there are people, who don't get good jobs because they are not  positioned to attain that function.

If I can understand why,  the factors that position them there, or what is lacking,  I might not be able to alter their position, but I can almost certainly add value to it.

I think its lazy to say the guy down the back isn't up front because some one else is.The fact is one is in a prime position and another is not. Those positions or points exist. 

Eliminating any of them does not add value to the score.

You can assign positive and negative values to diverse conditions, and eliminate the negative for a net loss. 

Or we can find ways to add value. To improve functionality to purpose from the points of reference we have. Improve diverse conditions for a net gain.

On 11/23/2020 at 2:56 AM, iNow said:

Form follows function

The above link shows that as a collective we have diverse points of reference or perspective to the purpose or function of throwing an object into a basket.

Some favourable, others less so.

It doesn't help us understand or utilise those points, or  to maximise their function or purpose.

There is no value to any of those points but what we assign. They exist only in relation to the function or purpose at hand.

If 'we'  identifies  a collective.

 

 

So yes, if your purpose is  to equal - outcome, or functionality, diversity of form or function is a hindrance to those predictions.

Form would decide function if thats the  measure you use. Its hindering  that equal-outcome if  you think the form of your privilege and position gives you greater value. And you think you can correct that by making the value a negative. That does nothing to increase response ability for whats needed.

If your goal is reliability to function,    you need to look at and understand the individual points of reference.  (or diverse parts )  Their conditions and position . Their properties and relativity of purpose . How the the overall conditions of that  space are affected by position, relative to the other points of its existence.

You are searching and reaching potential in those actions. Maximising abilities of response to a changing environment. 

 

 

 

4 hours ago, MSC said:

For one; equating a potato and a dog to the dichotomy of a wealthy or privileged to that of a poor or disenfranchised individual is blurring the lines of degree of morphological differences in physiological diversity within one species. 

Secondly, whether their are greater or smaller degrees of differences between people is besides the point, who decides what variant is more valuable than another? 

Thirdly, the argument you are currently employing is not unlike the arguments that were used to justify slavery and eugenics. At one point in time, it would not have been a surprise to hear this variation of your argument: 

Maybe now you'd like to show us your slideshow on Phrenology? Your entire argument seems to imply that those who happened to be born in privileged groups are somehow superior to those that weren't. Which is a slap in the face to everything we know of human history. Privilege resides where power resides, power resides where people believe it resides, peoples beliefs are fickle. We are never more than one revolution away from power and privilege moving on to a different group. 

If you want to argue against equality, defined as the fair and just treatment of everyone, then you're going to have to justify why any of these differences between groups of people has weight in determining who should be valued more. Women and children first? Rich people first? Monarchy? Politicians? Best and brightest? Church? God? Are the altruistic or self serving more deserving of the support of society? You'll also have to explain why this ruling class of yours, does not seem to be able to keep a hold of power for prolonged periods of time. If there is a natural order to things, then why do people never seem to fall into and stay in order?

You are more familiar and have more knowledge of @VenusPrincess  than I have. You are looking at their post from a different place than I am.

I saw no argument against equality of value. Only an assertion that measurement of equality against conditions, or points of perspective implies one.

What is the measure of equality? Nothing.

 

Edited by naitche

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7 hours ago, VenusPrincess said:

If people do not behave in the same way it is because there is a morphological difference between them. That is the fundamental source of inequality.

There are morphological differences between every living being unless they are clones, including identical twins. Further suggesting that physical differences (such as different melanin content in the skin) is the fundamental source of economic inequality in the world is absurd in the extreme. You may as well be suggesting inequality comes from some people having curly hair and others having straight. 

6 hours ago, MSC said:

Maybe now you'd like to show us your slideshow on Phrenology?

If history is any guide here, they will simply keep repeating the same ridiculous assertions and responding with the equivalent of “nuh uh!” to any valid criticisms or counterpoints. 

3 hours ago, naitche said:

I think theres a huge difference.

If the problem is an excess, you  equalise  by elimination. And lower the median measurement overall. <snip> If  the problem is a lack,  you  add value. And increase 'privilege' and the median by which its measured.

Fine, but your core mistake here is the suggestion that it must be either one or the other. That’s a false dichotomy since any rational view of the economic inequality we’re experiencing today must acknowledge and accept that there are important elements of both that are related in critical ways. One must consider the entire system as a whole, not just individual elements in isolation. 

Some people have far too much. Some people have far too little. Both of these things can be true in parallel and both can be addressed at the same time to improve the overall balance. 

3 hours ago, naitche said:

In my world there are people, who don't get good jobs because they are not  positioned to attain that function

Your stance ignores the fact that too often people who are equally or even more qualified also regularly don’t get those jobs and functions. The evidence on this subject is abundant and consistent, and you should seriously consider revising your stance which today doesn’t seem to be in any way tethered to reality. 

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4 hours ago, naitche said:

I think its lazy to say the guy down the back isn't up front because some one else is.

And I think it is either willful ignorance or naiveté to the extreme to suggest this never happens.

Perhaps you should read up on Operation Varsity Blues.

Quote

In 2019, a scandal arose over a criminal conspiracy to influence undergraduate admissions decisions at several top American universities. The investigation into the conspiracy was code named Operation Varsity Blues.[1][2] The investigation and related charges were made public on March 12, 2019, by United States federal prosecutors. At least 53[3] people have been charged as part of the conspiracy,[4][5] a number of whom pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty. Thirty-three parents of college applicants are accused of paying more than $25 million between 2011 and 2018 to William Rick Singer, organizer of the scheme, who used part of the money to fraudulently inflate entrance exam test scores and bribe college officials.

...

Multiple lawsuits were immediately filed against universities and individuals. Three students from Tulane University, Rutgers University, and a California community college filed a complaint against Singer and the affected universities that they hope will be certified as a class-action suit.[160] A Stanford undergraduate claimed a loss for the time and money she spent applying to schools named in the scandal, as well as the possibility that the stain on Stanford's reputation will decrease the value of her degree. A parent filed a $500 billion civil suit in San Francisco against all the indicted individuals, claiming that her son was denied admission to some schools because of other parents buying access.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_college_admissions_bribery_scandal

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I think that's mostly a problem with the 'American' way of life ( although it is quite common in most western societies ).
We equate money with power.
The idea that you can buy anything, from school admission to politicians, or even the Presidency, is exemplified by your current President.

I am suggesting that equal opportunity should be achieved by bringing everyone up to the same level, not bringing the 'have' to the low level of the 'have nots'.
And suggesting reverse discrimination to fix the problem of lack of equal opportunity is akin to suggesting the solution to gun violence/ mass shootings in schools, is to put more guns in schools with armed teachers.

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10 minutes ago, MigL said:

I am suggesting that equal opportunity should be achieved by bringing everyone up to the same level, not bringing the 'have' to the low level of the 'have nots'.

That would be great!

10 minutes ago, MigL said:

And suggesting reverse discrimination to fix the problem of lack of equal opportunity is akin to suggesting the solution to gun violence/ mass shootings in schools, is to put more guns in schools with armed teachers.

That seems much too blunt an instrument to dissect something as nuanced as affirmative action, which is I assume what you are alluding to. 

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