Wk 9 MCS discussion

1.Try to demonstrate that you have done the reading, that you can explain it, and that you can connect to the assigned readings for the past 8 weeks.  If you cannot explain it, ask questions until you can. No credit for posts where you say ‘colored’ when you mean ‘people of color’, or when you say ‘racist’ when you mean ‘prejudiced’.Copy this question into your post and then answer it:  Write about what you know about affirmative action after completing the assigned readings.What is Affirmative Action, Really?Many people in the U.S. feel strongly about affirmative action.  You can see that if someone thinks that everyone in America is treated as an individual, that racial and ethnic group membership are irrelevant to the way individuals are treated, you can see how such a person would be frustrated by what they perceive to be preferential treatment.You can see how people who see from a multicultural perspective understand that only white people have the privilege of being treated as individuals, and people of color are routinely discriminated against in hiring, in housing, and in school admissions.Misunderstandings about affirmative action almost all originate in the original assumptions that people make. We have spent much of this quarter exploring and clarifying those assumptions. I urge you to keep track of the issues and the assumptions.Some questions to ask yourself before we start:If affirmative action laws, executive orders and policies result in all these people of color who are taking all the jobs, where are they? Are they your teachers? Are they your bosses?  Where are they?How many of you have ever worked for a White boss (raise your hand, OK?) Many of you, right? How many of those bosses were totally competent? Why is it when we speak about a person of color getting a position, it is always some not-as-competent/qualified person who got the job instead of some White person who is always totally qualified?  Can you see the Stereotype, which leads to a Community of Memory?Let’s be clear about this: hiring and school admission has always been based on race and gender. Always. Up until recently the race was White, the gender was male. Let me show you some ‘affirmative action’ statistics, about 30 years after the first mention of affirmative action.White Males are:39.2 % of the population77% of Congress92% of state governors70% of tenured college faculty90% of daily newspaper editors77% of TV news directors (Newsweek March 29, 1993)Yes, these are dated statistics.  I show them to you deliberately because I want us to pay attention to how slowly our culture changes where race, social class and gender are concerned.  And, I urge you to search for current statistics that are reliable.  I want to ask you again, if there are all these people of color and women who are taking all the jobs, where are they? (none of the data supports the assumption that people of color are taking all the jobs, as I’ll show you later)(Some more current data:the New Congress 2015) (Links to an external site.)Listen to me: affirmative action laws, executive orders and policies NEVER say you must hire anyone. They say make sure you take bias into account when you are interviewing. Think about this: If your boss hires someone who is incompetent, who must do the work? You, right? And if your boss hires people who are incompetent, what does that say about you? Does that mean you are incompetent?It is a total myth that affirmative action laws say you must hire a person of color or a woman. The guidelines say try to interview some people you might not otherwise consider. I sit on many, many, faculty selection committees, and I am very careful NOT to hire people in my division who cannot do the work, because I already know who will have to pick up the slack: ME. On the other hand, I know that it is to the benefit of my students to make sure that their professors come from many different perspectives, because the more perspectives my students consider, the more educated they will be. So, I try to make sure the people I interview are as diverse as possible. And that they are qualified. So, I try to follow affirmative action guidelines. Let me tell you more about affirmative action.Affirmative action laws, executive orders and policies are based on this assumption, quoted from Iris Young, federal court judge and author of the bookJustice and the Politics of DifferenceThe weight of society’s institutions and people’s assumptions, habits, and behavior toward others are directed at reproducing the material and ideological conditions that make life easier for, provide greater real opportunities to, and establish the priority of the point of view of white heterosexual men.You recognize this; we’ve been making this assumption explicit all quarter. From this assumption, look at the laws, executive orders and policies which make up affirmative action (contrary to popular opinion, there isn’t just one law):The Legal Basis for Affirmative Action: Laws, Executive Orders, and Policies:Executive Order 11246 prohibits federal contractors from discrimination in employment based on race, color, national origin, or sex.  To clarify, prior to this, employment was based on White race, White color, White national origin, and male sex.Title VI of Civil Rights Act 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in all programs/activities receiving federal aidTitle VII Civil Rights Act 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment, including hiring, upgrading, salary fringe benefits, pregnancy, training, etc.Title IX Education Amendments 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex or genderEqual Pay Act 1963 prohibits discrimination in salaries based on sex.Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973 sets affirmative action obligations for handicapped individualsSection 504 Rehabilitation Act 1973 prohibits discrimination based on handicap for all programs and activities receiving federal funds.Vietnam-Era Veteran’s Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 prohibits discrimination based on being either a disabled veteran or a veteran of the Vietnam era.There are more recent additions, but those are the basics. Look at each of these laws, and see which ones you object to. Check my data. Here are some good websites with accurate information, lots of clear light, not so much heat:An affirmative action timeline (Links to an external site.)so you can see how long we have been working on this issueTen Myths about Affirmative Action (Links to an external site.)Here’s the real deal:There are so many stereotypes and misconceptions about affirmative action that we are astonished at how so much misinformation could be so prevalent. I trace it back to original assumptions about race and gender. If you believe everyone is already treated equally, then of course you would be angry at what you perceive to be ‘special treatment’ based on race or gender. If you believe that White males are given privileges that cause an corresponding penalty for people of color and women, then you might be totally in favor of affirmative action.And, its not just a matter of what we believe; what does the evidence say?While we are thinking about that, let’s look deeper at the details of affirmative action laws, executive orders and policies:What EXACTLY is Affirmative Action?There are four different types; I list them in order of most common to least common:Aggressive recruiting to expand the pool of applicants for job openingsPrior to 1965 if an employer in a company had a middle management position opening, HE posted the opening where most of the appropriate people might see it: On the job board in the Men’s Bathroom. Affirmative action laws, executive orders and policies made that illegal.Now most companies can meet their affirmative action obligations simply by posting openings in the places where minorities and women say they look for jobs.Prior to 1965, if an employer had a job opening, HE might post it somewhere public for 20 minutes, then when someone tried to apply for the position, he would say the job was closed, and give the position to his nephew.Now, companies have to post their job vacancies for a certain amount of time, say 30 or 60 days. They cannot start the interview process until the job announcement period has closed. Many people say this is just good business practice, not realizing it came about as a result of affirmative action laws, executive orders, and policies.Evaluating and updating selection tools and criteria to ensure their relevance to job performancePrior to 1965, if you wanted to be one of the people who served food to passengers on airplanes, and incidentally, wanted to be responsible for their safety (such people were called Stewardesses), you had to be female, and between 5’4″ and 5’10″, and weigh between 115 and 140 pounds.After 1965, airline companies had to prove that being a female was somehow a qualification for the job, that there was SOMETHING airline stewardess had to do that only females could do (look for the ad campaign “coffee, tea, or me?”). Also, after 1965, the qualifications said ‘height/weight proportional’, recognizing perhaps that a woman who is 5’10 and 115 pounds might be undernourished and might not be in a position to take responsibility for anyone’s safety.Revising traditional measures of merit to more fully recognize talent and performance under varying conditions.Prior to 1965, fire departments and police departments hired almost exclusively White and male applicants. After 1965, these agencies had to take into account the fact that White males might not in all situations be the best person for the job, that there might be situations in which a female or a person of color (or both) would be very valuable team members. For example, firefighters often say that they don’t want to have to go into a burning building with a woman firefighter, because she might not be able to carry them out. First of all, the fact that she is a woman has nothing to do with being able to carry someone out. Second, if that male firefighter didn’t weigh 220 pounds, he might not have fallen through the floor in the first place. Consider a common firefighting scenario: child trapped in very small space in a burning building. Who is most valuable in this situation, a 220 pound huge human, or a 120 pound small human?After 1965, employers had to demonstrate that their measures of merit actually take all facets of the job into consideration.Establishing goals and timetables for hiring underrepresented groups.Goals and timetables are not the same as quotas. Quotas are illegal and have been for over 40 years. Quotas are only implemented in situations in which a company has been found guilty in a court of law of a consistent pattern of hiring discrimination. In such cases, the court MAY impose a certain quota, for example, hiring one State Patrol officer of color for every White officer who is hired.Goals and timetables are a way of keeping track of who would be naturally in the work force, absent 500 years of oppression and discrimination. If Native Americans are about 2% of the population of this community, they should be 2% of the work force in this community. If African Americans are 12% of the population of the greater Seattle area, they should be 12% of the work force at Shoreline Community College. Establishing goals and timetables is the least common type of affirmative action.OK, let’s keep sorting through this issue:Notice your own stereotypes and assumptions:  Do a Google Search again on affirmative action and look through a few sites.  Try to determine what their assumptions are. Who are the authors? What are their political views? Can you understand why they believe what they believe?  Write about your thoughts and feelings in your notes, and in the Discussion.2.  Write something else, that you learned from the assigned readings on affirmative action.   In this post, try to connect to what you have learned so far, about race, and gender, and social class. (Yes, we did write about this before.  Let’s write some more ;-)Session 9.3     Affirmative Action and Higher EducationI know you want to know about affirmative action and higher education, so let’s get to it.First, look inside your head, and collect all the ‘stories’ you know about affirmative action and higher education. Think about where you heard those stories. Try to hold in your mind the assumptions of the people who told you their affirmative action stories. Those who have never heard about affirmative action, do a little searching, until you get a sense about why affirmative action is such a culminating example of monocultural and multicultural perspectives.Affirmative Action and Higher EducationThe stories I will tell you come from a multicultural perspective. Lots of this data is also common sense. In choosing myths and facts to compare, I’ve tried to present only facts that were documented with specific data in the links I provided. The admissions information comes from a variety of sources, but is easily documented.Myth: Affirmative action programs are unfair because they undermine the meritocratic history and spirit of higher educationFact: Access to higher education has never been based exclusively on academic merit; colleges have historically and tenaciously favored those who have influential parents, those with athletic skills, and white males.Betsey: You already know this. You know that most colleges and universities save a certain number of seats for the children of alumni, very talented athletes, and until very recently, for white males. As recently as 1987, the University of North Carolina was trying to solve the problem of more women than men in the entering 1st year class by implementing a quota of one woman for every two men. Harvard had a 40% cap on entering 1st year women. It’s only when people of color are mentioned that there is an uproar about preferential treatment (Sadker and Sadker, Failing at Fairness:  How American Schools Shortchange Girls, 1995).Fact: Institutions of higher education do not admit students solely of the basis of test scores or high school transcripts but use a range of information that attests to a student’s unique qualities.Betsey: Admissions Officers are trained professionals. They hire a trained staff. They know that all the available research says that standardized tests or GPAs do not accurately predict more than 1st year college grades. And tests and GPAs only predict 1st year grades accurately for White males. They under-predict 1st year grades for women and for people of color.Myth: There is an objectively determined and straightforward definition of a qualified student.Fact: Most institutions have a broad definition of an ideal student that places strong weight on students’ personal characteristics, including leadership, overcoming adversity, and unique talents that might contribute to the educational environment.Fact: All candidates, including those admitted with affirmative action as a consideration, are first evaluated on some acceptable level of prior academic achievement and future academic and leadership potential.Betsey: Colleges and universities are evaluated by their funding sources partially on their ability to graduate students in a timely manner, and on the ability of admitted students to progress through to a degree with some success. Admissions Officers don’t want to admit large percentages of students who aren’t likely to pass most of their courses, or who will take too long to finish their degrees. Admissions people keep their jobs to the extent that a large percentage of the students they admit will demonstrate success.Myth: the use of race as a factor in college admissions is inconsistent with the way the admissions process normally works.Fact: Race has always been a factor in college admissions. Until very recently, the race in question was almost exclusively White (and male).Betsey: This myth is phrased in the kind of code called Whitespeak. When White race is considered in college admissions, it is business as usual, part of the air that we breathe.Fact: Objective and subjective criteria include geographic representation, mix of specific academic majors, balance of in-state and out-of-state residents, the number of athletes, and the mix of race/ethnicity in the student body.Betsey: First, let’s talk about geographic representation. It is an often-told ‘Story’ in Eastern Washington that ‘UW favors students from Western Washington’ (that’s what they think). So, UW must make sure in its admissions criteria that it admits an adequate number of students from Eastern Washington, because THEY PAY TAXES, partially to support UW. It seems reasonable to try to balance race and ethnicity for the same reasons; namely people of color also pay taxes, partially to support state-supported colleges and universities. Colleges and universities save a certain number of seats for out-of-state residents, and international students, because they help to pay the bills. They also save a few spots for athletes, especially male athletes, who also help to pay the bills.Myth: Affirmative action leads to unfair exclusion of many white students who are then forced to attend second and third choice schools.Fact: The research does not support this myth. Whites do not appear to be disadvantaged in the admissions process.Fact: African Americans and Asian Americans were most likely to report having to attend second and third choice schoolsFact: Latino and Native American students are highly concentrated in community colleges and low-cost institutions with low selectivity which are close to their respective communities.What were the original motivations for affirmative action in higher education?Public responsibility to provide higher education, in as inclusive a way as possible, to the citizens of the state.Social commitment to rectify discrimination against people of color and women.Educational theory, now thoroughly tested, that a diverse and heterogeneous campus provides important educational benefits for all students.How has affirmative action affected admissions policies?Admissions committees seek balance in socioeconomic background, geography, race, gender, ethnicity, alumni ties, parental wealth and/or fame, academic interests, athletic prowess, extracurricular activities, and so onRace is only one of the factors considered about an individual’s characteristics and achievement when he or she is under consideration for admission.What has been the educational impact of affirmative action?Students report increased cultural awareness, greater sensitivity to race, and increased familiarity with a range of disparate cultures and styles.Students learn that their perspective is not the only way of understanding a situation.Diversity of population has made the negotiation of diversity a fact of public life, and opened important discussions about understanding and identity and about the forms of trust and mutual respect required for in a democracy.3. Copy this question into your post and then answer it:  Write about something you’ve been thinking about, as a result of the work you have done in this class.

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