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March 26, 2001
10:19 AM   Subscribe

one, two, three. considering this is the same bunch that put our current resident in the whitehouse, why do i have a bad feeling about this?
posted by bliss322 (35 comments total)

 
Three posts down...
posted by jpoulos at 10:58 AM on March 26, 2001


I'm only really going to comment on the first because I don't know much about the second and would need to read more than just this one article to have any kind of opinion.

On the affirmative action article. I'm hoping this gets turned down because I still don't see how people don't consider Affirmative Action to be the most racist thing the gov't has ever tried to pass on us. Here's a quote...

It kept the presumption that minority-owned businesses are disadvantaged and added the presumption for companies owned by women.

Is this really how the gov't feels about black americans and women? Isn't this a very prejudice view? How can black americans, with the likes of Jesse Jackson who tries to stand for black american rights, support affirmative action? To me affirmative action means exactly what Jesse and company are trying to change, that black people are different from white and hispanic and women and so on and so on. How can we have any kind of unity in America when laws like this are passed and keep pushing down our throats that we are all different because of our ethnic background???

No real comment on #2.

I'm torn on #3 (medical marijuana). I agree there is some need to make it medically necessary but I have a feeling it's going to get misused and that shouldn't be. So, I'm torn and don't really have a full opinion.
posted by the_0ne at 11:11 AM on March 26, 2001


Since there is clear, ongoing racial discrimination in the US, it would seem to me that abolishing affirmative action without putting some other remedial plan of action in its place, is blatantly racist. Abolition by itself simply affirms the racist status quo. Doing nothing at all has no moral justification. So if you don't like affirmative action, how do you want to tackle the problem?
posted by hal_55 at 12:12 PM on March 26, 2001


I did a fast hover over the links trying to get a clue what this was about. The URL that includes "scotus.death.ap" was the first one that I saw, and suddenly I was suffering painful visions of Geedubyah getting his big chance to appoint a justice or two---

oh god! i need a stiff drink.
posted by Sapphireblue at 12:33 PM on March 26, 2001


*snicker*
posted by aaron at 12:34 PM on March 26, 2001


I honestly don't know how to solve the problem. I just can't see how telling "minorities" how different they are by giving them jobs that somebody else was even more qualified for but just had different skin color, is helping the problem. So you mean to tell me you would want to know that you got a job, even though 10 other applicants were more qualified than you, just because of the color of your skin or your ethnic background? Yeah, that sounds like that should stop racism altogether.

I don't know the answer, apparently more than you and me don't know the answer either or it would be solved by now. But I still see affirmative action as saying minorities are different and need special help and that to me is the epitomy or prejudice and racism.
posted by the_0ne at 12:35 PM on March 26, 2001


One, I got a question for you.
Why are you assuming only whites are the MOST qualified to do a job?
posted by black8 at 1:27 PM on March 26, 2001


Most anti-affirmative action activists are not, in fact, anti-affirmative action. While objections to racial affirmative action are quite common, objections to financial affirmative action--namely, easing university entrance requirements for the children of donors--seem oddly muted. To my knowledge, only Ward Connerly has ever gone on the record as agreeing that favors for financial donations are just as bad as favors for racial or ethnic backgrounds. (Perhaps we ought to ask just how many of our conservative and liberal lawmakers benefited from financial a.a.? And then ask if they think the universities ought to be sued for admitting them?) But then, Connerly has principles, which he tends to pursue in directions not altogether convenient for conservatives.
posted by thomas j wise at 1:45 PM on March 26, 2001


black8:

damn, I knew somebody would pick up on that. Maybe you were kidding, maybe not but that's exactly what I thought somebody would say after I hit the Post button. That's not what I meant by "even more qualified for but just had different skin color". I'm not saying that all the whites that also applied for that job had been better qualifed, what I'm saying is what if the case was that a "white" person was more qualified. Would the person being black or hispanic or (place ethnic background here) want to know they received the job by just being their ethnic background? I want to know that I beat all the other people out for my job because of my abilities and qualifications, not because of ethnic background or skin color.

I'm not sure if black8 was kidding or being sarcastic or not, but comes to show that you really need to watch what you say, or type actually, these days because it's so easy to have the racist card thrown your way when that was not the intention.

Happened with Senator Byrd and I think it was even a topic here on MeFi. This guy was using a phrase that he heard as a kid. He says it on TV and then the media crunches him, well not that much, but some major news outlets hit the story. I really doubt that Senator Byrd is a racist, but that could have really blown up for him just by saying one word.
posted by the_0ne at 1:49 PM on March 26, 2001


If the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform bill passes, it will probably only do so with the "nonseverability" clause that Dubya so earnestly desires. (The nonseverability clause states that if any portion of the bill is found unconstitutional, the whole thing tanks.) Bush will want to veto it, but either a) won't for fear of the political fallout, or b) will, but the veto will get overridden by Congress.

It'll be interesting to see what the Supremes do then. With that nonseverability clause, they pretty much get a free veto on the bill -- and one that can't be overridden. Maybe Bush will sign the bill into law, and again rely on the S.C. to bail him out of trouble ...

Anyhow, the Supremes know that they eyes of the nation are on them now, so I wonder how they'll rule on these three cases. Now that they have put themselves in the spotlight, we'll see if they start mugging for the camera ...
posted by Shadowkeeper at 2:01 PM on March 26, 2001


Anyhow, the Supremes know that they eyes of the nation are on them now, so I wonder how they'll rule on these three cases.

In the past, the Supremes haven't seemed to care much that "the eyes of the nation" were watching them. Why should they care now?

By design, U.S. Supreme Court justices have almost no accountability. They can only be removed by impeachment. I'm not sure whether a SC justice has ever been impeached, but I'm pretty sure it hasn't happened in my lifetime.

In any case, the conservatives on the court know that they're not going to lose ground during the Bush administration. What I'm really afraid of is that Rehnquist will retire near enough to the reelection campaign or at some other time where Dubya feels the need to pacify his conservative base. Chief Justice Scalia. Ick.
posted by anapestic at 2:29 PM on March 26, 2001


"President Bush is quietly building the most conservative administration in modern times, surpassing even Ronald Reagan in the ideological commitment of his appointments, White House officials and prominent conservatives say." Compassion, my arse.
posted by owillis at 2:42 PM on March 26, 2001


abolishing affirmative action ... is blatantly racist.

So's affirmative action.

So if you don't like affirmative action, how do you want to tackle the problem?

Well, it's a difficult problem. The biggest problem with affirmative action is that it enforces resentment in the privileged class. White people, especially white men, feel (rightly or wrongly) discriminated against. Any minority person in a position of power (even if they got it outright, without the benefit of AA) then just appears as a token or a product of affirmative action. In other words, affirmative action reinforces racial stereotypes and increases resentment of minorities by the majority. Surely that's worse than doing nothing. I think so anyway.
posted by daveadams at 3:14 PM on March 26, 2001


All "white" people are not racists. So it is unfair to legally discriminate against them through affirmative action. it should be done away with. It should have been ruled unconstitutional when it was first proposed. I will not apologize for being white. I am NOT the enemy of the entire world because I am a Caucasian male. And I am getting pretty tired of hearing from women, blacks, Hispanics, that I am.
posted by a3matrix at 3:30 PM on March 26, 2001


Actually my post was half-sarcastic (I'm trying to give sarcasm a rest this year) and I'm not calling anyone a racist, but I was curious.
I don't like affirmative action either but where I work, there aren't many folks that look like me. So I wonder where all the qualified brothas and sistas are...
Employers don't decide who they hire strictly on merit. Other factors go into it, like 'connections'. And if you don't have access to the old boys network then what?
How many people do you know that work in fields unrelated to their schooling? That is, if they even went to college in the first place? I was under the impression that AA were guidelines, not hard rules...
I'm sure someone here will enlighten me shortly.

a3matrix-nobody said all white folks were racists. My best friend is white...so is my goddaughter. So lighten up.
posted by black8 at 3:39 PM on March 26, 2001


To daveadams and a3matrix:

So your answer to the obvious discrimination against blacks is (a) do nothing, and (b) proclaim that you are not racist! Isn't there a self-contradiction there? As members of the (white) privileged class who benefit from racism while paying lip-service to the notion that we were all created equal, how do you manage to slide out from under your moral responsibility to help level the playing-field?
posted by hal_55 at 3:45 PM on March 26, 2001


ridiculous, hal_55. Who said 'do nothing'? For all you know, they are combatting racism in many ways, every day.
If they do, in fact, consider affirmitive action a racism-promoter, then they are doing exactly as they should.
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:48 PM on March 26, 2001


how do you manage to slide out from under your moral responsibility to help level the playing-field?

It's very easy. No such responsibility exists, ergo there's nothing to slide out from under. Hope this helps.
posted by kindall at 4:09 PM on March 26, 2001


>>>No such responsibility exists, ergo there's nothing to slide out from under. (kindall)

As a white, you personally benefit from discrimination against blacks. That apparently doesn't bother you. no moral concerns... Doesn't that make you a racist?
posted by hal_55 at 4:26 PM on March 26, 2001


Whites would be against AA if they:

1) took a second to examine the effects of AA, both on blacks and whites
2) didn't have a guilty conscious
3) weren't afraid of being called 'racist'

Unfortunately, these 3 are rarely found together, so most whites remain vaguely in favor of AA (or at least in favor of how AA makes them feel a like a Good Person)
posted by jrbender at 6:28 PM on March 26, 2001


A note in passing on issue number one: the native Americans were the first group that had some governmental help in giving them preferences many years ago, at a time when our govt was already recognizing how it had messed them over and as a way of trying to make things somewhat easier for them. I should at this point cite year and law but it is late and I would have to search about for the book. I will get it though if anyone wishes it. Write me at Postroad@hotmail.com if you would like the info. And please don't use my e-mail address for spam or pass it on to my ex wife.
posted by Postroad at 6:48 PM on March 26, 2001


As a white, you personally benefit from discrimination against blacks. That apparently doesn't bother you. no moral concerns... Doesn't that make you a racist?

Sorry -- I don't control how other people react to me and I rarely know their motivations. If others treat me differently from how they'd treat a black man, that represents their shortcoming, not mine.
posted by kindall at 7:04 PM on March 26, 2001


So your answer to the obvious discrimination against blacks is (a) do nothing, and (b) proclaim that you are not racist

No, no, no. What I was suggesting is that Affirmative Action generates resentment and suspicion and in fact, encourages racism, and therefore it is a worse solution than doing nothing. Perhaps I'm wrong about that. Why don't we argue about the point I tried to make rather than something I didn't say?

how do you manage to slide out from under your moral responsibility to help level the playing-field?

Well, I think you're missing the point. What I said was that I don't think Affirmative Action is the best way to achieve our ultimate goal of reducing the effects of racism and ending discrimination. In fact, I think it can make those things worse. I'm not trying to slide out of any responsibility any more than you are by arguing for AA (without presenting any evidence that it works).
posted by daveadams at 8:52 PM on March 26, 2001


I'm not arguing in favor of AA, I'm just trying to stop you white-boys (aka: American society) from sliding off the hook.

Discrimination against blacks, Hispanics, women, exists here, today. All around us. It's unjust. It's a running sore in a society that proclaims that all its citizens are equal. Folks who take that proclamation seriously, have been trying to do something about it. There is some argument about whether AA has been effective. Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that it has not, and therefore should be abolished. THEN WHAT SHOULD SOCIETY REPLACE IT WITH? To those who say that the answer is: nothing, I say: you are racists. Because doing nothing means that you are happy with the running sore. And of course you are. It benefits you white-boys economically. Do I really have to spell out the statistics to prove it? It even benefits you politically. Remember the blacks who were wiped off the voter rolls in Florida (under the pretense that they were felons) in order to get Shrub into the White House?

I'll say it one more time to try to make you hear me; if you don't like AA, and if you want American society to remove or at least reduce the effects of discrimination on minorities, how is American society to do it in the absence of AA? Before you abolish AA, you have a moral obligation to propose something better. Doing nothing (aka: inaction, benign neglect) simply perpetuates the status quo and is NOT an adequate alternative.
posted by hal_55 at 9:34 AM on March 27, 2001


The simple answer is that there is no way to replace AA because there is no legitimacy to any program that makes efforts to "level the playing field" on such a broad scope, because there is no "status quo" on such a broad scope.

By pretending that there is an absolute inequity inherent in every transaction, we've turned justice on its head. Racism may be institutional in certain organisations or subsets thereof, I cannot argue that it isn't. But in order to make AA programs legitimate, we would have to point to every instance within each organisation where set-asides, quotas and MBE preferences are used and verify that they are necessary because there is no other option to prevent wholesale discrimination against minorities. Otherwise, the rules are bogus because they do not address the real, underlying problems at all, because they do more harm than good to both the organisations and those who "benefit" from the programs, and most importantly, because they undermine true integrity, true acheivement and true success in the name of artifical harmony and false, forced tolerance.
posted by Dreama at 10:03 AM on March 27, 2001


Before you abolish AA, you have a moral obligation to propose something better.

Says you. <shrug>
posted by kindall at 10:39 AM on March 27, 2001


I've heard time and again that the biggest beneficiary of AA is white women...so jrbender, are you so sure that whites want to get rid of it?
posted by black8 at 10:46 AM on March 27, 2001


For all you readers who don't have time to figure out the mind-fuck, let me put the above post from Dreama into plain English; "no set of rules governing human behavior is ever wholly fair, therefore we should abolish AA and put nothing in its place." That's an apologetic for tolerating racism. Taken to its logical conclusion, incidentally, it's also an argument to abolish the Constitution...

As for you, kindall, do you admit to *any* moral obligations?
posted by hal_55 at 11:04 AM on March 27, 2001


Hal, here's what I'm saying: Affirmative Action may be worse than doing nothing. You say we have a moral obligation to do something. I say we have a moral obligation to pursue the most-effective (or least-destructive) course of action, even if that means taking no action. If Affirmative Action is worse than doing nothing, then it should be our moral obligation to abolish it, whether we have a replacement program in line or not. Maybe someday we'll come up with a way to fix things and not be unfair or cause more problems than we create, but if our course of action is making things worse than they would be with no interference, do you really suggest that we should keep it in place? Just to satisfy your urge to take some action?

Here's my point: we should pursue the best-known course of action. I'm not saying that there's not a better plan, but Affirmative Action is worse than doing nothing.

[ Note: I'm talking about government policy here, not individual actions. ]
posted by daveadams at 11:26 AM on March 27, 2001


Don't moral obligations come from the conscience of individuals? How can anyone tell someone else what their moral obligations are? This is not in regard to AA, I just posted because I disagree with this particular point.
posted by thirteen at 11:37 AM on March 27, 2001


To daveadams: I appreciate your sincerity. But condemnation of AA is by no means universal--many people say that it works. My impression is that the loudest critics are not those who have tried to study the problem objectively, but those who feel that they have personally been injured by AA, cheered on by those with a political axe to grind. While I sympathize with anybody who has been injured, any policy that tries to right any inequity injures somebody, somehow--that's the price of social change. If we rule out all pain as a consequence, social progress becomes impossible.
posted by hal_55 at 11:39 AM on March 27, 2001


To thirteen: if acting to end racism and discrimination is not one of them, just what *are* your moral obligations to the folks in the society around you? Just curious...
posted by hal_55 at 11:43 AM on March 27, 2001


do you admit to *any* moral obligations?

Sure. I have an obligation to treat people the way I'd like to be treated. That means fair dealings, honesty, and the like, which naturally I strive to apply to everyone regardless of race, creed, sex, or whatever. I also have a moral obligation to those who depend on me, e.g. children, spouse, etc. Or I'd have such an obligation if I had any dependents.

I do not have a moral obligation to be a racial activist of any sort. If I am, that's nice; I'm not putting it down at all. People are entitled to choose whatever cause they like and work toward social change they feel benefits society. They are welcome to try to recruit me. They are most emphatically not welcome to call me nasty names (e.g. "racist") if they fail to persuade me, as if their failure was in fact mine. In fact, that's the quickest way to alienate me from a cause.

I happen to find it distasteful and, in fact, anti-American to tell others what to think, even if I find what they think to be abhorrent. This is after all a country founded on free speech and free thought. I also believe the concept of a "level playing field" is a pipe dream. Since no one has ever showed me the instrument by which one measures the levelness of the playing field, I've never heard a good way of telling when the goal has been achieved. It's pretty obvious to me that the metaphorical playing field, unlike a real one, can be tilted in two completely opposite directions at the same time. Hence the metaphor is at worst deceptive and at best basically useless in discussions of social remedy.

My children will absorb fewer racial stereotypes than I did, and theirs will absorb even fewer. Real progress is made by people who care setting an example for the next generation and waiting for the old guard, set in their ways, to die off. Not by well-intentioned but deeply-flawed government programs. Activism is useful for showing people what attitudes must change, but actually doing it depends on millions of individuals, not by attempts to legislate morality.
posted by kindall at 12:50 PM on March 27, 2001


To kindall:

>>> Sure. I have an obligation to treat people the way I'd like to be treated. That means
>>> fair dealings, honesty, and the like, which naturally I strive to apply to everyone
>>> regardless of race, creed, sex, or whatever.

But a great many minorities are *not* treated the way that *you* would like to be treated--and you personally benefit from it. Your tacit acceptance of that practice makes you an accomplice. It's your actions--or inaction--that makes the difference between being or not being a racist--not my opinions, nor your pompous rhetoric:

>>> I happen to find it distasteful and, in fact, anti-American to tell others what to think...

>>> It's pretty obvious to me that the metaphorical
>>> playing field, unlike a real one, can be tilted in two completely opposite directions at
>>> the same time. Hence the metaphor is at worst deceptive and at best basically
>>> useless in discussions of social remedy.

Huh? Oh well, never mind; then just give us a better metaphor. Until you do, I guess we'll just have to manage with the old, imperfect "level playing field."
posted by hal_55 at 4:45 PM on March 27, 2001


Hal: Please reread my post.

This is not in regard to AA, I just posted because I disagree with this particular point.

I did not say that I did not feel it was my moral obligation, I just said you cannot go around telling people what their moral obligations are. You can force people to do things your way, and even if they do them, they may not be carrying out anything they consider moral. Morality is one slippery snake and your logic is ALL over the place.

I prefer to take responsibility for my own actions, and I will not be saddled with your expectations. Morality is just what I think is right and wrong. I do what I think is right.

You weren't suggesting that Dreama tolerates racism were you?
posted by thirteen at 5:18 PM on March 27, 2001


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