racial and sexual inequality
Mon, 9 Aug 1999 11:22:02 -0400
* Bradley M. Kuhn <email@example.com>:
> > When I finish college and am out in the "real world," I certainly
> > am concerned about what opportunities will be available.
> Understandable. But this is because we have a structure in this
> country where there are fewer opportunities available all the time
> because corporate USA keeps insisting that more people work harder
> and have to do multiple people's jobs to keep their jobs.
> Just because corporate USA is built to screw you over doesn't mean
> you don't have advantages for your race. Your argument is a red
( Straw man argument? )
I'm not even considering the "trimming" of the work force. All I'm
talking about is being unfairly discriminated against.
 Yes, I realize that you think this is not unfair.
> A black person who graduates with you will be twice less likely to
> get a job. Even if you have trouble finding a job, that black person
> will have an even harder time.
While it is true that I am a technically-oriented guy, interested
in fields dominated by white males, I wouldn't say I have an easier
time than minorities finding a job. Since the field has such white male
"domination", what better PR move to make than hire the oppressed guy?
Why hire me when you can hire the black male, or the Asian female?
> > When I'm interviewing for a job position, will I be valued for my
> > intelligence?
> Hopefully, you will. But as a white male, you have a much better
> chance of being judged by your intelligence than if you were a black
If this is true, how do we fix the problem? Even affirmative action
won't change people's minds...
Isn't the only solution to this: time?
> > Or will I be devalued because of my gender and race?
> What in anything that has been said here made you think you would
( see below )
> Consider this: If some interviewer has three candidates, all of who
> are qualified, who should this interviewer pick?
> Normally, it would be a coin toss, right? I mean, it has to be, if
> they are all qualified. All affirmative action says that if one of
> these three candidates is not a white or not male, you pick that
> candidate instead of flipping a coin.
That is the exact spot where I am "devalued." I am devalued because
of my race and sex. You wouldn't pick me because I am white. You
wouldn't pick me because I am male. These certainly aren't "valuable"
> How is that wrong? We are trying to right wrongs that have been
> built and reinforced for centuries. We have really only been
> working on this since the 1960s for the most part, and for the last
> hundred years if you take a stretch. How can we right the wrongs of
> centuries in one century or 40 years?
I don't think its very easy to "right wrongs." There isn't really much
more you can do than say "I'm sorry," lets try to make sure you will
be treated fairly, etc.
I really don't think it is "righting a wrong" though to say:
"Sally here, her grandma couldn't go to college because she grew
up in a bad era. So, to make right that wrong, we are not going to
grant you admission to our school. We have decided to let Mary in
instead, to make things right again."
> > What is wrong with selecting the best person for the position?
> Nothing. But, given people who are equally qualified, what's wrong
> with choosing someone who has been beaten down by our culture for
> centuries instead of flipping a coin?
That is discrimination.
> > When will all of these inequities be "righted"?
> Perhaps when women don't make $0.70 on the male dollar, and when
> white families don't make twice as much as black families?
> Did you take a look at the data I posted in the last message? It
> seems that you didn't.
I did, and I didn't think it was relevant. I am not a fan of
Is there any data comparing salaries "over the years", as in
black/white family salary comparisons from 1960s -> [...] -> 1990s? I
wonder if these show steady signs of equality?
Call me idealistic, but I think society is improving.
> > I've done my best not to make judgments about people based on
> > their gender, race, etc.
> This is not a personal blame on you. We have a society that is
> full of inequities. You didn't cause it; but as a white male you
> experience many advantages because of it.
> Black people were enslaved until the mid-1800s. They haven't been
> able to safely vote in most parts of the country except since the
> mid-1960s. Women couldn't vote until early this century, while men
> were voting long before that. These inequities just don't go away
> when you make constitutional amendments and laws!
So do we take away white men's rights to vote until black men have a
fair say? Do we stop allowing male's to vote till women have their
Or do we let things even out over time?
> The statistics and anecdotal  evidence still indicate that there
> are great inequalities. Should we just ignore that?
> The society is already unfair. We can't make it more fair by
> pretending that it is a fair society.
I don't think we have to "ignore" it. We can't make it more fair by
actively punishing individuals, either.
> > If my grandfather was a mass murderer, should I have to serve jail
> > time to set "right" that inequity?
> No one is asking you to serve jail time. However, affirmative action
> does ask that you not be handed
( I think your post got cut off here. )
>  As a little anecdotal evidence: in my neighborhood in Baltimore
> when I was 8, a couple (black man, Ita-lian woman). As recently
> as 4 years ago, you could still see the spray-paint (faded a
> great deal) of NIGGER on the side of their house.
> A year ago, my parents sold my grandmother's house a block away
> from theirs to a black family. My brother (at 13) was riding his
> bike in the neighborhood, and a neighbor accosted him and said:
> "How in the hell could your parents sell to those niggers?" My
> brother said (being the flippant kid he is) said: "What the hell
> are you talking about?" and the guy said: "It's a proven fact
> that when they move in the property value goes down."
> When I worked at Hardee's in Baltimore when I was 16, there were
> only two white teenagers working there. All the others were
> *adult* black men and women who were supporting their families
> with the jobs in question. One Sunday, me and the other white
> teenager were the only one visible working. A regular customer
> bought his coffee and said: "I guess those darkies don't like
> working on Sundays. It's refreshing."
This story is sad, indeed. Last year at Virginia Tech, a racist email
was sent to an individual (who ended up contacting the police). This
well-publicized email prompted the university to form committees of
multi-cultural issues and diversity.
Just to make things clear, I am against affirmative action because I
simply think people should be treated equal. I don't think the past
situation is very relevant to the current situation. (Of course, I do
know that it is the past that got us to the present.)
A lot of people quickly assume "You're just against affirmative action
because you lose your privileges." It's not that at all. I think
everyone deserves equal treatment. Its one thing to make things fair,
its another to reverse the current situation.
Josh Baugher <firstname.lastname@example.org>