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Narrowly Missed. Darn! 690 Q51, V35 UPDATED [6.0 AWA]

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 [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2007, 05:34
An interesting discussion on affirmative action.

Ofcourse this is not something new for Indians too. Within India we've had the "reservation" system for quite some time now where seats are reserved in educational institutions and government jobs for underrepresented communities.

Passions abound on both sides of the argument and it is difficult to advance any opinion on this issue without unintentionally hurting someones feelings. Nevertheless, everyone does have an opinion on this.

My take is that reservations/affirmative action do have an important part to play. Historically some communities have been at a disadvantage compared to others and some incentives are indeed required to level the playing field. However there is a tendency to perenially treat affirmative action as the only possible way to increase representation of underrepresented communities. The efforts need to be concentrated more towards the root of the problem in order to achieve any kind of permanent fix.

I agree with the notion expressed above that it is ridiculous to expect that if a particular community constitutes n% percentage of the population then it should form n% of the student body of an institution. A fair society should create equal opportunities for all sections, but should not assure people of rewards regardless of the efforts they put in.
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2007, 06:27
I don't think diversification is really that important.

Yes, Adcoms tend to choose the "diversified" applicant over the "regular" applicant, but this is a ceteris paribus statement. With a stronger profile, an Indian has more chance than a Eastern European with a weaker profile, I think.

I'm Turkish (not a big pool) and I applied to NYU Stern at R2 with not the best profile. I will be happy if I get picked over the hundred Indian IT GMAT pros, but I don't think my chances are that good.

Seems like diversification is better and worse at the same time to international applicants.
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2007, 07:47
Pelihu,

Lol... Actually your statement was a rather bigoted opinion that calmy explained the need for a lack of divesity, kind of like Mein Kampf. I actually started laughing throughout the passage, for example:

Quote:
The Chinese in the US have arguably had a more difficult time than any ethnicity other than African Americans.


-Hmm.. so you're telling me that the Chinese, who voluntarily came to America, endured more discrimination than Blacks, hispanics and Native Americans?! 400 years of slavery, I suppose, isn't all too bad. Having your entire tribe and race wiped out by the government is also just a minor instance. The thing is Pelihu, Every ethinicity that ever voluntarily arrived endured struggles (Irish, Italians, etc.). However, this discrimination is extremely minor to what has occured (and is still occuring) towards B/H/N's.


Quote:
On the other hand, African Americans have a culture clearly values athletic development; yet where is the affirmative action in the NBA or NFL?


-This honestly made me laugh, and I understand the point you were trying to make. Howver, this statement shows that you missed my previous statement. A more relevant question is: How many minorities own these teams? Lebron James will probably make almost 20 million/year very soon. However, since he has come to the team, he has increased the teams value from 200mm to over 450mm. You tell me which one you would rather own. Oh I can go outside and practice my jump shot, or I can build a network so that i can someday purchase a team (Or can I?)

Pelihu, in economics we learn how the one great determinant of success is normally education. I understand how it sucks for the few who are hurt because of the mandate. I am also sure that with your accompl. you should be considered b4 almost anyone atany school (and i believe you will). However, as I said, the numbers of B/H/N's are weighted exponentially because of the diversity they can bring to the community (the owners box community, if you will).

I feel sorry for the individuals who do not understand or agree with diversity. You will have a noticeably hard time adjusting to the US in the future (Brack Obama, Hillary Clinton?). Although i am voting for McCain... lol[/quote]
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2007, 13:37
I recall a satire piece from when I was at UCLA, that said it was no longer in vogue to call people Hitler when you disagreed with them in a debate. It was now more trendy to call people Saddam. It was a joke, of course, meant to make fun of people that referenced either name because they were unable to argue and debate without grandstanding and invoking the atrocities of millions of dead. It's insulting to those that died, and those that must read/listen to it.

That aside, I'm quite certain that nothing that I said was bigoted. One might argue that slavery hundreds of years ago has a greater continuing effect than indentured servitude and slavery from 150 years ago (I did in fact agree that African American slavery was worse), but arguing for either side is not bigoted. One might argue that coming across the Mexican border to take menial jobs is more of a disadvantage than spending a month in a shipping container from China (as two of my 1st cousins did), but it is not bigoted to argue for either side. My family is 1 generation removed from being among the millions slaughtered by the Japanese around the time of WWII (two uncles, civilians, were murdered there). Is it bigoted to argue that I should not be on the "wrong" side of affirmative action?

My point is that if you are for affirmative action, you should be for it in all circumstances, and not just when it benefits you. So, affirmative action should not benefit rich African Americans at the expense of poor African Americans, Hispanics & Asians, but it does.

Regarding team ownership, just from personal observations, maybe 1/30 teams turns over every three or more years. That would be about a 1% turnover in ownership - and as I recall the most recent ownership group In Charlotte is in fact African American owned. Based on overall demographics, if the next 10 teams are turned over to white owners over the course of the next 30 years, the proper representation under affirmative action has been served. In terms of athletes, 20% of the NBA turns over each year (roughly 90 athletes). How many of them will be Asian? Far less than overall representation in the population.

I'm against affirmative action, in all cases. I was against it when I applied to college. I didn't understand why my perfect GPA, along with a perfect score in every AP test offered at my high school (Physics, Biology, Math, English, History, Chemsitry & Government), along with a high 1500s SAT, along with 2 league tennis championships, 2 first place science fair finishes, school representation in physics and academic competitions and on, were not enough to get me into Princeton, Harvard or Stanford. An African American girl from my high school made it to Stanford the year before me, her GPA was far from perfect, and her SAT was 300 points lower. Was she at a disadvantage because her parents were engineers in the defense industry and mine worked 12-14 hours a day 7 days a week to run a restaurant? Did the seat at Princeton & Harvard go to the child of a Mexican migrant worker or an African American janitor? No, I'm sure it did not. Affirmative action does not generally benefit those people.

You're right, even though my parents worked 80-100 hours a week, and even though I paid for college and law school by working 35-45 hours a week, with my background I can still be considered at almost any school, but what about the children of my aforementioned cousins (the ones that arrived in the shipping container)? Which side of affirmative action should they be on? One arrive just over 10 years ago and worked his way up from a laborer to now own a home repair business. The other arrived about 8 years ago and saved enough money doing menial labor to open his own restaurant. Their kids? Well, like me they will probably start working at their family businesses at about 13-14. They will not go to private school, they will not have SAT tutors, they do not have educated parents, they won't even learn to speak English until they get to school. Will they be given the chance to succeed on their own merits in school, when they apply to college, or when they look for a job? Is it bigoted to suggest that they should not bear the burden of affirmative action? Perhaps, on the other hand, it is bigoted to say that others should benefit at their expense.

Everyone will have to adjust of Obama or Hillary is elected President. It's something that has never happened before. Will it be particularly difficult for me? No. I'm actually quite well acquainted with friends across many cultures. I was the "least Asian" of my Asian friends at UCLA, founded a chapter of a general college fraternity (that originated in the South) and worked my way into the role of director of recruitment for the Inter-Fraternity Council. I'm quite capable of accepting people of all cultures. But honestly, I don't believe Obama has a chance to be elected in the near future. That's not my personal preference one way or the other; it's just an observation based on the national political landscape. Hillary, I do believe she has a chance, but only if...wait for it...she can continue to gain appeal with older white voters.

Do not try to put words in my mouth by saying that I argued for the need for lack of diversity. I did not. My point was, to say it again, that affirmative action is a zero sum game. For each person that benefits, another person must suffer. In itself, this is not wrong - I agree that it is OK to help some while others bear the cost. The real travesty is that those that benefit and those that suffer are improperly "selected" through affirmative action. An inner city African American or Hispanic kid has almost zero chance of benefiting from affirmative action because they are pooled together with the children of African American and Hispanic doctors, lawyers and engineers. The "rich white kids", the ones that grow up with all the advantages, are not the ones that bear the burden of affirmative action because they have access to private schools, tutors, stable environments & role models. The ones that will bear the burden are those that do not have access to these things. They are also the ones without a voice in the debate because, ostensibly, they are not affected.
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 [#permalink] New post 22 Jan 2007, 15:19
Pelihu,

Excellent analysis and thoughts.
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 [#permalink] New post 23 Jan 2007, 05:20
pelihu :

I've been on the wrong side of affirmative action in India ,
same story , great scores..couldnt get into the top schools.

In Singapore, which is a strongly meritocratic society..i have had fantastic opportunities, and have managed to grab them wherever i have been able to prove my merit..(A lot of Malaysians end up in Singapore because of that )

i still believe there is a strong arguement for affirmative action, stemming from the difference in "cultural capital" that is built up over generations (not necessarily only 100-150 years)..i only really saw the difference background and upbringing could make when i started dating my current gf, who is from a "minority" background .. there are so many "values" I picked up as a child, (though i came from a lower income economic background) for example : to invest money wisely, to emphasise education, to get married only after ensuring a financial base.. .etc.. these are "values" my family has learnt over generations through social interaction .....that help perpetuate a cycle of economic well being and success. It is this education that "minorities" cannot benefit from simply through economic success..they need to experience a portion of the virtuous cycle, and affirmative action provides opportunities to enter that cycle. It is not about economic upliftment alone, it is about knowledge transfer in society..

I am a strongly moral person, and to me, an immoralistic dog eat dog world without any affirmative action is unappealing. of course, this is a very personal view,but I believe the unrestricted greed of the capitalist system should be held in check by strong moral standards in society..and there is a genuine moral backing for affirmative action as a means of redressal.

of course..we have been unfortunate enough to be a part of the population that suffers the brunt of affirmative action.. i dont think there is any escaping this...and i cannot morally argue against it.. hence i am giving it my best shot..and lets see what happens!

Last edited by ashaker on 23 Jan 2007, 06:06, edited 2 times in total.
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addedum [#permalink] New post 23 Jan 2007, 05:35
to add..

while this may be politically incorrect.. what i am trying to say is

race, religion, ethnicity, caste etc..do lead to different personal value systems..the "value systems" of some races, religions, ethnicities, and castes - do appear to better equip you to sustain economic development than others..and break the cycle of ignorance.. this accumalated values are what i refer to as "cultural capital" ..you have yourself said that being asian, you come from a strong culture of emphasis on education. So how on earth could your score be compared to that of someone without this cultural emphasis ? affirmative action attempts to account for this unquantifiable gap.

the end goal of affirmative action is not only economic upliftment, but also transfer of "cultural capital" ..hence affirmative action is equally justified if you are rich or poor..as long as you do not have the "cultural capital" to put you on an equal footing with someone who has..
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 [#permalink] New post 19 Jun 2007, 01:16
Pelihu, I stumbled upon your comments and I have to say that, ostensibly, they seem pretty lucid. Unfortunately there are some major flaws in your logic, but I think these logical flaw may reveal a lot about where your heart actually stands on this issue, even with all your orthodox posturing, eg. "I'm completely against affirmative action in all cases".

Your citing the assumption that so few poor blacks are directly benefiting from affirmative action does not naturally support the conclusion that American Universities should adopt a zero-affirmative-action policy. The natural conclusion of your claim that it's a travest that innercity-blacks and hispanics don't benefit would be to change affirmative action so that the system works. Strangely your claim that the solution is to eliminate all forms of affirmative action. Logically, you can't have it both ways.

Either...

a) the premise that 'poor blacks not benefitting from affirmative action upsets you' is false and the real premise that 'the lack of merit as a criterion in the admissions process angers you' is true. By making the latter premise true, support is lent to the notion that all affirmative action should be banished.

or...

b) the premise that 'poor blacks not benefitting from affirmative action upsets you' is true and the conclusion must be changed from 'ending all affirmative action' to 'modifying affirmative action so that poor blacks benefit'.

So the hardline no-affirmative-action argument you use when you cite your regret that poor blacks aren't benefitting either makes you a liar or an illogical thinker. But after reading your comments, I don't see any evidence for either of those conclusions. You seem to be a sincere and intelligent person, so I have to say that it sounds more like you are refusing to draw the right conclusion from your argument premise because it's painful for you. Perhaps your heart actually favors a policy that is generally more meritocratic but saves a few spots for underrepresented minorities who actually come from verifiably underpriveleged backgrounds. I can understand why, if this were truly the policy your heart would endorse, you would still adopt a facade of zero-tolerance for affirmative action: You seem to have been emotionally hurt by your rejection from your top choices and it sounds like still have yet to deal with the sting of the issue. A healthy person fixes the problem, an unhealthy person destroys it. BTW, the stellar quality of your high school record is something you can savor by itself; neither it nor you need to be validated by an admission letter from Princeton or Harvard to make your talents any more real.

I leave you with this food for thought...ending affirmative action may feel like a major accomplishment but such a victory is more emotional than practical. After all, the end of affirmative action does not necessarily ensure that every member of an over-represented population with stellar score gains acceptance to a school like harvard, and that actually is the merocratic ideal at which anti-affirmative activists aim. Of course with a 50 Billion USD endowment Harvard could easily include every previously-snubbed 1500 SAT, perfect GPA candidate by making a 50% increase in the university's class size (otherwise known as the "zero sum game" that you reference). That is a simple solution to this problem, and everyone wins: some good poor minorities student and every star non-minority student gain admission. Even Harvard, whose quality of student increases, wins.

Of course, sadly, it just seems more popular to attack affirmative action, perhaps because of a lack practical creativity on the part discontents or perhaps, to some degree, because attacking the policy accomplishes a latent desire to punish minorities.
  [#permalink] 19 Jun 2007, 01:16
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