Week 8 – Lesson 14: Affirmative Action

posted by Sam and Michelle

Post your 450 word (minimum) comment and 100 word (minimum) response to a classmate. You should be responding to the lecture about affirmative action. You can write anything you want about whatever you hear in the lectures.

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125 Responses to Week 8 – Lesson 14: Affirmative Action

  1. BellaBoo54 says:

    One of the most shocking things of this lecture was definitely the video of the study of “Trading Schools”. It is true that it isn’t really talked about and how to really to bring about greater social equality. The numbers and percentages given out throughout the video were pretty unsettled. It came clear that there was definitely a huge inequality comparing the schools, even though they were barely an hour away. I went to a suburban school. In the video one of the girls, from the suburban school had said that “ it was just a given that they would graduate high school”, which 99% of them would compared to the 40% from the inner city school. I remember thinking that too when I was in high school. It was more like why wouldn’t I graduate? The bigger question was what college was I going to pick if I wanted to go? I was pushed to go to college by my parents for sure. I was a little more rebellious to social standards so I tried to act like maybe I was not going to go to college, but I knew I was going to go. I knew it was expected out of me and I was being given the opportunity and not every high school graduate would have that. When I was in highschool, I took this Digital Imagery class. It was honestly the coolest class. We had great computers and tons of digital cameras and technology to do our projects. We had ton of final presentation tools, colored printers and never had to pay extra to mat our work. I would make presents for my mom just for fun. I ended up majoring in communications, specifically advertising at psu. I remember taking that class in high school and thinking to myself how much I loved it and that I wanted to make something of myself in that area. I have always been very creative. Any class I had that would have a project was my favorite. I would go to the craft store and my mom would swipe her credit card so I could get all the stuff I needed to make a killer poster, I was anchored into college. I was set up to graduate and go to college and get a degree. I had endless opportunities to do whatever I wanted. I never really stopped to think whether I deserved it or not, I just assumed I deserved it. When I saw the video I kind of felt bad and a little mad. But then I thought could I really blame myself for accepting the opportunity, why wouldn’t you take it if it was given to you? Why would I make life harder if I was given the chance to make it easier? It seems like nepotism will always exist, and AA is needed. I really do not know how to solve it. Education is a start, I guess

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    itsthatguy10 Reply:

    7/7/10
    Education is without a doubt the solution. Betting getting to that solution is the problem. I went to a highschool that was probably mid way between the two schools seen in the video, but for me personally it was also not even a question whether I would go to college or not.
    So the problem is getting those kids a better education. The reason their school does not have the resources of the other highschool is because of taxes. The funds for public schools come directly from the taxes paid from the school area. If the people in the poor area only pay a small amount of taxes, their schools will not have much money, then they can’t provide a quality education to the students. Then many of the students don’t graduate or do not go to college, they don’t get good jobs and then can’t pay for better schools through their taxes. It is a vicious cycle that can only be over come if we change the way schools are funded because they way it is currently is extremely unfair.
    You shouldn’t feel bad about your advantage but by recognizing the problem you should support changes to make things fairer.

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    psurevelry Reply:

    I am totally with you about the trading schools segment. It was so disheartening to watch and see all the inequality going on just miles from one another. No one does ever talk about how to bring about social equality it is a little taboo in our society today because I think no one wants to talk about what caused it and what perpetuates the inequality in our society. The percentages were even more depressing to think that at one school almost all of them are going to graduate where at the other less than half will. I think it also makes you think about what if half of my graduating class did not graduate and how growing up around that would have affected me.

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  2. aks5248 says:

    7/7/10
    Lesson 14 blog response

    Before this lesson I thought I knew most if not all of what there is to know about affirmative action in America today. But once again, Sam has a habit of lifting the cover and exposing the real impact of affirmative action on everyone today. I am honestly amazed that only ten percent of people getting jobs, scholarships, admissions, is due to affirmative action. I just thought it was so much more due to my experiences with applying to schools and scholarships myself. I researched so many scholarships through several sights where a vast majority were for x type of minority. But in the grand scheme of things, ten percent makes sense when every job, scholarship, or admission is looked at.
    When discussing nepotism and affirmative action, I thought of how sad that exactly zero of 828,000 high school seniors said that they are below average when it came to get along with others. There are definitely some people who fight with everyone in every large group of students in any grade or class. But no one is willing to admit that. Also the survey about how one family conserves water compared to their neighbors amazes me as well. 87% to 97% said that their neighbors could do better to conserve more water. The ego’s of everyone is just absolutely astounding. Then the whole tidbit about how an individual follows the Ten Commandments better than everyone else finished it off. How can people be so self centered? Didn’t all of the Disney movies that we watched as a kid drill the idea that no one is perfect, ever? And that everyone will make mistakes in life. I thought everyone learned that as a kid. I guess it all wears off when we are in high school. This is absolutely mind-boggling. It really shows how we as a society focus on the individual first before everything else. Maybe that’s why when anyone does an act of kindness, it’s so applauded that someone put someone else ahead of himself or herself.
    I was also surprised to find out that the main goal of affirmative action was to combat indirect institutional discrimination. I thought it was to give minorities an equal hand when it came to jobs or college admissions. I didn’t really think of the institutional discrimination that often happens without white people even knowing it. In that sense, affirmative action has done a decent job at that.
    I was also thankful for Obama’s stance on affirmative action. Obama made a compromise of both sides of affirmative action. Stating that affirmative action should be used within social and economic classes just makes more sense. It makes the main goal easier when it comes to deciding who should get what on whatever criteria.

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    JessOver Reply:

    I also like Obama's stance on Affirmative Action. Social class should absolutely play a role in who AA is benefitting. If someone has been raised within the upper class and have been given an upper hand already, there are many others who would benefit much more from affirmative action and who are more deserving. I think if we strive for equality then we need to be willing to help those people who need it the most. Going back to the school situation I think that we need to attempt to give more equal funding especially for education to give our students a fair chance to reach their potential and equal potential in itself is so important in an attempt to reach racial and gender equality.

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  3. MDD1982 says:

    Blog Comment for Grade. Lesson 14 Affirmative Action. July 7th, 749pm.____I have mixed feelings about this lecture. I always find them informative and I always gain knowledge that I did not have before but I just felt like there was more to Affirmative Action than this lecture went in to. I do think that we tend to view Affirmative Action as a black vs white or white vs black (however you want to call it). I did not realize the depth it went into, how it is so much more than just black people getting ahead simply because they are black. Though, I have always understood that the "system" of Affirmative Action was to give those who are seen as minorities a more equal chance to get ahead or at least to the same level as their white male counterparts. In my opinion though, as a woman, I would not want to get ahead because of a government formed system; I want to get ahead because of my life accomplishments, professionally or scholastically.

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  4. MDD1982 says:

    Blog Comment for Grade. Lesson 14 Affirmative Action. July 7th, 749pm
    I thought it was interesting how Affirmative Action and Nepotism are one in the same. I must admit that I have benefited from Nepotism. I did not GET my last job because of who I knew but I did get the INTERVIEW because of someone I knew. This "someone" was not high on the food chain but he was still someone who had the "in" and the "know" and from that he was able to help me. I can say that what did get me the job was my military background. Ironically, after I was hired I ended up making a higher salary than my friend who put my foot in the door (of course I never mentioned that to him).
    I thought it was interesting how Dr. Richards was able to connect Affirmative Action as an around-the-way way of still putting white males on top. I also thought it was interesting that white women are the ones who benefit the greatest from Affirmative Action; I truthfully thought it was the black community.

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    brumgmt Reply:

    In looking at your assessments of affirmative action, I have definitely heard many others who were also surprised to find out the facts of affirmative action programs. Even though affirmative action programs have been in place for a number of years, it is still associated with helping minorities. This myth has been able to continue because of people believing in what they have heard or was told. Why is it that many non-minorities are so against affirmative action but realize and support the benefits of nepotism? In fact, if there was no discrimination in employment and people were provided with occupational opportunities based on qualifications instead of such things as nepotism, then there would probably be less of a need for affirmative action programs. However, this is not the case, and there is a definite need for affirmative action programs.

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  5. MDD1982 says:

    Blog Comment for Grade. Lesson 14 Affirmative Action. July 7th, 749pm
    Like I said, I knew very little (just enough to some what understand) of this subject but I certainly do not feel like I know ALL that encompasses it. I also thought the slides on the Ten Commandants was, well, not accurate. There is not a doubt in my mind that those who did the survery were not being truthful. Seems like an overwhelmingly high rate of people saying they follow the adultry Commandant and yet if you look at the divorce rates for infidelity, it shows that to be inaccurate. But that is just my take on it.
    I also agree with Dr. Richards in that we will never be equal. I do not know of a system that can be dervied to make everyone happy and give everyone a fair chance to move up the ladder – I do not see how it could work, at least, without a socialistic system put into place and I will never agree to socialism. It was intersting how that student (after the lecture) said the idea he had about making an even playing ground was basically socialist and that some things from the socialist view point is good.

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  6. MDD1982 says:

    Blog Comment for Grade. Lesson 14 Affirmative Action. July 7th, 749pm
    I have such mixed feelings here. I do think that every student should be given the same things in school. I know private schools cannot be regulated but state school certainly can. I do not think it is needed for one school to have a ridiculous amount of material things and the other school to have nothing; schools should be equal. I also think that once you get into the adult world and have to fend for yourself that that is exactly what should happen. Fend for yourself. If someone has something nicer than you and you want, go get it. Bust your butt, network, do what you must to get ahead. As much as people may hate that knowing the right people in the right places gets you somewhere, it is what it is. I find that most people tend to dislike it when they do not have the networking skills that others do; if they had someone who could set them up for success or at least get their foot in the door, they would take it.

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  7. Jsiminitus says:

    7/7.I have always felt that inequality that is something that will remain forever is some form. The inequalities that can occur when applying for a job don’t even have to be due to someone’s race, gender, political views, religion, etc. I could be one of two people who walk into a job interview. The person who is next to me could be my identical twin, who has the same exact qualifications I have. The only difference is that my twin is married to the boss’s daughter. He gets hired. Classic nepotism clearly demonstrated. I never really looked deeply into affirmative action. It’s not that I find I unimportant, or I disagreed with it, it was probably because I saw no way for it to affect me as a white male. Well, once again, I was showed the inner workings of something, in this case affirmative action, in a new light. Seeing the people, who are benefited by affirmative actions connected to white men, wasn’t something I would have seen coming. White men just can’t get away from being benefited. It isn’t fair to people who just can’t seem to be benefited at all. The video that was shown with the difference in the schools was very interesting. I knew that schools like those existed, but I didn’t think they were located so closely to one another. When the female student in the math class had no clue what was going on, after she had earned an “A” in trigonometry, it showed the differences in simple teaching. Having a better school, teachers, and overall better education, plays a huge aspect in the future of these young people. The worst part it, there is nothing the less privileged children can do. The poor school has to attempt to gain more federal funding to pay for the things they need, but it would take millions to make that a good school. A student at the end of the video who was interviewed and said: “well we pay taxes through the roof, that’s probably why we were better.” The fact is the taxes cannot be raised substantially in these poor communities. No one would be able to afford the increase in payment. That reinforced the fact Sam was proving when he had the three students stand up for the “race to the top of the steps.” Things that were out of their control predetermined all their starting points in life. They could not control where their parents lived or how much money they had. That example alone really demonstrated what affirmative action does. It attempts to give everyone an equal start, without pulling any others back. In my eyes nepotism is luck, all luck. Most of the jobs I have had were, in fact, due to nepotism. I met most of the people who helped me randomly at some random place. It’s those lucky connections that you don’t expect to help you in the future. I don’t think people focus on it as much because it is such a common thing. It happens all the time to almost everyone, and often people don’t realize how lucky they are. The big difference, other than nepotism is helping those you know, in my eyes between the two, is that Affirmative action and nepotism both do give some unfair advantages, but, affirmative actions doesn’t pull people back, nepotism can. A company may interview an extra person, just like Sam’s example, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will get hired. They are given the same starting point. With nepotism, the person who is more qualified, has no shot and is held back.

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  8. ViciousVirgo says:

    I never really had a clear understanding of what Affirmative Action was but I have a general understanding. What I do not understand is why this even came about or why it still exists. Things like this to me are the reason we will never be all the way equal. If you give somebody an advantage based on some characteristic that they would not normally receive, that is already putting one person or group at an advantage and another at a disadvantage. This makes me wonder how people in general ever expect anybody to try and be equal with another person when you have official legal proceedings that allow someone to benefit from something based off of race, gender or their able-bodied status. On the other hand, the slide said that it discriminates against whites and men which I honestly do not feel bad about because it is reversed all the time. To me, that is one way of making us close to equal, by putting whites and men at a disadvantage just like women and minorities are at a disadvantage a lot of the times. I just think things such as affirmative action make things worse and it does not come close to making things better because someone has the advantage for the wrong reasons so it is harming not only that person but the people that are at a disadvantage too.

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  9. ViciousVirgo says:

    Another thing I also found interesting is the section about the commandments and what percentage of people follow each one. I find it shocking that there were such high percentages for a lot of them such as honoring your mother and father or using God’s name in vain. I think people pick and choose what they put in each category. I am pretty sure that a lot of people do not follow those specific commandments down to a T and in fact have went against them on more than one occasion or more than they actually think. Commandments such as Honor nobody before God has a high percentage but I know for a fact that people put alcohol or sex or relationships or shopping before going to church which is technically putting something before God. While looking at this, I think people pick and choose what to put in which category or try to make what they don’t do in that category acceptable or an exception to the rule. Even when I went to a catholic school growing up, my theology teacher told us many stories about how she doesn’t follow the commandments as much as she should but she really tries. So if she said that, being a very committed Christian, I can imagine people who do not pay attention or take their religion as seriously are worse than her.

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    bsa5057 Reply:

    I think part of what is happening about how people tend not to follow the commandments sometimes is because of how strict and controlling they might be for a person who is being born with an instinct and a nature for longing to be free. For example the issues of using God’s name in vain, and the other about how people are making the love and respect for God is second to their respect for some other issue or thing that is happening in their lives. As you mentioned: relationship, something they really admire, etc. And sometimes I find myself guilty of believing the person who is more serious about God, are more trustworthy.

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  10. JessOver says:

    I think in order to allow all those who want to get ahead to actually be able to get ahead, we must first be willing to consider all people equal. Like Sam was saying, regardless of what system is in place, there will always be those who aren’t willing to work hard to get ahead and who either may expect others to do the work for them or to be content with sitting back and recognizing that they will never be ahead in the social status game.
    I guess I hadn’t previously realized that white women are the main beneficiaries of affirmative action. I suppose I had always thought that affirmative action benefitted minority groups. It’s interesting that a program that many think support underclass citizens in fact just supports the issues we currently have today of supporting those middle class citizens who have fewer roadblocks in their life.
    The concept of thinking you are better than another person for no oteh reason than because we are egotistical is absolutely a major problem, but it’s not just a problem in the United States. However, in order to truly believe in equality and strive for racial and gender equality, it must become acceptable to perceive yourself genuinely as you are instead of disregarding others who may truly have an upper hand. It’s easy to blame others before the thought to blame oneself even crosses someones mind. Who wants to demean themselves? The slides regarding peoples opinions of both themselves and others was extremely interesting. It is so easy to judge other people without having any idea of who they are, but we must be able to judge ourselves.
    Today’s world truly revolves around knowing people. It’s sad that we no longer focus on who is truly the best candidate for the job based on skill level and qualifications but is instead very much about the people we have made contact with. Again I go back to my point that before we can eradicate racial and gender issues, we, as a society as a whole, must move towards giving all people an equal chance/opportunity in all aspects of life. Knowledge and ability must begin to play a role in all that we do. Yes, gaining contacts and meeting people in fields of interest is important and should help people move forward in careers, but knowing someone should not be the end all. It may help in getting that initial job interview, but when the company goes forward in the process of hiring it should be based solely on the most qualified individual.
    On Sam’s discussion about giving Native Americans scholarship opportunities or those with disabilities special training, I see no problem with that. I think there are people who need that step up in order to have equal opportunities. Why not help those people, such as people with any type of disability, have an opportunity to be given the same opportunity as any other person. I really like Obama’s opinion on Affirmative Action. I do think that we should consider a wide range of reasons as to why people deserve a step up, and social class should indeed play a role in it.

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  11. itsthatguy10 says:

    7/7/10
    I agree with Richards that nepotism and affirmative action are pretty much the same thing. With both of them you inherently being unfair and giving an advantage to certain people. I see how Richards was making the point that people who say affirmative action is bad but are likely to not say anything about nepotism can be hypocritical. This happens because people think better of themselves then they do of other people, as we saw from the many statistics like the 10 commandment poll. While they both are inherently unfair because they give specific people an advantage it is important to realize how affirmative action is important to have for the world we live in and why nepotism is natural. Some people can argue that affirmative action is reverse racism, but really it is just helping those who are at a disadvantage to come closer to even. Also people tend to overstate the effect these laws have and believe they are having a bigger impact then they really are, so in many cases they are still not actually even. I really have no problem with affirmative action. As a white man if I lost a job opportunity because of affirmative action supposedly I would probably be mad or upset at first but I think I would get over it and I definitely would not hold it against the minority in question.
    After this lecture it would probably be easy to rail against nepotism but I do not think that would be the right way to look at it. Like affirmative action, nepotism is inherently unfair to people as a whole. While affirmative action is a calculated attempt at changing things I see nepotism as natural human behavior. Humans are social creatures and we are driven to make social connections to many people. Like Richards pointed out, people are more likely to say yes to you if they are speaking face to face. So it is natural that a person would want to hire someone that they know personally or has been vouched for by someone they know. As I said before I agree it is hypocritical to see a problem with affirmative action and not nepotism, I don’t think there is much that can be done about nepotism. People are naturally inclined to take part in nepotism and I don’t see how we could possibly make a law to curtail nepotism. I do not see how it would be possible to make a law stopping someone from hiring a relative just because they are related. Nepotism may make things even more unfair then they already are since it benefits the rich the most but there is nothing we can do about it so we just have to deal with it.

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  12. part 1

    I thought that this lecture was very interesting about affirmative action. I thought it was really interesting about how affirmative action and nepotism are pretty much the same thing; although both, nepotism and affirmative action are looked at differently. I think that everyone has at some point in their lives have benefited from nepotism and if they think that they haven’t then they are in denial. I know that I have benefited from nepotism. I volunteered in a youth basketball program by refereeing games every Saturday morning over the winter months. The lady who ran the program was partially in charge of a summer camp. She told me that if I wanted she could get me a job at the summer camp. I had not even filled out an application or taken the drug test needed and I was already hired. I don’t know if they had other people who had applied and I was chosen over them or not. I was only hired because I knew her and another guy who used to ref with me got a job as well.

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  13. part 2

    I know there are other instances where family members of mine have benefited of this. Two of my cousins applied at a company where my uncle was the manager of one of their stories. I find it hard to believe that both of them would have been hired if it were not for my uncle. I’m not saying this because they were not qualified because they were but in this economy for two people to be hired who are related at a company is quite surprising.
    I really found the Oprah video with the two different schools extremely interesting. I am an education major and I have learned that there is a huge amount of inequality in our schools. It is something that we need to fix in this country.

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  14. part 3

    It can be seen in great detail in the Oprah video and that is only one example of the inequality in our school system. The hardest part to understand is why the students from the suburban school district got to have a better school. Why do they get to have three pools and a huge gym and weight room? That question doesn’t even begin to cover the problems that this intercity school has. The student who talked about getting an A in her trig class at Haper school district and then went to this suburban school district and didn’t understand anything in the trig class, I found this to be sickening. I feel so bad for the girl. She obviously wants to do well and succeed in life but all of these things are stacked against her and it all started with where she was born.

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  15. liz_11o says:

    Once again, lecture has proved to link ideas together that I have never thought to do. Once brought to my attention, it is pretty clear just how related affirmative action and nepotism really are. To be honest, although I guess it is not the most respectable thing, I have certainly been the “victim” of nepotism as well. I have gotten every job, besides the one I currently have, because of someone I know (whether it be my grandfather, or a friend of my dad, etc). What I do feel is that, nepotism is something that really can’t and will never be avoided. Although it’s nice to think of a perfect world where everyone will be “equal” and no one will be judged based on their race, age, social status, etc – it will never happen. But really, the “victims” of this nepotism don’t have a complaint (including myself) – so why would people that get to be fortunate jeopardize their lives/futures? Personally, I think it’s one of those things that are pretty interesting to analyze, but near impossible to change.
    What I found to be the most interesting (and pretty damn hilarious) was the survey of the Ten Commandments. I suppose that being raised Roman Catholic can certainly contribute to my feelings on this aspect of the lesson. However, it just proves exactly how hypocritical so many people are and how they go on thinking. The contrasting percentages were incredible. For example, the 64% that follow the first commandment vs the 15% of others that follow – it’s almost laughable. It’s just very prominent, especially through these surveys, just exactly how people perceive themselves as better than the people around them. The other survey I enjoyed was that of the Floridians. To think that the same amount of people that think they conserve enough water, also think that their neighbors should do more is actually ridiculous. It makes me pretty mad that people could try to make themselves better than others, even in a survey about water conservation. I think that Dr. Richards slide about “we generally perceive ourselves as” really hits the nail on the head about pretty much the majority of society. It’s constant judging between one another, even strangers passing on the street.
    Overall, I think that the sad realization at hand is that inequalities are her e to stay. It is both unfortunate and fortunate for all people around the world. Affirmative action and nepotism are here to stay. No matter how much it isn’t fair, and really goes against our principals as Americans, it’s become a way of life. Social status, race, financial status, “who you know”, etc will always exist. And as long as those things exist, so will the discrimination associated with these two concepts.

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  16. rmb5202 says:

    I agree that people should not have the right to tell others how to act or what to do. It is rather crazy yet interesting that affirmative action and nepotism are almost the exact same thing yet looked at completely different. Affirmative action is great for us white women 9as expressed by Mr. Richards) so I am very grateful. I do support affirmative action now because I understand I would not be in college if it wasn’t for affirmative action.

    I think almost everyone has benefited from nepotism at least once in their lifetime. I must admit I have benefited from nepotism more than once. I went to a high school where I literally knew all the softball coaches cause they were from my neighborhood and knew my parents very well. I honestly got onto the softball team because of that reason. Now granted I am not such a bad player but I can be sure there were definitely better people out there on the try-outs days that were not even looked at because of me and my connections.

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  17. rmb5202 says:

    The same thing happened to my boyfriend yet he was the one who did not make the team. He tried out for the baseball team and my dad happened to be the coach. We did not even know each other at this point because it was freshman year of high school so my dad cut him. The only reason my dad cut him was because the other coaches knew a young fellow from the neighborhood and felt bad cutting him so they cut my boyfriend (who was very good) instead. The words literally came out of my dads mouth when we started dating, “I wish you were dating Regina that year because you would have made the team.” As shocked as I was it was true. My boyfriend at the time had no connections and even though he was better than probably half the boys on that team he did not make it because he did not know anyone. It really is unfair but see I have for the most part always been the way who benefited from it that I never really looked at the people who were not so fortunate.

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  18. rmb5202 says:

    The ten commandments results were ridiculous because I bet half those participants were lying through there teeth. Actually reviewing that I felt like a terrible person because almost everyone of those commandments revealed except for about two I did. The difference with me though would be that I would not be afraid to admit that I have went against the commandments unlike I think most of the people taking the survey did. It is funny how people do point the finger at others and look at themselves as well as there family members as angels.

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  19. ktb5071 says:

    Haha I feel like every lecture Dr. Richard’s says “This is a great class…” But he was right! I can’t even decide which has been my favorite because they are all so good like he says.

    But anyways, I never knew there was an actual term for “it doesn’t matter WHAT you know, it matters WHO you know.” Nepotism, cool. I can give you guys a story on how a white, rich girl really has not benefited much from her nepotistic ties. I’m really not lying when I say that when I look back on my “life” all 19 years of it and see how much of my “success” has not been from my family or friends. My family and friends have tried to help, but it never worked. For example, I suffer from severe ADHD and anxiety, but I worked through it by constantly pulling all nighters in high school, annoying the crap out of my teachers with questions and staying after school, etc. Because of my hard work, I had a 3.9 gpa. I worked so hard because I wanted to have options when I applied to college and not have any regrets. Unfortunately, when it came time to take my SATs I was not approved for extra time by the state because of my high GPA and consequently it was impossible for my to get the score I wanted. With my GPA I should have gotten between a 1250-1450 (that’s what my SAT teacher told me at least), but I took the test for the first time and got a 1000. Then, I got a teacher and after taking it 2 more times I got a 1050. That 50 points was shit to me, my parent’s money didn’t help me for one second. This was a situation where no one could help me. I still swear Penn State sent an acceptance letter to the wrong Kara Bergman because I got rejected from much “worse” schools.

    What is interesting is, my hard work is not the result of having strict parents who encouraged me to study and this and that. They actually told me to study less so I wouldn’t be so stressed out. Their relaxed attitude is shown when you look at my brother. My brother is on his fifth year of college right now, doesn’t even have a 2.5 gpa, and my parents felt as though they couldn’t help him (find a job) because he is “such a failure” as my Dad says with a chuckle. But, after one too many years of caddying he took it upon himself to apply to over 50 companies for an urban design internship and he managed to get one! Right now he is living in Charleston; works during the day and works at a Hyatt at night to pay his rent. In addition to this, I got an internship at Comcast Spectacor by just applying. Granite, it’s not paid so I since my parent’s are willing to subsidize my living expenses at school… That is a result of nepotism because I was able to accept an unpaid internship.

    With that being said, I do know lots of people who have taken advantage of “who they know” to get jobs, but I think there are many cases where people get it on their own which should not be ignored. I didn’t tell this lovely story to seem like I’m some poster child, because I’m not in the least bit, I told it to try and show that connections are not the most important things at all, even when it involves the most privileged of the privileged. My friend Morgan has said to me so many times (she’s a journalism major), “I can’t find an internship because I don’t know anyone!” But people like Morgan need to see that one CAN get a job on their own. I feel like it’s really discouraging to preach to people “it’s about who you know” because often times it’s not. I think too often this claim is an excuse for when some people when they simply aren’t getting what they want—not that I’m saying these people don’t deserve it—they just are not “at the right place at the right time.”

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  20. jjlayton says:

    Due 7/7
    My mother worked as the lunch service manager in my school when I was in 3rd to 8th grade. Everyone presumed I got advantages because she worked in the school. However, I didn’t really receive anything from her working in the school that I know of. I was a good student and never got into trouble so there wasn’t much that I needed her to help with. Most kids wouldn’t want their mother to be working in the school they attend but I was OK with it. The only advantage I had was having her around in case I needed advice or support for something, but that’s what mothers do.
    My mother followed me to High School too, it wasn’t planned she just received a job as a Teacher’s Aide in my High School the year I graduated. I know what a coincident (haha). I only had a week of freedom before she followed me. Again, I was a good student in High School, I didn’t receive one detention in my four years there (haha). I was a goody good I guess. The only advantage I ever had was that my mom would be there when I needed her to sign me out of school if I was sick. I also ate lunch with her and some teachers once in a while; I was very mature for my age (lol man I’m coming off as a big kiss up and innocent geek). Some people thought I received good grades because of my mother which was never the case. I earned all my grades because I studied and worked hard. My mother never spoke to my teachers because she never really had to.
    When I was ready to graduate I applied to a bunch of colleges, none of them knew my mother worked for the Board of Education and I was accepted into every college I applied to. It could have been for Affirmative Action, since I’m half Hispanic, but I highly doubt it since most people who benefit from AA are White females. I could have gone to Cornel University if I wanted to because my aunt works for the University but I didn’t apply because I wanted to earn my spot in college. I earned a full scholarship to Duquesne University but I didn’t accept and decided to go to Seton Hall University, which is a great school, because it was closer. Maybe I should have accepted my aunts proposal and attended Cornel, it’s a great school and would have looked great on my transcript, but I wanted to earn my place in the University and didn’t want people to think I got in just because of nepotism. I guess things worked out, I did a semester in Seton Hall and proved to myself that I could do well on my own, got a 3.8 GPA there, but decided to transfer to Penn State, which was another good idea.

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  21. Rockski says:

    Affirmative Action for women, particularly whites did not surprise me in anyway. Woman have been getting the short straw through no fault of their own I would argue. The thing is I believe affirmative action is necessary I just don’t know the correct way to do it. Some white people look at affirmative action and think it’s unfair how minorities get help in doing whatever they want, and I can’t argue with that. And some black people hate the idea iof affirmative action because they don’t want the help. I don’t belong to religion but I would have guessed a much higher margin. I know for damn sure I would never stand up to nepotism. One of the biggest things everybody always tells me is how Penn State has the biggest network of people, and that alone will open doors and I should get to know as many people as I can. Hell, that’s one of the biggest things that PSU advertises in its brochures. Largest network of people in the US. When Dr. Richards said that you can’t be against affirmative action without rectifying social inequalities. I don’t even know how to touch that issue. It’s such a vast question and I don’t even have an idea on where to start. I think Education would be the best place to start. Then I think that getting people in jobs might be better, and every time I think of a possible answer a loophole goes around or I’m not sure if the possible social implications would be worth the risk, and even still I don’t have the power to change it, and that’ the biggest problem. I would like to talk about all the possible solutions but no matter what I can’t change anything, well without enough time and working towards it maybe it could be some small change, and I hope I don’t sound like a defeatist but I don’t ever see my self having that large of a pull in any society, nor would I want that power either. The more I write about that I kind of fell like this should have been more of an internal response >_>, but with that said I would really like to know if having the power to change it where would you guys start. That defeatist idea of in equality and racism never changing is one that I hate to hear, but one that I’m slowly starting to believe myself.

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  22. brumgmt says:

    Something that I find interesting with respect to this lecture is how many people realize how little they actually know about a topic until they receive the actual facts. Affirmative action is one of these topics. Since affirmative action programs were introduced, some people have always associated affirmative action with minorities getting opportunities for not meeting qualifications. That thought process is definitely a myth and shows how many people don’t understand affirmative action provisions and are ignorant of what affirmative action entails. Further evidence of the ignorance that many people have when it comes to their knowledge of affirmative action is that many white women have been able to benefit from affirmative action programs in the workplace. In spite of this fact, a lot of people still tend to think affirmative action programs only benefit minorities.

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  23. brumgmt says:

    (cont'd) Let’s also think about this. Why was it that affirmative action programs needed to be implemented in the first place? There has always been and continues to be discrimination in the workplace. For years, qualified minorities have been denied occupational opportunities just because of the color of their skins. Many of them were more qualified for the positions they were applying for than the non-minorities who ended up getting the job. This type of discrimination in the workplace also affected women to a great extent as well. I wonder how many of us have worked in companies where there were people in positions who were obviously unqualified and were incompetent. Yet, they got their positions because of some form of nepotism. Unfortunately, this goes on all of the time. Even with programs such as affirmative action, there is still a lot of widespread employment discrimination in hiring practices, promotional advancements, and recruitment strategies just to name a few. Affirmative action is one of those in which there is such a wide gap in what people think they know compared to what they actually know.

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  24. brumgmt says:

    (cont'd) In looking at the various topics that were covered throughout this course, I think that all of us can see the importance of communication especially in dealing with a subject as sensitive as race relations. Through communication, people are able have an idea of how others feel and maybe see something from another perspective different than their own. In reading a variety of student posts throughout the course, it is also evident how many of us were able to heighten our awareness about various things going on in the world with respect to race relations and learn the truth in many aspects of race relations instead of clinging to a bunch of myths and misconceptions. Overall, I think this course provided an excellent example of the benefit of dialogue and how dialogue is essential to helping improve race relations.

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  25. samsmith119 says:

    I meant dialoguing with you.

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  26. bsa5057 says:

    Affirmative action had always been something that I admired about America, and I believed it was something that helped maintain the rights of the people in America.
    My position regarding affirmative action and whether it should exist in a system or not is based on whether it helps to maintain the maximum attainable fairness or not. Affirmative action should stay since it maintains the right for the people who are most likely to not to get the job or the seat at the college they are applying to, either because of their color and their employer’s racism, or because of other things such as: nepotism, where people may earn a seat at a college or earn a job because of parental interference. This will benefit the non white people because most of the jobs that are in control of other jobs are not occupied by non white people, so it is predictable that white people can have access to jobs and other things such as university seats more than people of other colors.
    One other thing I would like to talk about is how nepotism is explained in the Shadowboxing with race. I believe that the issue of nepotism is one of the things that can be cancerous to the dreams of people, especially when I come from a country where not only nepotism exist, but it also extends to who are your cousins, your uncles, your friends, and your last name. As if the people in my country tried to pick anything that can be the criteria of how they can distinguish between people at work, except hard work. This not only happens at work, if you go to a governmental office trying to finish your papers let us say regarding the national ID card, or driver’s license. So long as you know the right people through your father, mother, cousin, nephew, friend, friend of a friend, or share the same last name, you can consider yourself a lucky person who will find getting what he or she wants from the government, in this case it is the driver’s license or the national ID, much easier than the rest, and even if the others see this, there is nothing they can do about it at all. I have seen many severe cases where nepotism have helped people who have barely worked their way to school to earn the best scholarships and land the best jobs and get the best exemptions from the government. I think this can be a negative effect of nepotism, but the cases provided in the book are cases where nepotism played a minor role. Yes I can agree that the money was not 100% earned by them, but what could they do, the factors that helped them were not under their control.

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  27. psurevelry says:

    Affirmative Action. Words pretty much every college student has heard once but probably more in their academic careers. Words we will probably hear again in academia and the work force. I think it is a strange thing to talk about this subject because when it was created it was a while back and for some necessary reasons. I think it is hard to think about how people will never be equal. I think of course in some eyes there is a reason for this because some people are seeing things from a racist perspective but if thinking about it from some people do not want to aspire to be everything they can. I think it this then that they cannot be equal to others because they do not want to try to be equal to others. I definitely understand the professors view of being a libertarian in believing that people should be able to do want they want I think as long as it does not do harm to others. I never knew that affirmative action benefited women mostly especially not white women. I think when affirmative action was created it had the write idea because inequality was so prevalent in our society.

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  28. psurevelry says:

    The idea was that society needed to help get rid of the man made obstacles that others have placed in front of some people to stop them on their journey to get ahead. It also is hard to hear that affirmative action does not really help to way it was intended to help. The end goal of what affirmative action really helps is the white males but those are not the people that need to help. The Harper high school video was hard to watch cause it shows a lot of inequality in the same city. It is hard to think that people in a school have a little chance to graduate because a lot of there circumstances. I think it makes people just see how the world really is and what is going on out there.

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  29. psurevelry says:

    I would think that it is so unfair but life is not fair. AA was made to combat institutional discrimination and probably inequality. I think it is hard to watch the video because some people want to have the opportunities and try to succeed in life and you see that them doing there best but is not enough because they are not given the same resources. I think in an ideal world everyone would have the same opportunities and resources available in order to succeed in life and then it would be an even playing field. I guess it is just so disheartened when you realize how the world really works and how things can just never be equal.

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  30. Buddyruse21 says:

    Affirmative action is a phrase that has grown to something like evolution. Many people see it and instantly get mad. I’ve found that I disagree with affirmative action on many levels, just because we haven’t found a balance that works for everyone. It makes sense to try to help balance people to have equal opportunities, but not when it starts to push someone else out of the path. For example, I’ve found that this has become an answer for some of our differences between our races. It’s like the old image of a race where white people left black people shackled at the starting line. When they were given rights, they were able to start running, but they couldn’t possibly catch up with the white folk. This is where government programs and charities and things like affirmative action are used, but I don’t think that that is right. First off, its too simple to think of ALL of Human history as a single line and a continuous event like a race. I feel like we’re beyond that. In the early days of our country, the society was outright racist and discriminatory. Now it’s a battle that deals with individuals, because our racism and discrimination is mainly done by individuals and how they see their neighbors. When someone passes someone for a job, and it’s based on their race or their ethnicity, it’s a personal choice. This is where we’re having problems. If you want to use the “race”, then in a way, other races are still being shackled, but instead of societal chains they’re being held by individuals at the starting line. The way that people like to stop this is by taking the people that are running ahead of those and forcing them to take a pit stop while the shackled people are given rides on golf carts to let them catch up. One of the major problems with this is the fact that we never feel that we’ve done enough. Should we let them stand side by side with the other races? Or should we give them a little head-start to help make up for what we’ve done to them in the past. This happens more than I care to count. The result is that the balance is lost and is actually flipped. Instead, we have white MALES being held back while everyone else is allowed to gain advantages because they NEED to be assisted. But how is that right? I sometimes feel like if I open my mouth and point out that I’m being discriminated against, then I’ll be seen as a racist ignorant guy. But it’s wrong! I’m all for helping out people who need it, but I think that we need to keep a balance. It’s not right to try to help one race and ignore the one on top. Why can’t we just look at each other as Americans and deal with it that way. If you don’t have the grades to get into school, then you shouldn’t get in with a scholarship. Poor people of all colors should have equal opportunities for scholarships and grants. I may sound racist to you, but I think that it’s more racist to look at race for eligibility, rather than merit. It blows my mind!

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  31. charlan10 says:

    Lecture 14 July 9, 2010

    Before the beginning of this class I would probably have been on the other side of affirmative action than I am now. I considered affirmative action to be an outdated practice that started to lost its effectiveness and merely now was placing unqualified people in jobs based on race or sex. This is to fault of my own and to millions upon millions of people in this country. We are all so quick to decide where we stand on issues with little knowledge in the subject. Without the data and Dr. Richards insight to current problems we still face with discrimination I am sure my opinion would have remained the same. It is impossible to argue with the facts that were presented in class to come to the conclusion that discrimination is not a big problem in the workforce anymore. It, in my opinion, is morally unjust for me to have such a substantial advantage over an individual based on the color of my skin or my sex. However, this is the world we live in, constantly surrounded by injustice. Also, as many others I am sure, believed affirmative action came with quotas and through this class I learned that this is not only not true but also illegal. I believe the ability for humans to come to conclusions so quickly on a subject without doing proper research and “wrestling of the mind” is a major problem we all should concern ourselves with. We see it everyday and is only becoming more outlandish as we see our media and others associated becoming more biased and taking words out of context or blatantly lying to form their objective. For example, the death panel issue brought to the table over healthcare. Millions of people were concerned over this issue believing this meant euthanasia. How misguided could one be? How do they believe something like this would be possible in America. People generally do not want to hear the truth, they want to hear the “truth” that already supports what they believe. This also goes into the completely biased patriot of this country. How many times do you hear when you question or condemn the actions of the United States you are greeted with the response, “ if you don’t like this country you can get out.” People are quick to come to anger over this subject by why? To believe the United States is this nurturing, always does what’s right body is a misguided ideal at best. The United States is responsible for a lot of suffering in this world, this does not mean that we also don’t do good for people but to believe we don’t create a lot of sadness is completely biased. And to question this and condemn it is not wrong, in my opinion it is far from that. It is the morally and ethical thing to do because we can not throw a blind eye to the destruction we bring to this world.

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  32. maripositanegra says:

    I was shocked to discover that only 10% of boosts are provided by affirmative action because the ruckus that is caused by those opposed to it would have one believe that the percentage was much higher. Conversely, I was not surprised to discover that the largest beneficiaries of affirmative action are white women, simply because I believe that the beneficiaries of many social programs are often the unintended recipients. I do, however, think that women of all colors need and deserve some level of affirmative action to balance out the gender inequality gap that has been perpetuated for so long in this country alongside racial inequality. I also would have to agree that many of the first people to scream “farce” about affirmative action are often talking out of both sides of their mouths because they are often those who have benefitted so many times from nepotism, which as Sam pointed out is equal to affirmative action. I think the problem lies in that, like he also pointed out, most humans, especially those who are privileged, are arrogant enough to believe that they are only benefitting from nepotism because they are better than another. So although the same issues are at the foundation of both affirmative action and nepotism, most people don’t see that the main difference is that one is sanctioned by the government and the other the same thing just shrouded in secrecy at that personal level. And so one has to ask, how many benefits are enough? Are you really crying over the one or two extra hands that I may dealt after receiving 16 million?! I think that a very important point was made during the lecture, in that most times even if someone does “unfairly” gain something in society due to affirmative action, that person usually has to produce three times more and surmount ten times the adversity once they are there in order to stay – especially if it is a known fact that they were given some sort of boost by affirmative action. Moreover, I believe that affirmative action is one of the few effective ways to even the playing field in a system steeped in institutionalized racism, however, many of those that are against it are often too uneducated or too unwilling to see that it runs so deep. Additionally, many of those same people don’t even understand how the system of affirmative action works, and that it is more about redirection and second looks, as opposed to hand outs and quotas as is so often argued. So my bottom line and opinion on affirmative action is directly in line with that of President Obama, which is that it should benefit those who most need it based on socioeconomic status and not race. In essence those people of color who need it will thus benefit more often than not because more often than not those are the people at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. Loved the cartoons by the way!

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