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Is equality what we strive for in a democratic society?

Our society today often strives to reach equality in all aspects of the legal system. Equal is defined as "having the same status, rights, or opportunities" or "evenly or fairly balanced." One of the biggest parts of equality is in civil rights.

On two very controversial issues, I have noticed that different groups are treated differently, but the effect has been rather beneficial. The groups are not treated equally in the sense that they are treated the same, yet a large portion of people have accepted that.

The two issues are on the draft and also minority scholarships. On the issue of the draft, I have seen no push on either side for required female enrollment. Females have been enlisted for a long time and have proven that they are equally capable of serving in armed services. Is the fact that only males are required to sign up for the draft a remnant of an old way of thinking? Is having only males sign up for the draft a good thing? Is this equality? If it is not equality, is that even a bad thing?

The second issue is minority scholarships. Minority scholarships grant money to different people based on achievement, plans, and also race. I see these scholarships as great things which provide opportunities, but it still raises the question "is it equal?" These scholarships still are based on race. Is this equality? If not, are minority scholarships still necessary at this point in time? Will they be removed in the future?

These are both very sensitive issues, and I am trying to as respectful as possible. It just seems that these are two instances where groups are not treated the same. I do not think that they are necessarily bad, but I do not seem them as equal. Will these issues change in the future in order to treat everyone the same, or are these methods the best way to handle the situation?

  • Gu E

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    Aug 1 2012: The way I think about equality and democracy is basically that: equality is a requirement for democracy. Now, much of the issues around equality generally involve - equal opportunity and treatment.
    Every member of a democratic society is equal. Therefore, every citizen should expect equal rights, liberties, and opportunities.

    The problems arise when minorities, of any kind, are faced with obstacles that the majority manages to avoid. If we as a society value a functioning democracy, then we must strive to solve those problems of equaity- we are always trying to achieve true equality (something that evades us still).

    Equal opportunity is at the core of affirmative action/scholarships etc. These scholarships are created in order to accomplish two things: 1) identify talent and potential 2) removal of barriers to opportunity

    These policies exist primarily to identify people with potential and provide them with the assistance they need to pursue their life goals. Without these policies the chances for advancement is grim for many.
    I feel that most people who have an issue with equality largely fail to grasp the reality that people are not being treated equally. They also fail to see that some people are born into circumstances that put them at a major disadvantage to others.
    If giving someone a leg up who otherwise might not have the resources or opportunity to do so is a method for solving gaps in equality- then I'm all for it.
    It should be a given in democracies that every citizen should be able to experience the same rights and opportunities as their peers. There's my two cents!
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      Aug 4 2012: Mr. E,It can be argued that the purpose of Affirmative Action programs was (is?) to add members of minorities to the workplace by giving them certain advantages while burdening non-minority applicants with certain disadvantages. The way to equality is not by enforcing inequality. Minorities must not be suppressed. All citizens of a Democratic (Representative Republics included) nation MUST have an equal opportunity to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The best suited candidate should be selected. Two wrongs do not make a right. Thank You!
      • Gu E

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        Aug 8 2012: I understand your reaction to Affirmative action programs (the majority of which WOMEN are the beneficiaries), but what about scholarships?

        There is a fallacy in your understanding of the concept, which is a common one: programs that are designed to assist a displaced and disadvantaged minority group in a system that seems more and more rigged against their advancement (Another example for the Asian American community- a highly educated and successful community- is the bamboo ceiling). The policies are designed to correct the wrongs that were made against minorities- this is a systemic problem.

        By assisting those who are disadvantaged to have the opportunity to advance themselves and pull themselves out of a situation that would more likely than not prevent them from moving up, does not equal a conscious decision to burden or disadvantage a white person. This is crucial to the understanding, and has unfortunately made some people suspect achievements of minorities in university and the workplace (as if they had not been selected according to merit).

        Again, Affirmative action is not designed to place unqualified minorities into positions- it is designed to give qualified minorities the opportunity where they otherwise would not have been considered for.

        I appreciate your comment, but I feel that you are misunderstanding the purpose of such policies and the gravity of the problem.
        Interestingly, white women benefit more from affirmative action yet everyone seems to associate Blacks only.
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          Aug 8 2012: I disagree that my understanding of Affirmative Action is fallacious. Any process of selection is apt to be biased. The idea of equality is not acheived by reversing and intensifying existing bias, which wil inevitably result in unqualified, and therefore undeserving people being given unequal advantages. If the bias is simply reversed the system remains corrupt. The right way to establish equality is to eliminate the bias in the selection algorithm. Again, two wrongs do not make a right. Thank you!
      • Gu E

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        Aug 8 2012: "which will inevitably result in unqualified, and therefore undeserving people being given unequal advantages"

        It is primarily this portion of your argument that I find bothersome. You are making the claim that a person who is selected through this policy is "unqualified and undeserving" ... But how can you make that judgment??

        There is no "taking away" involved, let alone the uplifting of an "unqualified" person.

        Believing that beneficiaries do not possess the same potential and qualifications and are therefore undeserving is a dangerous position to take. It risks the mentality of….. "Oh that guy got that job just because of affirmative action, he/she doesn't deserve that opportunity- it would have gone to so and so" ( that so and so here being a member of the majority).

        Affirmative action, or scholarships for minorities, do not ignore MERIT, SKILL or POTENTIAL and therefore there is no usurping of someone's somehow "fated" or "more deserving" opportunity.

        I understand it more as a measure designed to remove obstacles for DESERVING individuals that suffer from INEQUALITY……..that inequality being a pervasive gap in opportunity throughout the system.

        Similar to financial assistance for students wanting to go to college. Should we not provide financial assistance to those that are qualified for admission, yet lack the right funds - as a student from a wealthy family- not assuming the wealthier student is any more qualified or deserving mind you....

        Equal in merit, potential, and skill .....yet unequal in access and opportunity- this is what affirmative action and other provisions are trying to right.....there is no undeserving or unqualified or taking away involved, that's just an unfortunate argument some people have chosen as a way to distract from very real grievances and inequalities.

        Thinking that a spot is being taken away by someone else suggests an assumption that it was yours in the first place
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          Aug 8 2012: No. No, Gu E, you have misstated my position. I did not say everyone who benefits from Affirmative Action is undeserving. I said placement of unqualified people was a natural result of the program. That is not a judgment, it an unavoidable effect of bias. Many well-qualified, deserving people have benefited from the plan. The best system is the one that chooses the best suited candidate regardless of race, creed or gender. Surely you do not find that troublesome. The solution for bias related difficulties cannot possibly be more bias.Thank you!
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        Aug 9 2012: ." The solution for bias related difficulties cannot possibly be more bias."
        So we shouldn't bother with the women's events at the olympics?
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          Aug 9 2012: Peter- ZOOM! (That was the sound of your meaning going over my head!) I wish I could live-up to your apparent estimation of my wit, but alas, I must ask for a dumbed-down version of your question.
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        Aug 9 2012: I'm just suggesting that running women's events at the olympics is done to allow equal opertunity to a group that is unable to be competative in open events. This is analogous to affirmative action in some cases. In an interview situation a job applicant may be unable to be competative due to circumstances unrelated to the job. Sometimes your ability to get the job and your ability to do the job rely on different criteria.
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          Aug 9 2012: I see your point. Thanks for clarifying. I do not think it is valid to compare the Olympics (apples) to the national economy (oranges). White males were shackled by Affirmative Action. Minorities were hired and promoted over better qualified white males. My whole point is that such prejudicial conduct is wrong, even when it is being done to adjust demographics. The most qualified candidate should get hired or promoted regardless of their race, creed or gender. Demographics should not be in the equation.
        • Gu E

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          Aug 9 2012: Wow, I didn't realize white males were suffering from such disadvantages! Oh my.
          And once again: "Minorities were hired and promoted over better qualified white males"
          How the hell can you make that claim?? Somehow YOU know that the white males (whoever they are) are always better qualieifed. I'm sorry but I feel that you are suffering from an extreme bout of white privilege and a sense of entitlement.

          "Myth 1: The only way to create a color-blind society is to adopt color-blind policies.

          Although this statement sounds intuitively plausible, the reality is that color-blind policies often put racial minorities at a disadvantage. For instance, all else being equal, color-blind seniority systems tend to protect White workers against job layoffs, because senior employees are usually White (Ezorsky, 1991). Likewise, color-blind college admissions favor White students because of their earlier educational advantages. Unless preexisting inequities are corrected or otherwise taken into account, color-blind policies do not correct racial injustice -- they reinforce it."

          "Myth 5: A large percentage of White workers will lose out if affirmative action is continued.

          Government statistics do not support this myth. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, there are 2.6 million unemployed Black civilians and 114 million employed White civilians (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2011). Thus, even if every unemployed Black worker in the United States were to displace a White worker, only 2% of Whites would be affected. Furthermore, affirmative action pertains only to job-qualified applicants, so the actual percentage of affected Whites would be even smaller. The main sources of job loss among White workers have to do with factory relocations and labor contracting outside the United States, computerization and automation, and corporate downsizing (Ivins, 1995)."

          Affirmative action is about INCLUSION.
      • Gu E

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        Aug 9 2012: I agree, I don't find any problem with having the selection be based on the best suited candidate regardless of race, sex, etc. In fact, this is the HOPE and goal.

        But, I would be making a naive statement that ignores the fact that we do not live in a post-racial society.
        I would be ignoring the fact that institutionalized and systemic racism, sexism, prejudice of other kinds still exist.
        Unfortunately, we do live in a time where whole segments of a population are at a huge disadvantage and still experience everyday forms of oppression. Suffering a disadvantage of opportunity only scratches the surface of the problem. It is attempting to level and uneven playing field and address the years upon years of policies that were designed to make the field uneven and suppress the advancement of minorities.

        Moreover, I don't agree that the program inevitably installs people who are unqualified. It installs people who are qualified -who happen to be from the minority- because they are underrepresented and face barriers to their entry/ opportunities are limited. This is the design. To open doors, to create opportunity that will in turn create individuals who can also open more doors and create more opportunity. Is it ideal? No. But is it unnecessary and harmful? No. It follows a realistic understanding of history and the barriers it has caused.

        You are assuming that there is an inevitability, that the unqualified will be promoted over a more qualified person ........I charge you to prove this claim.
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          Aug 9 2012: If you want verified statistics I can't supply them. My opinion is based on personal experience where persons who proved by their lack of ability to perform that they were not qualified for the job they were hired for under the Affirmative Action initiative. I experienced an actual promotion/hiring freeze for white males. The company announced that all promotions and new hires would be filled by minority candidates whenever possible for a period of five years. I hardly think that is indicative of a democratic society. If anyone is excluded from equal opportunity something is wrong, but the solution is not to exclude a different group for a while to make up for the wrongdoing.
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    Jul 31 2012: No, equality is not something to be established, it is a pre-supposition of Democracy. All people are CREATED equal and cannot be counted as lesser beings due to their race; creed; or national origin. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed and protected for every citizen in a democracy. Constitutional, God-given rights may be forfeited as punishment for conviction of criminal malfeasance. What we strive for in a democracy is JUSTICE and FAIRNESS.
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      Aug 1 2012: If I did not love you before (and I did) I certainly do now! HURRAH!
    • Gu E

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      Aug 1 2012: Well said! I was about to make a similar comment that equality is assumed and an essential component of democracy, otherwise there is no democracy truly at work.
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    Aug 8 2012: Complex issues.

    I suggest we try to give people equal status in many respects. Driving, voting, marriage etc.

    While also try to minimise damaging discrimination based on race, sex.

    And in same cases strive for more equal or at least minimum standards of opportunity for education and access say for handicapped people.

    Suggest there may be merit discriminating based on need. Maybe you tax a homeless person at a lower rate than a billionaire. Maybe you provide more support to the sick and infirm. Maybe you invest in the young people of disadvantaged groups.

    A society with less extremes is probably a good thing.

    Perhaps scholarships don't need to be all 100% merit based. I suggest there is room and perhaps some net benefit.

    The draft issue is perhaps a remnant. But also needs to be looked at sensibly. For families you don't want to draft both parents. Also, I suggest on average, males may be better suited for some war activities. Striving for equality does not mean we are the same and there can be a shift to more equal treatment in some areas without going all the way without considering reasonable practicalities. e.g. sexual drives are real and come out more in heightened situations.

    I have no issue with front line soldiers of either sex if up to the job and if the unit dynamics still work.
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    Aug 1 2012: I think what most people set out wanting is an oportunity.
    • Aug 6 2012: I think you are right. So many people's live's are determined by opportunity or lack of opportunity. If you have infinite open doors to choose, there is a greater chance of being who you are capable of being. Lack of opportunity is like locks on the doors. You have limited choices and thus, less paths for your life to go.
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    Aug 1 2012: Equality in what? Equality in treatment is very different to equality of opertunity. Some groups are given compensatory treatment to balance a perceived lack of opertunity. Why are there womens events at the olympic games? If there was only equality of treatment there would just be open events that anyone can enter. That would not provide equality of opertunity however as for the majority of events female physiology is detrimental to performance as the female body is burdened with reproductive functions. I'm waiting for the 100m sprint for people that aren't very fast!
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      Aug 1 2012: Peter this is one of my favorite meditations and explorations in the past two years..te realization that democracy does not include equality or inclusiveness in economic terms.. I explored this a bit in my recent TED conversation Is Democracy Synonymous with Capitalism?

      Although a few modern democracies have visited and redressed this n new constitutions ( I love Iceland's and Ecuador;'s), from the beginning I would say democracy has in fact been synonymous with capitalism ad that notions of economic equity, truly equal opportunity say through free education, human dignity, safe housing, safe and healthful working conditions etc. are not expressed in the contstiution of modern democratic nations.

      America's whacky extremist Tea Party movement ( something I hope the rest of the world is watching and thinking about) really pushes us right up against that reality and is insisting that we honor it. by not using public programs to house the homeless, provide income assistance to the unemployed or working poor, insure quality health care for everyone, subsidize housing for those who can't afford it or insure fair wages and safe working conditions or have environmental laws or laws to regulate banks.
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    Jul 31 2012: The purpose of democracy is to allow governments to make progress in favour of overall happiness and wealth.
    This has nothing to do with equality, which is a dangerous concept.
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    Jul 31 2012: In a sense, yes. There are a few things that makes every one of us "equal."

    - We are all living on planet Earth
    - We are all human beings.

    So what are some qualities that a human being has?
    - We are all curious to some degree
    - We are all capable of compassion
    - We are all capable of other emotions too (maybe...)
    - We are all capable of thought and self-awareness
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    Aug 4 2012: Equal under the law. However, you have opened Pandoras box and it will be hard to close. We have pagents where everyone is allowed Ms America and Ms USA. We have pagents where race is the criteria, Ms Balck America, Ms Latino, Ms Itally, Ms Native American, etc ... I am going to catch it for this but its is true ... there will never be a Ms White America because that would be racist. As Ed stated below two wrongs do not make a right. In industry we cannot hire the best person for the job. We must have X % women. black, mexicans, however there is no % for whites. I applied at a firm owned by Native Americans. They said I could not work there because I am white they only hire natives. I ask the Department of Economic Security if that was allowed and they said yes there is no law that says whites must be a part of the workforce.

    The olympics are on .. Only two members from a countrys gym team can go for the all around crown. What if the five best gym people are from one country and six from another country, and four from yet another. The 15 highest scoring "best" gym people will only have 2 each in the finals. So is the winner really the "best" in the world. Hard to tell when 9 had a equal shot at the title but could not go forward.

    The point is I want a opportunity to compete equally for what ever the slot is. If John is faster ..go John, Judy is smarter .. yeah Judy, we all had the same opportunity and I lost. Better luck next time. Race, religion, sex, as qualifiers should be done away with. Resumes should be written without qualifiers, and judged on merit ... may the best person win.

    I really am not bitter. I had three great careers and retired from each. When someone is selected by "special criteria" it is really hard for them to achieve. I refuse to tap dance around the subject. I hope no one was offended as none was intended.

    • Gu E

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      Aug 8 2012: I feel as though you are claiming that Whites (the majority) suffer from disadvantages that minorities get to enjoy.....

      Can you clarify what those are?

      You say you want to compete equally....I agree....If you are better qualified so be it. However, if I can't even enter the race to compete in the first place......Would you still be more deserving for the position?

      Lastly, the lack of a Ms. White America Pageant is a seriously warped hypothetical/example of "minority privilege"
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        Aug 9 2012: Let me try one more time. There are colleges for black students only. Can you explain why there are no white student only colleges. We have black entertainer of the year program who can also win the entertainer of the year award as it is open to everyone. I tried to make a point about equality and I gave specific examples. You did not dispute them as they are true. Your response contain no rebuttal ony the statement that it is warped.

        You state ... would the person still be more deserving? We are not discussing deserving we are speaking of opportunity to compete based on merit. I still want a level playing field. I do not want anyone to suffer from disadvantages.

        Ms White America was a example of "inclusion" and "exclusion" based on the color of skin. It is wrong period. However, as I pointed out it does occur.

        Hope this clears up the intention for you. Bob.
        • Gu E

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          Aug 9 2012: There are historically black colleges true, but they are not closed to anyone else. Furthermore, they are historically black because they were excluded from other colleges in favor of all white colleges. IN fact, the whole purpose of these things for minorities are a RESULT of DISCRIMINATION.They exist as a reaction to exclusion.

          There is no need for a white student only college because there is no history of slavery or disenfranchisement and institutional racism. There?? If you want to go to an All White school and college, and then live in an all white neighborhood and have an all white job......lets not play dumb, you always have that fact you always have that privilege as being a member of the majority...its called white privilege.

          By making claims like this you insult the history, the experiences of millions who suffer from institutional racism including myself.
          ONce again you are claiming some sort of grievance that is just mindblowing...unbelievable.

          The fact that you make statements like why aren't there white only things, makes me realize just how backwards society still is.

          Black entertainer of the year? Oh so Chris Rock is so lucky, he gets to host the BET awards and the OSCARS...damn, isn't that racism too?
          You can't deny African American culture, just like you can't deny Asian culture, Indian, Hispanic, the reason there is telemundo, or BET, or a China Town.
          Minorities are given these small spaces in a country that gives the rest to the majority. Everyday life, is already a given for whites.
          If you want to learn more about white privilege, there are numerous sources you can this one:

          By the way, I'm clearly worked up because the things you've noted are incredibly insulting and belittles so much of the history of racial injustice. I'm done entertaining these kinds of things, its NOT my responsibility to educate white people about race and racism
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      Aug 9 2012: The problem with interviews for jobs is that the ability to interview well and the ability to do the job are two different things. Do you not think a black man with a southern accent would be at a disadvantage applying for a job in finance on wall street. People make a lot of decisions based on first impressions and the assumptions that come from them. It does work both ways though. As a school teacher I have often dealt with asian students who are P'ed of because everyone assumes they're good at math.
  • Aug 2 2012: Lets start with intelligence. Who counts the vote? Who selects them? Who controls them? If the reader wants to avoid human responsibility the answer may be the computer counts. Then who programs the computers?
  • Aug 1 2012: From an economics perspective, surely equality cannot be an aspired to (or even achievable) product as it is in direct conflict with the dominant economic system. The capitalist system is predicated upon the generation of profit and thus requires the relationship of the exploiter and the exploited. Without such an unequal relationship, the capitalist system - entrenched in the democratic system - would stutter and eventually collapse.
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      Aug 2 2012: If there is no way in capitalism to have any decent level of equal opportunity, or any system to ensure that someone working full time at the minimum wage can support a family above the poverty line... What is the moral justification for the inherent inequality. What makes the wealthiest 10% having two thirds of the wealth morally right?

      I think we need to think really hard about the balance between equality and liberty. We can't have 100% of both in capitalism, but we do value both. Some value one more than the other and vice verse. That's where our political divide comes from.

      Coming to a consensus on this issue is our greatest divide, and it is based fundamentally on morality. In a democracy, one side does not get to decide the issue for everyone. We are going to have to come to a compromise eventually.
      • Aug 2 2012: It depends whether you want a decent level or a true level of equality. The relationship between the have's and the have not's. Its hard to envisage democracy leading to compromises in the democratic system. Democracy depends upon capitalism for its survival.
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          Aug 2 2012: Capitalism is an economic model, not a political model. You can have capitalism with a more socialist twist like those that are doing very well right now in Scandinavia which are democracies. The problem as I see it is that we have allowed the power of our representative government to be subverted by the special interests of all stripes through monetary influence. We the people are no longer represented with any fidelity. I stand by my question: What is the moral justification for poverty and hunger in a capitalist democracy? "Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." - Thomas Jefferson
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      Aug 2 2012: You can still strive for equality of opertunity. If you choose to make the most of your opertunity and you become wealthy then all well and good, if you decide to settle for just getting by that's fine too. I don't think eqality of result is achievable or even preferable (there must be reward for effort) but equality of opertunity is the ideal.
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    Jul 31 2012: The concept EQUALITY seems to be theoretical utopia so far.
  • Jul 31 2012: Happiness in part caused by Equity, which sometimes requires Equality, e.g., MALES = FEMALES. Therefore, females and males need equal power within all realms of society in order to achieve the positive goals we want manifested as quickly as possible. People sometimes confuse the word "equality" with "same." They are different words representing different concepts.
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    Jul 31 2012: Have the same status, rights, or opportunities, is equal in the governmental sense. "Evenly or fairly balanced" would deny that some people are more skilled than others. No one would want to live in society where everything was distributed evenly, because there would be no incentive to have skill.

    On the issue of minority scholarships, I think most people in the majority, see it as a relatively cheap and healthy way to help groups that typically start with less rescources. Does that actually help them, or just create a lower standard for "achievement"... That's debatable, but no one's ever going to debate it, because it simply doesn't cost enough money to really bother anyone, and the whole concept of "It's racist to make it easier for other races" tends to get lost on people.

    The problem with any democratic attempt to enhance equality... Is that no one wants the bad part of equality. The most obvious expression of this is what has happened with legislation designed to make things equal for women. We had a competitive education system for men, that women didn't do well in. So we adapted a cooperative learning model which was better for women, for 30 years straight, male drop out rates, are higher than female drop out rates... dramatically... but if it happens to men, it's not unfair, we're the majority.

    The draft... Of course it's unfair that women aren't drafted, but who's gonna complain about not dying for no reason. Women live a decade longer, so they don't pay into retirement longer why? Women cost more to insure, but it's illegal to charge them more why?

    In response to any of these arguments however... You will always get the same stat 77 cents on the dollar. You won't here the stats on the percent of women who choose to work in mining, farming, plumbing, or other high demand, high work, high pay fields... Just that they make less... So it must be unfair. That's life though... What ya gonna do?
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      Jul 31 2012: By acknowledging existent facts you add confusion to the rhetorical, aka "clouding the issue with facts." :)

      After genital and other minor subtractions (such as race), we seek the pinnacle of equity. And then we find we're all screwed up to some degree on the individual, finite level. And then the only really fair thing is to say, consider the individual with respect to the given situation. That is, abstraction fails.

      Such abstraction never makes for laws, where instead of equality, the black and white is sought.

      So to answer #1: if she's the right kind of gal, amen.
      And #2: the private institution mandates, or "promulgates their own view." Public funding, however, should be based on some combination of need and merit, not the happenstance of gender, race, or other (frankly) irrelevant aspect.

      To answer the more fundamental question, NO, no two non-identical things are EVER quite equal. Not when you get right down to it (ie, abstractions removed).

      If that seems contradictory, well, as the gentleman said, that's life, and I for one never drafted a law in my life. :)
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        Aug 1 2012: That's what's so frustrating about all of these issues... I'm not one of those people who think "now white guys are the one's who have it hard". White males did, and still do benefit from the fact that a huge percent of the current economic power structure is dominated by white males. In the words of Louis CK "If you don't admit that it's great bein a white guy... You're an asshole... No one can even hurt my feelings. Really... What can you say to a white guy?"

        I would like a more fair and just economy, but when I look into how the government actually tries to implement that.... I often find the distribution isn't really benefiting people in the intended fashion. The worst example is how bad African American men get screwed by social security, statistically they pay in their whole lives, and get almost nothing.

        The problem is, how do you adjust these things now, when the rhetorical argument, is that anyone who says anything like this is either racist, sexist, or hates poor people... I'm not saying America is sexist pro women now, I'm just saying we ignore everything that is designed to be sexist pro women, and we only talk about the things that are sexist pro men, and that's a bit insane.

        I'm not saying social security was intended to distribute a boat load of wealth from African American men, to caucasian women... I'm saying... Since it's doing that, can we do anything about it to actually make it fair, or consider individualizing the program?

        It's a tough argument to make though, and it's incredibly polarizing. I've never written a law myself, so I don't even know if it's possible to create language that would make some of these programs non descriminatory. I just think we could do better. Personally I think we need a more broad, and easy to understand view of human and workers rights, that applies in the exact same way to everyone... Then we should get rid of most of the pet project stuff. Lot's of people would hate that though.
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    Jul 31 2012: " Is the fact that only males are required to sign up for the draft a remnant of an old way of thinking?" "Is this equality?"

    Yes, it is just an old way of thinking. And no, it is not equality and should change. Many laws carry the social legacy of the times in which they were written, and compulsory draft registration comes from the mid-70s. One can cite many similar examples. For instance, the age of consent in several US states remains sixteen, while few in today's time would agree that that's appropriate, and child custody laws widely favor the mother over the father, etc.

    One the issue of scholarships, we have to distinguish between public and private funding. I'm not aware of any exclusive publicly-funded scholarships, but private organizations have the right to set whatever conditions they want on the scholarships the offer, so equality is not an issue.
    • Jul 31 2012: I see your reasoning on the scholarships issue. There is still something to note about the mindset that is rather prominent in our country. We see supporting minorities as a noble endeavor but supporting the majority is often viewed as self-seeking. It seems that if anyone came out with a scholarship that was only available for people "not of color," it would be taken very negatively. Also, in a related scenario, I know many Ivy League schools strive for equal numbers of every race in their institutions. I have personally heard, a Stanford representative boast about having equal percentages of all races at his university. This brings up a question of equality as well. It is equal in the since of the same number of races being able to attend, but is that really "evenly or fairly balanced?" If Asians make up approximately 10% of the nation, should they have the same number of spots as whites who account for 60-70% of the nation? There has been a lot of praise for this kind of diversity in admissions, but has it, in its attempt to create equality, actually discriminated?

      Also, on a completely different issue, what would make Stanford's stance on racial equality different than Chick-fil-a's stance on homosexual marriage? Chick-fil-a has received much criticism for its traditional marriage stances, but Stanford is praised for its admissions process. Is it because one is supporting minorities and one is supporting what has (up until recent history) been the status quo? That being said, should the government intervene in either situation?
      • Gu E

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        Aug 1 2012: To respond to your first point: scholarships for "people not of color"
        -There are endless other scholarships available that are not only for minorities (e.g. financial needs, sports, grades, arts etc.). The reason why people would have an issue with this sort of scholarship is because of what it is trying to achieve. What would it be trying to achieve? Do Caucasians suffer from a disadvantage because of their race, and the baggage that comes with it? A friend of mine once asked me "why can't we have a White people club on campus?" I responded asking her "what would be the purpose of the group? And, do you feel that you need one?" Being a member of the majority comes with enormous benefits that may be imperceptible for some.
        Second point: Universities playing around with stats.
        -I would say that as private institutions they are free to strive for whatever goals and mission. If they feel that diversity is a positive and essential component for the higher learning experience (social education) then I don't really have a problem with that. NOW, if a university wanted to exclude people solely on race (because of discrimination and ill intentions) that is a totally different scenario.

        Third point/question: Chick-fil-a
        -I feel that corporations like this one should stay out of politics. If a CEO or an employee wants to endorse something or make a political contribution they should do so representing themselves only and from their own pocket. Do I agree with them? No. But, my response would be to eat elsewhere.
        Also, shouldn't we think of gay rights as human rights, like any other group? Once again, if everyone is equal in a democracy, then that group should be able to enjoy the same rights, liberties and opportunities as the rest of us.