TED Conversations

Jordan Stella


This conversation is closed.

Should the U.S. continue to employ Affirmative Action, or should private schools be allowed to discriminate?

Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination. (Wikipedia definition). In the U.S., these policies have led to an increasingly difficult situation for students applying to college; both types of universities (public and private) are being subjected to these outlandish policies which, in my opinion, represent the government overstepping its boundaries.

By definition, a private university is PRIVATE; it exists thanks to the donations of private investors, not thanks to government grants. These types of schools should not be subject to the same principles as public schools, since they are not government-run. Just like every individual is born with certain inalienable rights, so to are corporations or groups formed inside a free society. A private group should be able to discriminate if it so chooses.

Further, affirmative action attempts to make up for past wrongs by committing the same deed. By giving favor to minorities, one is still separating them from the rest of the population, and ultimately is discriminating against those not of the minority groups. Some people call this positive discrimination, but in my book discrimination is discrimination and should be stopped.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Aug 14 2011: To all involved in this debate: Since this conversation has ultimately come down to the question of what should the role of government be, I give you this quote from Ayn Rand to explain my view of our government.

    "The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man's self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, and to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law."

    I ask this, does this view of government not provide for free, rational discourse between equal individuals?
    • thumb
      Aug 15 2011: I have given a lot of thought to recent discussions on this topic. I take in to account your point of government crossing lines based upon the principles in which it was founded. I also take into consideration that this structure was put in place "in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity"

      I also remember the 3 most important words to the constitution "We the People". It doesn't say "We The US governement", it says "We the People of the United States". I was then reminded of a quote in a speech by JFK "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

      So many of us, myself incuded, have become dependent and even expectant of the government to solve our problems on various levels. The government isn't really taking away our freedom and liberties, we, in essence are giving it up. Some feel its the governments job is to serve us, however it is suppose to be a governemt run by the people and for the people.

      I have just watched some amazing ways people are getting together in their communities to make a difference. Dave Eggers (check out his wish and talk Once Upon a School), sought to find a solution to help children in his community. He did not protest nor fight against a lacking education system. He did not engange in debates on how education should be reformed and what the role of government should be. Instead, he was looking towards a solution, which engaged many other individuals in his community....which upon its success spread to countless other communities. From there more became involved and active within school systems.

      This is our country and we DO have the power to make positive changes without the debates, or the fights, or dependency upon the government to do it for us. I suppose the government had to get more involved when we chose not to.
    • thumb
      Aug 15 2011: my old conversation attempted to dissect the problem:


      it is closed already, so no new comments, but maybe interesting to read

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.