Affirmative action?

Neo Martinez szmrtnz at
Tue Mar 21 17:22:36 EST 1995

The notion that two candidates can have equal qualifications is curious. 
Candidates are judged on so many subjective grounds that there is plenty
of opportunity for people to fabricate excuses for maintaining the white
male dominated status quo (this paper is better than that one, this
journal is better than that one, this candidate works with better
scientists than does that one, etc.).  This latitude combined with the
well known preference for white males should lead to the judgement that,
if a women or minority has qualifications even close to "the best
candidate,"  the woman or minority should be selected because they
probably achieved their qualifications by surmounting that vastly larger
obstacles than the white male. 

Furthermore, if a candidate enhances gender and/or cultural diversity,
that should be a MAJOR factor increasing the desirability of the candidate.
The presence of underrepresented minorities usually encourages more
participation of those minorities (i.e., the 60% of the population
systematically inhibited from participation).  This is probably one of the
primary threats to the majority who want to maintain their privilege. 

	Neo Martinez 
	Bodega Marine Lab
	University of California

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