Affirmative action?

Neo Martinez szmrtnz at
Wed Mar 22 17:26:32 EST 1995

On 22 Mar 1995, Coscolluela Eileene wrote:

> Neo Martinez (szmrtnz at wrote:
> : 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. 
> 	I don't think this is always the case.
> 	Yes, I've had a rough life but, I know many white males who
> 	have had greater obstacles in their life than I have had and
> 	we have achieved the same things.
> 	so I don't care for things like affirmative action, because 
> 	I don't see the discrimination.  

I agree that it is not always the case and that's why I wrote "probably." 
Still, even if one doesn't see the discrimination, they should at least
acknowledge the studies and statistics that have documented it in spades. 
When one takes a personal experience that is an statistical "outlier" and
generalizes it to justify anti-affirmative action, the stance is based on
erroneous reasoning, i.e., my statistically rare experience is not
statistically rare. 

Chuck Gasser describes another wonderful but rare experience. If women got
6 out of every 8 faculty positions, the gender disparity we see would
change much quicker that the statistics describe.  Chuck also describes why
gender diversity itself is an important qualification:  just seeing women
in the professor role encourages other women in the field.  And isn't that
one of the main jobs of any faculty, i.e, to encourage students to be
interested in the field?  Let's hope that more searches are so enlightened. 

Neo D. Martinez                    
email ndmartinez at
Research Fellow                    
Bodega Marine Laboratory           
University of California, Davis    

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