Social Question

Jeruba's avatar

Aren't you tired of "the first...the first...the first"? woman, Cuban-born, gay, whatever.

Asked by Jeruba (51080points) 1 month ago

Why make a big deal of every possible distinction? Sort of like this:

https://xkcd.com/2383/

When they start to run out of “first woman who” and “first mixed-parentage cousin of a refugee who” and so on, will we stretch to “first Gemini married to a Capricorn who” and “first ex-yoga teacher who never watched Mr. Rogers as a kid who” and “first off-planet-born speaker of Serbo-Croatian who plays piano with hands reversed who”?

Why don’t we stop making a big deal of every little difference, as if all differences were barriers of some kind, and instead emphasize community and commonality?

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77 Answers

Hamb's avatar

It’s a media tactic that allows them to create a narrative that is free from policy and ideology.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I think there are many parts of this country that still have a lot of firsts to conquer, so until it’s common, why not celebrate progress.

janbb's avatar

I’m with @KNOWITALL . The cartoon was cute but not really relevant. I think there are enough people who still think America should by run by white males so I am happy to celebrate the diversity!

canidmajor's avatar

Actually, no I’m not. I don’t feel that the first womanAfricanAmericanCuban etc etc achieved something because of their status as womanAfricanAmericanCuban etc etc, but at this moment in time I feel that representation is important. Emphasizing that it’s not only white men that achieve things is important. I look forward to the day (which I may not live to see) where it is no longer surprising or noteworthy that people who are not-white-men do cool stuff.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes! I said this to my husband yesterday. I guess once enough women, Blacks, Jews, Muslims, and Latin Americans have been in enough positions then can we stop saying the first for every single position every time it happens.

We have had female and Black and Black female Secretaries of State and a Black president and a female Speaker of the House and female and Black and Hispanic Justices. Since some parts of government still have been only for white men people can make it a news story when it is a first time filled by a minority, but I feel like we are getting close to a time where even if there has never been a female or Hispanic Secretary of the Treasure before, eventually it is normal enough to see diversity everywhere that we don’t have to knit pick every single time it happens for every single position. Maybe that time is coming near.

I think since diversity has become a political wedge issue of sorts, the media is huge on first first first as a way of saying he Democrats are being inclusive, and I do think inclusive is great, but it is almost overkill the talking about it. To be clear, I don’t think it is overkill putting diversity into the government, we should have a representation of the country and we are diverse, we have many qualified people to do the jobs.

Do people even remember the past women and other minorities in government? It was a small number, but they have been appointed by both political parties.

If my husband was the first Mexican or Jewish person in a position I would find it odd and uncomfortable to call attention to him being Mexican and Jewish. Same with me being a woman or Jewish.

Demosthenes's avatar

The problem is that it’s often used as a distraction. Kamala Harris can be the first woman/first POC/first woman POC/first South Asian, etc. so people won’t pay attention to her record or the fact that she’s not as progressive as being a trailblazer of “firsts” would have you believe. Democrats are all about diversity as an end, diversity for its own sake. As long as there’s diversity, nothing else matters. I’m not opposed to recognizing these things and as a gay man there is a part of me that is satisfied when I find out some notable figure is gay, but I don’t let that be the end of it.

canidmajor's avatar

It’s not a distraction to millions of Americans who have been viewed as “other”, @Demosthenes. Harris got where she is by being exceptional in a lot of ways. Her early career was likely hindered, not enhanced, by her ethnic and racial background. I have lived long enough to note that the term “lady doctor” is mostly out of use now, except by some rural communities and old white men. But the other day I heard someone qualify an engineer by both gender and race. Until this is no longer a thing, the awareness of accomplishment by “others” serves to show our younger ones that they can do it too.

chyna's avatar

No. I think they should be recognized for firsts.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

No. But I am sick of breaking news that isn’t breaking news. CNN has cried “Wolf” too many times.

JLeslie's avatar

The minorities know when one of their own has been put in a position of stature, so in terms of children seeing that they can do it too, they know believe me. They know without the cable news telling them, it is already traveling around their circles, or we can see it quite obviously if it has to do with their skin color. If we get a hint from their last name that will take care of it also. If the media talks about the persons bio, then the information is there, whether we acknowledge a first or not, it is just part of who they are, and can’t we just make it normal that people from all sorts of backgrounds can be and do anything. I think we are very close to that point, if not there already.

Edit: Who gets the credit for the firsts? Biden for appointing them? The Senate for confirming? Or, the person themselves?

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie You haven’t been aware of the virulent racism and white supremacy that has been running amuck in this country for years and very overtly since Trump? I don’t know how you can say that. Sure, it was all supposed to be post-racial when Obama was elected but it sure isn’t.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m all for recognizing pioneers and pioneering breakthroughs, true firsts. But just to pile on the adjectives—as if, for instance, being named to the president’s cabinet weren’t distinction enough—seems to me to take something away from the achievement. You were just nominated secretary of wysiwyg? Oh, yawn. Wait, you’re the first person nominated while wearing Snoopy pajamas! Now it’s a headline.

To me It’s sort of like saying “That’s a great drawing, for a kid.” Why does it matter what categories you belong in? You don’t have to represent a group. Do I represent a group? Do you? Just give credit where due, instead of trying to force it to be due by attaching all sorts of labels to it.

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba I think the fact that Department of Homeland Security is now run by a Latino immigrant is very significant. And he was the architect of the DACA program as well. At least it gives me hope that the children will be let out of cages and maybe reunited with their parents.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb What are you talking about? My husband won’t even where his t-shirts that say Mexico on them, because for the first time ever he felt unsafe because of the Trump culture where I live. I almost never wear a star or chai and I don’t put anything Jewish in my window, just to be on the safe side. Give me a break with that accusation. I live with Trumpers all around me right now and where that idiot said White Power.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie I was responding to your last sentence in which you seemed to indicate that you thought we were past considerations of race.

kritiper's avatar

That’s the first time I’ve seen a question worded like that.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Democrats are all about diversity as an end, diversity for its own sake. As long as there’s diversity, nothing else

Those Democrats in your imagination should stop doing that!

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb I never said that. I love knowing people’s backgrounds, their life experience, how they came to America, or how their families came here, how their career developed and their unique experiences that brought them to this moment in time, but this question is about also adding “first.” The man in charge of Homeland Security is Cuban and Jewish (Juban as we say in south Florida) whether he is the first or not in that position. Every time there is a Latin American in a position, every single different position every single time, we are going to say first?

I’m interested to see how Mayorkas will handle the immigration situation and what he will suggest for policy. His family came here through asylum, I think he was born in Cuba, and typically Cubans are not very empathetic to Mexicans and other immigrants who come across the southern border, but he is Jewish and a Democrat, and I have no assumptions about his opinions regarding that. He might be very effective at bringing together a coalition of congressman and getting public support for immigration policy, especially in FLORIDA. Any help you can give the Democrats in Florida is good. Same goes for AZ and TX.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

I’m always in favor of progress, if they want to create a lot of hoopla over it, break a leg. As long as things go the in way I want this country to go, I am a happy camper.

Jeruba's avatar

@JLeslie, “Every time there is a Latin American in a position, every single different position every single time, we are going to say first?”

That’s exactly what I’m getting at. First woman this, first woman that, as if having a woman in an influential role were really extraordinary. And maybe it is. But as long as we keep thinking about the woman aspect and not the personal qualifications and capabilities, I think we’re still reinforcing the notion that it’s a novelty. Other cultures got past having female rulers a very long time ago, and we’re still making a fuss about it. To me that doesn’t really feel like progress. It’ll feel like progress when we stop treating it as big news.

Darth_Algar's avatar

No, I can’t say that I am. And, honestly, I’m a bit baffled that anyone would be.

Jeruba's avatar

@Darth_Algar, maybe I ought to clarify that what I’m tired of is not the firsts themselves, not the breakthroughs, but the announcing and reporting: the emphasis on the firstness, as if that mattered more than the competent filling of the role. (That’s what I meant to indicate by the use of quotes.)

I’m delighted to see so much diversity ahead in key governmental positions, but I would like us to get to the tenth, the fortieth, the hundredth [whatever], and not be making a big deal about it. I would like it to be completely unremarkable to have a [gender/ethnicity adjective string of your choice] in the Cabinet and the White House and anyplace else.

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba Sure, so would I. But I don’t think we’re nearly there yet at all. Not in this country. Until then, I’d rather hear this news than Trump’s latest tweet by about 1,000 to one.

canidmajor's avatar

”I would like it to be completely unremarkable to have a [gender/ethnicity adjective string of your choice] in the Cabinet and the White House and anyplace else.”
@Jeruba I doubt we’ll see that in our lifetime, in the meantime I don’t ever doubt the competence, but I do appreciate the notice.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Jeruba

I understood exactly what you meant and answered accordingly.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba YES! You word it better than I do, but it is like you took my thoughts and put them on paper.

I said something similar about how STEM education and careers are talked about. Something like 35% of STEM degrees are given to women, the media makes it sound like it is 2%. There have been women and other minorities in STEM forever, although it was much more difficult many years ago in the job market. Why not normalize it as just a fact women can and do study and work in the sciences and mathematics. Isn’t that a more encouraging message?

Tell a girl it’s very hard for women to get a job as an engineer or very few women in that field and she might get discouraged. Normalizing it means the world is wide open to her. She will not be thinking in terms of gender, and that is half the battle. Same with women and minorities in politics. Does it matter if the woman is in congress, the senate, secretary of state, a CEO, an astronaut? The point is we are present. That should be the message to our girls and to our society.

One of the reasons there were not a lot of women in political positions was because they didn’t run. Why not? Because the country tells them woman can’t get elected. For 150 years women were not even running for office to be elected. The last 50 years we still talk about it like it is an impossibility. When women started running we started getting elected. Hillary Clinton WON the popular vote.

Nikki Haley is South Asian, but if you listen to the media you would think Kamala Harris is the first person in a prominent government position whose family is from that part of the world. Was Nikki being Indian news? Or, she looks too white? South Carolina elected her governor. Bible Belt South Carolina. Trump appointed her as Ambassador to the UN.

I’m drifting on some tangents, but it all connects for me.

I battle with what is best; to just normalize diversity or to spotlight it. I usually come down on the side of normalizing it, but I can see the arguments for spotlighting it.

Edit: I wish Blackberry was here. A bunch of white people answering I think. I am going to send the Q to a few minority jellies, besides just us women.

cookieman's avatar

As a privileged white dude, I’m more than happy to be hearing about the accomplishments of non white dudes.

Blackberry's avatar

Well it’s just complex because the country is so different. During our transition into a more progressive and less prejudiced society, at some point we’ll wanna say “Things are better, the past is behind us.” While others may say “There’s still work to be done and we can’t stop fighting.”
I think both arguments are valid, because there’s a reason why we’re constantly told to not dwell on the past and try to improve the present and future, and we’re slowly doing that, yet clearly sexism, ageism, and racism are still here.

When I was a teenager, there was an infamous study where children were asked to pick dolls of different races and they were asked which was “better”. And obviously these little african-american girls picked the white doll with blonde hair and blue eyes and said it was better. So this brings up a very touchy topic about what it’s actually like to be a minority of any kind because you’re constantly being bombarded with subconscious messages and signals about who, what, why, and how you are as a person and where you “fit” in and how others perceive you, from birth basically.

If you actually have good parents that instill confidence in you, this shouldn’t be an issue, but I do think many people have self esteem issues and don’t think they can do a lot of things for many reasons.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. No I’m not. Not at all. It’s something to be proud of.
When they quit pointing out the firsts we will have arrived.

kritiper's avatar

It’s because we’re all too darn competitive. Everybody wants to be first!

Dutchess_III's avatar

You missed the whole point. Did they ever advertise that JFK was the first white president? The first Irish president? The first Catholic president? The first president under 50 years old?

Darth_Algar's avatar

The first white president? So all the others before JFK were…what?

And yes, they did point those things out. Hell, the fact that he was Catholic was used against him during his election campaign.

BTW: Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest to become President.

Caravanfan's avatar

No. The first African American man is living aboard the ISS and it’s big deal.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You missed the point @Darth_Algar. Of course JFK wasn’t the first white president. Washington was, 200 years earlier. That’s why they didn’t need to mention it.
But JFK was the youngest president ever. Pretty sure Obama and Michelle were a close second.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_III

I didn’t miss the point, it was simply an inane one.

And no, Kennedy was not the youngest President ever, Teddy Roosevelt was. Nor was Obama a close second. He’s like 5th or 6th down that list.

crazyguy's avatar

I personally think that, much more important than the ethnicity, or the gender, or the sexual preference of a nominee, is his/her view of the world. If the ethnicity, or the gender, or the sexual inclination is meant to excuse some idiosyncrasy, then I am totally against the characterization. Otherwise, who really cares?

Mimishu1995's avatar

I know this is mostly about American presidents, but I will talk about something different. I don’t mind any of the first, as long as it’s for a good cause. What I can’t stand is something so trivial yet still gets nominated for a “first”. First Thai Youtuber to get 10 million subscribers? Come on, Youtube is a popularity contest and recently a bot contest too. Nowadays it’s not hard to find a channel with insane amount of subscribers anymore, you just need to make videos that appeal to the masses and pay for fake accounts to boost your popularity. I wouldn’t be proud to go out boasting “my country just has the first Youtuber with 10 million subs!”

That’s just an example of something not worth being proud of, let alone being the first for.

filmfann's avatar

I am happy Senator Harris will be Veep, but I have been wondering if “The First White Woman” to take that office will be referred to as such.

JLeslie's avatar

@filmfann Before Harris for sure the first woman (who happened to be white) would have been marketed that way. Now that there has been a woman I think that’s it for using the word first for any woman in that position again unless she is Latin American, or West or East Asian maybe. It would have more to do with race or ethnicity though, not being a woman. That’s my guess anyway. And, she would have to look like she’s from those parts of the world probably for it to matter. Like I said above Nikki Haley is Indian, I don’t even know if most of America knows it.

Strauss's avatar

I think that it’s important to recognize these “firsts”.

I’m an old (72) white guy. This country and society have for too long been run by people that look like me to the exclusion and detriment of people who look different from me. I think it’s time to celebrate any breaks in the systemic white male chauvinism.

JLeslie's avatar

I asked my husband. He basically said, “I wouldn’t seek the acknowledgement of being first, but it’s nice.” To him it was a matter of it seemed normal to acknowledge a first, but more important was the actual diversity in the cabinet or in a company and an awareness of the diversity. In his job he actually evaluates how diverse a company is and where there might be inequities.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

We’re all Americans. Either we’re a land of promise and diversity, or we’re not. Time to shit or off the pot, America.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie Is diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation and the like more important than diversity of opinions?

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy No, but I think equal opportunity is important. Equal opportunity for any ethnicity, race, religion, gender, to be considered and hired for a job. Eventually, a decision needs to be made regarding who to pick for a job and if you have very qualified people to choose from and the white males are always the ones picked then that’s where it starts to become a problem. I guess it’s the pattern that matters over time and when looking at an entire executive team.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

I’m in favor of diversity of opinion as well. I don’t and I won’t advocate squashing anyone’s opinion, no matter how much I disagree with them. That’s NOT progressive and it’s NOT liberal.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie I agree that if you keep picking white males, you will never create the right kind of experience in any other group of people. However, a capitalist looks first and foremost at the bottom line. For instance, this country is awash in Indian CEOs, especially, but not necessarily, at tech companies. As far as I know there were no laws created to force that hiring and/or promotion. Why do we have to force companies and the government to nominate certain types of people?

crazyguy's avatar

@Nomore_lockout If you are the CEO of a large corporation, would you consider hiring a Bernie Sanders? Or an Elizabeth Warren?

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy Quotas aren’t used much anymore that I know of, especially in private companies, but analysis is done to see how the hiring happens to be rolling out, and then companies often do actively seek hiring minorities if they realize their company is out of balance with the community. If the city has 30% Blacks and your company is 2% Black, that seems out of whack. If your city is very very white, then that is the pool of people you are hiring from you can’t really fault the company.

Often times companies don’t realize where the inequities are until the numbers are truly analyzed.

At the very top it is more tricky, because there is only one CEO, one CFO, one COO, etc.

You say the country has a lot of Indian CEO’s, but my guess is most people don’t know that. A spotlight on that would probably be a good thing in my opinion, and other nationalities, but that would not fall under “first” but would fall under normalizing minorities in high positions, which is something I am all in favor of, in fact without the statistics is how I prefer it. We don’t need to know there is only 10% females CEO’s (totally made up number for the example) as long as we highlight female CEO’s it becomes more normal and will happen more. In my opinion.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

@crazyguy Of course, why not?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

What about the last… Donald Trump is the last New York billionaire.

crazyguy's avatar

@Nomore_lockout As the CEO, you have a fiduciary duty to your shareholders. Part of the fiduciary duty is not taking any actions which may be construed as harmful to the shareholders. I believe hiring either of the two names I mentioned by way of example would be harmful to share price, and therefore to the shareholders.

Demosthenes's avatar

@crazyguy Or how about the issue of Asians being overrepresented at universities? It’s caused opposition to affirmative action from outside the white demographic for once.

crazyguy's avatar

@JLeslie Whenever I read your posts, I am struck by a feeling that you have or had “white guilt”. Some how you feel responsible for the bad things done to blacks and other minorities by whites. Think about it, and let the board know. Or, if you choose, you can PM me.

If you are the CEO of a large corporation, your first and foremost duty is to the shareholders. You do not work directly for the shareholders – you are hired by the Board of Directors. However, keep in mind that the BOD is supposed to represent the shareholders. So any action you take, you have to be aware of the impact on stock price. When it comes to hiring decisions, that is your primary consideration. So, even a choice between two equally qualified individuals, one black and one white, you may look at your “minority profile”. However, if you are comparing a white guy with a black guy who is demonstratively not as well qualified as the white guy, I have zero doubt what your decision would be, no matter what your minority profile.

In a government, the primary rationale for your hiring decisions is “looking good politically”. Efficiency and qualifications are secondary. That is why Joe can hire anybody he wants.

crazyguy's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 Sorry, are you addressing my question or my last remark?

canidmajor's avatar

@crazyguy ”I believe hiring either of the two names I mentioned by way of example would be harmful to share price, and therefore to the shareholders.”
Classic example of a false equivalency. Warren and Sanders are only known for their political careers. They would be hired by, for example, a Fortune 500 company purely for publicity purposes. If they were hired on the basis of certain skill sets, without the publicity, it would go unnoticed by almost every shareholder. Shareholders want their investments to pay off, the vast majority don’t know who the players are in the companies where they put their money.

If the bottom line looks good, investors will be loyal.

crazyguy's avatar

@Demosthenes I think you know how I feel. A person should be judged not by the color (or lack thereof) of his/her skin, but by qualifications. Admission to a University should be based on whatever objective criteria the University has set up. If those criteria lead to one race being over-represented, the University may review the criteria. But, they should not go by quotas or the racial mix of the surrounding community.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@crazyguy Answering your question.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think there are some people who it needs to be pointed out to.

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy ZERO white guilt. I am Jewish, a woman, my husband is Mexican and Jewish, my people were slaves and sent to gas chambers. My people joined in the civil rights movement of the 60’s in disproportionate numbers.

My grandfather, who was an immigrant to the US, had been put in an orphanage in Latvia because his parents could not feed all of their children, came to America with his sibling when he was a young teenager not speaking English, worked in factories sewing slippers, was slightly hard of hearing and had some mental illness, and was extremely poor his entire life, and so my father grew up extremely poor and a lot of dysfunction in his family. My mother’s side was more of a middle class story, her grandparents came here, but also escaping horrible antisemitism in Russia and Latvia.

I don’t identify with some sort of white superiority or guilt at all. I also don’t think any white person should feel guilt about the past. I also get quite annoyed when people seem oblivious to the trauma on my people. Many of our (Jewish) parents and grandparents were killed in front of the eyes of their children, lived in camps as slaves, had to give away their children to save them, or even more horrific choose which child would die, and service the enemy to survive. If we didn’t have it in our family we still knew people who were Jewish who went through some sort of horror or extreme difficulties that easily could have been one of us except for luck of place or time. Even in America we felt mostly safe, but most of us still knew our temples were targets for bombs and mass shootings. We live with believing we can be targets in any country even the most civilized ones.

I recognize I’m lucky that I pass for white in most situations so in situations where someone might be racist or antisemitic I get a pass unless they recognize my name as very Jewish or have been around enough Jews that they clue in I’m Jewish. When I see a confederate flag on a t-shirt, house, or car, I wonder if that person wants to kill me.

I grew up in one of the most diverse cities in the nation and I don’t really understand looking at people based on national origin or race at all. I had science teachers who were women and math classes full of girls and I have plenty of peers in the sciences. I think that’s why I feel normalizing all groups in all fields or position makes it normal. In my corner of the world it was normal. Now, we just have to show all parts of the country it’s normal. People are easily convinced if you start showing it to them enough. Look at the election, all the work some organizations spent propagating certain messages worked.

I believe in a meritocracy, but sometimes when certain groups are constantly passed over people need to make a conscious effort to change it, or even sometimes be forced to change it, but the force (quota) usually only need be temporary, because it takes on a life of its own.

A jelly above talked about white people now being upset Asians are disproportionately getting into good schools. For the most part I think if they earned it let them fill up the schools.

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy Forgot to say, of course if the Black guy isn’t qualified he shouldn’t be the one hired. The thing is, now, at this time in history, we have all sorts of minorities qualified for all sorts of things, and the hiring should show it. In many industries that’s the case, but that’s not shown to the public, what’s shown is things like 70% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are white men. I don’t care. I believe we are moving in the right direction and no need to call attention to the white guys in this way. Why not write articles on the minority CEO’s just as much as white CEO’s and just normalize it.

crazyguy's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 My apologies. I though this was a thread started by one of my questions. It is not.

@Dutchess_III Thanks for your snide remark.

@JLeslie Thanks for the reminder. I think I knew you were Jewish, but I had forgotten.

I find some inconsistency between “For the most part I think if they earned it let them fill up the schools.” and “sometimes when certain groups are constantly passed over people need to make a conscious effort to change it…”. Either you believe in meritocracy or you don’t.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@crazyguy Yeah, I don’t think it’s white guilt at all, I think it’s deep empathy.

JLeslie's avatar

@crazyguy You’re right it can be inconsistent. That’s why I think we need to have more of the good schools, more equality in education. But, remember, I do adhere to if someone is better qualified than they are. The Asian students are testing better, it’s not a matter of whites being passed over for Asians. If they were testing equally and Asians were being selected over whites that’s different.

crazyguy's avatar

@KNOWITALL Sometimes, as I am sure you know, the difference can be hard to see. If a person is within 90% of the white or Asian candidate, I could see making an exception. However, I have personally encountered a case where a black kid who was at about the 50% level was admitted to a graduate studies program because of affirmative action. Through no fault of his own, the poor kid struggled for the entire year that I knew him. I moved on, and have no idea if he ever graduated or not.

JLeslie's avatar

We are getting of track with whether it’s necessary to acknowledge the person is first. Does it matter NOW in 2020 when a minority is a first in something.

My husband continued with his thought and said acknowledging first is a nice recognition, but comes with a possible double edge sword depending on how it’s interpreted. That it might be heard by some as saying the minority wasn’t able to be in the position before either from discrimination or inability.

LostInParadise's avatar

I will no doubt catch flack for saying this, but Barack Obama and Kamala Harris don’t look very black to me. If people want to think of them as black and it helps other minority members to get prestigious positions, that is fine with me. Racial distinctions can sometimes seem a bit arbitrary, underlining the need to get past them.

crazyguy's avatar

@LostInParadise Barack is half-white; Kamala is half-Indian. I totally agree with you that we should not think of people by their color or ethnicity. However, I think during your lifetime and mine, we are probably stuck with these distinctions. I would hope that Kamal being VP does not lead to prestigious positions for “other” blacks, unless they are qualified by education and experience.

Demosthenes's avatar

@crazyguy It is definitely possible that apparently racially-unbiased requirements are racially biased. I think we all know that the requirements for voting in the Jim Crow South were deliberately intended to exclude blacks even if they were nominally unbiased and applied to everyone. So I agree that if one race is overrepresented or another is underrepresented it’s worth examining the criteria for admissions/hiring. But if those criteria are fair and are necessary for the integrity of the institution, then I don’t think diversity should be forced in spite of those requirements. As you point out, this can lead to someone who is underqualified being admitted and struggling as a result.

I posted a question about this once before; Stanford University, for example, created a remedial STEM course intended to assist minority students who might not have had adequate preparation in high school but were admitted to the university anyway,

crazyguy's avatar

@Demosthenes That is a very good point. Intentional discrimination disguised as something else is very common in most institutions. It is also true that, unless you make a conscious effort to pull up a minority by the bootstraps, you may never achieve balance.

I think the problem arises when allowed deficiency in a minority reaches a level that is impossible to address.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What snide remark @crazyguy?

crazyguy's avatar

@Dutchess_III “I think there are some people who it needs to be pointed out to.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

You read it as “snide”? Why?

crazyguy's avatar

@Dutchess_III Help me out. How else can I read it? It is a knock on my intelligence and comprehension.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Or….it had nothing to do with you at all?

raum's avatar

Sure, I’d like to get to a place where these firsts are no longer a big deal and don’t need to be mentioned anymore.

Sadly, I don’t think we are there yet.

raum's avatar

@Demosthenes Or how about the issue of Asians being overrepresented at universities? It’s caused opposition to affirmative action from outside the white demographic for once.

Affirmative action and AAPI admissions is more complex than you think.

More complex than this
Worth a read.

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