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  • Affirmative action in the United States - Wikipedia

Access an extensive series of pro-affirmative action articles published on , a multicultural online magazine.

Affirmative action dialogue debate - Decoubois Montréal

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Vanderbilt University is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action.
Observing deliberative groups, I have seen this process at work on numerous occasions. In a recent forum on affirmative action, for example, a Mexican-American man related a poignant account of how the system that had promised him much-needed opportunities failed to provide them when he most needed them. The benefits of affirmative action came late in his case, he explained, and it was after he had earned a bachelor's degree and proven his ability to succeed in the system that it began rewarding him with additional opportunities. What he had really needed, he said, was help in reaching the bottom rung of the latter, not climbing the last steps of the way. After he related the story, the dialogue took a dramatic turn from the general to the specific, from the abstract and ideological to the practical implications of affirmative action practices. The man's story brought to light important facts about the policy, and more importantly, it gave the issue a human face.

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Citing class as "the real dividing line in Amerian society," Richard Rodriguez says affirmative action is not about race at all. With affirmative action abolished in California and threatened in many other states across the country, says Rodriguez, "nobody is really saying what was wrong with affirmative action: It was unfair to poor whites." This piece, published on , also offers links to related articles and features an online discussion group on affirmative action at the site's Table Talk area (click to Politics once you get there).


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Since that time, I have continued to observe the power of deliberation, both as a journalist and as a sometime organizer and moderator of National Issues Forums. Nowadays I am also part of an open dialogue group where people from my own community of Santa Barbara, California, gather each week to discuss local, regional, and national issues. These ongoing dialogues are not always deliberative, in the strict sense of the term — to a degree because the object in them is to explore issues rather than weigh the pros and cons of various paths to action. Yet they are a powerful mechanism by which we generate a sense of mutual understanding and common purpose in the community.

There are blacks who cling to affirmative action as the best way to build a black middle class, but many are troubled by how it has played out at universities, in government life, in corporate offices.

Discriminating Toward Equality: Affirmative Action and …

magazine is a "multicultural, online U.S. publication about democracy," covering topics such as affirmative action and education rights and ranging from rural America to Chiapas, with an impressive list of left-leaning links around the world.

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That's a question at the heart of issues like affirmative action: How should biracial Americans be classified when they apply for college, or for an elementary magnet?

David Song is the Assistant Director of the Chicago Debate League

During her term as vice president of the Law School Admissions Council, Linda F. Wightman, an advocate of affirmative action, conducted a study on university admissions policies regarding students of color. In this article, "The Scandal of the Law Schools," Stephen Thernstrom critiques Wightman's study and draws his own conclusions from her findings.

"Thinking Together: The Power of Deliberative Dialogue…

Beyond establishing trust and cohesion in the group, the exploratory phase of dialogue allows a group to collectively identify what is at issue. This process of "naming" the issue is critical because without it participants may have no way of reconciling what to begin with are merely different and personal perceptions of what is at stake. The process often takes groups in new and unanticipated directions, particularly if they find that the issue they thought they had come to discuss is merely the symptom, or perhaps a part, of a deeper and more complex issue. I have seen this happen in communities where people gather to talk about one set of issues, such as neighborhood crime, but wind up focusing on a broader set of concerns, such as poverty or youth at risk. It can be a daunting experience for participants, especially if they come wedded to a fixed set of ideas about one issue and how to address it. But it can also be an exciting breakthrough, particularly among groups that are diverse, even potentially polarized. Distilling the essence of a problem is, after all, a step towards taking action to resolve it. Besides, there is little point in deliberating about how to address an issue until participants are in broad agreement about what they are coming to grips with and trying to do together.