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Re: Affirmative Action

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Colleagues:

Let's not start a war here!  

Yet, this is an appropriate forum for social issues which relate to our
professional practice.  Affirmative action is an important issue to many of
us, obviously.  We have heard many thoughtful comments, from people who have
felt discriminated against by race, age, cultural backgrounds, and sex.
 Thus, in regard to a comment addressed to me and others:

>>>>> Ah, so discrimination is all right, then, as long as it's practiced
against a group *you* picked?  Why, then shouldn't I happily discriminate
against any groups *I* want to and work to see that (asinine) selection
enforced by the law?
Shouldn't we instead look at trying to get the most-qualified person into a
given job and leave the accident of their glandular status or pigmentation
out of it entirely?

Response:  I donnot believe many of us who are intelligent enough to practice
engineering actively make conscious decisions based upon
racism/sexism/whatever.  However, I do believe that many of us, myself
included, harbour stereotypes unconsciously, and that our professional
decisions are necessarily influenced.

In a perfect world, people of age or colour, or with handicap or  a different
religion or sexual orientation would be treated exactly the same as healthy,
young white anglo-saxon protestant males.  But, in the world we have
inherited, certain people are targets of discrimination.  They are evaluated
based upon factors unrelated to their actual qualifications.  

I go back to my argument about equally qualified (education + experience)
professional women making 67c on the dollar.  This statistic has not changed
since 1969.  The same holds true for many other minorities.  

Can you suggest a better alternative to affirmative action?  Realistically?

Comments, anyone?

-Linda