Building a FAQ on Affirmative Action
#1
A lot of times many misconceptions about affimative action arise because people don't know the moral premises involved and the reality which necessiates the action. It will be good to have a FAQ on those.

The topics we can cover fall broadly into these categories - Moral validity of affirmative action, data which supports the moral premises.

Of course we will need specific FAQs for different forms of affirmative action like caste reservations, and gender reservations.
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#2
Gleaned from the discussion on fb (with some paraphrasing from my side):

Arvind suggested taking questions from talks like this - http://www.moneycontrol.com/news-topic/s...uW1Cc.html

Priyabrate suggested these two talks for questions -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv-mGX6-8fE and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXyym6tJFK8

Questions from

Sumit:
  1. Govt. is being Casteist & is promoting Caste system.
  2. Economic Status as a priority.
  3. Caste doesn't exist anymore. at least in cities
  4. Caste atrocities are very rare.
  5. 60 years is enough. How long will it continue?
  6. Reservations have degraded the system.
  7. Give SC/STs special training(?). This needs to be discussed thoroughly.
  8. Rich SC/STs should give up reservations.
  9. "These" people buy caste certificates from social welfare department or through their politicians.

Bobby:

-Reservations should be based on economic status and not on caste
- there are so many rich people in among the lower caste. Aren't these people enjoying most of the benefits?

Pratibha:

Caste based reservations promote incompetence

Sanjay:

Why are upper caste prosecuted for their ancestor's mistakes?

A couple of FAQs that Priyabrata found:

  1. http://www.friendsofsouthasia.org/caste/...s/faq.html
  2. http://obcreservation.net/ver2/faq-mainmenu-25.html

Some answers by Prabhat:

Quote:Caste based reservations promote incompetence

I can speak about the IITs, not about Medical schools, and believe me IIT doesn't even deserve good students. Every single one who enters easily does the job and leaves IIT being dumber than when he/she entered.

Quote:Why are upper caste prosecuted for their ancestor's mistakes?

Three points
  1. Helping out the downtrodden does not imply persecution of the well to do.
  2. Caste based reservations are provided because the discrimination too is caste based, not based on economic status. A very recent example of a retired dalit officer's stuff being cleansed before use by a upper caste officer is painful enough
    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/...ed/773288/
  3. Casteism has not been rooted out of the present generation either, so don't push it under the rug. It is still here and it is very real.
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#3
What should be the extent of affirmative action? For example, it is harder to justify reservations and affirmative action for graduate studies or skilled labor than for school or at the undergraduate level. This is also relevant to other questions, like whether affirmative action reduces overall competence. If you look at pushing kids at the high school or undergraduate level, it is certainly a good thing, as everyone is about equal in abilities and deserves the same opportunities. There are far fewer reasons to apply affirmative action to professional graduate degrees or to licensed professions such as medicine, law, accounting, etc. The reason for this is that while a child is born into a system, a young, educated adult with an undergraduate degree in hand has more control over his/her career. Legislating and enforcing a ban against caste/gender/religion/etc.-based discrimination provides sufficient protection post-undergraduate level. Also up for discussion- for what kind of jobs (skill-level) is affirmative action justified?
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#4
Q:
Quote:60 years is enough. How long will it continue?
Q:
Quote:Caste doesn't exist anymore. at least in cities
A:

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#5
Greta on "tokenism"
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#6
Lije,

Shiv Khera's video is not available at the mentioned site. Is this the same?



P.S: Arjun Singh has no convincing arguments at all in that video :(
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#7
well what i think about the medical field is there should be reservation at graduate level atleast for many more years to come(not sure how many just my feeling, at least until the government provides equal, standard,free,compulsory,universal education) but what i feel is there should not be any reservation at post-graduate level (as all the students are provided with equal education sans discrimination--atleast that was true in my college) but as far as i know the reservations are not applicable at super speciality level but when it comes to jobs/employment there should be reservation if you ask me even in the private hospitals because they do have a lot of cronyism,nepotism,casteism,communalism and all the -ism with negative connotations.And last but not the least the medical education system should be revamped radically well that's another story all together.



P.S. my comments are based on very limited observation please do point out the fallacies in my views
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#8
The discussion on reservation system seems mostly valid to the top institutes and for professional courses like Medical and Engineering. I am not seeing any "merit" arguments for M.A. in "history". As such, what exactly we call merit is highly debatable. However I refrain myself to indulge in that domain for now. Let's focus on the problem of reservation and how we can actually deal with it.

Reservation is a byproduct of discrimination. And it is going to continue till the time when the discrimination on the basis of caste exist. Many social reformers had and have been trying to eliminate the caste in India society. However I think, that the current introduction of modern means of communication and mobility has the biggest impact on this caste system.

Caste system is bound to Marriage Institution and not with religion. What if we somehow oppose the idea of "arranged marriage" in our society. What will happen? If a person is free to choose anyone, irrespective of caste or religion, many current problems will eventually fade out.
Arrange marriage on other hand, is the most direct insult of persons ability to think freely and take decisions.
The change in attitude of society towards free will on marriage will take decades, and good thing is its already started, which we call as "love marriage". Certainly we have to hold this momentum, and hope this will create a new casteless society.

I am trying to answer few of the questions below:

Q. Govt. is being Casteist & is promoting Caste system.
- Sure, basically it is just all the political parties which are doing this.

Q Economic Status as a priority.
- No, for economically backward students, we need to introduce some kind of scholarship system. Also, we also need to improve our examination pattern so that deserving students get qualified ( regardless of caste) and not those who just pass bcz of couching classes.

Q Caste doesn't exist anymore. at least in cities
- Apart from the fact that above 60% of Indians still lives in villages, caste do exist in cities. Try and find out rented apartment in good societies with your lower caste status). Many examples are there, but state of denial is very wrong. It dilutes the one of the biggest problem in India.

Q Caste atrocities are very rare.
- Same as above.

Q 60 years is enough. How long will it continue?
- Social causes takes time to eliminate. Our system or culture is totally based on the existence of caste. Eliminating caste will eventually lead Hinduism to create and adapt a very new system, which is not yet defined or codified. It is existential challenge for Hinduism.

Q Reservations have degraded the system.
- Were system been good before reservation?

Q Give SC/STs special training(?). This needs to be discussed thoroughly.
- To what ? This is not even a question... why ? because in the end, this will end up creating a new set of class, nothing else.

Q Rich SC/STs should give up reservations.
- Again this is social problem, not economic one.

Q "These" people buy caste certificates from social welfare department or through their politicians.
- This is out of context, corruption is again a big issue...

Q Why are upper caste prosecuted for their ancestor's mistakes?
- No they shouldn't. They must take part in the system to eliminate caste. If they actively support erasing the caste, future generation will be free from Reservations.

Reservation is not the solution of caste based discrimination, rather it is just an affirmative action. Inter-caste marriages is the long term solution, and better we go for it, sooner reservation will end.
Indians today are governed by two different ideologies. Their political ideal set in the preamble of the Constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality and fraternity. Their social ideal embodied in their religion denies them. - Ambedkar
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#9
Nispat,
I pretty much agree with most of your points. Some comments on a few..

(15-Apr-2012, 11:55 PM)nispat Wrote: Reservation is a byproduct of discrimination. And it is going to continue till the time when the discrimination on the basis of caste exist.

Just to be absolutely clear, the cause of social imbalance is discrimination, which in turn is the cause for Reservation. So even after removing discrimination, reservation will exist until the balance is restored. For e.g. because of systematic discrimination, people from the community might lack special abilities. Reservation is a way to compensate for this imbalance and it should continue till the discriminated no longer lack in abilities because of systematic discrimination.

(15-Apr-2012, 11:55 PM)nispat Wrote: Q. Govt. is being Casteist & is promoting Caste system.
- Sure, basically it is just all the political parties which are doing this.
But reservation is not casteist. Affirmative action cannot be confused with discrimination.

(15-Apr-2012, 11:55 PM)nispat Wrote: Q Why are upper caste prosecuted for their ancestor's mistakes?
- No they shouldn't. They must take part in the system to eliminate caste. If they actively support erasing the caste, future generation will be free from Reservations.

Anybody who thinks affirmative action is discrimination is wrong. Nobody is getting prosecuted here. The people who think they are on receiving end of this, typically claim that they have merit and still not getting the entitlements. This logic is serious flawed. Their merit is so much dependent on their background and the fact that there ancestors weren't discriminated against. So they should be thanking their ancestors as well as blaming them smile
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#10
(16-Apr-2012, 03:59 PM)Kanad Kanhere Wrote: Nispat,
I pretty much agree with most of your points. Some comments on a few..

(15-Apr-2012, 11:55 PM)nispat Wrote: Reservation is a byproduct of discrimination. And it is going to continue till the time when the discrimination on the basis of caste exist.

Just to be absolutely clear, the cause of social imbalance is discrimination, which in turn is the cause for Reservation. So even after removing discrimination, reservation will exist until the balance is restored. For e.g. because of systematic discrimination, people from the community might lack special abilities. Reservation is a way to compensate for this imbalance and it should continue till the discriminated no longer lack in abilities because of systematic discrimination.

(15-Apr-2012, 11:55 PM)nispat Wrote: Q. Govt. is being Casteist & is promoting Caste system.
- Sure, basically it is just all the political parties which are doing this.
But reservation is not casteist. Affirmative action cannot be confused with discrimination.

(15-Apr-2012, 11:55 PM)nispat Wrote: Q Why are upper caste prosecuted for their ancestor's mistakes?
- No they shouldn't. They must take part in the system to eliminate caste. If they actively support erasing the caste, future generation will be free from Reservations.

Anybody who thinks affirmative action is discrimination is wrong. Nobody is getting prosecuted here. The people who think they are on receiving end of this, typically claim that they have merit and still not getting the entitlements. This logic is serious flawed. Their merit is so much dependent on their background and the fact that there ancestors weren't discriminated against. So they should be thanking their ancestors as well as blaming them smile

Thanks Kanad for further explanations. I couldn't agree more.
Indians today are governed by two different ideologies. Their political ideal set in the preamble of the Constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality and fraternity. Their social ideal embodied in their religion denies them. - Ambedkar
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#11
These questions about "merit" are worth answering:

  1. How is it that when the majority of Indian administration are from the "merit" groups and yet the administration isn't as efficient as it should be? This question becomes even more significant if one were to go back a few decades when there were very few "non-merit" people in the administration.
  2. If reservations dilute "merit" in institutions like IITs, shouldn't the implicit assumption be to be that "merit" people having availed subsidized education would give back to the society which subsidizes their eduction? If graduates of such institutions are just going to immigrate to other countries, what kind of merit is actually being diluted here? Admittedly, people who avail reservations also migrate to other countries, but the dilution of merit argument is an old one made on the assumption that reservations will spoil an otherwise "meritorious" system.
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#12
http://www.ebony.com/news-views/affirmat...vilege-119

Although about affirmative action in US, lot of things are very applicable in Indian context.
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