This week, we covered two major social problems that are evident both locally and globally—the extreme gap between poverty and wealth that exists in the United States, as well as racial and ethnic inequalities. Given that these inequalities are manifested in many ways, including the education system, one might consider if certain incentives and/or quota should be set in place for poor and/or minority students since (on average) their admission to higher education institutions is dramatically low compared to wealthy students who represent majority racial and/or ethnic groups (unless certain incentives are offered, such as grants or scholarships, for example). 

Taking this wide discrepancy between poor and wealthy students and majority-minority students into consideration, do you think affirmative action policies should be implemented within universities to help regulate this great discrepancy? Why or why not? Are there any alternative options? 

When responding to this question, please support your answer with concrete evidence or references. Please also take into account the controversy over racial classification, affirmative action, and discrimination with regard to Brazilian universities. It is important to also remember to utilize sociological imagination when considering how various contexts (i.e., historical, cultural, socioeconomic, religious, etc.) might influence, reinforce, perpetuate, or challenge such inequalities.

***Your response (blog post) to this blog above is required by Tuesday, November 1, 2011  at 11:59 p.m.***
Rebecca Odukoya
10/31/2011 02:32:05

As we all know the gap between the rich and the poor is drastically expanding; The rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poorer. This social problem is affecting everyone,take for example, education. The rich is benefiting and the poor is suffering, the rich can afford to pay the high cost of higher education but the poor can not. One country that is trying to help their underprivileged population is Brazil. They introduced affirmative action to their universities back in 2007 and are still exercising it today. (Brazil in Black and White). This is giving a chance of a life time to young adults that want to make something of their selves. Increasing the chances of the minority coming from different ethnic backgrounds to admission into a predominately white college. I think affirmative action is the best way to go.




Works Cited
DeWitt, M., Stepan, A., (2007) Brazil in Black and White, Introducing Affirmative Action in Brazil.http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/brazil-in-black-and-white/introduction/965/

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10/31/2011 06:25:07

I have personally dealt with youth such as a young African-American 7th grader who said he simply wants to sell drugs, not go to school and become a “nobody” in life because that is all he knows, he has no hopes or aspirations to do better, and truly believes he is not good at anything else. Another student of mine, who is an immigrant from Guatemala believes that he should finish his 9th grade year, then drop out of school simply to work in construction for the rest of his life because he believes that he will not be able to afford college in the future and will not be able to find a job anywhere else because of his economic status, even though he is an ‘As and Bs’ student. I have many friends who have either dropped out of college in their first year or have not gone because they have to work to pay tuition and they say they are “too stupid” to be able to earn any scholarships. Affirmative action policies are a great way to motivate and encourage many students that they still have a chance at becoming what they define to be a success in life.
Although I do not believe that Affirmative action is the best solution, I agree in the general concept. I do however note the consequences that can result from this. For example, as stated in the documentary “Brazil in Black and White”, people start to question who/what they really are, and change their perspective of the world almost in a bad way, as when one of the Brazilian students said “I’m going to see if I can ‘pass’ as black”. Cultural identity should not be used only for someone’s advantage. If you identify with a certain race, you should feel proud of it; proud to share the language, the practices, etc. instead of trying to use the system to your advantage and then disregard the previously stated racial identity. Another person in the documentary stated, it is a practice that may “divide” the population of Brazil into black or white, which will awaken tension between them simply because of race, although they had previously been a country that “sees no color”, and that “race had been an elusive concept in Brazil”.

Works Cited
DeWitt, M., Stepan, A., (2007) Brazil in Black and White, Introducing Affirmative Action in Brazil. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/brazil-in-black-and-white/introduction/965/

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Aljahai J
10/31/2011 17:35:04

The divide between rich and poor can be seen in many countries, especially those developing or are already developed. To help bridge this gap,government assisted housing and education are being offered to those in need. The divide goes beyond finance though, as many of the poorer people are colored. This has played a major factor in some countries decisions to institute programs that specify colored people as their targets for assistance. One such country, Brasil, has implemented affirmative action, which uses measures such as a point system to award Afro Brazilians extra points on their standardized test, as a way of getting more blacks into the school, and also by setting quotas that must be filled by a certain number of colored and indigenous people(Brasil: Black and White.) Will this help close the gap of rich and poor, between whites and blacks? Yes and no. It is indeed a step taken to bring about a possible solution to this social problem. That being said it is may prove detrimental, as many may see it as favoritism being used instead of selective processing from qualified applicants. Nonetheless, I see it as a readily available solution that can possibly help close the wealth gaps between the races.


Works Cited
DeWitt, M., Stepan, A., (2007) Brazil in Black and White, Introducing Affirmative Action in Brazil. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/brazil-in-black-and-white/introduction/965/

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11/1/2011 00:32:19

Nowadays the gap between rich and poor are expanding drastically. Education becomes more and more expensive. Poor people can not get out from the poor line, for they do not have enough money for education. Although people can have loan from government, government can not give out too much loan for people. Poor people can not pay for the higher education, such as master degree and enter some good private school. Rich people can have more chance in the education field, so they will become ricer in the next generation. For example, rich people have enough source for higher education, so they can get a good career after graduate.
In my opinion, the affirmative action should apply to the university. It is because the affirmative action can let student be more hardworking, for affirmative action provide equal chance for poor and rich people and student can get higher education with a poor condition. In addition, the university will be more diversity. Some groups of people might be poorer in average, so they don’t have money for higher education. Since the diversity applies in the university, the truly color-blind society will occur.
Adding more scholarship or funding is some alternative action for this case. Scholarship can also make student be more hardworking. Funding can make student have more chances to involve in more task before they work in the society.

Work Cited
http://www.balancedpolitics.org/affirmative_action.htm

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Chun Yung
11/1/2011 00:38:10

the conditions that the above paragraph are also can be useful in the Brazil events. The action help Brazil students to jump into university and have a chance to get a good job and become rich in the future

DeWitt, M., Stepan, A., (2007) Brazil in Black and White, Introducing Affirmative Action in Brazil. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/brazil-in-black-and-white/introduction/965/

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Kinley Bunting
11/1/2011 02:10:02

I feel that it is important that everyone gets a fair chance of going to a university and to receive the best education they can however, I can agree somewhat with Brazilian detractors that Edward Telles states, “…that affirmative action admits unqualified students to the university”. Also I feel that people can take advantage of the regulation and not use it for its intended purpose, meaning that they may apply to a university that they may already have the means of attending but to better insure acceptance use affirmative action.
I think instead of passing affirmative action or similar legislation governments should instead focus on why maybe students from poorer families aren’t accepted. Instead of viewing it though racial or economic they should focus more on quality of the lower education and the price of going to universities. The government could put more money into schools located in poorer areas so that the students are given the access to more information and better facilities, or maybe make applying for scholarships easier and advertise them more. There is no one-way to approach how you can change the discrepancy in accepting students from different backgrounds.
Work Cited:
Tellis, Edward E. “Brazil in Black and White, Discrimination and Affirmative Action in
Brazil.” PBS. 1 June 2009 <http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/lessons/brazil-in-black-and-white/discrimination-and-affirmative-action-in-brazil/4323/>

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Wendy Maxwell
11/1/2011 03:58:05

I founded and run a group called Hero Rebellion International (reaching out to the hurting and lonely, and standing up for the teased and made fun of) with over 200 members worldwide, and we get involved with the poorer communities on a regular basis by helping buy groceries, make sure they have enough warm clothes for the winter (especially the homeless), ect. I have seen how the border between the very rich and the poor is becoming more prominent, but I have also seen attempts at the "affirmative action" movement and like the video suggests, it really isn't helping as much as we'd like to think it is or could.

Affirmative Action targets the aspect of accepting a certain race over another, yet race doesn't have any biological marker or links, so who's to say wither you're really "white" or "black"? Certain characteristics might make you appear "black" or "white" like skintones, or "Asian" like your eyes, but then we would also be feeding into the stereotypes society has founded for us. Therefore, "Affirmative Action" can easily be taken advantage of.

Instead, perhaps those with a certain level of income (eg: under $25,000 a year) who clearly show a desire to go to college (eg: required to write an essay about why they think they should be accepted to the college and what their dreams and ambitions are) should be the ones receiving more acceptance into college. Race should not be the deciding factor in this; what about the "white" people who are incredibly poor?
There are many other factors, besides race, that should be considered in deciding who should be accepted into a college or given an extra boost for college, which may include things like income, location, desire/willpower, and quality of localized education vs the education they are seeking.

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Fraol Bejiga
11/1/2011 05:45:22

I believe affirmative action, when applied in a proper way, is beneficial for society. It helps bridge the gap between the privileged and the minorities resulting in a creation of a relatively equitable society. In today’s world, minorities are disadvantaged in several ways. It’s obvious that the wealthy portion of a population has opportunity to better education, career, and job opportunities. If affirmative action is not applied, only few people will continue to have opportunity and live a better life. The majority of population, lacking equal treatment because of race or economic background, will develop a sense of hopelessness further increasing the disparity between members of a society. This will lead to hostility and a boundless social problem. There should be some way to help minorities recover from previous suppression. Affirmative action seeks remedy to past discrimination and gives opportunity to previously discriminated groups. It considers the inequality, stress, and lack of opportunity the minorities have to encounter. The aim of affirmative action is not to promote reverse discrimination, but to support minorities till a society attains a relative equality. Countries that implemented affirmative action programs have shown a tremendous development in the path towards equality. The outcomes of affirmative actions based on race in South Africa and affirmative actions based on gender in Kenya are examples. Even though some are against the affirmative action in Brazil, I believe it is a huge effort to fight inequality. I don’t think there is other way to increase the minority representation in universities. If affirmative action is not implemented, the university will only graduate elite white students further leading to conflict and inequality.

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Lisa D.
11/1/2011 06:01:31

The gap between the rich and the poor is extreme and very well known. Why is it that the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer? My answer for this is Education or lack of education. The ones that are able to get a college degree to actually make it in this economy are the ones who can actually afford to go to college. With the racial prejudice and discrimination going on in Brazil, I think affirmative action is needed to eliminate the issue. However, I dont really agree with the quota system where they have to admit a certain amount of non-whites, indigenous people, etc... because its still a way of discriminating. Affirmative action does make it possible for minorities to have access to higher education, but at the same time its still discriminating against others. Brazil is a very mixed culture. Many whites look black and vis versa, so how are they to distinguish or seperate the blacks from the whites when its a country full of mulattos?
The alternative solution for this issue in Brazil is to admit people into the universities based on qualifications such as grades, like many other universities do. If one cannot afford it, they should offer scholarships or grants, financial aid. In the article given in class (bottom page 2) it says that affirmative action is Brazil's effort to combat the racial inequality, but I think it'll get worse before it gets better because now that non-whites have to get accepted just because they are minorities, some whites wont be and it'll cause more problems.

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Gary Stevenson
11/1/2011 06:11:44

It has always been a gap in the treatment of minorities weather it was housing, jobs, promotion on those jobs medical care and education.This is why affirmative action is still needed and was put into law to help gap the deference in opprtunity between the rich and the poor. although I believe that affirmative action should start first with minorities who were born in the US first. I bekieve any affirmative action benefit should be first looked at for citizens born in the US before they look at minorities (immagrants) not boan in the US I also believe that a student who recieves these benefits should be able to show he or she is acadimacly prepared and maintain a grade average to keep the benefit.

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Stephon Green
11/1/2011 06:31:18

The issue of the rich vs the poor in terms of education is clear. Those who are rich can afford higher quality education, while the poor cannot and they have to deal with lower education. The system of affirmative action helps to ensure that people of certain ethnicities can be guaranteed a chance at good quality education. Affirmative action is very good, but it leaves out while people which causes it to be unequal. I think that affirmative action should stay but should also be revised so that white students who suffer from poverty can get their fair chance. In other words, rather than make affirmative action about sympathy for one's ethnicity(which does not even call for sympathy) just make it a system that help's the economically disadvantaged which is the real issue at hand. By eliminating the qualification of race, racism itself is defeated. Brazil is using affirmative action and while it helps black students it still creates a sense of separation. Education opportunities should be about a person regardless of race, being able to qualify for the opportunity rather than their race making them deserving of it.

Works Cited
DeWitt, M., Stepan, A., (2007) Brazil in Black and White, Introducing Affirmative Action in Brazil.http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/brazil-in-black-and-white/introduction/965/

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Larai Umaru
11/1/2011 06:59:40

It is very important that affirmative action is implemented into the Brazilian higher educational system due to the large number of afro-brazillians that are not being accepted into the university. The socio- ecomonical status of an individual can hinder their chances of one getting out of poverty along with their families if they are not given a chance to prove what they can accomplish. The affulent need only money and or the family name to succeed. The poor have to work twice as hard to even be considered for school entrance or employment. The system is not set up for everyone to rise to the top, infact, it is designed to weed out the poor and the weak. These are the hardest working individiuals because there is no other option for the survival of thier families other than to attend college. If they are afforded the chance, a great percentage will go on to pave the way for other struggling individuals.

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Surafel Reta
11/1/2011 10:39:32

Affirmative action is absolutely essential to decrease the disparity between the rich and the poor in terms of education as well as other socio-economic issues. It is the way the system is set up through out history that lead to certain groups and classes being disadvantaged so why not give the disadvantaged classes and groups incentives. After all it is the system that deprived them of equal chances so why not use it to empower the people? In most western cultures people are viewed as having the same opportunities and chances in life and most of the situational aspect is neglected. Affirmative action is something that can at the very least help change individual lives and hopefully communities that are deteriorating and who are in desperate need of help.

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Jeanne Jarvis-Gibson
11/1/2011 10:46:54

I believe affirmative action should be taken place however, accepting kids into college is more about class not race. If a African American is poor and applies to the same college a White poor person, the black person would get in because he is black. I believe all people no matter their class or race should get into college because of their desire and determination. Over spring break I went to New Orleans with Habitat for Humanity. We built houses as well as rebuilt schools. In that district, the school was for all children no matter their color or how much money they had. That's how I think it should be for all schools and colleges. I believe affirmative action can encourage students to work hard and it will hopefully let more poor people in the universities.

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11/1/2011 11:06:15

I do not hold a firm opinion to the questions asked. My view of the issue is ambiguous. I'm for incentives through affirmative action laws in some cases. Where there are educational institutions that have/are clearly perpetuating racial, ethical, and/or gender discrimination these institution should be obligated to abide by affirmative action laws. If not for nothing other than the greater good utilitarian way. Also, we should think, as a society, how much greater our society could be progressively if all citizens are empowered educationally. On the other hand I'm a bit of a skeptic. I have old fashioned values in that I believe in earning and working hard for everything you gain. If we studied the history of the elite rich and powerfully privileged citizens in our society we may find that their beginnings were humbled ones. That their ancestry wasn't given or handed success and education, it was earned and fought for. There is pride in that and a lot to be said for that. To end, in a Marxist point of view, it may be noted that this imbalance and inequality is merely inevitable. Social change is great but at what cost? Would our society flip in favor of or will social change create a balance?

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Hawanya Jones
11/1/2011 11:32:23

Yes I believe affirmative action should be implemented in all universities so that minorities have and equal opportunity to get into college just as much as the majority.In Brazil there is a great deal of racism and discrimination. Through television Brazil is perceived as a majority white country, but it is actually majority non-white. "Nonwhite Brazilians were rarely found in Brazil’s top universities, until affirmative action began in 2001." "Traditionally, Brazilian universities depended on a standardized test, known as the vestibular, as the only criteria for admission. Many leading universities are now mandated to admit a fixed percentage of nonwhite students while others use a point system that awards additional points to Afro-Brazilian students. Many of these universities also have quotas for indigenous people, for the disabled and those that attended the poorly funded public schools that the middle class tend to avoid, or award points based on these social disadvantages. Nevertheless, the focus of efforts to repeal affirmative action have been on the quotas for Afro-Brazilian students." I think all people should have equal rights to be educated no matter wealthy or poor.

Work Cited:http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/lessons/brazil-in-black-and-white/discrimination-and-affirmative-action-in-brazil/4323/

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Rodney Washington
11/1/2011 12:49:15

With this wide discrepancy between poor and wealthy students, I believe affirmative action policies should be implemented within universities to help regulate this great discrepancy. I think more universities should get personal with new minority college applicants and discuss with the applicants past. I believe college applicants should not just submit a college application but also provide other documents regarding their financial status, life history, goals, and other personal information. Furthermore, successful minority college graduates should start scholarships for minority college applicants. I think this is a good idea because at one point they were in the same situation with good grades and no money but the determination to attend and graduate college. As far as the Brazilian Universities, I think they should start accepting more minority applicants without comparing them to applicants who come from opposite backgrounds (growing up middle class or rich). This situation has nothing negative to do with rich or middle class students who can afford college, but just to level out the college education system. I also think the government should take part in this situation because it seems as if no affirmative actions are being taken into place.

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nadja bruskin
11/1/2011 13:04:36

Affirmative action is good place to start when it comes to giving all people an equal opportunity in education. It is neccessary because otherwise the minority groups would be left out of education opportunities alot more. This is the case because in America seperting kids into differnet kinds of educatoinal paths starts early. It's not exactly intentional segregation but based on test score kids will be put into differnt level classes. These level of classes become the same track that they are put through out thier entire school years. The regular track, the gifted and talented track, and ap, and honors, and so on. The kids in the not as gifted tracks tend to not get as good as education as kids with more money who tend to be more white as well. This situation gets created becuase poor kids who tend to be of color cant get the help that money can pay for to get better test scores. Its unfair to them because it has nothign to do with how smart they are but just how well they take test. They tend to not be able to get as much preperation for them and then end up in crappier classes. Then when they get ready to go into college they tend to be at a disadvantage that affirmative action tries to remedy. This is good because college provides a different kind of educational experience than high school, they get better education and can take subjects they are interestd in. This changes thier view of education from hating it into lovnig it and making the most of it.

http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/The-Shocking-State-of-Our-Schools/8

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Hawaya Abby
11/1/2011 13:35:20

The gap between rich and poor can easily be seen, and the gap is continuing to spread further and further apart. Depending on one’s wealth and status in the world can determine their outcome in life and education. The rich can afford to attend the top universities and schools, where the poor have to work twice as hard to get acceptance. Affirmative action can be a good thing because it allows some sort of fair ground when it comes to the education system in universities, it allows minorities a chance in schools they might have not gotten into otherwise. As seen in the documentary Brazil in Black and White, there’s also a downside when it comes to affirmative action. Too many “blacks” applying might result in a much lower chance at getting in. In the documentary it showed students debating on whether or not they should list themselves as Black. They weren’t too sure that it would increase their chances in getting in because more people would be applying as blacks.

Work Cited:
DeWitt, M., Stepan, A., (2007) Brazil in Black and White, Introducing Affirmative Action in Brazil.http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/brazil-in-black-and-white/introduction/965/

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Robel Beyene
11/1/2011 13:57:50

I think affirmative action can help because your giving a certain group of people an opportunity to prove themselves worthy in their society. But it also can back fire because its showing that the only way "that" certain group can make it is by using the gov't as to get where they need to be, because they cant get there themselves. To my thinking privileged people will most likely look at them as moochers or want to be rich kids.

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MARLENE GAMBOA
11/2/2011 01:48:03

In my opinion I would say that affirmative action would work for those who do wish to pursue a higher education. It would in their hands to want to become someone better. I've noticed that many people put "buts" when it comes to education. Maybe Brazil should provide financial aid for those who wish to become a profesional. But yet, not make it completly easy to et into the colleges. they should have placements test.

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