Re: Affirmative Action (Was: Anthroplogists, I need advice!)

Stephen Barnard (
Sat, 14 Sep 1996 21:33:19 -0800

Daniel Maltz wrote:
> wrote:
> :
> : Affirmative action has fucked up anthropology and academia in general in
> : the USA. You can't escape it by going to another coast. Any system that
> : works through discrimination and bases hiring on what ethnic or sexual
> : group you are in rather than what kind of work you do will have dire
> : results, and these results are in. It is not a pretty picture.
> :
> : Jay
> Sorry Jay, but I don't agree with you. As you know, I partially
> overlapped with you at UC Berkeley and I firmly believe that affirmative
> action improved anthropology and academia in general. I also believe
> that affirmative action decreased rather than increased discrimination in
> hiring. If any contrary evidence is in, I certainly have not yet seen it.

I can't say much about hiring, but here's an anecdotal account of a
recent admissions decision at Berkeley.

A girl from California applied to Berkeley. She had a 4.3/4.0 GPA
(extra credit). She was on 3 varsity athletic teams. She was the
valedictorian of her class. Her family was very, very far from affluent
-- they were pretty much trailer trash. Her SATs were merely very good
-- maybe about 1300. As a consequence she was rejected in the second
round of evaluations, passed over in favor of many objectively less
qualified "minorities" with the right surname. She's now attending West
Point and doing very well.

Steve Barnard