Affirmative Action vs Reverse Discrimination, a heated debate..

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  • #32293
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    Im sure we have all heard every now and then about persons, mainly caucasians, challenge their rejection into medical school all the way up to the supreme court. Their argument: Reverse Discrimination.
    The way that I get it, some schools reserve certain spots for minorities, and in that pool, GPA’s and MCAT scores are only compared to those of other minorities, not as the applicants as a whole. So in theory, a caucasisn with a 3.7 MCAT 32 with nearly the same credentials as a 3.4, MCAT 28 minority may not get in while the minority may get in due to better chance and lack of competition. More caucausions presumably apply to medical schools than minorities.

    What are your view on this, and to why some schools have or have not been sat up this way?
    I know this is a very touchy subject but we are all adults here.
    If some schools are sat up like this, what do you think their basis for it is?
    I would love to hear your replies.

    —–Dana

    #32294
    DONOTDELETE ****DONOTDELETE**
    Participant

    You know, it’s interesting this term “reverse discrimination.” Isn’t discrimination, discrimination…whether it’s against Women, Men, Whites, Blacks, Browns, Fish, Whales…or whomever?

    What’s important is finding a way to quantify the qualities individuals possess that would be valuable assets to medicine, and promote diversity in medicine. For example, compassion, dedication to service, and work ethic are as important as intelligence and the ability to take tests. Medical school admissions are based to heavily on test scores and grades. Although important, they are only 2 of the many factors that help determine the quality of doctor an individual will become. If schools were able to find ways to “award points” to people (all people) based on things other than test scores/GPA, the medical school classes across the country would no doubt be more diverse in every sense of the word. Gender…life experience…nationalities….etc.

    #32295
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    Yes, you are right. Too bad med schools, and the world in general doesn’t work that way.
    Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination. I think what has been meant by the word “Reverse Discrimination” is that in the process for one to prevent discrimination in a particular group of people, is causing discrimination on another group.
    Anybody else?
    How do you feel about this matter?

    –Dana

    #32296
    efex101efex101
    Participant

    I do not think that is true meaning we do not *know* whom person A was being compared to (if compared to at all) to receive a rejection. Just because someone was not accepted regardless of race/ethnicity/socio-economic status/age/whatever we really do not know why. I do not understand the sense of entitlement (not any of the posters) that some folks have. Not one person is entitled to get into medical school regardless of stats so if someone does not get in, and says that they did not get in because X or Y took my spot is baloney. To get some ideas there is only about 4000 African-Americans, 900 Mexican-Americans, and roughly 200 Native Americans applying out of a pool of about 20,000 or more Caucasians. The percentage is the same for acceptance meaning that almost half of each group get in. I will bring actual figures later from my book, also this info is posted at aamc.org under facts and figures I think. So I really do not see the point of any lawsuit because of this. Adcoms (and I know I have been to 11 interviews) have repeteadly commented on the breadth and width of my application. I have many many years of volunteering, tons of EC’s from a long time ago, etc..so let us say I get in at Wash U and I do not have a 35 MCAT, and some other person does not get in at Wash U and has a 40 MCAT would it be fair for this person to say well I did not get in because the school was trying to get more females over 30? no. This person has no clue of what I have done, been involved in, awards, research, or whatever fill in the blank. So assuming that your spot was taken by someone else if BS. Persons that do not get in have to take a very very close look at how many schools did they apply, EC’s, LOR’s (highly important and not all are good never assume), grades, MCAT, leadership, time management, etc…anyways sorry for the long post.

    #32297
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    efex,
    That’s a good argument. How would one exactly know why he or she wasn’t accepted to give enough merit to a discriminations suite? But it has happened. Back in the 1970’s a caucasian male took his case to the supreme court when despite a great GPA,MCAT, and credentials he was rejected to a California medical school. His argument was that spots were being kept for minorities, who didn’t have as much going for them as he did per se, and got in. I forget the name of the case, and the Supreme Court over ruled the medical school’s decision, and they had to allow him acceptance. Contrary to this, during the past year, a law school was taken to court for the same challenge, the Supreme Court didn’t rule in the applicant’s favor, despite stare decis (probably spelled it wrong), in a round about way means that they(the justices) look for similar cases in the past and what was ruled that usually has some bearing on the ruling of the current issue at hand.
    Should medical schools be allowed to “hold spots” on the basis of race,(or gender for that matter) regardless of MCAT, GPA, etc? or Should they have spots open to the best applicants no matter their race?
    What would allow for more diversity in medicine?

    ——Dana

    #32298
    efex101efex101
    Participant

    Well, maybe those cases that were specific were different. Regardless, I think that yes, medical schools should have a diverse class and believe me I am not going to go to a medical school that is not diverse why you ask? here is my reason. I want to become a culturaly competent physician IMHO opinion the best way to do this is to surround myself with medical students that will reflect my patient population in some fashion or form. I want to be able to turn around to the person next to me in class and ask “is there anything specific that I need to be looking for in X or Y ethnicity/socio-economic/religious?” and hopefully the person next to me will say well yes! “as a Hispanic I can tell you that we do not mind to be hugged or you can put your hand on me, we actually encourage that in our families…” you get the picture. Also, a group of professionals from all backgrounds is what will serve my future patient population best. People from all backgrounds bring things to the table in a better way that just folks from one background. Medical schools should have the right to accept females (once we use to be a minority in med school is anyone complaining here that women may be favored for admissions or that schools want half the class made up of females?), folks from different religious backgrounds, folks of different color, folks from differen economical and social backgrounds, folks with different sexual orientations, etc. Heck yeah! I want to go to a diverse school and I will be turning down some schools due to their lack of.

    #32299
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    Oh, Im with you there. I needn’t ask why a person would want to go to a medical school that is diverse. I would want the same and feel I have a lot to offer medical schools as far as diversity goes.

    Do you think that without holding spots, there wouldn’t be as much diversity? I dont know.
    In some ways I feel that holding spots on the basis of race (or gender) can have discriminatory point, but on the other hand, it can ensure diversity and a broadcasted example of nondiscrimination of minorities which is good (women/race). Everyone should have equal opportunity, its just harder for some to get there, to that same point.
    Holding spots to some people indicates to them as if a minority cannot achieve the same credentials as say a caucasian male. Which is total bull…. So sometimes I wonder about things.
    Any thoughts?

    #32300
    efex101efex101
    Participant

    I do not think that any medical school actually holds spots for anyone in particular. I do think that they attempt to generate a diverse class and one year there may be more or less from each group that would bring forth diversity. We do have to realize that some minorities for whatever reason do score less on the MCAT’s than other groups. These statistics are also at aamc.org. so sometimes when people say well an African American/Mexican-American/or some other group got in with less of an MCAT than blah blah blah, they fail to realize that out of that pool of AM/MA adcoms accepted the applicant that they though would be a good addition to their school. By the way they do this with *all* applicants. But we do have to realize that yes, some minorities do consistently score lower than other non-minority groups. Does this mean that will be less of a physician? no, everyone still has to pass the boards period regardless of what/where you hail from. So, to sum it up. We do not know why X or Y did not get in, it is easier to blame it on somebody else than to take responsibility for your own application, nobody is entitled to anything in this life, some folks will have to work harder than others to get in, some people will always complain no matter what….

    #32301
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    Yeah, I have heard that some minorities generally do score lower compared to others. Probably due to culture, or sociological aspects? My problem is that when seeing that trend, I feel that it has been overgeneralized. People can be of different ethnicity, yet have the same culture, and/or sociological influence and score the same, not relating directly to his or her color of their skin/ethnicity. But will they be looked at different? Would hope not, but Im not sure that is the case.
    —-Dana

    #32302
    DONOTDELETE ****DONOTDELETE**
    Participant

    I understand your views…and agree with what you’re saying. But the real issue is recognizing the attributes that different individuals bring to the table. When medical schools value only test scores, of course you end up with only people who score well on tests.

    Disadvantaged is often a term used to describe minorities… but not all minorities are disadvantaged. That’s (one of the many) flaws in simply saying African-Americans get “special” consideration. Some are much richer, and more priveleged than most Caucasions. That’s why it’s so important to base admissions on multiple criteria. And this “criteria” must somehow take into consideration the amount of time, dedication, desire, and *struggle,* that’s demonstrated. I think it’s understood that certain groups of people tend to have more “struggle.” But to assume all minorities are from poor neighborhoods and are “unable” to compete…is a very twisted view.

    Those individuals who did stuggle (whether minority or not) should get “credit” for their life experience if that experience is pertinent and is self-enhancing. A young Latina premed, who has worked her ass off despite her cultural “obligation” to get married young, and be a mother…who worked full time at K-Mart while going to City College…then raised her siblings while attending University…etc. etc. should be given “credit” for that. Had she the support of her family (hell, her community in general), the financial resources to *not* work, and the expectation to succeed, perhaps she’d have that 4.0 GPA and perfect MCAT score. Is she less “smart” than the priveleged White guy who’s dad, and dad’s dad, are physicians? Should a spot be “held” for her? No. Should every applicant who seeks a spot be considered FULLY and deeply? Yes. If one takes into consideration the struggle and life experiences of both applicants, I don’t think spots would need to be held. Because my Latina friend here would have earned it on her own merit. It just depends what the med schools consider meritable.

    I don’t think it’s wrong for med schools to aspire to have diverse classes. I think applicants need to find ways to stand out. If you have a perfect GPA/MCAT score…that’s not necessarily enough, especially if 80% of the other applicants do too. And there’s nothing wrong with th Deans to say “look, our entire class is White males, where are the ladies?” And then proceed to look for them…and maybe shift their focus on what “meritable” to something that includes more women, more people. That’s not discrimination againt perfect GPA/MCAT’s.

    To promote diversity isn’t to exclude White men…it’s to *include* more than just them.

    #32303
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    Myimd,
    That is such a GREAT insight on this issue. Very well put and I definately agree! Here’s my question, If adcom’s had 2 applicants with the same struggles, one from the usually “struggling” ethnicity and one from the ethnicity that usually doesn’t have to “struggle” as much, will the adcom’s look at their life experience differently? I am not convinced yeah or neah either way. Just some food for thought, sometimes I just feel that “over generalizations” that have made, maybe accepted as truth, and distort one’s views. Maybe not.
    Another question that has come to mind, what makes a person deemed “priveleged” or “unpriveleged” when applying to medical school?
    Anyways, good feedback girls!!!!

    #32304
    efex101efex101
    Participant

    Guys I am pretty sure that adcoms do look at how and when you got to point A or B. I know because I have been asked myself, and I have met people like the above poster described (mother with five children working FT, going to school and applying to medical school). So I do really think and believe that they look at the whole picture not just grades, gpa, mcat, and ethnicity. Also, specific schools are looking for specific things so when someone does not get into a particular school it may mean that she/he did not have the attributes that the school is looking for. The process is much more complex than just “ok the gpa is good, the mcat is good, let’s accept”. There is sometimes up to five individual people from different backgrounds looking at your file once you have already interviewed. At one school they actually took the time to explain how they go about accepting people. Once you interview all folders with everything about you to include the statements written by your interveiw goes to this one office. There all folders are put into stacks of 10 applicants, these piles are spread out all over a huge table. On specific days of the week, a large number of reviewers (20 or more)but not the people that interviewed you, come in and have to rotate around the room (so they do not take folders from the same pile) and pick a folder. They look at everything (amcas, secondary, reviews from interviewer)and they give you a ranking from 1-5. There are administrative folks in there watching for folders that have been ranked by 5 people and once that is done they get your file and add up the numbers. After all files have been ranked, they (I don’t know who determines this number) set a number to reject, a number to accept, and if you fall in between you get put on the “hold” pile. So this systems takes out just been seen by one person, and the persons seeing your file and ranking do not interview you. Anyways, long post but the process is not simple. Also the numbers to reject accept are fluid, they change from year to year and possibly from day to day. It depends on what they have, if that year all folks do not get higher than a 4 when the acceptance range may be 3 and reject at 1, but if other years the numbers are as high as 5 well the reject pile may be at 3 instead of 1 like previous times. Adcoms work with what they have, and yes it may seem random but I do not think that it is that random at all….

    #32305
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    Efex,
    Thanks for clearing up how some schools go about the acceptance process. That takes some of the mystery how they go about it. That sounds fair.
    Do you really know someone who has had/raised or in the process thereof who had that many kids and were accepted? Im curious because Im raising 6. That may be scary to some adcoms. I know this is a little off topic, but somehow we’ve led into the subject!
    You are a very resouceful person Efex, thanks for all your attributes to the discussion.

    Anyone else have a point of view?

    —-Dana

    #32306
    efex101efex101
    Participant

    Dana as a matter of fact I do that is why I wanted to mention that so other women know that it is possible. PM and I will give you more details…

    #32307
    PremedRNPremedRN
    Participant

    Thanks, I PM’d you!

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