Minorities

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

phrygian777
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:31 pm

Minorities

Postby phrygian777 » Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:56 pm

Will being a minority, specifically hispanic, be likely to improve my chances of getting accepted to physics graduate schools?

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Minorities

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:57 am

insofar as it means you're more likely to win school's fellowships etc (which improves your chances of admission), yes. It's also a help on the NSF. I don't know how much, say, MIT's adcom will care though. For data, comb through the admissions results profiles pages. There are tons of minority applicants who've posted their info and where they got in, take a look!

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Minorities

Postby grae313 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:17 am

Overall I'd say yes, and the degree to which it helps probably depends on the school. I don't think it makes up for a lot of weakness in an application, rather I think that it would give you an edge against a similarly-qualified applicant who was not a minority.

pqortic
Posts: 398
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:24 am

Re: Minorities

Postby pqortic » Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:53 pm

no offense to anybody but I have some problem understanding the meaning of minority. you look everywhere and you will see a hispanic. isn't it a sort of overrating the minority? or is it minority because it is everywhere and still a minority?

User avatar
Dorian_Mode
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:17 am

Re: Minorities

Postby Dorian_Mode » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:20 pm

Isn't the meaning of "minority" pretty clear? Hispanic people make up less than 50% of the population and are thus considered minorities. Done and done.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Minorities

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:21 am

I think it's more complicated than that. Definitely what matters is unrepresented minority status, and that's dependent on the field. Hispanics are underrepresented in Physics, along with those of African American descent, women, and Native Americans. It does not include, for example, Asian Americans, though they would be considered a minority in, say, government.

User avatar
HappyQuark
Posts: 762
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Minorities

Postby HappyQuark » Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:29 pm

bfollinprm wrote:I think it's more complicated than that. Definitely what matters is unrepresented minority status, and that's dependent on the field. Hispanics are underrepresented in Physics, along with those of African American descent, women, and Native Americans. It does not include, for example, Asian Americans, though they would be considered a minority in, say, government.


I promise you, it isn't any more complicated than that. African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, etc make up a smaller portion of the population and, as such, their interests have a tendency to be overlooked. We (i.e. Most government programs and many private groups) make a concerted effort to balance this out by providing additional incentives to minorities.

It's generally unrelated to a specific field. Whether it ought to be is a different question.

Minovsky
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:05 pm

Re: Minorities

Postby Minovsky » Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:40 pm

HappyQuark wrote:
bfollinprm wrote:I think it's more complicated than that. Definitely what matters is unrepresented minority status, and that's dependent on the field. Hispanics are underrepresented in Physics, along with those of African American descent, women, and Native Americans. It does not include, for example, Asian Americans, though they would be considered a minority in, say, government.


I promise you, it isn't any more complicated than that. African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, etc make up a smaller portion of the population and, as such, their interests have a tendency to be overlooked. We (i.e. Most government programs and many private groups) make a concerted effort to balance this out by providing additional incentives to minorities.

It's generally unrelated to a specific field. Whether it ought to be is a different question.


I'm more inclined to agree with bfollinprm than HappyQuark. As an Asian-American, I can tell you from first-hand experience that I don't count as a "minority" (in STEM fields at least). There are scholarships for minorities that I don't qualify for because Asian-Americans do not fit the scholarship's definition of minority, even though we are less abundant than non-Hispanic whites. I'm fairly certain that I have never been the target of any "additional incentives to minorities."

I do believe that what qualifies as a "minority" is field dependent. From a social standpoint, yes, I am a minority. But from an academic perspective, I am not (particularly in STEM areas). Like bfollinprm said, Asian-Americans are a minority, but not an under-represented minority, which is generally what counts (we're still talking about Physics, right?).

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Minorities

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:57 pm

Hrm. But there is concerted effort to increase even global (or national) majority participation in certain fields. Men, for instance, find it easier to be hired as teachers/nurses, and women as physicists (though neither can reasonably be called a minority in the global context). In terms of ethnicity, HBCU schools like Howard look at a white applicant in much the same way that an ivy league school looks at a traditional minority applicant--I think there's a lot of data out there to support the importance of context in definitions of minority.

And regardless of anything else, I refuse to believe that Asian-american students are given any advantage when applying to a technical grad school. I can't follow how an admissions committee would justify that, seeing as there's an over-preponderance of students with Asian heritage in technical grad schools relative to the overall population.

User avatar
WhoaNonstop
Posts: 851
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:31 am

Re: Minorities

Postby WhoaNonstop » Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:25 pm

I'm in the minority of AWESOME. That is the only reason I was accepted by any schools.

-Riley

User avatar
grae313
Posts: 2297
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:46 pm

Re: Minorities

Postby grae313 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:41 am

bfollinprm wrote:I think it's more complicated than that. Definitely what matters is unrepresented minority status, and that's dependent on the field. Hispanics are underrepresented in Physics, along with those of African American descent, women, and Native Americans. It does not include, for example, Asian Americans, though they would be considered a minority in, say, government.


I absolutely agree with bfollinprm here. More and more you see people explicitly saying "underrepresented minority" when the subject comes up. If you consider the word minority without context, then sure, it has a strict definition related only to the country's population. In practice, the underrepresented minorities are the only reason we are talking about minorities in this forum. If all ethnicities were represented in all fields as they were in the population I don't think anyone would care about race anymore in terms of admission/hiring.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Minorities

Postby bfollinprm » Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:39 pm

WhoaNonstop wrote:I'm in the minority of AWESOME. That is the only reason I was accepted by any schools.

-Riley


This is without a doubt the truest thing ever said on this forum.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Minorities

Postby twistor » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:00 pm

bfollinprm wrote:
WhoaNonstop wrote:I'm in the minority of AWESOME. That is the only reason I was accepted by any schools.

-Riley


This is without a doubt the truest thing ever said on this forum.


No, the truest thing said was:

garden wrote:I would say that you guys should *** off the school with damn committee, which they put you guys down because of your GREs not over 90%. Why? because they are so conservative! if they know they are 90% sure what they are doing, they would all win Nobel prize! Even they do not need to do physics ...

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Minorities

Postby twistor » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:02 pm

Dorian_Mode wrote:Isn't the meaning of "minority" pretty clear? Hispanic people make up less than 50% of the population and are thus considered minorities. Done and done.


I am a minority of one in the sense that I make up less than 50% of the population.

User avatar
Dorian_Mode
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:17 am

Re: Minorities

Postby Dorian_Mode » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:40 pm

Dude me too.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Minorities

Postby bfollinprm » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:35 pm

To bring a (slight) bit of seriousness to Twistor's comment, there is some dark undertone to this whole under-represented minority thing, having to do with the notorious Look Elsewhere Effect. Since there are a near-infinite (a ridiculous phrase if there ever was one) number of ways to divide up the population, there is bound to be a group of people (minority) deviating from the expected value (of perfect representation) by an arbitrarily large value of sigma (and hence be under-represented) simply by random sampling. The minority of Twistor, for example, is distinctly over-represented, by a factor of ~70,000.

For instance, I have noticed a distinct lack of redheads in the departments I've visited. If that trend holds nationally, should I be given preferential admission because of my follicle attributes?


To be clear, this is still tongue-in-cheek--there are certainly good reasons to worry about the gross under-representation of black, hispanic, and female populations in physics aside from their deviation from the mean, which certainly doesn't apply to my red-headed-ness (or does it? Irish immigrants were notoriously downtrodden...)

pqortic
Posts: 398
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:24 am

Re: Minorities

Postby pqortic » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:23 pm

bfollinprm wrote:To be clear, this is still tongue-in-cheek--there are certainly good reasons to worry about the gross under-representation of black, hispanic, and female populations in physics aside from their deviation from the mean, which certainly doesn't apply to my red-headed-ness (or does it? Irish immigrants were notoriously downtrodden...)


did anybody force that minority to close the books and not study science and concentrate on dance and food? what happened that they became underrepresented in physics?
for instance, suppose I could find all the students interested in physics with initials MM and ask them not to apply or not to continue their education, then after few years there would be lack of physicist with initials MM and then we would be worried about the underrepresented population with initials MM!

User avatar
Dorian_Mode
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:17 am

Re: Minorities

Postby Dorian_Mode » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:46 pm

I think you're vastly underestimating the disadvantages that many underrepresented minorities need to overcome in our society.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Minorities

Postby bfollinprm » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:52 pm

pqortic wrote:did anybody force that minority to close the books and not study science and concentrate on dance and food? what happened that they became underrepresented in physics?
for instance, suppose I could find all the students interested in physics with initials MM and ask them not to apply or not to continue their education, then after few years there would be lack of physicist with initials MM and then we would be worried about the underrepresented population with initials MM!


I don't think this captures the rationale at all. If you grow up Hispanic (or black, or a woman) and have a desire to do science, it's a harder road. There are less available role models in your community, less opportunities are presented to you (you have to do more work yourself), and it's hard(er) to relate to those people you do find in science, all for the simple reason that those in your community (those "like" you) don't do science. The fact that admissions or fellowships take race, gender, and economic/geographic information into account is supposed to reflect these inherent disadvantages.

It's obviously not a perfect system (not every "Hispanic" is necessarily denied role models and opportunities), but it's more than just "there aren't many X's in physics, so we should give preference to X's." If it does turn into that, then my tongue-in-cheek response becomes serious, because a simple statistical under-representation isn't enough to imply lack of opportunity. The purpose is to build a set of knowledge-experts in physics in these ethnic communities, so that in the future the disadvantages disappear (more women physicists, for instance, means more science role models for the next generation of female students).

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Minorities

Postby twistor » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:38 am

bfollinprm wrote:
pqortic wrote:did anybody force that minority to close the books and not study science and concentrate on dance and food? what happened that they became underrepresented in physics?
for instance, suppose I could find all the students interested in physics with initials MM and ask them not to apply or not to continue their education, then after few years there would be lack of physicist with initials MM and then we would be worried about the underrepresented population with initials MM!


I don't think this captures the rationale at all. If you grow up Hispanic (or black, or a woman) and have a desire to do science, it's a harder road. There are less available role models in your community, less opportunities are presented to you (you have to do more work yourself), and it's hard(er) to relate to those people you do find in science, all for the simple reason that those in your community (those "like" you) don't do science. The fact that admissions or fellowships take race, gender, and economic/geographic information into account is supposed to reflect these inherent disadvantages.

It's obviously not a perfect system (not every "Hispanic" is necessarily denied role models and opportunities), but it's more than just "there aren't many X's in physics, so we should give preference to X's." If it does turn into that, then my tongue-in-cheek response becomes serious, because a simple statistical under-representation isn't enough to imply lack of opportunity. The purpose is to build a set of knowledge-experts in physics in these ethnic communities, so that in the future the disadvantages disappear (more women physicists, for instance, means more science role models for the next generation of female students).


That's like saying a Wendy's should be required to hire more rich kids because Wendy's employees are underrepresented in wealthy communities. Thus the children of the super rich have no fast food role models to look up to and are less likely to want to work in fast food themselves. It's also saying that you're likely to follow in the footsteps of role models who are members of your own race, etc, and I'm not sure that's true either.

The real impediment, in my opinion, is that minorities are more likely to be poor and underexposed to science. So if you really want to be more egalitarian in your admissions you should look at a person's economic background and not their ethnic background. Are you really doing the world a favor by accepting a rich gay student over a poor black one in the name of diversity?

Imagine if the same logic applied to sports, e.g. basketball, where caucasians are underrepresented. Then we'd all be watching basketball teams full of white guys who can't dunk and no one wants to see that. It's not that basketball teams favor blacks over whites, it's that they look for the best players. If the majority of good players happen to be black, so be it. And having basketball teams consisting primarily of black men doesn't stop white kids from dreaming of being in the NBA. And no one even seems to be bothered that women aren't allowed in the NBA at all. Apparently this is an area where "separate but equal" still flies. Except that hardly anyone watches the WNBA, so it's separate and unequal.

Basically, what I'm saying is this: the population of any school should represent, essentially, a random sampling of the best and brightest students from all walks of life.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Minorities

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:48 pm

That's like saying a Wendy's should be required to hire more rich kids because Wendy's employees are underrepresented in wealthy communities.

It's not like saying that at all. You don't need role models to work in fast food, because it doesn't require ambition and commitment to learn higher level skills. This is reducto-ad-absurdum, all you've really shown is the idea is more complex than can be put in a 2 paragraph post.

It's also saying that you're likely to follow in the footsteps of role models who are members of your own race, etc
200 years of American history have shown this (the african-american case is the most studied, bar perhaps women). It's not universal, of course, but in large numbers it's true, for a multiplicity of reasons you can probably find in a good book on the subject. Did you grow up wanting to be the next Chandrasekhar? Or the next Yukawa? You chose to relate to the physicists you most resemble--culturally, ethnically, or geographically. More to the point, you didn't have to aspire to such grandiose and ill-formed notions to motivate yourself. You didn't need to say "I'm going to be the next Einstein" because there were people in your community--and likely your professors--who came from similar backgrounds and provided an example that the path of graduate school in Physics was possible for you. Don't underestimate what effect not having those examples can have.

The real impediment, in my opinion, is that minorities are more likely to be poor and underexposed to science
I agree, though I was more explicit with what I mean by "underexposed". I actually don't think ethnicities are the best way to bin the population anymore (urban white youth and urban black youth often have really similar childhoods). It's much harder to divide on socio-economic background, however, and one (arguably THE) leading indicator of socio-economic status in the US IS your race (hispanic, black, native american = poor, asian, white = rich).

having basketball teams consisting primarily of black men doesn't stop white kids from dreaming of being in the NBA
Yes, it does (or at least it prevents them from seriously entertaining it). I didn't grow up playing or watching basketball, I grew up playing and watching baseball (and soccer). Do you actually think there's something in the African genome that causes excellent basketball skills, or in the Latin genome that causes excellent baseball skills, or in the pacific islander that causes excellent football skills? How else do you explain the over-representation of these races in their respective sports? Oh yeah, the over-preponderance of role models for them. For blacks/hispanics/Filipinos, the respective sports offer a tried-and-true life path (they have friends, mentors, and community members who have experienced or witnessed success in sports). Likewise, graduate school in STEM fields offer Caucasians and Asian-Americans a tried and true life path (they have friends, mentors, and community members who have experienced or witnessed success in Physics).

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Minorities

Postby twistor » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:45 pm

bfollinprm wrote:
That's like saying a Wendy's should be required to hire more rich kids because Wendy's employees are underrepresented in wealthy communities.

It's not like saying that at all. You don't need role models to work in fast food, because it doesn't require ambition and commitment to learn higher level skills. This is reducto-ad-absurdum, all you've really shown is the idea is more complex than can be put in a 2 paragraph post.

It's also saying that you're likely to follow in the footsteps of role models who are members of your own race, etc
200 years of American history have shown this (the african-american case is the most studied, bar perhaps women). It's not universal, of course, but in large numbers it's true, for a multiplicity of reasons you can probably find in a good book on the subject. Did you grow up wanting to be the next Chandrasekhar? Or the next Yukawa? You chose to relate to the physicists you most resemble--culturally, ethnically, or geographically. More to the point, you didn't have to aspire to such grandiose and ill-formed notions to motivate yourself. You didn't need to say "I'm going to be the next Einstein" because there were people in your community--and likely your professors--who came from similar backgrounds and provided an example that the path of graduate school in Physics was possible for you. Don't underestimate what effect not having those examples can have.

The real impediment, in my opinion, is that minorities are more likely to be poor and underexposed to science
I agree, though I was more explicit with what I mean by "underexposed". I actually don't think ethnicities are the best way to bin the population anymore (urban white youth and urban black youth often have really similar childhoods). It's much harder to divide on socio-economic background, however, and one (arguably THE) leading indicator of socio-economic status in the US IS your race (hispanic, black, native american = poor, asian, white = rich).


Michio Kaku actually. And no, I'm not Japanese.

having basketball teams consisting primarily of black men doesn't stop white kids from dreaming of being in the NBA
Yes, it does (or at least it prevents them from seriously entertaining it). I didn't grow up playing or watching basketball, I grew up playing and watching baseball (and soccer). Do you actually think there's something in the African genome that causes excellent basketball skills, or in the Latin genome that causes excellent baseball skills, or in the pacific islander that causes excellent football skills? How else do you explain the over-representation of these races in their respective sports? Oh yeah, the over-preponderance of role models for them. For blacks/hispanics/Filipinos, the respective sports offer a tried-and-true life path (they have friends, mentors, and community members who have experienced or witnessed success in sports). Likewise, graduate school in STEM fields offer Caucasians and Asian-Americans a tried and true life path (they have friends, mentors, and community members who have experienced or witnessed success in Physics).


Just because you didn't want to play basketball doesn't mean others didn't Of course there's nothing in the African genome making blacks better at basketball; they just play more basketball.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Minorities

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:53 pm

Michio Kaku actually. And no, I'm not Japanese.
Neither is Kaku, a San Jose native--not that that was my point.

Of course there's nothing in the African genome making blacks better at basketball; they just play more basketball.
That blacks play more basketball is a law of the universe, then? There's a reason why more blacks play basketball competitively (I guarantee there are more white children playing basketball than black children, simply because almost everyone plays basketball and there are more white children than black). And that reason is because in the communities these children often grow up in, it's seen as a viable career path for them (the majority of athletes in the community are black), while the doctors, lawyers, and academics (including physicists) in their community are predominately white/asian.

Look, I'm not trying to start a flame war or overgeneralize a point that admittedly isn't true in all cases. But it's really hard for me to see how someone can argue that there isn't an effect on children pertaining to the density of relate-able mentors they can interact with. Maybe it's because I've been exposed to both sides (I taught in a predominately black neighborhood, while I grew up next to a DOE/NIH laboratory).

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Minorities

Postby twistor » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:18 pm

That blacks play more basketball is a law of the universe, then? There's a reason why more blacks play basketball competitively (I guarantee there are more white children playing basketball than black children, simply because almost everyone plays basketball and there are more white children than black). And that reason is because in the communities these children often grow up in, it's seen as a viable career path for them (the majority of athletes in the community are black), while the doctors, lawyers, and academics (including physicists) in their community are predominately white/asian.

Look, I'm not trying to start a flame war or overgeneralize a point that admittedly isn't true in all cases. But it's really hard for me to see how someone can argue that there isn't an effect on children pertaining to the density of relate-able mentors they can interact with. Maybe it's because I've been exposed to both sides (I taught in a predominately black neighborhood, while I grew up next to a DOE/NIH laboratory).


Frankly, in this case there isn't an effect because physicists aren't visible media figures like athletes. Having any number of black/Jewish/Asian/Mexican physicists won't make basketball any less of a lucrative career.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Minorities

Postby bfollinprm » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:01 pm

twistor wrote:
That blacks play more basketball is a law of the universe, then? There's a reason why more blacks play basketball competitively (I guarantee there are more white children playing basketball than black children, simply because almost everyone plays basketball and there are more white children than black). And that reason is because in the communities these children often grow up in, it's seen as a viable career path for them (the majority of athletes in the community are black), while the doctors, lawyers, and academics (including physicists) in their community are predominately white/asian.

Look, I'm not trying to start a flame war or overgeneralize a point that admittedly isn't true in all cases. But it's really hard for me to see how someone can argue that there isn't an effect on children pertaining to the density of relate-able mentors they can interact with. Maybe it's because I've been exposed to both sides (I taught in a predominately black neighborhood, while I grew up next to a DOE/NIH laboratory).


Frankly, in this case there isn't an effect because physicists aren't visible media figures like athletes. Having any number of black/Jewish/Asian/Mexican physicists won't make basketball any less of a lucrative career.


I see. Here's the confusion (which I admit I've contributed to). I'm not talking solely or even predominately about media role models (though these help, and are important, and do exist in physics (think Einstein, Newton, Feynman, Brian Greene, and Kaku). I'm talking about models in the community--people in science (science teachers, math teachers, engineers, academics) that you and I run into in our daily lives. Certain segments of the population either (1) never run in to these people, or (2) the ones they do run into are not relate-able (due to different gender, ethnicity, background, etc).

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Minorities

Postby twistor » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:52 pm

bfollinprm wrote:
twistor wrote:
That blacks play more basketball is a law of the universe, then? There's a reason why more blacks play basketball competitively (I guarantee there are more white children playing basketball than black children, simply because almost everyone plays basketball and there are more white children than black). And that reason is because in the communities these children often grow up in, it's seen as a viable career path for them (the majority of athletes in the community are black), while the doctors, lawyers, and academics (including physicists) in their community are predominately white/asian.

Look, I'm not trying to start a flame war or overgeneralize a point that admittedly isn't true in all cases. But it's really hard for me to see how someone can argue that there isn't an effect on children pertaining to the density of relate-able mentors they can interact with. Maybe it's because I've been exposed to both sides (I taught in a predominately black neighborhood, while I grew up next to a DOE/NIH laboratory).


Frankly, in this case there isn't an effect because physicists aren't visible media figures like athletes. Having any number of black/Jewish/Asian/Mexican physicists won't make basketball any less of a lucrative career.


I see. Here's the confusion (which I admit I've contributed to). I'm not talking solely or even predominately about media role models (though these help, and are important, and do exist in physics (think Einstein, Newton, Feynman, Brian Greene, and Kaku). I'm talking about models in the community--people in science (science teachers, math teachers, engineers, academics) that you and I run into in our daily lives. Certain segments of the population either (1) never run in to these people, or (2) the ones they do run into are not relate-able (due to different gender, ethnicity, background, etc).


I don't think people are generally inspired to do things based on local role models. I certainly wasn't , nor can I think of anyone I know who was. In fact, I can honestly say there is no one in my life who made a career choice based on a role model.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't admit minorities to programs. I just don't think the arguments that favor preferential treatment are valid. Everyone who is qualified should be given an equal opportunity -- equal, not biased.

User avatar
Dorian_Mode
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:17 am

Re: Minorities

Postby Dorian_Mode » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:57 pm

Really? No one you know was influenced by someone in their personal life? I honestly don't believe that.

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Minorities

Postby bfollinprm » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:10 am

Dorian_Mode wrote:Really? No one you know was influenced by someone in their personal life? I honestly don't believe that.


What I was thinking, but I just let people be their own experts on their anecdotes. I just stop arguing.

User avatar
twistor
Posts: 1531
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 2:47 pm

Re: Minorities

Postby twistor » Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:20 am

Dorian_Mode wrote:Really? No one you know was influenced by someone in their personal life? I honestly don't believe that.


Yes, really.

User avatar
HappyQuark
Posts: 762
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Minorities

Postby HappyQuark » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:11 pm

twistor wrote:
Dorian_Mode wrote:Really? No one you know was influenced by someone in their personal life? I honestly don't believe that.


Yes, really.


The only way that could be true is if you have 0 friends. Do you have 0 friends?

User avatar
Dorian_Mode
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:17 am

Re: Minorities

Postby Dorian_Mode » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:16 pm

HappyQuark wrote:
twistor wrote:
Dorian_Mode wrote:Really? No one you know was influenced by someone in their personal life? I honestly don't believe that.


Yes, really.


The only way that could be true is if you have 0 friends. Do you have 0 friends?


Well, this is the internet.

User avatar
YodaT
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 2:01 am

Re: Minorities

Postby YodaT » Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:12 pm

I believe a minority is contingent upon number of applicants and attendees in any given field of study. As mentioned earlier, Asian-Americans (or those of Eastern-European decent) are not considered minorities in technical fields. Minorities amongst fields of entertainment value (i.e., films, sports, etc.) are more or less based on the social and cultural structure of whatever group is being entertained... also on the money value of such minorities (entertainment is, of course, money driven). To classify "physics movie stars" as real physicists is a mistake. In a field of study, rather than entertainment, the main premise is to diversify (whatever that means) the group in that field. I see the value in bringing different cultures together, history has shown this to amplify diverse manners of thinking. Yet, to claim cultural and social value is only dependent upon skin color is just plain wrong. Furthermore, I believe the blood quantum system is a ridiculous system that allows a scapegoat for universities to not really consider, for lack of a better word, "pure" minorities. Both the blood quantum system and idea that cultural value is based on skin color are acts of injustice to where real diversity resides in America, which is in social class.

On a personal note I can be considered to be a minority amongst minorities. My parents' generation were among the first to be natural born Americans (such an oddity), the first to attend school, and were the first to speak English. I have almost no real inspiring figure in physics. In my language (which is my first language) there are no words for any of the words in physics. Much of my tradition and culture frowns upon much of the questions posed in physics. I spent much of my teen years with no running water or electricity, relied on government food programs to feed me, and had to live away from my home to attend a decent high school. You can see how my studies have detached me from my own culture and how my past (we never really choose what life we're born into) has detached me from my peers at the same time. And I hate the idea that someone with my exact same heritage, who grew up in suburbia with their white-picketed fence, gets the same consideration as me in the minority pool of universities and scholarships. You can only imagine my distaste and lack of respect for these half (or quarter) blooded minorities, who appear to be more of Anglo decent, that get almost equal consideration as me. In this modern system it's more of a burden to be brown and at a university studying something like physics (a field I personally don't see value in... just entertainment), than it is to financially struggle with the same social group I was brought up in or just choose the easier degree programs.




Return to “Prospective Physics Graduate Student Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest