Professor: Today we're learning some words for talking about "affirmative action" programs in the US. Winnie, if a college or business has an affirmative action program, that means it gives preference to minority students, who have traditionally been underprivileged in American society.
嗯，这个我听说过。美国的"Affirmative action"， 平权法案，要求对少数族裔人口实行入学、就业方面的优惠政策。我想，这个政策应该是为了帮助少数族裔，改善他们的社会地位，可难免也会引发一些不满和争议吧？
Professor: Yes, it has been quite controversial. Let's see what Will and Jane have to say about it.
Will: So Jane, where do you go to college?
Jane: I'm at the University of California, in Los Angeles. It's a great school academically, but also because it gives me the chance to meet people of all different nationalities, races and backgrounds.
Will: Yeah, US colleges have become much more diverse ever since affirmative action policies were put in place. But even though that's a good thing, some people still gripe about them.
Jane: Of course, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding them. After all, affirmative action is a pretty blunt instrument for helping disadvantaged groups improve their lives.
Professor Bowman, 什么叫 gripe？
Professor: To gripe is to complain about something. For example, the employees at every company I've worked at have always griped about how rich the boss is, even though they make good salaries.
哦，gripe, g-r-i-p-e, gripe, 就是“抱怨”的意思。 Will说，虽然平权政策使很多少数族裔学生得到了上大学的机会，提升了美国大学校园的多样性，但还是有人对这个政策不满。对了，Jane说，平权法案是个blunt instrument，Professor, 这是什么意思呢？
Professor: Winnie, a "blunt instrument" is a method that uses too much force, so that, in achieving your aim, it also causes some harm or trouble. For example, "War is a very blunt instrument for settling disputes between countries. It's better to resolve them through careful negotiations."
Will: Why do you think some people are opposed to affirmative action?
Jane: A lot of people think we no longer need affirmative action, and that it's unfair. If two people apply for a job, should one be given better treatment because of his or her skin color?
Will: I see your point. But many of the poor people in American society are minorities. I think we should try to give them a leg up.
Jane: True, but there are lots of poor people who aren't minorities too. Shouldn't they get help too?
Will: I agree that it isn't a perfect solution, but it's a pretty good way of leveling the playing field.
听起来Will很支持平权法案，他说，美国很多穷人都是少数族裔，平权法案可以give them a leg up - 助他们一臂之力，使他们获得一些优势。
Professor: That's right. Will also says he thinks that affirmative action policies are a good way of "leveling the playing field".
对，level the playing field就是说为大家提供公平赛场，让所有人站在同样的起点上。Will觉得，平权法案虽然并不完美，但至少缩小了白人和有色人种之间的社会差距。
Jane: You know, I think one thing that everybody can agree on is that we should live in a world where affirmative action isn't necessary.
Will: I totally agree. When each person has the same opportunities in life, regardless of his or her skin color, the world will definitely be a better place.
Jane: Hey Will ..... just a suggestion, but can we talk about something less serious? All this talk of religion and discrimination isn't what I had in mind for a first date.
Will: Well sure .... we can talk about something light and fun. What do you think about global warming?
Jane: Waiter, can you bring the check please?
哈哈，Jane终于受不了了! Will尽和她谈这些严肃话题，让他换个轻松点的，他居然会想到 global warming - 全球暖化！怪不得Jane急着给钱走人!
Professor: Yup, sounds like Will made a pretty bad move.