Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Reverse racism"

Many on the right are saying that it is reverse racism when white men are damaged by a decision meant to promote diversity or some other affirmative action program. This has been the case in the famous New Haven Firefirghter case where the city disregarded the results of an officers' test because too few minorities qualified. The city was trying to protect itself from a lawsuit from the NAACP or other advocacy groups alleging that it would be improper to use these results to promote the almost totally white group of candidates (1 hispanic).

This is results oriented affirmative action where the rules don't matter if the results are not what the designers intended. For example, this test would not have been challenged had the successful candidates been "more diverse". Since there weren't any black firefighters to score high enough to be considered for promotion, the test was "improper" on it's face.

I reject both sides here.

I think we should have diversity of opinion, background, ethnicity, etc. Any category that matters.

Yet, the standards for promotion or hire should be clear, transparent, and consistent. It is totally wrong to change the rules after the fact.

It is also wrong to refer to this as "racism" or even "reverse racism" because everyone agrees there wasn't any intent to harm any white person in this case. There was an attempt to diversify the leadership, to have a preference for minorities.

Frank Ricci case

This is de facto discrimination in impact but not intent. It is dishonest not to acknowledge that.

I agree ultimately with the white firefighters, but when their case is presented as though there was a plot to harm them they lose credibility.

No comments: