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Discussion: (3 comments)

  1. Michael P. Stein

    I went and looked at the latest GSS questionnaire. The relevant questions read, “Do you feel IN ANY WAY discriminated against because of…?” [emphasis mine]. There are more ways of discriminating against someone than pay – assignment of tasks, opportunities, recognition, even just social interaction in the work environment.

    I thought that Mr. Biggs made an analytical error in the private sector in forgetting to exclude self-employed individuals who a) don’t exist in the government sector, and b) would be expected never to report experiencing discrimination. The figure for private-sector sexism would become 4.8% (not 4.3). I do not get the same numbers for racism as he does in the 2010 data; I get 5.2% private non-self-employed and only 4.5% all private including the self-employed. I don’t know where he got 5.6%.

    But there’s a surprise: there is one self-employed individual who reported experiencing racial discrimination on the job, and two (one male, one female) who reported gender discrimination! My best guess is that someone encountered a customer or vendor who discriminated. If that’s the case, a government worker who deals with the public could also report discrimination if someone they were dealing with asked to deal with someone who was white and/or male, even if all supervisors and coworkers were perceived as being absolutely fair.

    Note too that “yes” answers can come from white males who feel they have been victims of reverse discrimination. I ran a crosstab on the 2010 data set for racism by race. 17.1% of non-self-employed private sector blacks report experiencing racial discrimination vs. 21.4% public sector. “Other” race reported less discrimination in government, 13.3% vs. 15.3%. But white government employees reported 7.1% racial discrimination vs. 1.8% private sector. A similar disparity exists in the government sector – slightly higher for women, but a markedly higher percentage of government males reporting sex discrimination.

    And a final note: for sexism, there were only 210 government respondents in 2010 with 17 reporting sex discrimination. For racism, there was one additional response of which 22 reported racial discrimiation. I don’t have access to SPSS, or the statistical chops to compute the margin of error by hand.

  2. The Federal government does not systematically determination. There are some employees who play the discrimination game and win because the Feds tend to give in easily.

    Discrimination against blacks and women is a thing of the past in the Federal government. We are loath to admit that but it is true. We won. We should accept the victory and not pretend that fifty years of progress did not happen.

  3. Anyone who believes that racism against minorities or women is in denial. In the federal sector, over 150 class actions have been filed by African-Americans in the last decade according to a Freedom of Information Act reply from the EEOC to The Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C).
    Many instances of overt racism may have disappeared; but the racial disparity practices and patterns persist.
    Google video: Racism in the Federal Sector http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqyDPh3OHpk

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