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Discussion: (28 comments)

  1. Is it logically consistent to be both an “equal opportunity employer” and an “affirmative action employer” at the same time?


    1. Obviously the answer is yes as affirmative action provides “benefit an underrepresented group” which byt it very definition is not EQUAL opportunity.

      1. What is the definition of “underrepresented group”? Are they underrepresented because of discrimination or other factors? You can have equal opportunity without having equal outcomes.

        1. Seattle Sam

          Underrepresented simply means a lower percentage than the general population. As in “Scandinavians are underrepresented in Georgia and Blacks are underrepresented in Minnesota.”

          1. Tom E. Snyder

            So to be consistent with affirmative action no one should be allowed to move to Georgia unless they are a Scandinavian or other underrepresented group. And no more whites may move to Minnesota until blacks have filled their quota.

          2. I’ve been discriminated against as I have less money than the average person of my race.
            (I’m a big spender, but don’t hold that against me – I haven’t been informed about the need to save. I think I’ll so better if you pay for someone to teach me how to save, thank you very much.)

      2. Ron H.


        But we don’t know that under-representation results from unequal opportunity.

        1. Peter McIlhon

          Exactly. Are women underrepresented in fields like plumbing because they don’t have an equal opportunity? Doubtful.

      3. Wrong, Wayne.

    2. juandos

      I agree…

  2. MacDaddyWatch

    Unfortunately, institutions of “higher learning” have hijacked the language. We have lost control of the language that we use. Words no longer have meaning, words can mean whatever you want them to mean–so long as it makes you “feel good.”

  3. Seattle Sam

    “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean.”

    — The Humpty Dumpty School of Linguistics in Ann Arbor

    1. morganovich

      well played sam.

      that made me laugh out loud.

    2. You have to pay attention to keep up with the change in terms. It isn’t “affirmative action” or even “diversity” any more. Now it’s called “respect and inclusion”.

  4. It is, but only if you consider some people as, “More equal than others…”

    Being a white male, I worried about possibly being unfairly excluded even in the 70’s. I was able to walk through the doors because I had PSAT and SAT scores that were nearly off the charts, during a time when that was actually pretty rare.

    Quite a number of my “disadvantaged” undergraduate classmates at U of M, and later, Oakland University, really shouldn’t have been there, and I wondered how they managed to graduate from high school, let alone be admitted to a college.

    On the other hand, some made the best lab a project partners because they were much more serious about succeeding. This I found to be particularly true when it came to choosing lab partners for science or engineering classes. There weren’t many women in those classes at the time, and most of the “guys” hadn’t figured out yet that the ones who were there were most likely going to be a real asset to the team, and not have to be “carried” along.

    To this day, I’d still rather have mixed gender/ethnicity/background teams, as they tend to be the most effective. But, I am not a fan of “affirmative action” as defined, as it directly discriminates against people such as myself.

    As for employers claiming to be “equal opportunity”, try being an “older worker”, even if you actually invented the technology being used… Perhaps where we need a little “affirmative action” is to level the playing field for those of us over 50.

  5. Che is dead

    Jim Crow, segregation, “affirmative action”; the left always believes that their racism should be institutionalized.

  6. Methinks

    This is a rhetorical question, yes? Unless you’re given to death-defying feats of mental gymnastics, this is obviously logically inconsistent.

    And we all know that logic has no place in the world the busybodies are engineering!

  7. Krishnan

    Short logical answer: No. Long answer: Hell No. A Lawyer’s Answer: Whatever we say it is. (for an example see Roberts’ 50,000 pages (or whatever) where he says that a penalty is a tax even if Congress did not say so – or crap like that)

  8. To answer the rhetorical question, of course no.

    I suspect it comes down to what the University means by “discriminate”. I expect the original intent was “do not hold someone’s race/sex/whatever against them” and only judge candidates by their legitimate qualifications.

    The only way I can square EO with AA is if AA is only invoked as a tie breaker: when two applicants really are equal by all position-relevant metrics, use race/sex/whatever to flip the coin. But that feels like a cop out to me. No two people are that equal, there’s always something more important on which to base the decision (how articulate they are, who’s going to be easier to work with, etc.). But maybe that’s the intent. People may have a bias for people like themselves so this is a mechanism to take that bias out of hiring or admission decisions.

  9. Che is dead

    Let’s stop the nonsense. “Affirmative action” is racism – plain and simple. It’s not about compensating for some past wrong, if that were the case it would only apply to those who could reasonably prove that they had suffered or were descendent from someone who actually had suffered some past wrong. Instead, it is applied solely on the basis of race. (And, of course, gender and sexual orientation, blah, blah, blah)

    “Affirmative action’s” governing premise is that all white males (heterosexual) are evil and all non-white males are victims. The fact that the promotion of this ugly, racist/sexist lie helps to empower the leftists that advance it is simply coincidental – not.

    The very moment that all of those ennobled “undocumented immigrants” – all, no doubt, on their way to Steven Landsburg’s living room – are gifted with U.S. citizenship, they will automatically be put at the front of the line, ahead of those whose ancestors may have established this republic and fought through successive generations to secure it simply because they are non-white. And this despite the fact that many of their ancestors were some of the greatest slavers in human history.

    Complete and utter racist horseshit.

  10. Che is dead

    “… a study found that at some American universities, black applicants who scored 450 points (out of 1,600) worse than Asians on entrance tests were equally likely to win a place. … although colleges benefit from a diversity of ideas, to use skin colour as a proxy for this implies that all black people and all Chinese people view the world in a similar way. That suggests a bleak view of the human imagination.

    One American federal-contracting programme favours businesses owned by “socially and economically disadvantaged” people. Such people can be 87 times richer than the average American family and still be deemed “disadvantaged” if their skin is the right colour … That American federal programme began by awarding no-bid contracts to firms owned by blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans; now it covers people with ancestry from at least 33 countries … Such policies poison democracy by encouraging divisions along lines drawn by discriminatory rules. …

    Affirmative action replaced old injustices with new ones: it divides society rather than unites it. Governments should tackle disadvantage directly, without reference to race. If a school is bad, fix it. If there are barriers to opportunity, remove them. And if Barack Obama’s daughters apply to a university, judge them on their academic prowess, not the colour of their skin.” — The Economist

    h/t Instapundit

    1. I once worked for a small (~ 50 employees) R&D company that was like a little United Nations, with people from all over the world. White American males were definitely a minority, with high percentages of Asian, European, Middle Eastern, African, and women scientists, engineers, and managers.

      But, we only had a couple of “African Americans”, and because we were working on some Government contracts, I was informed by management that we were being forced to “preferentially” hire black Americans, and to keep that in mind when interviewing candidates. (Actually, I was told that they would have been even happier with black women candidates, even though over a third of our employees were women.)

      It was hard enough to find good candidates, and I did find one who met the “skin-tone criteria”, but we ended up with two more; one only marginal, and another who turned out to be completely unsuitable. I did express my “doubts” about the second, but was overruled by upper management. They were just focused on filling their “color quota.” A stupid way to run a business, and it came back to bite them later.

  11. Che is dead

    “LOS ANGELES — After a morning here in which admissions leaders and legal experts discussed strategies for colleges to look beyond the grades and test scores of applicants, Art Coleman said that it was time to acknowledge the “proverbial elephant in the room.” That’s the issue of merit.

    Coleman is a lawyer who has worked with numerous colleges and higher education groups to craft admissions policies that promote diversity and can also survive legal challenges.” — Inside Higher Ed

    Sounds like a Klan strategy meeting.

  12. Che is dead

    “Exactly what do we mean by diversity? The Navy and its Naval Academy in Annapolis, the nation’s largest single conduit for generating naval officers, have arrived at this answer: Diversity initiatives will focus recruitment efforts on minorities and women in order to reflect the anticipated national demographic of mid-century. …

    Unfortunately, affirmative action leads to the admission and retention of midshipmen (students) who are under-qualified or even completely unqualified, in the name of balance or fairness. Diversity initiatives thus ensure that preferences are granted to pre-selected groups at the expense of otherwise qualified individuals. Doing so is neither neutral nor harmless. …

    As a former history instructor at the Naval Academy (from 2007-2010), I witnessed the failings of the diversity initiative first hand. The poisonous atmosphere it created among midshipmen, faculty, and staff in non-academic and academic settings was detrimental to the cohesion of the institution. Unfortunately, once the diversity fetish is infused into an institution, it is nearly impossible to eradicate. …” — Pope Center

    All things, including the nations security, must be sacrificed upon the altar of “diversity”.

    1. juandos
      1. That’s sickening…

        “Political correctness is tyranny with manners”
        — Charlton Heston

  13. J Scheppers

    Affirmative action as Dr. Perry has defined it is discrimination. I do believe that taking proactive steps to assess whether you are being fair to individual on arbitrary basis is not discrimination.

    I commend the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra for having blind auditions (the musician is behind a screen to conceal gender, ethnicity and race). This is quality affirmative action that I believe in doing.

    It is regrettable that the expected outcome approach is what dominates affirmative action. It is also the nature of government action that only a simplified approaches that can and likely will be hijacked are used.

  14. Ron H.

    J Scheppers

    I commend the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra for having blind auditions (the musician is behind a screen to conceal gender, ethnicity and race). This is quality affirmative action that I believe in doing.

    But that isn’t affirmative action, it’s equal opportunity.

    Affirmative action requires that musicians be hired on the basis of race or some other biological attribute over which individuals have no control, regardless of musical ability, so that the demographic composition of the orchestra reflects the demographic composition of the general population – to the nearest whole person, of course.

    The oft-used excuse that an insufficient number of musicians of the under-represented group are interested in joining the orchestra won’t be accepted. If necessary, members of the over-represented group must be removed until the desired mix is achieved.

    A typical help-wanted ad might read like this:

    “Park City Symphony Orchestra seeks Lithuanian oboe player. No experience, resume, or interview necessary. We supply instrument. Interested parties call (999) 999-9999 for immediate placement.”

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