Posts Tagged ‘lies’

Affirmative Action Lies

December 2, 2009

Affirmative action is basically an attempt to increase the representation of minorities and women in employment. It is based off of many myths, including the idea that all minorities live in ghettos and the idea that an employer’s prejudice could actually trump a desire for profit.

            At this point, fill out Poll 1.

            There is one website that claims to expose ten myths about affirmative action. I plan to show why what they say is mostly lies.

http://www.understandingprejudice.org/readroom/articles/affirm.htm

            After reading the entire web page, fill out Poll 2.

“Myth 1: The only way to create a color-blind society is to adopt color-blind policies.”

            This would actually work beautifully. However, UnderstandingPrejudice decides to expose what some may perceive to be a fatal flaw: “All else being equal, color-blind seniority systems tend to protect White workers against job layoffs, because senior employees are usually White.” This actually means nothing. There are black senior workers. They exist. If we’re talking about employment, then having senior white workers does not mean that we need more junior black workers. That’s just categorizing all of the white job applicants as one big group of white people, and reasoning that senior white workers represent college-level white applicants. If we’re talking about layoffs, it makes economic sense not to fire the most experienced workers. Any requirement to fire them would violate the employer’s right to the pursuit of happiness. And to fire the new white workers instead of the new black workers would again be reasoning that senior whites can represent new whites in employment.

            Let’s take this simplified scenario. A company hires five hundred employees, in a city with a demographic of four whites to one black. Of the 250 senior employees, 240 of them are white, and 10 are black, while among the newly-hired employees, 200 are white and 50 are black, matching the demographic of whatever city this company happens to be located in. Suddenly, due to economic recession, it’s time to lay people off. Fifty people have to be fired. Now, the most logical thing would be to fire 40 new white employees and 10 new black employees, assuming that all new employees are equally skilled, as senior employees would naturally be favored over new employees. However, this would result in the demographics of the company being ever-so-slightly pulled away from reflecting the city’s demographics. UnderstandingPrejudice’s logic would result in ensuring that of the 440 whites, 50 of them are fired, while no blacks are fired, resulting in a ratio of 390:60, still not appeasing the demographic. However, only new white employees would be fired, resulting in the ratio of new employees being 150:50, under-representing whites among new employees of the company. In a few years, when the senior employees are gone, and the current new employees are senior, the demographic will have been twisted out of proportion, while a color-blind method of firing would ensure a future correct ratio.

The website then goes on to say, “Likewise, color-blind college admissions favor White students because of their earlier educational advantages.” Well, last I checked, intelligence is supposed to be what indicates whether or not you get into a good school, not skin color. This also generalizes that all white students go to better schools than all black students, which is just not the case in real life. It also over-categorizes. Why bother to group the white together and the black together? Just realize that people are different, and there is no line between a white economic level and a black economic level, and move on. Time will sort everything out. Plus, if two people are both applying for the same job in the same situation, then most likely, they both have the same education. We’d be comparing perhaps a white with average education for a white with a black with above-average education for a black, and they’d be comparable. Therefore, they are probably of about equal intelligence, with equal standards of living, so there is no longer any reason to pity either of them. And if they don’t have the same education, then the employer has every right to hire the person who knows enough to get the job done the most efficiently, and therefore, has every right to favor the person with the better education.

Besides, the proposals made by UnderstandingPrejudice still would fail to create a color-blind society even if they were implemented, so the myth is true regardless.

“Myth 2: Affirmative action has not succeeded in increasing female and minority representation.”

            Well, yeah. However, on the same note, it has therefore succeeded in decreasing male and majority representation. And anyone who says otherwise, like this one site that justified affirmative action by stating that the number of college admissions by whites went up as well as blacks. Well, that’s nice, but for that to be completely true, positions would have to be created at colleges that allow blacks in without displacing whites at all, which can’t be the case. The reason for the site’s statistic is that admissions across the board have gone up, due to increased urbanization, education, etc. However, the point is that the statistic should actually be higher.

“Myth 3: Affirmative action may have been necessary 30 years ago, but the playing field is fairly level today.”

            The site decides to link all discrepancies between male/female and white/black income on prejudice, without considering other more reasonable explanations. Women, for example, tend to have lower-paying jobs due to maternity leave, cutting into working hours and ability to learn enough to be promoted to a higher job, but that’s just a fact of nature. The women who don’t have children actually make about the same as men, and often more. As for racial comparisons, one has to realize that categorizing based on race is flawed. For example, African-Americans have an increased proportion of criminals compared to other races, and employers tend not to hire felons, which cuts off a large number of African-Americans from being employable; while this affects the statistic, this does not affect the ability of a law-abiding black citizen to get a job. The 2% statistic cited is completely fair, as those African-Americans making up that 2% are the smartest African-Americans who actually deserve to go to college. Additionally, it has been clearly noted that blacks are dominating in the sports industry. People also think of it as common knowledge that the Asian race is the most intelligent. In that case, if it is acceptable to say that blacks are, on balance, athletically superior to whites, and that Asians are, on balance, intellectually superior to whites, and probably that blacks are, on balance, athletically superior to Asians, then why does saying that whites are, on balance, intellectually superior to blacks cause such a panic attack and draw so many accusations of racism? I mean, it doesn’t change anything, and intelligent blacks would still be tied with intelligent whites and intelligent Asians.

“Myth 4: The public doesn’t support affirmative action anymore.”

            So, apparently, they do. Unsurprising, given the vague definitions of affirmative action (one site even claimed affirmative action to be “”) and the lies being fed to the public.

“Myth 5: A large percentage of White workers will lose out if affirmative action is continued.”

            This is probably the worst form of categorization. The argument is basically that because there are more whites than blacks in the United States, the percentages of racial employment would look better overall if more blacks are hired than whites. It advocates making sure that all African-Americans are hired to result in a drop of 1% in white employment. However, one has to realize that there are more white Americans than black Americans, so the white employment percentage carries more weight. Imagine for a moment if we decided to split up the white category into numerous categories of things such as English, Spanish, Irish, Scottish, French, etc. Suddenly, percentages change, and everything changes, just because of an arbitrary change in categorization. Let’s say, again, that we have a group of ten Martians in America. None of them are employed, as they come from Mars, and don’t fully understand American politics yet, so the Martian employment is at 0%. Replacing ten white guys with these Martians would do wonders to the total employment percentage, but one has to remember that one job is one job, no matter which race has it. Why do percentages even matter, when it’s clear that even if it’s just a small injustice in the overly large picture, to the people actually getting displaced, it’s a life-damaging impact.

“Myth 7: You can’t cure discrimination with discrimination.”

            At this point, UnderstandingPrejudice calls affirmative action “an effort to overcome prejudicial treatment through inclusion,” assuming that this prejudice significantly overcomes the desire for profit. However, when this effort for inclusion alternatively results in exclusion of white males based on their skin color and gender, what really makes it much different from standard prejudice?

“Myth 8: Affirmative action tends to undermine the self-esteem of women and racial minorities.

            The 10% statistic mentioned here is actually rather important. After all, many women and racial minorities are hired without the use of affirmative action, and would therefore have no undermined self-esteem, so the statistic should be larger. And of course some beneficiaries are going to be satisfied with the jobs they received above those more deserving, as most people would be satisfied with getting anything over anybody. However, those who lost out due to affirmative action are the ones whose feelings are most prone to being hurt. Black people in the past used to complain about being discriminated against, after all.

“Myth 10: Support for affirmative action means support for preferential selection procedures that favor unqualified candidates over qualified candidates.”

UnderstandingPrejudice attempts to justify the first available method of discrimination with ad populum, as it is still discriminatory, treating equals unequally. The second method uses poor logic, as any difference is significant, and may have effects. And that still doesn’t justify treating unequals in a reverse of their inequalities. The third one is merely stated, and the fourth one, at least, is disowned entirely.

Now fill out Poll 3.

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