Sunday, May 20, 2012

Not All Applicants Are Equal?

This is a standard notice on advertisements for most university positions:

"The University of Michigan is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer and strongly encourages applications from minorities and women."

Maybe I'm just being overly cynical, but aren't statement like this saying:

1. All applicants are "equal," but some candidates are more equal (minorities and women) than others?

2. The University discourages applications from male non-minorities (white men, Middle Eastern men, Pacific Islander men, a male from Mauritius or Turkey, etc.)?  That is, might not some white, Mauritian and Middle Eastern men be discouraged from applying if they knew that other applicants were being encouraged to apply, i.e. given preferences?

3. Minorities and women wouldn't apply unless they were given signals ahead of time that their applications would be given extra consideration?   

4. In cases where two candidates' credentials were equal, minorities and women would be hired over a Middle Eastern male?

5. Isn't "affirmative action" an intentional departure from "equal opportunity."  

15 Comments:

At 5/21/2012 1:29 AM, Blogger JakeW said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5/21/2012 1:31 AM, Blogger JakeW said...

buh-buh-but we have to make up for past discrimination.

I worked at small, female-owned economic consulting firm. When scoring proposals, government institutions often give female-owned firms a 5% bonus just for being female-owned. The government institutions state this explicitly in their "request for proposals." Obviously, this creates that possibility for female-owned firms to be awarded contracts not because they were the best firm for the job, but because the firm was operated by a female.

 
At 5/21/2012 7:41 AM, Blogger Mike said...

This white guy, returning to the U.S. from Mauritius, is discouraged from applying.

But I don't mind much. After nine months in Mauritius, there is no way I want to experience a Michigan winter.

 
At 5/21/2012 8:42 AM, Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

A couple months ago, my company was reviewing bid requests that had set asides for "gay and transgendered" owned companies.

I really want this crap to end.

 
At 5/21/2012 9:54 AM, Blogger Ken said...

In order to move the country to judge people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin or sex parts or personal identities, we're going to implement policies that judge people by the color of their skin, sex parts, and personal identities. It's for your own good.

Now shut up and pay your taxes.

 
At 5/21/2012 10:28 AM, Blogger W.E. Heasley said...

"The University of Michigan is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer and strongly encourages applications from minorities and women."


There is the concept of equal opportunity, then there is a the concept of equal opportunity through social justice.

Obviously social justice, that is, justice through politics, gets the nod in the above statement.

However, as F.A. Hayek pointed out, social justice is merely a mirage and the statement above is the embodiment of the politics of the mirage.

 
At 5/21/2012 12:11 PM, Blogger jcarroll1948 said...

Discrimination is more alive and more well in the US now than it has ever been; only differences are who the beneficiaries are and who is on the short end of the stick. Elizabeth Warren is a prime example of affirmative action and drives for diversity gone berserk.

 
At 5/21/2012 12:20 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Discrimination is more alive and more well in the US now than it has ever been

That is definitely untrue, if you're talking about racial discrimination. The average person doesn't really care about the color of another's skin.

only differences are who the beneficiaries

I'm not sure about that either. It looks like the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action and welfare are white democrats, which are precisely the people who benefited from Jim Crowe. The primary difference is that Jim Crowe didn't result in the destruction of the black family.

 
At 5/21/2012 12:24 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

yet another fine example of such a bewilderingly contradictory thicket of regulations, laws, requirements, and policies that no one, no matter how well intentioned, can possibly ever know if they are in compliance.

that i fear, is the goal, just as it is int he tax code. you make it so complex and opaque that no one can tell if they are breaking the law, then, when you come after them, they all buckle because they always had doubts.

this is just a kind of creeping fascism. if they want you, they can have you because absolutely no one (including them) can parse the rules, but they get to decide how to enforce them.

 
At 5/21/2012 1:46 PM, Blogger Nicawawa said...

The harm in hiring lesser or unqualified blacks because of the color of their skin via affirmative action can go far beyond the injustice of the racist, discriminatory, hiring standards. It can cost innocent lives;

http://blackracismandracehatred.blogspot.com/2012/05/affirmative-action-kills-harm-in-hiring.html

 
At 5/21/2012 2:18 PM, Blogger Speedmaster said...

>> "The University of Michigan is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer ..."

I've been saying for years that the above is a moronic statement. The two goals/claims are mutually-exclusive.

You either give everyone equal chance, or you treat some people better at the expense of others. It is logically impossible to do both.

 
At 5/21/2012 2:44 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Thanks Speedmaster, that's exactly the inconsistency I was trying to point out....

You can have one or the other, but not both.

 
At 5/21/2012 4:59 PM, Blogger Marko said...

As an employment attorney that represents businesses, I get this question all the time - it is very difficult for government contractors and universities with government mandated affirmative action to tread the line between not discriminating and increasing minority and female representation. I think many of them fail, and just go straight to discrimination. The government line is this: You are supposed to try to encourage more minority and female applicants, but you are required by law to select the most qualified applicant for the job.

However, if your numbers don't turn out "right," you are fined, sued and publicly humiliated, so many managers put their thumbs on the scale and give a preference to minorities and females, betting that the white males are less likely to sue (or notice) the bias.

Thanks federal government.

 
At 5/22/2012 12:17 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"The University of Michigan is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer and strongly encourages applications from minorities and women"...

Yes, there are some massive and self evident flaws in that statement for sure...

Equal opportunity driven by government institued racism, yeah that makes all kinds of sense...

Well if one wanted to take these fools at their word then maybe the real 'minority would be the male WASP cadre...

 
At 5/22/2012 4:46 PM, Blogger jcarroll1948 said...

Let me append my statement from above, and thank you Ken for your comment. Obviously, discrimination today is not like discrimination was in previous decades. That said, it still exists. Gov't mandated affirmative action goals, which many would interpret as quotas, necessitate preference to those groups the gov't wants a greater representation from. You cannot give preference to any group without hurting members of groups that do not enjoy preference. I recall a basketball referee being interviewed many years ago. He was asked if he ever realized that he had made a bad call during a game, and he answered yes. He was then asked if he tried to correct his mistake by knowingly making a bad call that benefited the other team, and he said no. That basketball referee knew that two wrongs don't make a right.

 

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