Saturday, June 30, 2012

The NBA and WNBA Get an A+ for "Racial Hiring Practices" Despite Significant Racial Disparities?

 The University of Central Florida praises the NBA for its "commitment to racial equality," despite this significant evidence of racial inequality:
Share of U.S. Population, 2011Share of NBA, 2012   Share of WNBA, 2011
Blacks13.1%    <   78%63%
Whites63.4%    >17%21%
Hispanics16.7%    > 4%3%
Asians5.0%    >3%0%

Based on the data in the chart above, what letter grade would you assign for the "racial hiring practices" of the NBA and WNBA?  When determining your grade, you would obviously consider the fact that the racial shares of professional basketball players diverge significantly from the racial makeup of the U.S. population, suggesting that there might be some racial bias or discrimination when hiring players.  For example, blacks were 13.1% of the U.S. population in 2011, but were significantly overrepresented in professional basketball: 78% of NBA players (2012) and 63% of WNBA players (2011) are black.  Whites are 63.4% of the U.S. population, but are significantly underrepresented in pro basketball: only 17% of NBA and 21% of WNBA players are white.  Likewise, Hispanics and Asians are significantly underrepresented in both the NBA and WNBA compared to their shares of the U.S. population, and Asians have no representation in the WNBA.  

When determining your letter grade for the "racial hiring practices" of the NBA and WNBA consider what would happen if some of the outcomes were reversed, e.g. blacks are 13.1% of the population, but make up only say 5% of some outcome like managerial positions, boards of directors, city payrolls for police or fire workers, teaching positions, coaching positions, etc.  In most cases of gender or racial under-representation, the goal of advocacy groups or government agencies is often perfect statistical gender or racial parity based on shares of the general population (see example here of perfect gender parity being the stated goal of the Commerce Department for STEM jobs and college majors).

Given the statistical outcomes above where whites are underrepresented in the NBA by a factor of 3.7 times compared to their share of the general population (17% vs. 63.4%) and blacks are overrepresented in the NBA by a factor of 6 times (78% vs. 13%) compared to their share of the general population, it would seem that the logical conclusion is that the racial outcomes for the NBA and WNBA depart dramatically from the standard measures of diversity and the racial hiring practices of the NBA and WNBA should earn a letter grade of F. When women or minorities are underrepresented in some outcome (STEM jobs, college enrollment, boards of directors, executive positions, etc.), efforts are made to "increase diversity" by increasing the gender or racial shares of various outcomes to the gender or racial shares of the overall population.  

But when it comes to the NBA and WNBA, much different standards of diversity are apparently applied to the racial composition of professional basketball teams.  According to the "Racial and Gender Report Cards" (released annually by the "The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport" at the University of Central Florida") the NBA got a letter grade of A+ for "racial hiring practices" in 2012 (just released this week) and the WNBA got a letter grade of A+ for 2011 (results for 2012 are not yet available), for the significant over-representation of black players and the significant under-representation of white, Hispanic and Asian players.  

This seems pretty Orwellian in the sense that "all racial and gender groups are equal and important for purposes of diversity, but some groups are apparently more equal than others."  For example, when women are underrepresented in STEM fields, the gender activists invoke the "disparity-proves-discrimination dogma" and mobilize resources and support to address the gender disparity. But when women are overrepresented in earning college degrees (140 females per 100 men), or 7 out of 11 graduate degrees, or outnumber male veterinarians by more than 3:1, those disparities, and the "disparity-proves-discrimination" dogma are ignored.

Likewise, now that whites, Hispanics, and Asians are significantly underrepresented in the NBA and WNBA, the "disparity-proves-discrimination" dogma is abandoned and a new mantra is adopted by the "Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport": "racial disparities-prove-success" as long as blacks are over-represented and whites, Asians and Hispanics are under-represented, and deserve letter grades of A+.  In fact, the 2012 report praised the "NBA’s continued commitment to racial equality," despite the overwhelming evidence of  significant racial inequality?  

Interestingly, the "Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sport" was headed until recently by two white male admininstrators (see photo below).  What grade would they give their own organization for the category of "Top Management" (one of the categories they use for the NBA and WNBA)? Wouldn't this be a letter grade of F for being 100% white and male?


At 6/30/2012 8:37 AM, Blogger SteveH said...

Doesn't the fact of over-representation/under-representation in particular fields also represent the historical social and economic barriers or opportunities that limit or expand choices that individuals of some ethnicity or gender experience? These experiences stretch across generations and past perceptions are passed down like genes. Society evolves and like in biological evolution when a trait is no longer useful it will disappear so too, will perceptions fade that are not useful. One could view anti-discrimination laws as attempts to jump over a necessary evolutionary step. This results in inauthentic expressions of inclusiveness like "white guilt" or exclusiviness like "black power".

Nevertheless, attempts to view discrete periods in that social evolution as evidence of this or that discrimination misses the long lead time for perceptions to change. We would all be well served to end these overt attempts to end discrimination by fiat and allow social evolution to occur on its own in its own time.

At 6/30/2012 12:01 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Interestingly, the "Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sport" was headed until recently by two white male admininstrators (see photo below). What grade would they give their own organization for the category of "Top Management"" -- Mark Perry

Is it really that surprising to find that the assholes holding the racial scorecards are white leftists? Take a look at the top officers at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

At 6/30/2012 12:16 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Forget the NBA and the WNBA. As Lashawn Barber pointed out years ago, through a policy of deliberate racial discrimination against "non-minorities", blacks are dramatically overrepresented in the federal workforce:

"The report (2000) uses tables and bar charts to make unmistakably clear that federal discrimination against whites goes far beyond merely achieving proportional representation for blacks. In all 22 independent federal agencies and in 16 of 17 federal executive departments, blacks are massively over represented.

In the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (sic) blacks comprise 46.4 percent of the employees. The “affirmative action” or racial quota target for proportional representation (percent in Relevant Civilian Labor Force) for the EEOC is 6.4 percent black employees. Blacks are thus over represented in EEOC employment by 625 percent!" -- Lashawn Barber's Corner

At least in the NBA and WNBA racial disparity is coincidental to individual talent. That cannot be said of the racial spoils system operating in the federal government.

At 6/30/2012 2:29 PM, Blogger Emil said...

No disagremmen in principle but it seems to me as if the US population sums to more than 100%. How is that?

At 6/30/2012 4:28 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Emil: Thanks, you're right, I didn't look closely enough at the Census data. The Census category of "White" (78.1%) now includes Hispanics, so I have adjusted the table to only show the 63.4% for "White persons not Hispanic."

At 6/30/2012 9:16 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

I would almost support affirmative action if it would give me the chance to cheer some white ballplayers for a change.....

At 7/01/2012 2:29 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Take a look at the top officers at the Southern Poverty Law Center."

Wow. Just Wow.

At 7/01/2012 2:33 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"One could view anti-discrimination laws as attempts to jump over a necessary evolutionary step."

Legislating evolutionary change seems futile.

At 7/01/2012 5:42 AM, Blogger rkeefe57 said...

You've linked to an older blog post of mine showing the all-white executives of the SPLC.

That data was from 2008, though nothing has changed since, except they gave themselves 4-, 5- and even 6-digit raises in 2010.

"Recession? What recession?"

Even the SPLC's laughably named "Teaching Tolerance" program, which purports to promote diversity in the K-12 classroom has been led by "whites only" for 20 its 21 years.

Ironically, their liberal donor base still sends them $106,000 tax-free donor-dollars a day... every single day.

That works out to more than $4,400 dollars an hour... 24/7

Just imagine how much good that money could do for local food banks, women's shelters and clinics.

It boggles the mind.

At 7/01/2012 11:26 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Hmmm, it makes me wonder what if any amount of federal funding goes to the UCF College of Business Administration?

This whole TIDES scam has the stench of federal inspiration pushed by libs...


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