Posts Tagged ‘reverse discrimination’

Fifty years of counter-productive affirmative action

September 7, 2014

I don’t like “affirmative action” which is merely a euphemism for reverse discrimination. Whether for race or for gender, affirmative action and quotas not only don’t work, they are also counter-productive in that they perpetuate the differences they are supposed to eliminate. Quota systems only create a privileged – and often undeserving – class and reaffirm and enshrine the very differences they try to address. The analogy is with subsidies for non-commercial technologies which only remove all incentive for those technologies ever becoming commercial. The “reservation” system in India – for example – has only ensured that those “scheduled castes” privileged by such “reservation” have no longer any incentive to get their children to come out of the “reserved” category. In fact whole communities now fight to be classified as “backward” or as a “scheduled caste” to enjoy the undeserved privileges that brings. Competence and ability are given no value and – surprise, surprise – are in decline. Five decades after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the US, there is no discernible improvement in the position of the home-grown, US, black population.

Jason Riley is black, writes for the Wall Street Journal and has a new book : Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed

He addresses “which efforts have facilitated black advancement, and which efforts have impeded it? and makes the case that “Liberalism has also succeeded, tragically, in convincing blacks to see themselves first and foremost as victims. Today there is no greater impediment to black advancement than the self-pitying mindset that permeates black culture.”

He points out that

  • The black-white poverty gap has widened over the last decade and the poverty rate among blacks is no longer declining.
  • The black-white disparity in incarceration rates today is larger than it was in 1960.
  • Black unemployment rate has, on average, been twice as high as the white rate for five decades.
  • Black people from the US still continue to perform worse at school than other blacks, Hispanics, Asians and the white population.
  • Black teenage unemployment has never been as high at any time as with minimum wage laws.
  • Racial preferences in the form of affirmative action show no benefits.

Of course the liberals don’t much care for this book (as with this review in by Ian Blair who is a student of journalism and apparently a very politically correct person). But Riley’s language is simple and straightforward and his arguments appear – to me – to be well substantiated.

Of course his arguments also fit what my experience tells me – that quotas don’t work and that subsidies don’t often work and both are usually counter-productive. Reverse discrimination only serves to perpetuate the difference it is supposed to reduce.

As this recent article puts it, affirmative action in the US was just a sop;

Slate, Feb 2014:

Today, the statistics on black and white inequality are so unchanging that they can be recited by rote: The black unemployment rate holds steady at double the white unemployment rate; the median net worth for black households is about 7 percent of white households; annual per capita income for blacks is 62 cents for every dollar of per capita income for whites.* When presented with these figures, supporters of affirmative action typically use them as evidence that conservatives kept affirmative action from working. Others say the statistics are proof that affirmative action didn’t really work that well to begin with. But there’s always the third option to consider: that persistent racial inequality is, at least in part, the result of affirmative action working exactly as it was intended to.


Weight discrimination against obese politicians

May 21, 2014

Two new papers of little intrinsic interest but much more interesting in juxtaposition.

On the one hand we hear from the National Health Interview Survey that obesity is increasing in the US

Prevalence of Obesity by Occupation Among US Workers

Prevalence of obesity steadily increased from 2004 through 2008 across gender and race/ethnicity but leveled off from 2008 through 2011. Non-Hispanic black female workers in health care support (49.2%) and transportation/material moving (46.6%) had the highest prevalence of obesity. Prevalence of obesity in relatively low-obesity (white-collar) occupations significantly increased between 2004-2007 and 2008-2011, whereas it did not change significantly in high-obesity (blue-collar) occupations.

On the other hand we also hear from a new study that

Weight bias plagues U.S. elections

Overweight political candidates tend to receive fewer votes than their thinner opponents, finds a new study by a weight bias expert. Both obese men and women were less likely to get on the ballot in the first place. When it came to merely being overweight, women were underrepresented on the ballot, though men were not. This is consistent with previous research showing men who are slightly heavy tend not to experience discrimination like that of slightly overweight women.

Perhaps it should be a Fundamental Human Right not to be discriminated against merely for being obese? Maybe we need some affirmative action to ensure that we have the proper representation of fat people in employment, in politics and on Company Boards?

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