Color-blind hypocrites?

For all their talk about being “color-blind,” Democrats are some of the worst at being just not-that. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the great state of Mississippi, a state with a sordid past but one that has made great strides? Maybe it’s because I’ve turned my television off and haven’t been bombarded with all the hogwash for the last several years? I dunno what it is, but Obama’s latest announcement is just irritating.

Yes, I’m talking about his nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. And before anyone goes there, this has nothing to do with her; I know nothing about her. And, an interesting side note at how a liberal media works: technically, she has been “nominated” by Obama. However, my local paper said “Obama named federal…” suggesting, of course, that it’s a done deal. While it may be a done deal because of the Democrat overload, it’s not yet.

But that’s not really the thing that bothered me. Again quoting my local paper: Obama “said a Hispanic on the court would mark another step toward the goal of ‘equal justice under law.'” Why? This is something I’ve never understood. Why not say that putting the most qualified person on the court would be step toward justice? Why suggest that just because she is Hispanic, things are suddenly set right?

I’ve always been one to believe that the best qualified applicant for a job should get the job, regardless of race, creed, sex, color, perfume, or shoe size. That’s why it really bothers me to read those equal opportunity lines in job announcements. You know, most of them read “women and persons of color encouraged to apply.” Why? Why not read “qualified applicants encouraged to apply regardless of race or sex?” As a white male, the first one makes me think they’ve got no interest in hiring me, even if I am the most qualified. If I’m not, I’m not. That’s the way it goes.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with and associate with folks of all flavors: black, white, Hispanic, Asian, European, Indian…and had the opportunity to teach students of all flavors: Russian, Japanese, India, Jordanian, Turkish, African, and others. I’ve found that people are people. Some from each group are smart folks…some not so much so. But that’s with each and every group.

I’ve always thought the quota system was a bad idea. However, if we’re going to use it, let’s be fair about it and use it universally. I mean, that’s what Affirmative Action is supposed to be about, right? Fairness. In that case, seeing as to how black Americans make up about 12% of the population and Hispanic Americans make up about 13% of the population, the NFL and NBA need to get to cutting some and hiring others. After all, it’s only fair…right?



Filed under Columns

8 responses to “Color-blind hypocrites?

  1. ChrisH

    BTW Roland – I’ve always thought the NAACP and the United Negro College Fund were the most racial, segregated things on the planet – and they stand on ‘equal rights’ platforms!

  2. Justice

    Men who judge by the race or color – positively or negatively – irk me.

    I’m afraid its our carnal nature, Roland. And perhaps after years of the UWM Training (Ugly White Male Training) we’ve got, we’ll start to see a push back in the other direction.

    But the assumption that a minority was not hired simply because they are a minority is losing ground. We are becoming more and more of a melting pot.

    That’s a good thing, but like you, I find the rhetoric a bit unbearable.

    It emphasizes the worth of the candidate for ALL the wrong reasons.


  3. Justice

    Men who judge by the race or color – positively or negatively – irk me.

    I’m afraid its our carnal nature, Roland. And perhaps after years of the UWM Training (Ugly White Male Training) we’ve got, we’ll see a push back in the other direction in a decade or so.

    The assumption that a minority was not hired simply *because*) they are a minority is losing ground as educational opportunities increase. We Americans are also becoming more and more of a melting pot.

    That’s a good thing, but like you, I find this rhetoric by Obama a bit unbearable.

    It emphasizes the worth of the candidate for ALL the wrong reasons.


  4. Landon

    Hey cuzz,
    I hear ya! If “back home” is anything like it used to be, those folks might not agree that we should hire anyone but the average white male.
    Through my travels and serving beside some of the best and brightest of all races and sex, I have come to open my mind much more than it used to be. I have also seen the worst and well, not so bright of all races and sex.
    You hit the nail on the head with one question, “Why not say that putting the most qualified person on the court would be step toward justice?”
    People don’t seem to care about people, just about the presentation of equality. They don’t care if she is qualified. Just as long as it’s not another white male or someone that has already been there.
    Keep ’em comin. Good read.

  5. Jim Chadwick

    Hey Roland,

    As a liberal and a democrat, I generally tend not to follow the party line on this. First and foremost, I’m always about getting the best qualified person. But I think we all know that under any circumstances, that’s not always the case. Based on my experience, intangibles may color a decision more than anything. You can, for example, interview a person with all the best possible skills, but you just know that person is kind of obnoxious and doesn’t like to follow orders, so maybe he/she is not the best mix for your company’s environment, where team work may be jsut as important as skill set. So from the get go, I think hires based solely on qualifications are the exception, rather than the norm.

    And for me, I’m opposed to what I call “The Hive Mind” under any circumstances. Too much of any type of thinking/personality closes one off to outside stimulus, which I think is a requirement for intellectual (you’ll pardon the expression) evolution and the health of one’s organization. I’ve certainly worked for companies where everyone was required to drink the Kool-aid, and then when things fail, everyone is left finger pointing and trying to figure out what went wrong. I’ve worked in female dominated environments and didn’t like them. (Too much concern for cooperation, and a reluctance to let someone just take charge so things can get done.) I’ve worked in male dominated environments and haven’t like those either. (Too much chest puffing and concern about proving you’re stronger/smarter than the other guy.)

    I don’t think it’s healthy for organizations to just have a bunch of old guys. Nor do I think it’s good for long term success or stability to have your company run and populated by a bunch of kids either.

    Similarly, people from different nationalities, cultures, ethnicities, what have you might bring different perspectives to the mix. So let’s say I’ve got a group of people where, generally, everyone is white, male and a Yankee. (I threw that one in for you.) Well, if I have a selection of equally qualified (more or less) candidates, I’m always going to look for intangibles to make my decision. In some cases that may just be, hey, it might help my organization to have a female perspective here. Or a hispanic perspective. Or a southern perspective.

    Now granted my experience is not everyone’s. Working in the private sector, I have never felt that I wasn’t hired for a job because I was white and male. If anything, age bias has been the one prejudice I have had to contend with in the last ten years or so. But that’s because I’ve chosen to work in the entertainment field where, once you hit 40, the clock is ticking. Perhaps if I was in finance, I might still be regarded as a young whippersnapper. And I do believe gender and ethnicity quotas are more strictly adhered to in the worlds of academia and civil service, where I’ve never toiled myself. I know it’s a legitimate concern for white males in these areas. But in my experience, most private sector companies list that boiler plate copy about women and minorities welcome to apply (or however it reads) because they have to, not because they are actually going to use that as a factor.

    Whether or not I think any of this should be legislated though is a different story. I think one should have to prove guilt rather than assume it. I think there should be strong guidelines for cracking down on organizations that can be proven to be prejudiced in their hiring practices. I don’t, however, think one should assume they going to be. And I think a wise person instinctively considers all factors and shouldn’t have to be told how or who to pick.

    How this ties into a Supreme Court nominee, I don’t know. But we should all stop fooling ourselves in believing that the process isn’t politicized, regardless of which party the President belongs to. A Republican, for example, is going to look for someone with good pro-life credentials to bolster his constituency. I don’t know enough about this nominee to say anything about her, but I have to think that if you have x number of equally qualified candidates, and if that august body is predominantly white and male, then why wouldn’t the President factor in the “feel good” intangible that her appointment might make a growing chunk of the American population feel that they can have a bit more participation in a system that has previously, deliberately excluded them?

    In the end, everything is political, whether we like it or not.

    • ChrisH

      Jim, everything you say here has great merit. Sorry if my small contribution seemed blunt – but the key words in your whole statement are ‘equally qualified’. I don’t mind being passed over if it is for an equally qualified candidate, regardless. I resent it when it is because ‘we needed a (whatever)’ to balance out the staff.

  6. Well said, all.

    Justice: I, too, am irked at that!:)

    Landon: I’ve often heard it said that Americans might be more open-minded if they traveled more. We are one of the least-traveled nations among non-third countries. You mention home–do you think those attitudes are changing? I ask because I think so. I think the older generation (meaning the generation in front of ME!) are split and less racially motivated than their parents’ generation…and mine less so then my parents’.
    It’s funny, though, because I found Piggott, Arkansas, an all-white community, to be more racist in attitudes and speech than just about any community in Mississippi I’ve lived in–all of those having minimum of 30% black population. Go figure?

    Jim: Well said. I must regrettably agree with you that politics is always involved…but I don’t have to like it. I also agree about the intangibles, but those are very hard to determine. I also agree that when it can be proved someone has discriminated because of race, we should crack down. Like the intangibles, though, I think that’s hard to prove.
    Also, don’t think I was suggesting the current Supreme Court nominee is NOT qualified. She may be…she may not be. I really don’t know. I just didn’t like the wording the President used to suggest a reason for choosing her.
    But y’know…that is one of the reasons I always liked comic books so much. For the most part, comics are color blind. As a reader, you don’t know what color or race a creator is. Yes, yes, sometimes the names give hints or suggestions, but we don’t really know. Technology may have changed that some as we now have ready access to all sorts of info on the creators, but I do think much of that still exists.

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