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January 07, 2007

Comments

Maybe I haven't been clear. The study hilzoy references suggests that black men are being discriminated against and by extension that white felons were being discriminated for.

If the response is to institute or strengthen a stricter meritocracy to minimize that effect (the felon aspect would be especially easy to talk about--'why would you hire this felon over these three non-felons?' says supervisor X) I'm completely on board. That is using racial classification statistics to undermine racial classifications. That is what the Army is doing, and I'm thrilled with it.

That isn't what we have been talking about so far as I can tell.


Hilzoy: "Affirmative action means that some whites will not get jobs they would have gotten in a perfectly fair world, but it also means that some blacks will get jobs they would have gotten in a perfectly fair world, but would not have gotten in the world we actually live in had affirmative action not been around."

I'm not pretending that we live in a perfectly fair world. But if you want a more meritocratic world (and I realize that many progressives don't or would problematize that concept but that is an argument for another time), the proper remedy is NOT to make massive further perturbations from meritocratic systems by explictly making a non-meritocratic racial component. Redistributing the injustice is not the same as actually fighting it.

That is using racial classification statistics to undermine racial classifications. That is what the Army is doing, and I'm thrilled with it.

So, you're happy with using racial classifications to set goals ensuring that those hired or promoted will have the same racial breakdown as those eligible for hiring or promotion? If that's the case, I join you in our mutual support for schmaffirmative schmaction.

Slarti: It's sad then that the Gators are gonna get stomped into a fine paste by a poisonous tree nut, huh?

LB and SH, is part of the disagreement that there's a difference between "ensuring that those hired or promoted will have the same racial breakdown as those eligible for hiring or promotion" and "ensuring that those hired or promoted will have the same racial breakdown as the local population", which as I understand it is what some affirmative action programs strive for?

There was a discussion about this over on Alas last week, led by Rachel S. She had a similar line of reasoning in her post as Hilzoy, but the differences might interest some of you.

KC: I think that goes to my point about there not being one 'affirmative action' program. I can certainly think of some possible affirmative action programs that would be misguided and unjust; I can also think of some, like the Army's, that are well designed, effective, and just. What that means to me is that I support affirmative action generally, and am willing to look at any specific affirmative action program to see if that program is somehow messed up, in which case I'll oppose that program.

I can think of all sorts of different circumstances where different reference populations would be appropriate, and sometimes (say, hiring for an entry level job) the local population would be an appropriate point of comparison.

Sebastian: No, it suggested to me that discriminating against people on the basis of race was crazy.

Not that it was hateful?

the proper remedy is NOT to make massive further perturbations from meritocratic systems by explictly making a non-meritocratic racial component.

But since that non-meritocratic racial component exists, and is known to exist, why are you so against balancing it out? Just because (you theorize, absent evidence) white people will become resentful of black people? I think this is the kind of reasoning that leads all minorities away from rocking the boat - attempting to push for change (the reasoning goes) will make the privileged class (men, straights, whites, Protestants, whatever) resentful of us: better to be nice and peaceful and hope inactively that change eventually comes by the will of the privileged class, not by action from the disprivileged.

I wouldn't have said poisonous.

I used to think Michigan had a fairish bid on the title game, until USC crumpled them like a spent can of Coors Lite. Now I'm not sure what to think.

Me, I'm setting my sights low. If Tim Tebow can crush a strong safety and a couple of cornerbacks, I'll be a happy guy.

Oh, belated congrats on Wisconsin's beating of Arkansas. They can be tough, and I though it'd be a tight game. I think that was probably one of the better bowl matchups.

"So, you're happy with using racial classifications to set goals ensuring that those hired or promoted will have the same racial breakdown as those eligible for hiring or promotion?"

I don't care a bit about the goal setting, that isn't affirmative action. I'm concerned about the method of getting to the goal. That could be meritocratic or more likely in practice very much otherwise.

"Sebastian: No, it suggested to me that discriminating against people on the basis of race was crazy.

Not that it was hateful?"

Hateful by some, illgocial by others. I think crazy was my first reaction though. I just couldn't understand why you would try to catagorize via such a useless catagory.

"But since that non-meritocratic racial component exists, and is known to exist, why are you so against balancing it out?"

Because balancing and correcting aren't the same thing at all.

"Just because (you theorize, absent evidence) white people will become resentful of black people?"

That isn't a theory, I see resentment about it all the time. Not the kind that is going to show upin polls of course, because you certainly wouldn't say such things to the pollster. And this is in California, which for a place that actually has multiple races is about as non-racist as it gets for a large population in the world. (Possible other contenders would be Brazil? And please notice that I understand there is a large ugly baseline of racism, so when I as non-racist as it gets I'm not at all suggesting non-racist). Heaven help you in Mexico (much more racist), Lousiana (much more racist) or Germany (much more racist). I don't have direct experience with France or the UK, but Abiola Lapite's stories don't make it sound like anywhere in Europe is much less.

I don't care a bit about the goal setting, that isn't affirmative action.

See, Sebastian, this is redefining terms. It's race conscious, and causes people to make hiring decisions in a race conscious manner. It's affirmative action. Look at the title of the Army regulation I linked: what, you think they don't know what the words mean?

But if you're happy with programs comparable to the Army's, as I said above, I'm fine with referring to them as schmaffirmative schmaction. You should be aware, of course, that that's often what people who favor affirmative action are talking about.

Sebastian: Because balancing and correcting aren't the same thing at all.

It corrects the immediate problem: less-qualified whites being hired over the head of better-qualified blacks. It corrects the short-term problem: businesses just routinely hiring white staff because they always have. It corrects one of the longer-term problems: white people who never have worked with black co-workers as equals or had black superiors. So there's actually quite a lot of corrective action going on here, that you appear to feel is completely outweighed by the possibility that a white person who had not until then resented black people would come to resent black people if they thought that the reason they hadn't got the job was because the business had decided to hire "a black person".

That isn't a theory, I see resentment about it all the time.

People who you know were previously completely non-racist, who suddenly develop racist resentment out of nowhere because they didn't get a job and a black person did and they're sure it was affirmative action that denied the person who "really" deserved the job (who was white) and gave the job to a person who didn't deserve it (who was black)? I suspect these people were racist and resentful before this happened to them: or they'd never have cast their not getting the job in racist terms.

I used to think Michigan had a fairish bid on the title game, until USC crumpled them like a spent can of Coors Lite. Now I'm not sure what to think.

As a Wolverine fan -- and yes, that game was excruciating to watch, thanks for asking ;) -- I think Pete Carroll's simply a much better coach than Lloyd Carr. As is Jim Tressel, come to that, which, boy howdy, I can't tell you how unpleasant that is to say.

Oh, belated congrats on Wisconsin's beating of Arkansas. They can be tough, and I though it'd be a tight game. I think that was probably one of the better bowl matchups.

On behalf of the Badger State: thanks! I happened to be watching that game in bed (hey, it's Christmas break) and I was literally watching some of that third quarter from under the covers. I have never in my life seen a team more than double the yards of its opponent and still lose; Stocco may have got the game ball but the Wisconsin defense were the stand-outs to me. It was like a clinic for "bend don't break".

ETA: Apparently the Badgers finally racked up enough yardage at the end that Arkansas didn't quite double them up. Before that last drive, though (which was scoreless) the Razorbacks had outgained them something like 350 - 150.

But speaking of great bowl-games, I'm still pissed as hell that I missed the Boise-Oklahoma game. Thanks to my wonderful daddy, however, I managed to catch the replay of the hook-and-ladder and then that fantastic overtime finish.

As a Wolverine fan -- and yes, that game was excruciating to watch, thanks for asking ;)

Oh, I didn't know and/or forgot. As a Purdue alumn, I feel your pain.

Lizardbreath, "See, Sebastian, this is redefining terms. It's race conscious, and causes people to make hiring decisions in a race conscious manner. It's affirmative action. Look at the title of the Army regulation I linked: what, you think they don't know what the words mean?"

In a super broad sense, yes it is affirmative action. But you and hilzoy have both in this thread defended more than that. We weren't just talking about that. You have both defended the type of affirmative action in which white applicants who are better candidates than their black counterparts, don't get the job. That isn't what I'm talking about, and that is indeed generally what people are talking about when they talk about affirmative action. That the broadest possible definition of the term can include SOME non-objectionable practices should not obscure our disagreement about the objectionable (to me) practices.

Jesurgislac,

"People who you know were previously completely non-racist, who suddenly develop racist resentment out of nowhere because they didn't get a job and a black person did and they're sure it was affirmative action that denied the person who "really" deserved the job (who was white) and gave the job to a person who didn't deserve it (who was black)?"

You are overinterpreting. Unless you believe that racism is a perfectly binary state, a program could easily exacerbate minor racist reactions/feelings and coax them into much bigger worries. I suspect that there will be minor vestiges of racism forever--fear/loathing of the 'other' is hardwired into our bodies. But like many things hardwired into our bodies, we should resist it and engage in structures which help other people resist it.

But you and hilzoy have both in this thread defended more than that. We weren't just talking about that. You have both defended the type of affirmative action in which white applicants who are better candidates than their black counterparts, don't get the job.

I'd be fascinated to see you quote the comment I made in this thread that makes you say that; I don't know what it could be. (Perhaps you thought that I was defending positive discrimination in favor of the Irish as morally unproblematic?) To be clear, I can't think of circumstances under which it was possible to objectively rank candidates based on criteria that I believed accurately represented differences in ability to do a given job, where I'd support hiring a less qualified candidate over a more qualified candidate. (If I said something that made you think otherwise, I apologize for lack of clarity, or misspeaking, whichever is appropriate. But I don't know what it can have been, and would be interested to know what it was.)

Hiring decisions are subjective enough that I don't know how, in most circumstances, you'd rank one applicant as objectively better than another -- the way hiring that I'm familiar with goes, you narrow down the applicants to those that are objectively qualified enough, and then make the decision between the remainder subjectively. At that point, I don't regard affirmative action as involving hiring less qualified candidates over more qualified candidates. It may involve hiring different people than those who would have been hired in a completely race-blind world, but that's a different thing.

That the broadest possible definition of the term can include SOME non-objectionable practices should not obscure our disagreement about the objectionable (to me) practices.

Can you describe the sort of practices you object to in detail, with some sense of who you think is doing that sort of thing? Seriously, I'm wondering about the step where, before affirmative action comes into play, a white candidate is identified as objectively more qualified than a competing black candidate, and then not hired due to affirmative action. I am not arguing that this never occurs, but I don't think it's a good description of affirmative action programs generally.

Sebastian: Unless you believe that racism is a perfectly binary state, a program could easily exacerbate minor racist reactions/feelings and coax them into much bigger worries.

And the lack of a program will inevitably exacerbate minor racist reactions/feelings and force them into much bigger worries. You don't appear to be concerned about these worries when the person with them is black: only if they're white do you seem to think this is a big deal.

I suspect that there will be minor vestiges of racism forever--fear/loathing of the 'other' is hardwired into our bodies.

I'm sure you can speak for yourself. You do not speak for me.

But like many things hardwired into our bodies, we should resist it and engage in structures which help other people resist it.

So, why do you so unalterably oppose engagement in structures which help people who aren't white resist racism and resentment because they know that the less-qualified white candidate will get the job over any more-qualified black candidate? You've done nothing but argue against resisting racism and against engaging in structures which help other people resist it all down this thread.

Alternatives, please? Pretty please?

I think the most important thing in battling discrimination is that there are plenty of role models, and preferrably a 'peergroup' (similar people).
People have to have the idea that is is normal for blacks/women/gays to be in that position - and AA can help establish that.

The UK army was forced to accept gays - and found that many prejudices they had were not true. Like the Dutch army it probabely is still not the most gay-friendly environment, but I bet having openly gay officers (I know that at least one of our generals is gay) makes a difference in how openly one can discriminate. And open discrimination is contagious, causes a 'group effect'.

To establish the 'peergroup' and the role models AA can be usefull, but it is one of the possible measures, not the only one. One of the jokes/riddles I used to tell to people who insisted that we don't discriminate women in the Netherlands is:

"A man and his son drive on the motorway. They have an unfortunate accident. The guy is killed, his son is taken to hospital. In the ER the surgeon prepares for the life-saving operation, walks into the operation room and says "I cannot operate, this is my son". What's going on?"

I was really really amazed at the high percentage of people (male and female) who struggled with stephfather constructions and the like....

I don't know if racism is really much worse in the Netherlands Sebastian. I often find it *different* than in the US. Describing the differences would make this a long long post, so I'll refrain, since it is not particularly on topic.

LibJap: My oldest didn't see a difference when he was 4 yo, but when he was six yo he laughed when the black partner of one of my friends pulled up his socks and displayed brown legs. "Oh, you are brown there too!!". With schoolfriends they still don't register skin color though, at least it is not high on the list when they describe schoolmates.

Jesurgislac, "You've done nothing but argue against resisting racism and against engaging in structures which help other people resist it all down this thread."

No, I've argued against resisting one form of racism by using another form of racism.

Lizardbreath, I took your comments to be in support of the formulation Hilzoy used. I apologize for misinterpreting.

Lizardbreath, I took your comments to be in support of the formulation Hilzoy used. I apologize for misinterpreting.

I didn't see anything she said in this post or thread that I disagreed with. What formulation are you talking about, that you equate with support for hiring objectively less qualified minority candidates over objectively more qualified white candidates? This?

Affirmative action means that some whites will not get jobs they would have gotten in a perfectly fair world, but it also means that some blacks will get jobs they would have gotten in a perfectly fair world, but would not have gotten in the world we actually live in had affirmative action not been around.

Because I think you've misinterpreted it.

How about some exposure? Even with no legal remedy (and maybe I'm being naive) I suspect that if this study implicates any major employer, the mere direct revelation of their name and the fact that they are more likely to hire a white felon than a black man could be an effective tool.

Exposure by whom? To whom?

What makes you think I misinterpreted it?

Seb: I suspect I didn't write clearly. When I said this:

"Affirmative action means that some whites will not get jobs they would have gotten in a perfectly fair world, but it also means that some blacks will get jobs they would have gotten in a perfectly fair world, but would not have gotten in the world we actually live in had affirmative action not been around."

I meant that AA would probably have that effect in some cases; not that the program should be designed to do that. I think it should be designed to remove existing injustices and place people whose hiring is strikingly out of line with their applicant pool, in terms of gender and ethnicity, under serious scrutiny. I also think it's fine to use gender and ethnicity as tiebreakers. I expect that any such program will not be implemented perfectly, and thus will result in, well, what I said.

"I think it should be designed to remove existing injustices and place people whose hiring is strikingly out of line with their applicant pool, in terms of gender and ethnicity, under serious scrutiny."

Well that is fine, but that is anti-discrimination practice. That isn't affirmative action. Affirmative action is also often talked about as 'positive discrimination'. It is in explicit opposition to meritocratic approaches because proponents believe that doing so is not sufficient to remedy the past harm. This anti-discrimination=affirmative action idea seems like an unnecessary blurring of distinctive terms. Are you taking a literalist approach to the individual words in the term such that all action which is good for an oppressed 'racial' subtype counts as the term "affirmative action". I'm very confused.

In the admissions sense, "affirmative action" is never solely trying to recruit people of various races. It is never just about trying to dig up great candidates from all races. The term is always used to include programs which strongly discriminate against high performing Asians, have a slight discrimination effect against white people, have a medium-level discrimination effect for Hispanic people and a strong level discrimination effect for black people compared to any of the meritocratic standards used.

If affirmative action in the workplace is only about trying to solidify a merit approach such that discrimination against racial types is exceedingly difficult, I'm all for it. But it has been decades since it has been used in a way that excludes methods of subverting or ignoring meritocratic evaluation.

You're making an awful lot of assertions with the word never and always in them, without a lot of references to anything specific. I note one reference to a specific Affirmative Action program in this thread -- my link to the army regulations, which has no resemblance to what affirmative action programs are always like according to you. Hilzoy has a personal anecdote about being an affirmative action hire, also not strongly resembling what you say affirmative action programs are like.

Perhaps you could describe some particular affirmative action programs you find egregious -- I'll probably be able to agree with you that those are poor programs.

"You're making an awful lot of assertions with the word never and always in them, without a lot of references to anything specific."

You really might want to look at them specifically. Are you suggesting that my description of affirmative action programs in admissions is incorrect? That there are such programs which do NOT discriminate against high performing Asians?

Well, in the 1980s, Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education (giving preferences to minorities in layoffs at schools) and Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co. rejecting local set-aside programs for minorities were considered huge blows to affirmative action programs (and a sign that the Court was taking a scary turn to the right)--suggesting to me that mere meritocratic systems are not enough. Bakke specifically allows 'pluses'for racial heritage which in practice became enormous (when I get home I'll look up the atrocious Michigan system).

I note that "Equal Opportunity" in employment and "Affirmative Action" are typically considered separate but related programs. Equal opportunity seems to be what you are talking about.

Really I have all sorts of examples of how universities have turned affirmative action into a huge weight on the scales, but for reasons I'm not clear on, that is a different topic. Is the descriptive term 'affirmative action' really used so differently in the workplace? If so, I was frankly unaware of that fact.

But let us not beat around the bush. Are you against programs that would tend to push the hiring of less qualified applicants of one race in favor over more qualified applicants of another race?

Seb: how would you classify my anecdote? The department was one of -- I forget, but some tiny number; I want to say three -- of departments that had never ever hired a tenure-track woman or minority. (Plus, at least one of the others was Classics, which is a teensy department that rarely has vacancies, and faces an even more than usually overwhelmingly white applicant pool.) It was under heavy pressure to hire a woman or minority when it hired me. This means, in practice, that it would have had to show that some extraordinary situation obtained in order to get away with hiring a white guy.

One could describe this as discriminating against white guys, as in some sense it surely was. One could also describe it as the administration "trying to solidify a merit approach such that discrimination against racial types is exceedingly difficult" -- the nice "let's not be racists and sexist" approach having failed, the deans had moved on harsher measures; but they had done so in response to what was surely real, serious discrimination against women and minorities. (And in some sense I snuck by this, since the aforementioned snobby colleague, who took unaccountable likes and dislikes to people, had a pretty striking tendency not to like women and minorities. I was OK, though, somehow; as I said, I think it was because of my Dad. Is this fair? Hell no. Thus, I took myself to have an obligation not just to make it the case that I was the best person they could have hired, but also to do whatever I could to make it better for anyone who came later. -- I should also say that I would have been more likely to seriously object to Mr. Snob's letting me by like this had all his other views about people not been equally nuts -- no one got a fair shake from him, luckily for some and unluckily for others.)

The thing is: it met both descriptions. And I suspect it's not at all unique in this respect. Lots of the time there's someone who is mysteriously failing ever to hire members of a particular group, and someone else who ends up laying down the law.

(Nb: the reason I brought up my story is not because it proves much -- it's an anecdote, after all -- but because I think it's good to see, in specific cases, how such mysterious things as "affirmative action helping to prevent future injustice" actually work.)

Really I have all sorts of examples of how universities have turned affirmative action into a huge weight on the scales, but for reasons I'm not clear on, that is a different topic. Is the descriptive term 'affirmative action' really used so differently in the workplace? If so, I was frankly unaware of that fact.

Ah. So Hilzoy's request that they be treated as separate issues because of the lack of resemblance between the two went right over your head. Really, hiring, as a process, has very little resemblance to college admissions.

Are you against programs that would tend to push the hiring of less qualified applicants of one race in favor over more qualified applicants of another race?

Tend to push? I think that programs like the ones I support (I keep on coming back to the Army program, because I understand it has worked so well) could be described in those terms by their opponents. So you might characterize my beliefs that way. If you mean something other than the sort of goal setting the Army does, I don't know what it is.

Cross-posted with Seb. About why university stuff is different: (a) because of the contested idea of what counts as "qualified", which isn't at issue here, and (b) because of the role played by the educational value of diversity, which I suspect doesn't have much of an analog in, say, hiring decisions by shoe stores.

Shorter me: it brings in lots of extraneous issues not found here, which complicate the question.

Sebastian: Is the descriptive term 'affirmative action' really used so differently in the workplace?

Yes.

If so, I was frankly unaware of that fact.

And if you had begun your comments on this thread with that admission, it would have probably made this thread a lot shorter.

"Ah. So Hilzoy's request that they be treated as separate issues because of the lack of resemblance between the two went right over your head. Really, hiring, as a process, has very little resemblance to college admissions."

But which way do the differences cut? In admissions the metrics are often much more defined than they are for jobs. And with defined metrics, it takes massive pluses to make it 'work'.

"If so, I was frankly unaware of that fact.

And if you had begun your comments on this thread with that admission, it would have probably made this thread a lot shorter."

I believe one has to be aware of the fact that one doesn't know something before one can admit it.

Oh, and as to Seb's actual question: "But let us not beat around the bush. Are you against programs that would tend to push the hiring of less qualified applicants of one race in favor over more qualified applicants of another race?"

A lot turns on the nature of the job. Some jobs -- supermarket cashiers, maybe -- don't seem to require much in the way of qualifications. (I may be wrong! I know that! I apologize in advance if I am!) In those cases, I don't really see the point of talking about 'more' and 'less' qualified people, rather than a pool of people who meet the basic requirements. I would in no way mind a rule that said: hire in such a way as to bring your pool of cashiers in line with the population the labor force is drawn from. (I am leaving aside the question who should make the rule, and am specifically not assuming it's the government, as opposed to, say, the supermarket's corporate headquarters. I mean to say: I do not see this as unjust.)

In some cases, there are more and less qualified applicants, but there's also a range within which the gradations either make no difference or are as likely as not to reflect nothing about a candidate's real merit. Possible example (again, I am ignorant): some occupations with entrance exams. (I'm thinking of, say, a sergeant's exam in the police force.) I suspect that if these were scored out of 100 points, a difference of a point or two would not be crucial, and would be as likely to reflect who got a good night's sleep the night before as who would be best. I would not have a problem giving applicants from an under-represented group a 2 point edge here. Even a somewhat larger edge, since in the specific case of police, there are reasons that have nothing to do with fairness for wanting a police force to be broadly representative of the community it polices, and I think this is a perfectly legitimate thing to take into account.

On the other hand, I have precisely zero interest in having anyone but the very best person hired as President, or Commander of the forces in Iraq, or head of an urban school system. I am willing to consider revising my views about what counts as "best" -- imagine that the urban school district has a 95% black student body, that the city in question has just been torn apart by bitter and horrible race riots, and whatever further awfulness you want to add on; would it be nuts to prefer a black candidate, not over any white candidate, but over some who would win out in a completely race-blind world? Not to me -- that's relevant to how successful the superintendant of schools is actually likely to be. But I am much, much less eager to make those tradeoffs in cases in which a lot turns on having the right person, and who 'the right person' is isn't measured by a flawed proxy like a test.

Basically, in order to answer the question in a given case, I'd need to know how 'qualified' is being measured, how important it is to get the best qualified candidate (the point of the cashier example: there, not getting a compulsive thief or a crack addict is key, but a PhD would not help that much), etc. Different cases, different answers.

I have precisely zero interest in having anyone but the very best person hired as President

What's it like living with that kind of disappointment your whole life? ;)

Andrew: Horrible. It's what accounts for my bitter, curdled, twisted, misshapen personality.

hilzoy,

I meant to ask about that last November. I'm glad you explained it.

Sebastian: I believe one has to be aware of the fact that one doesn't know something before one can admit it.

You knew that you were talking about college admissions affirmative action: you could at least have specified that this was the area you were talking about, and that you had no idea if the same practice applied to workplace hiring. I do a similiar thing (or I try to) when I produce an illustration from the UK when I don't know if it applies to the US or not: admit that I'm talking about something in one area that may or may not relate to another. You were presumably aware that you didn't know anything about workplace hiring affirmative action programs, even if you thought that it must be much the same as college admissions.

"You knew that you were talking about college admissions affirmative action: you could at least have specified that this was the area you were talking about, and that you had no idea if the same practice applied to workplace hiring. I do a similiar thing (or I try to) when I produce an illustration from the UK when I don't know if it applies to the US or not: admit that I'm talking about something in one area that may or may not relate to another. You were presumably aware that you didn't know anything about workplace hiring affirmative action programs, even if you thought that it must be much the same as college admissions."

No that is where you are wrong. I know plenty about the practice, I just don't see it defined in NUMBERS the same way. So the proof is much easier to come by in the college admissions area. The actual problem was that I was unaware that the TERM "affirmative action" is used dramatically differently in the two contexts.

That terminology being, according to Lizardbreath, that "affirmative action" in hiring EXCLUDES pluses in hiring by race and focuses on meritocratic concerns. I'm not sure I buy that, but that seems to be the claim.

Sebastian: I know plenty about the practice, I just don't see it defined in NUMBERS the same way.

I'm seeing no evidence that you know anything about the practice of affirmative action in workplace hiring: but your comments about affirmative action in this thread make sense (that is, don't make you sound quite so clueless) if they're being made about the practice of affirmative action in college admissions.

That terminology being, according to Lizardbreath, that "affirmative action" in hiring EXCLUDES pluses in hiring by race and focuses on meritocratic concerns. I'm not sure I buy that, but that seems to be the claim.

As for example, this. You seem to be claiming that companies with an affirmative action program hire not by merit but purely on race. You've produced no evidence of this happening, merely claimed that it does and you don't believe it doesn't.

You've claimed to be "race-blind", but you appear to be convinced that hiring practices that result in all-white firms are obviously focussing on merit alone, whereas hiring practices that deliberately look at minority candidates and tend therefore to hire minority candidates are obviously based on race, not merit. Which is generally the thinking of a white man who can't believe that someone non-white could be more qualified than a white candidate and therefore entitled to the job on merit alone, and yet not get the job because the person doing the hiring isn't going to hire anyone who isn't white.

Which does suggest a form of race-blindness - and blindness to other people's racism, providing it's not blatant enough to bother you. (You seem to have a similiar kind of blindness to homophobia, too, and sexism, and real poverty that can't be fixed with buying a rice-cooker and getting a room-mate....)

That terminology being, according to Lizardbreath, that "affirmative action" in hiring EXCLUDES pluses in hiring by race and focuses on meritocratic concerns.

This is an inaccurate restatement of what I've said. I do not claim to know that there are no affirmative action programs in hiring that include explicit plusses by race; in fact, I expect that there are. What I have said is that programs that do not include such plusses are, in fact, affirmative action programs, and to the best of my knowledge are a commoner and more representative type of affirmative action programs than the ones that trouble you.

I don't mean to be overly cranky about this, I certainly restate people's arguments all the time. But I did make it clear that I was not making claims about all affirmative action hiring programs at 1:29 and again at 3:27, and it's moderately irritating to have those caveats ignored.

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