Marginal White Males and Affirmative Action Opposition
Why is Ricci close to being the exception that proves the rule?
First, affirmative action targets marginal white males.
For example, although white guys who are already firemen have a fighting chance of staving off unfair treatment in promotions, white guys who just want to become firemen are discriminated against in hiring with impunity. For example, a couple of years ago, the Bush Administration sued the New York fire department, which lost 343 men on 9/11, for discrimination because its entrance exam had a one standard deviation gap in its passing rate between whites and blacks, the same cognitive racial gap seen more or les everywhere.
The message the Bush Administration’s lawsuit was implicitly sending the FDNY was: “Hire more minorities and fewer whites. We don’t care how you do it. Just do it.” Cheating an already employed white fireman out of a promotion is dicey because he doesn’t go away. He’s still a fireman. So he hangs around, he complains, he organizes other white firemen to complain to their aldermen about why the politicians aren’t releasing the results, maybe he talks his sister-in-law’s cousin who is a file clerk in Personnel into Xeroxing the secret results of the test and leak it to him. And then he hires a lawyer....
Announcing that you are a victim of affirmative action is to admit you are marginal, that you would have only barely made the cut anyway. How uncool is that?...
As you go up the pyramid of power, quotas becomes less prevalent, as the elite decide to finally draw the line so that affirmative action least inconveniences them. Reflect upon the career of the First Lady. Michelle Obama attended Whitney Young H.S., the most selective Chicago public high school, where blacks enjoyed a quota of 40 percent of admissions. Then she was off to Princeton and Harvard Law School. At each institution, she felt that white people were making fun of her because her test scores weren’t all that great. Still, like a lot of mediocre black law students, she wound up with a high-paying job at a prestigious law firm.
The New York Times reported on UCLA law professor Richard Sander’s study of affirmative action in legal hiring:But most black associates were hired due to racial preferences. According to the New York Times, “Black students, who make up 1 to 2 percent of students with high grades (meaning a grade point average in the top half of the class) make up 8 percent of corporate law firm hires, Professor Sander found. ‘Blacks are far more likely to be working at large firms than are other new lawyers with similar credentials,’ he said.”
Then, however, colorblind reality intruded. Mrs. Obama apparently didn’t pass the rather easy Illinois bar exam on her first opportunity. Soon, she gave up her law license and took a less cognitively taxing job working for Mayor Daley as a political fixer.
Think about it from Mrs. Obama’s point of view. She’d been scraping by on affirmative action for years, but quotas mostly evaporate when it comes to making partner. The law firm’s partners can put up with employing subpar blacks as associates for a few years to stay out of trouble with the government, but they take the partnership hurdle seriously. The New York Times said: “But black lawyers, the study found, are about one-fourth as likely to make partner as white lawyers from the same entering class of associates.”So, why kill herself in the likely hopeless task of making partner when she can go into Chicago politics, where she’ll be smarter than the average ward heeler?
To view the post on a separate page, click: at 7/06/2009 11:36:00 AM (the permalink).