Sunday, September 04, 2005

Disclaimer: I grew up in a home and around a family where discrimination of any kind based solely on color was scorned. I grew up liking certain people because they were decent people of any color. Yes, I see color. I have eyes. But I do not, nor have I ever used it to base my feelings for another person on. I'm not going to use the cliche "I have black friends so I'm not racist". I will say I have friends of many nationalities and races because we have a commonality. They don't see me as an enemy and I see them for the people they are and vice-versa. We like each other because we simply like each other.

With that said, consider this:

Scenario 1: Two people apply for a job. They are administered a test to determine their ability to execute the duties assigned to the job. One is white and one is black. They score the same on the test and one is truly randomly selected for the job. It's the black person.

Scenario 2: Two people apply for a job. They are administered a test to determine their ability to execute the duties assigned to the job. One is white and one is black. They score the same on the test and one is truly randomly selected for the job. It's the white person.

With knowing only this criteria, which is most likely to sue for discrimination? If they both sue, which is most likely to be taken seriously and actually be accepted in a court as a reasonable dispute? Why?

Because we all too often use reverse-discrimination to correct past discrimination and it has become an acceptable practice. Because as a society, we find it acceptable to push equality of outcome rather than equality in opportunity. Because as a society, we have demanded less of some and more of others based on the color of their skin.

The two scenarios above happen all the time. And more often than you may think, the white person is rejected because the pressures from society will not allow a business manager to make judgements on other criteria. Let's add more information to the two scenarios above:

a) The business may not easily have the ability to accomodate physical characteristics such as an obese person in a close environment regardless of color. Example; a 300 pound waitress in a small restaurant.

b) appearance - not color or race, but general outward pride in appearance, such as hair combed, teeth brushed, clothes pressed - these are all indicators of how a person will treat their workplace and their work tools.

c) attitude - how they will interact with other employees. We sometimes can quickly spot whiners, troublemakers, and gossips regardless of color.

Why would I hire a person with bad teeth and bad breath for my dental practice no matter how knowledgeable they are? Why would I hire someone with a thick or difficult to understand accent for telephone support? (We all know how frustrating that can be) We often use this and many other criteria in determining who we hire and it's never an issue when both applicants are of the same color. But when they are not, society expects us to ignore much other criteria and make special considerations. Of course we want people to hire based on qualifications of all kinds - not on color. But is this the way to do it?

These situations and thoughts here are not extreme in nature. They happen all the time. Why, in this day and age, do we allow this double standard? Many times, it turns out to be a waste of time and resources. After being pressured, with such constraints, to hire that person then we must document every infraction over a period of time before we can be rid of them when it turns out they do more damage than benifit to the company.

I worked for a large corporation which was subjected to mandates on hiring minorities several years ago. In some cases, things worked out okay. In some cases it did not, but we grinned and worked around it. In other cases, it ended up being difficult to remove them from the workplace because they did not meet criteria that was discouraged from being used to hire them in the first place.

This is not to say that all things would have worked out all the time if certain criteria had been allowed to be used for hiring, but it sure can cut down on the success rate if not. I understand too that some businesses are guilty of over compensating in kowtowing to these pressures. But with fines, lawsuits, and various other punishments hovering on the horizon when a business decision is misconstrued or twisted into a race issue I can see why they end up operating detrimentally.

Even though this has become a huge political issue, it's a common sense issue. What a shame that we demand so little of some people who can conceivably have so much more potential.



4 Comments:

At 9/04/2005 12:09:00 PM, Blogger Sonya said...

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At 9/04/2005 12:11:00 PM, Blogger notused1000 said...

you blog could be a good one

NA

 
At 9/04/2005 12:15:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 9/12/2005 12:54:00 PM, Blogger Tawny Buttz said...

Very well said. I couldn't agree more.

 

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