April 8, 2009

Stunning news: Obama Administration opposes equal treatment under the law

David G. Savage reports in the LA Times:
Frank Ricci -- a firefighter in New Haven, Conn. -- spent months listening to study tapes as he drove to work and in the evenings, preparing for a promotional test. It was a once-a-decade chance to move up to a command rank in the fire department.

Ricci earned a top score but no promotion.

The city had coded the test takers by race, and of the top 15 scorers, 14 were white and one was Latino. Since there were only 15 vacancies, it looked as though no blacks would be promoted.

After a racially charged debate that stretched over four hearings, the city's civil service board rejected the test scores five years ago and promoted no one.

"To have the city throw it out because you're white or because you're not African American is insulting," Ricci said when he and 19 other firefighters sued the city for racial discrimination.

Something you'll notice over the years is that controversies over the use of quotas in fire department promotions are much more heated than controversies over the quotas that all big city fire departments use in their initial hiring. That's because the applicants/victims of the initial hiring quotas aren't told they are victims, they're just sent a rejection letter. For example, a friend of mine applied to be a Chicago fireman once -- I saw him on the TV news standing in line with hundreds of other guys to take his test. He got rejected, even though he was an Ivy League graduate. I'm not sure that he would have been a great fireman, but it was kind of a joke that he supposedly didn't score over the cutoff.

But what can mere applicants do? Nobody will tell them anything about how they did because they are just random individuals. They're not in the union, they don't know any higher-ups or any clerks, they're nobodies. Whereas firemen who have been waiting for years to be promoted have lots of ways of finding out what their scores were, so they raise a stink.
Their case, scheduled to be argued this month, is the first to come before the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. that broadly raises the issue of race in the workplace. The outcome could reshape hiring and promotion policies for millions of the nation's public employees -- and possibly for private employers as well.

Roberts, leading a five-justice majority, has made clear that he believes it is time to forbid the use of race as a factor in the government's decisions.

The Obama administration, taking its first stand on race and civil rights, sided with the city officials and said they were justified in dropping the test if it had "gross exclusionary effects on minorities."

I'm shocked, shocked to learn that the Obama Administration isn't on the side of equal treatment under the law, but is instead demanding favors for blacks.
While blacks make up about 31% of New Haven's 221 firefighters, 15% are officers -- eight of the department's 42 lieutenants and one of its 18 captains. ...

What a completely remarkable pattern! I'm sure no other organization in America has fewer blacks the higher the cognitive demands of the position.
These cases highlight a conflict in federal civil rights law.

The Constitution and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 say employers may not discriminate against people because of their race. However, employers also have been told they may not use hiring or promotional standards -- including tests -- that have a "disparate impact" on minorities.

The court adopted this rule in a 1971 case. Congress added it to federal law in 1991. The new provision said employers may not use a job standard that has a "disparate impact on the basis of race" unless it is "required by business necessity." For example, it is not certain that the knowledge tested by the firefighter's exam was required to be a lieutenant in the fire department.

In New Haven, the city's lawyers cited this "disparate impact" rule as their reason for scrapping the test scores in 2004. ...

Payton emphasized that New Haven had not rejected the white firefighters because of their race, but rather rejected the use of the written exam as the sole determinant of who would be promoted.

"New Haven ought to be able to go back to the drawing board," he said, to devise a fairer promotion system.

Yeah, because clearly the problem is totally isolated to New Haven. As we all know, in lots of other cities, officials have figured out ways to promote blacks in fire departments at non-disparate rates without raising the chances of citizens dying horrible flaming deaths. Like in ... oh, well, I'm sure I'll think of them real soon now. There's got to be a few places, right? I mean, at least one?

To be serious, there aren't any. But you aren't supposed to notice that. To notice the Fundamental Constant of Sociology gets you Watsoned out of polite society. So, we're supposed to act like it's a complete surprise every time we run into exactly the same situation.
Yale law professor Drew Days, a former chief of the Justice Department's civil rights division, said he was surprised the justices agreed to hear the case of Ricci vs. DeStefano. Now that they have, he added, a ruling for Ricci "could have very far-reaching consequences because it may well apply to all employers."

Wouldn't that be an implausibly constructive response to the economic crash? To say, okay, well, we've had 40 years of affirmative action, but we can't afford it anymore, so it's time to get serious and just promote on merit? The odds of that happening: one zillion to one.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

42 comments:

AmericanGoy said...

Was listening to NPR here in Chi-town. There was a story because a contractor for the city got in trouble for not giving business to minority companies as mandated by LAW here...

ironrailsironweights said...

On a different note, here's a classic line:
"Because I'm Albanian, I can do whatever the f*** I want!"

Peter

bbartlog said...

Odds might be slim, but one zillion to one is excessively pessimistic. The Supreme Court is the least beholden and thus least predictable branch of the federal government...

Anonymous said...

OT: The NYT says that Obama will push for an immigration bill this fall.

He said then that comprehensive immigration legislation, including a plan to make legal status possible for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants, would be a priority in his first year in office.

Anonymous said...

“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

Mr. Anon said...

New Haven is where Yale University is located, is it not? I for one think that New Haven should have an exclusively all-black fire-department.

Anonymous said...

Not sure a SCOTUS ruling would really mean much. Corporations and schools and governments would just ignore it. The real benefit is that it would further take the mask of legality off the face of the Leftist tyranny under which we already live.

Anonymous said...

I'm watching a documentary called "Hard Times at Douglas High: A NCLB Report Card" about an inner city (yeah, black) Baltimore school.

One student at this high school scored over 1000. One student scored 440. A quote from an administrator to a teacher "Only one student is passing your class. Whose fault is that? Certainly not the Children's."

Carl said...

But what can mere applicants do? Nobody will tell them anything about how they did because they are just random individuals.

Welcome to the life of a white Christian conservative male graduate of a Christian university during a pseudo-depression...

Anonymous said...

Drudgereport is headlining with "Obama to push Immigration Bill" from the New York Times as a source at 11:56 PM.


Looks like we will have another fight on our hands. Obama is trying to stack the deck for the mid-term elections methinks. Lets see if the Republicans oppose him, or actually help him help the Democrats in 10'.

m

old settler said...

Has anyone else noticed that NAMs wouldn't be able to challenge long standing merit based hiring/promotion practices if it weren't for a class of whites who act as enforcers? I don't mean class in the sense of elite, btw. I get the sense than many of these whites don't score well on such tests either making it to their benefit to sabotage the existing system.

Lugash said...

I am Lugash.

Here's a contrarian thought: What if most whites don't mind AA?

Women seem more or less at ease with it. They are swayed by the "righting past wrongs" where men think it is bunk.

The upper-middle and upper classes are largely unaffected by it, as Steve has pointed out.

Middle to lower class white men are the angriest about it, and the most affected. They make up a fraction, say 25%, of the white populace.

AA has also resulted in Soviet Union style work environment. No one is really held to any standards, because no matter how many PC pills you take you can't get around the fact that some groups aren't cutting it. So everyone punches the clock, puts in the minimum effort necessary, and goes home. I think most people prefer this to busting their tails, even lower-middle class white men.

I am Lugash.

Dennis Dale said...

Hey, it took Nixon to go to China. It would have been a bad idea for Bill Clinton to push for legalizition of marijuana (or rescinding the military's ban on gays, for that matter), and since we're through the looking glass anyway with the Complete and Total Collapse of Capitalism, I'm expecting a Nixon to China moment for Obama and Holder.
Over eight years of bravely and aggressively pursuing discrimanation cases against quota and set-aside programs, they will dismantle the affirmative action regime. Without really trying, just doing their jobs, they will humbly write in their modest autobiographies years later. Yeah. It's going to be sweet.

Anonymous said...

As we all know, in lots of other cities, officials have figured out ways to promote blacks in fire departments at non-disparate rates without raising the chances of citizens dying horrible flaming deaths.

No stats on the matter but my general perception is that NAMs suffer a hugely disproportionate number of fire deaths. They're more likely to use space heaters, fall asleep smoking, live in homes with bad wiring, and do other random shit that tends to lead to fire deaths. Let the NAMs take over the fire departments and it's mostly themselves and a few insurance companies who will really suffer.

Bill said...

Yeah, because clearly the problem is totally isolated to New Haven. As we all know, in lots of other cities, officials have figured out ways to promote blacks in fire departments at non-disparate rates without raising the chances of citizens dying horrible flaming deaths. Like in ... oh, well, I'm sure I'll think of them real soon now. There's got to be a few places, right? I mean, at least one?

To be serious, there aren't any. But you aren't supposed to notice that. To notice the Fundamental Constant of Sociology gets you Watsoned out of polite society. So, we're supposed to act like it's a complete surprise every time we run into exactly the same situation.


Claude Harris had the dubious distinction of having six firefighters die under his "leadership" of the Seattle FD:

Blacks Suggest Racism Causes Fire Chief's Woes"

The deaths were a direct result of Harris's decision to fire the safety officer and to ignore building plans when sending firefighters into the Pang arson fire. Harris was a big, stupid thug of a man -- in short, your typical affirmative action beneficiary of the 80s and 90s.

For the record, I knew Harris personally as a kid. He threatened to have me arrested for throwing rocks in the lake when I was about ten years old. He was a big, mean old SOB, and an anti-white racist to the core.

Anonymous said...

One of the most interesting phenomena in the US in recent years has been the rise of Paul Graham's YCombinator. I'd love to hear Steve's take on it. See:

http://ycombinator.com/about.html

The basic idea is small groups of extremely intelligent guys (and they are 99% male) making web startups. They are small enough such that they are not beholden to EEOC laws.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/34734

Ycombinator is basically what college in the US *should* be. What's interesting is that the group of YC alumni is now pretty big (1000+). The organization is not explicitly political...but nothing converts you into a right-wing extremist faster than trying to start your own business.

Anyway, an interesting phenomenon.

testing99 said...

Dennis Dale I want whatever drugs you are taking.

Obama his entire life has benefited (as has his wife and Holder) from Affirmative Action and the whole idea of his electoral coalition is to EXPAND AA so that it wipes out the "White Boy" class (as in the Democratic Paper entitled "So Long White Boy").

Obama WON on that strategy. Women support AA because they both benefit and don't find penalty. Most women are single, and don't have kids. So their primary motive is to remove competitors from the workplace: White Men. Whom the younger ones despise anyway.

This is reality. AA is going to be pushed hard because Obama's electoral coalition depends on it. Elite White Yuppie SWPL depend on it to block upward mobility that is threatening. Blacks, Hispanics and Women depend on it for promotion and hiring.

About 82% of the firing has been male. Or put it another way, only 18% of those fired in layoffs were women.

What does that tell you?

White men are disposable because they are the ENEMIES of the Obama Electoral Coalition.

headache said...

AA can be defeated in the US. Even in South Africa, where the AA regime has been much more harmful to whites than in the US, cracks are appearing. The country is not functioning anymore, so the black government is forced to take in a quorum of whites to get things moving again. Some departments are even hiring against official policy.

You only need a handful of whites at each button to keep the system ticking. For PC purposes these are then hidden in the backroom so blacks and liberals can feel good about themselves.

I'm sure that if whites in the US force the issue they can overcome it. As Steve points out, the greatest opposition to the end of AA comes from liberal and wealthy whites, not blacks. Its the same in South Africa.

Anonymous said...

Lugash, the reason why most women(White women) are "at ease with it", is because women, specifically white women, are one of the main beneficiaries of affirmative action programs.
Affirmative action programs don't just break people down by race, they break them down by gender as well. That's why many occupations that require a certain level of physical ability(See: Size & Strength), such as police officers, fire fighters, ect, set the physical standards that women need to meet to be eligible considerably lower, so as to make the occupation more appealing and more attainable to women.

outlaw josey wales said...

Although I disagree with what the NHFD did, isn't this merely a case of the government having to act as the defense in this case? Someone has to represent the government in the law suit, right?

Sideways said...

Although I disagree with what the NHFD did, isn't this merely a case of the government having to act as the defense in this case? Someone has to represent the government in the law suit, right?

Well, the government doesn't have to fight it. They can always capitulate. For example, after the NRA sued all the handgun banning areas in the country last year, most of them changed their laws instead of fighting the case in court.

Ronduck said...

Wow, testing99 you have some good material. I googled the article you mentioned entitled So long, White boy

Here are a few excerpts:

(snip)
But the underlying reason may be demographics. In 1952, according to calculations performed by Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz for Salon, white males were nearly half the American electorate. Thanks to the recent growth in the Latino population, however, the white male share is now dropping about a percentage point a year, accelerating a decline that began with the increased enfranchisement of African-Americans in the civil rights era. In next year's election, white males may account for fewer than one out of three voters.

(snip)

Tens of millions of white men still vote Democratic, of course, and not just Prius drivers, eggheads, grunge-band leaders or Warren Beatty's Hollywood buddies. Most notably, working-class white men who are current or retired union members cast their votes for Democrats, in the stubborn belief that only Democrats will protect and promote their economic interests. "The 2004 CNN exit poll data shows that [John] Kerry lost white males by 31 points if they weren't in a union, but won them by seven points if they were -- a 38-point difference," says Mike Podhorzer, deputy political director of the AFL-CIO. "It's no accident -- union members understand that their votes make a difference, for their wages, their healthcare and their pensions. If, as they say, 'there's something the matter with Kansas,' there's nothing the matter with union members."

Union members have had their votes purchased with money stolen from their employers.

Maybe FDR will have the last laugh.

Anonymous said...

Males may vote for Democrats, but NOT men.

And I'm old enough to remember when some Democrats could actually be called statesmen with a straight face.

Anonymous said...

Many people who post on this blog seem to think that most white women like Affirmative Action because they benefit from it. This just isn't true, at least in the office settings in which I have been employed. (I will admit that female firefighters, police, etc., would generally NOT be hired if the hiring department simply set out to hire the "best" person for the actual job requirements.)

I worked for the government for a few years -- white people had to quietly and cheerfully do the brainwork for everybody, without expecting raises or promotions based on superior performance. White people also care more about meeting deadlines than NAMs. In fact, NAMs often get help from the white people in the office with resume-writing, etc., so that they can get even better AA jobs and promotions. Lots of offices are 80%+ female, so being female doesn't get you anywhere, whereas being a NAM is incredibly helpful.

In addition, nearly every office has an office sociopath or two. These people know NOT to pick on a minority, and are usually too cowardly to pick on a male. They always choose one or more of the white women as their preferred victim. For a white female, the browner the office, the more likely it is that your average workday will be hellish. Don't assume that white women don't understand and resent Affirmative Action.

Svigor said...

New Haven is where Yale University is located, is it not? I for one think that New Haven should have an exclusively all-black fire-department.

Ahahahaha! A man after my own heart.

Svigor said...

Let the NAMs take over the fire departments and it's mostly themselves and a few insurance companies who will really suffer.

Yeah, because insurance isn't a way of socializing costs or anything.

anony-mouse said...

Why would anyone want to be a firefighter in Chicago?

Find a smaller municipality without a voluntary force that few people have heard of with few fires and/or modern buildings and go there.

Anonymous said...

You only need a handful of whites at each button to keep the system ticking. For PC purposes these are then hidden in the backroom so blacks and liberals can feel good about themselves. - Headache

Worst case scenario; a minimum number of whites are maintained as a specialist technocratic slave class (isnt this a bit like what happened in the Ottoman empire?)- as long as they understand they can have no political power and cannot be tolerated as rulers.

How far fetched is this? Well, wherever whites are a minority its made quite clear at a fundamental moral level that they can have no power - after all its not fair for a minority to dominate the majority. Who could argue with that?

The only exception is where whites are a majority, then they must concede some political power - after all its not fair for a majority to dominate minorities. Presumably they must keep conceding power until they are a minority, at which point its only proper they have none at all.

Anonymous said...

From the piece referenced by T99 and Ronduck:

The Democratic obsession with the down-home, blue-collar, white male voter, that heartbreaker who crossed the aisle to the Republicans many decades ago, may finally be coming to a merciful end.

Merciful eh? So which WASPy elitist wrote the article - why that would be Thomas F. Schaller!

Bill said...

Anonymous

[...]Lots of offices are 80%+ female, so being female doesn't get you anywhere[...]


Uh...

No comment, I guess.

David said...

The browner the office, the more likely it is that your average workday will be hellish.

Ain't that the truth.

My solution was to move to a much whiter area and start an under-the-table business.

Was hired to be noontime new director of a major market station. The next day, the offer was rescinded because of threats to sue by an AA hire of "too many whites behind the camera." That was almost 20 years ago.

Frankly, a complete bloody revolution breaking out wouldn't cause me to shed a tear.

The United States is going to get what it deserves: collapse. But a few billionaires will escape it, and skip off to Brazil, Israel, Hong Kong, or anywhere with a walled city and a purchasible local constabulary.

Anonymous said...

Bill, my point was that if "everybody" at the workplace is "entitled to AA" then AA is meaningless. Many office environments offer crummy wages and crummy working conditions. Men won't touch these jobs with a stick, so the offices fill up with women. And in an all-woman working environment, all of one's competitor's for raises and promotions will be other women. They may be women of various ethnicities, and you may be kicked to the curb on the basis of being too white, but being female in a world of females will NOT help you.

David said...

Correction in earlier post: "new" s/b "news". Theenk you.

Anonymous said...

[...]Lots of offices are 80%+ female, so being female doesn't get you anywhere[...]

Female logic?

Trust me, that's already a hellish workplace for some, brown or no.

Anonymous said...

Lots of "careers" for women have always just been jobs that men weren't interested in. For women who are stuck in one of these pink collar ghettoes, or who genuinely enjoy being a telephone operator, kindergarten teacher, nurse, etc., being female is NOT going to get them a promotion or a raise. As I said, I don't doubt that being female boosts a woman's career in the police, the fire department, and lots of other traditionally male fields.

I don't think that there is a problem with MY logic. It would be similar if a half dozen Hispanics were trying to be promoted to supervisor at a roofing company. If all the people competing for the position are Hispanic, then being Hispanic doesn't get them anywhere, although in a more diverse environment, being Hispanic would be a huge advantage. Being the only Hispanic FEMALE roofer applying for the job would give you a big edge over the male Hispanics, since Hispanic female roofers are very rare (I've never seen one.)

Truth said...

"(I will admit that female firefighters, police, etc., would generally NOT be hired if the hiring department simply set out to hire the "best" person for the actual job requirements.)"

Well, isn't that magnanimous of you.


"Lots of offices are 80%+ female, so being female doesn't get you anywhere, whereas being a NAM is incredibly helpful."

And how did they get to be 80% women there, Susan B. Anthony?

"Why would anyone want to be a firefighter in Chicago?

Find a smaller municipality without a voluntary force that few people have heard of with few fires and/or modern buildings and go there."

I head Vladivostok is nice. Truthfully, whoever you are, it you have ever wondered why you have plateaued in life where you have this statement is a good place to start. People who are good at what they do, for instance, firefighters, don't want to go "where there are few fires." Believe it or not, some of us, in life, want to earn our money.

Svigor said...

Hispanic female roofers are very rare (I've never seen one.)

Funny, I saw one week before last. Granted, it was a first. Cute, too. I don't think she got AA though, looked like a family operation.

Thomas said...

Anonymous, the problem isn't so much with your logic. It's with your writing.

Lots of offices are 80%+ female, so being female doesn't get you anywhere.

What you mean is: "Lots of offices are more than 80% female. In such an instance, being female does not provide any notable advantage in further promotions."

Or something along those lines.

Anonymous said...

In a working environment where all are eligible for AA, then AA will still apply - mediated by the rules of diversity poker.

Black woman trumps white woman, lesbian black woman trumps straight black woman, black muslim trumps...well just about everybody and so on etc etc

We all know the general rules, google if unsure of details.

Anonymous said...

Thomas, you are full of beans. Your version of what I wrote is no clearer than the original. To use "80%+" in a comment on a blog is NOT poor usage. Abbreviations and misspellings are rather common on the internet. As long as someone doesn't rant and rave in ALL CAPS, there is no need to pick apart their comment word by word.

Truth, more women end up in clerical careers than men. To some extent this may be because men are seen by managers as more difficult to manage in an office setting, or more likely to quit as soon as they can find something better, but to a large extent, a young man starting out can often get a job that is more interesting and pays more doing something like driving a forklift or unloading trucks. Divorced women with children often end up in crummy clerical jobs being underpaid because the boss knows that they can't afford to quit and start over somewhere else with no medical coverage for four to six months.

One woman I worked with when I was still in high school told me that in her experience, men were better able to "move up" with each job change, while women were more likely to have to start at the bottom each time they changed employers. In today's economy, I would say that nearly everybody who loses a job is at great risk of having to take a pay cut.

A couple of years ago, one of my nephews worked at a stock brokerage. When he answered the phone, the clients were generally willing to let him handle whatever problem they had. But if one of the FEMALES in the office answered the phone, the clients would immediately demand to speak to one of the stockbrokers. So, there are probably some businesses that find it advantageous to hire males rather than females, to the extent that they can get away with it.

I think that white males get a super-sized raw deal in the American employment arena, but it is laughable to think that men are lying awake at night dreaming of being a customer service representative or a file clerk at $9 or $10/hour. The pink collar ghetto is pink because the employers can find enough women willing to work for peanuts if the job comes with medical benefits. Some of these women are married to men who are self-employed and make good money, and as a team they do pretty well for their families. But to actually have to live on a clerical worker's salary is pretty hard.

Bill said...

Anonymous

but to a large extent, a young man starting out can often get a job that is more interesting and pays more doing something like driving a forklift or unloading trucks.


Are you on crack?

I worked for an Italian bakery unloading boxes of Bertolli olive oil from trucks, selling donuts to fat women and shoving frozen loaves into furnaces with my bare hands at the age of 16, and I can't even begin to explain how happy I was to get promoted to driving the trucks (when I was 17). And this despite the fact that the truck they gave me had mirrors that flapped in the wind and brakes that sent me skidding through intersections!

I'm starting to think that all these female service jobs should simply be eliminated immediately. Women don't want them, they aren't productive, and maybe without the overhead young guys might actually get a decent wage for working like slaves in dead-end jobs. Also, maybe the women would think twice about divorcing their husbands for "general discontent" if they didn't have these ass-warming positions handed out to them like candy.

David said...

Anonymous said

[I]t is laughable to think that men are lying awake at night dreaming of being a customer service representative or a file clerk at $9 or $10/hour.[...] A young man starting out can often get a job that is more interesting and pays more[,] doing something like driving a forklift or unloading trucks.Not every man can drive a forklift or unload trucks, or clean sewers. Some of us want office work and are damn good at it.

But keep believing it's a "Mad Men" world, just like your mentors from your high school days told you.

Remember, 80% isn't enough!