Thursday, October 19, 2006

Diversity in civil service jobs at SIU?

Speaking of diversity...Why are there so many white people in civil service jobs at SIU?
Someone was kind enough to comment with this idea for a blog entry. I'm just going to make a guess here, the reason there are so many white people in civil service at SIU is because so many of the qualified black people work in the better jobs at the federal government? Read in the paper the other day that heading toward 50% of the new hires in the federal government are black? Here is a provocative website on the subject (I know it is over the top, but I'm blogging). It seems that with preferential hiring that capitalism is speaking to us on this issue.

If I was black and had a choice between SIU and the Feds, I would be out of Carbondale and it's "interesting racial situation" like a shot. Wouldn't you?

Your comments are welcome.


Jonathan Bean said...

Fancy that you should come across Tim Fay's web site (and it wasn't I who recommended it!). I mention him in a short article I wrote on how "diversity" programs screw honest minorities and females as well as honest, competitive nonminorities (white is a misnomer because there are certain parts of the world that aren't favored -- Pakistanis named Osama are favored, Afghans aren't. If you want to find out how the government came up with these absurd "you're in, you're out" classifications read my book Big Government and Affirmative Action (shameless plug).

My short article mentioning the creator of that web site:

Affirmative action scholars, regardless of persuasion, have known for a long time that the new black middle class became heavily dependent on public sector jobs (and government contracting). So, they shifted to the public sector where they have a very strong preference in their favor. That's one reason why blacks are so much more supportive of large government -- it's in their self-interest.

So, if SIUC wanted to get really good talent, forget diversity (as we know it) and hire individuals on the merits. What a reactionary concept, eh? Read Becker's classic work _Economics of Discrimination_, which helped win him a NObel Prize in economics. He argued that discrimination against nonpreferred groups (then blacks) was economically irrationally and the racist employer pays a price for his/her "taste for discrimination." That's still true, they've just switched groups around. Now, I know all the arguments for racial discrimination of this sort, but they don't hold water (again, read my past writing, which several faculty members cited as a reason not to have me on the Chancellor's Affirmative Action committee -- I KNOW something about the topic but I'm not "with the program." Apparently, however, I'm "with the law," and I was only backing what the general counsel said (he's now gone).

But then I learned that they don't want anyone "shooting straight" about such things. They expect "yes men" and I told the Faculty Senate (whom I represented) so before leaving that lovely committee assignment.

Problem with hiring on the merits: you don't get to feel good about choosing one person over another because of their skin color (or sexual "orientation"). If you're an old white liberal and feel guilty about your past "white privilege" you don't get a chance to take it out on younger white males. (If you think you benefitted from white privilege, give your job to a minority, but that would cost you something. Principles always do).

And you don't get any awards from Diversity Chancellor Seymour Bryson (people in the real world can't believe we actually have deans and deanettes of diversity, much less a diversity chancellor).

P.S.: The DE ran a front-page article on the extended heated debate over my nomination to that committee. Academic freedom on the one hand (he knows the topic, he's an expert let him serve) versus "this will send a wrong message" and how can he serve affirmative action if he doesn't believe in it. Lots of things were said at that meeting (I wasn't there but read the minutes) that were completely untrue; and they could simply have asked me, rather than talk to several coworkers about what I MUST think, blah, blah. Cowards. Let me set the record straight for those who see things through crooked glasses: I support affirmative action in its original sense -- casting a broad net to attract as many applicants as possible, then hiring the best-qualified candidate on the merits (no, Virginia, skin color or chromosomes don't equal merit). What passes for affirmative action today NARROWS the field of applicants, thus making it likely you will not attract the best person for the job. (Who cares? They say. S/he is "qualified," thus begging the question whether OK is better than "the best").

Off my soapbox. I'm sure I'll read back some of my comments in a Trotskyite journal in the future.

Anonymous said...

Amen Johnathan!