Thursday, February 03, 2011

Diversity Thursday

First things first: BZ to Earl Kelly and the staff at The Capital. They took the raw material from bloggers, whistle-blowers, and tips and combined it with good old-fashioned journalism to get the facts in-depth. They did the FOIA, they did the hard work - and they got the full story. Very well done.
Last February, the newspaper requested Naval Academy admissions and graduation data under the federal Freedom of Information Act. The academy provided a substantial amount of information and granted background briefings. The most recent briefing and documents came two weeks ago. (The Naval Academy denied a reporter's requests to monitor the admissions board in action, even though all identifying information about students would be redacted from any resulting story.)

The newspaper located some former admissions board members, who agreed to discuss the situation providing their names were kept confidential for fear of ostracism within the military community.
... qualified minority students receive priority over qualified whites - 91 percent of qualified African Americans and 82 percent of qualified Hispanics were offered seats in the Classes of 2012-2014, compared to 55 percent of qualified whites. (During this three-year period, 31,155 whites applied, as opposed to 4,516 African Americans and 4,157 Hispanics.
Now, look at the numbers - red in tooth in claw. You want to "Operationalize Diversity" - well the numbers tell you all you need to know.

As a result, everyone now has to face the facts. You cannot ignore "a bunch of bitter anon bloggers" or "lunatic tenured professors" or "envy filled wannabees" or "crypto-racists" or any of the other silly names they like to throw about instead of addressing the core issue. You cannot get around the numbers - the United States Naval Academy discriminates on the basis of race, creed, color, and national origin in admissions. Again, as it is a zero-sum game; to give to one, you have to take from another. When you take away from the better qualified to give to the lesser qualified on the basis of race, I don't know what else to call it, do you?

A great loss is what has happened to NAPS. What should be a place we put our best junior NCOs who show all the characteristics of a great officer but need the academic foundation they missed while younger, has now become a trick to boost someone's Diversity statistics and win-loss record.
Every year, close to 300 students - between one-fifth and one-fourth of each Naval Academy class - enter the academy this way. These students come to the academy through the taxpayer-funded Naval Academy Preparatory School, or NAPS, located in Rhode Island.

The Navy runs NAPS even though, each year, the Naval Academy has substantially more qualified applicants than it can accept. The Classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014, for example, averaged about 2,435 qualified students who were vying for about 1,230 seats.

"The Navy and the Naval Academy are authorized to fund that school and compose a class within the framework of the law and the needs of the Navy," Naval Academy spokesman Cmdr. Joe Carpenter said. "Some people will disagree with that process."
Why would they do that? Well ....
Admissions officers look at the applicant's ethnic heritage, history of integrity and ability to overcome hardships, according to Naval Academy officials.

Also, the academy generally claims, students selected for NAPS exhibit superior leadership ability.

A former admissions board member and career officer questions that claim about leadership.

"The Naval Academy's argument is 'They have leadership skills,' " the officer said. "That is pure B.S. 'Leadership' is never discussed by the admissions board. We need another (football player) or African-American, plain and simple."
The 300-member NAPS Class of 2011 (Naval Academy Class of 2015) contained 190 minority students and 110 recruited athletes, with some individuals being counted in both categories, according to Naval Academy documents.

For the Naval Academy Classes of 2009-2013, 312 African Americans entered the Naval Academy, 180 (58 percent) of whom came through NAPS, according to documents obtained under FOIA.

Hispanics attended NAPS at a lower rate - 238 of the 678 total (35 percent) went through the prep school.

Of whites, 521 of the 4,101 admitted to the academy (13 percent) entered through NAPS.

A large number of the Naval Academy's recruited athletes go through NAPS.

"A lot of the time, the athletic director would talk directly with the superintendent, if there was an athlete he needed," one former admissions board member said.

Of the 155 football players listed on Navy's 2010 roster, 86 (55 percent) attended NAPS, according to the school's sports Web page.

Forty of Navy's 60 current male lacrosse players (67 percent) attended NAPS, even though many graduated from some of the country's most prestigious private schools including, locally, St. Mary's High School and Severn School, and St. Albans School in Washington, D.C.
How cheaply we sell our integrity.

One sad part is that this creates an original sin that will follow the Navy for decades. If you group people by their self-identified race/ethnicity - which the Navy insists on doing - select using different criteria than others and then track them, then face some mathematical facts.

If one group on average has been brought in with lower success indicators, then they will have lower performance metrics throughout their career - on average when taken as a group - unless of course you argue that there is no such things as objective success indicators, which if you do - then why have them at all?

Especially in very technical areas like the Navy has in abundance (nuke power, aviation, etc) where academic skills are almost as important as other intangibles for a successful JO tour, you will have one group that will fail initial training more, will qualify later, and will have trouble grasping concepts quicker than their peers in other groups selected with more rigorous selection criteria.

As a result, if evaluated against each other - the group let in with lower average success indicators will be ranked lower, advanced slower, and given less demanding (and therefor rewarded) jobs than the group let in with higher average success indicators. Individual results may vary - but on average this is the result.

As a secondary effect, throughout their career, people will be asking why aren't they being evaluated and promoted on a equal basis compared to other groups. A good question, because that is what is/will be happening - and was destined to happen from the beginning.

Some will cry racism, and they will be right. Not racism like they think though; the racism won't be now by those sitting on their boards or writing their FITREPS, but will be in their past when they were let in the door that led them down a career that they were not prepared to succeed in.

To keep the heat off themselves due to the errors of others, leaders will have to make a choice. Take the heat for the statistically significant differences try to prove a negative (i.e. prove that they are not a racist due to their JOs qualification differences and rankings by race/ethnicity). Or, to avoid those hard questions, they will have to treat racial/ethnic groups throughout their career in the same manner they were treated at the beginning - take race into account.

We are a better country than this. The Navy of the 21st Century shouldn't discriminate against or for anyone on a basis of race, creed, color, or national origin - but we do.

Would there still be minorities at Annapolis and the Navy's wardrooms if race was not considered? Of course, but they would be in lower numbers for some minorities - more in others. The reasons are described well by Ben Stein and others and are totally beyond the control of the Navy. If we treated everyone the same, then there wouldn't be a statistically significant difference in objective criteria or the performance on the other end by race/ethnicity. The Capital's numbers wouldn't mean anything.

Even better, those minorities who are at Annapolis and are equal to or better than the average won't have a cloud over their head of "did they get in because of their race, or did they earn it like I did." No one could bring that up because the facts would tell you different. Sadly for those exceptional men and women we are bringing in who are so qualified, that cloud is there. That is sad, that is abusive, that is unnecessary for a cohort born during the Clinton Administration.

We won't have the system of equality worthy of this nation - and worth of USNA - until we become adults, 21st Century adults, and decide that as a multi-ethnic, mixed race Republic based on equality - everyone must be treated equality. To get equality, you must demonstrate equality.

Navy - lead from the front. Right now, you're as retrograde as RM 222.

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