Thursday, May 02, 2013

Diversity Thursday

Buck up Shipmates! Another feel-good DivThu for 'ya.

Remember about a year ago I almost let the bastards get me down and I almost quit DivThu? Well ... I'm glad I didn't.

I still don't like the subject - but no one else could cover it, so I did. The toxic nature of it all is well documented - and in my email I hear 10x more stories than make it here, mostly because readers ask that I not do it, as they fear they will be found to be the source of the information and treated as such. The nasty threats I get do drain on the soul a bit ... but ... here is why DivThu needs to be here.

Our Navy has a great tradition of being at the front on race relations. Sometimes we were slow and leaders needed a boot to the back of the neck ... but we got there. Each step along the way was based on one thing - or it aspired to be based on it - a color blind Navy. A Navy where you were evaluated and treated based on your performance, not something as useless as where your DNA came from. Where everyone was Navy Blue, and just carried out the plan of the day.

Well, along the way, we became stuck in some early 1970s racial-theory time warp of divisive, retrograde Cultural Marxism. We soon found ourselves trapped in to supporting an entire world of the Grievance Industry, expending millions upon millions of dollars a year on speakers, BSC, programs, contractors, and more - all for one thing - to keep our Sailors thinking about what made them different, not what brought them together. Even worse, we picked "approved" and "unapproved" racial and ethnic groups - giving special attention and consideration for one over the other. 

The intentions don't matter - the end result was institutional discrimination that exists to this day. Check it out if you wish.

In this upside down world, with each new cohort of young Sailors, the archaic nature of our entire (D)iversity Bully driven program becomes more and more out of phase with reality.

To push back against the monied interests in the (D)iversity Industry though is a rough business. You will be called names, your career will be threatened and even your livelihood will be attacked. The pattern is well known ... but things are changing.

More and more, you can feel a shift in the wind - a shift that is heading the direction that DivThu has been asking for from the start - a culture of inclusion where we truly throw away all reference to the useless classification of race and the created ethnicity of choice.

Sadly, the Navy could have been at the front of this new effort of inclusion, but instead we seem to be doubling down on the side of division and racialism. The change is coming from the outside. No less of an institution such as The Economist is now sounding almost Salamanderesque in saying, Time to Scrap Affirmative Action.
America is one of many countries where the state gives a leg-up to members of certain racial, ethnic, or other groups by holding them to different standards.
Fact; it is silly to argue otherwise. Ditto Navy - if you still have a doubt, then click the Diversity tab and take awhile to read the archive.
Awarding university places to black students with lower test scores than whites sounds reasonable, given the legacy of segregation. But a study found that at some American universities, black applicants who scored 450 points (out of 1,600) worse than Asians on entrance tests were equally likely to win a place. That is neither fair on Asians, nor an incentive to blacks to study in high school. In their book “Mismatch”, Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor produce evidence that suggests affirmative action reduces the number of blacks who qualify as lawyers by placing black students in law schools for which they are ill-prepared, causing many to drop out. Had they attended less demanding schools, they might have graduated.
That is the real crime. They use minority applicants to fill their PPT slides, make themselves feel good - and then set those young men and women up for failure. The case study is legion.
Although the groups covered by affirmative action tend to be poorer than their neighbours, the individuals who benefit are often not. One American federal-contracting programme favours businesses owned by “socially and economically disadvantaged” people. Such people can be 87 times richer than the average American family and still be deemed “disadvantaged” if their skin is the right colour.
Think about some, ahem, recent examples we all know of.
The University of Texas (UT) justifies discriminating in favour of black people not on the ground that society owes it to them, but because, it claims, a diverse university offers a better education to all its students. That is a reasonable argument—some companies benefit from understanding a variety of customers, for instance, and the police probably keep order better if enough of them share a culture with the neighbourhood they patrol—but it does not wash for most institutions. In UT’s case, although colleges benefit from a diversity of ideas, to use skin colour as a proxy for this implies that all black people and all Chinese people view the world in a similar way. That suggests a bleak view of the human imagination.

Universities that want to improve their selection procedures by identifying talented people (of any colour or creed) from disadvantaged backgrounds should be encouraged. But selection on the basis of race is neither a fair nor an efficient way of doing so. Affirmative action replaced old injustices with new ones: it divides society rather than unites it. Governments should tackle disadvantage directly, without reference to race. If a school is bad, fix it. If there are barriers to opportunity, remove them. And if Barack Obama’s daughters apply to a university, judge them on their academic prowess, not the colour of their skin.
That last paragraph is perfect, and the fact that it paraphrases things we have been discussing for years every DivThu just tells me to keep going. Keep the light shining - keep the roaches scampering.

They can't stand the light and fresh air. In time, we'll get there ... in time; I can feel the wind at our back.

The question is, of course; will the Navy bravely lead from the front, or will it be dragged in shame in to the future kicking and screaming ... again?


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