Thursday, January 26, 2017

Diversity Thursday

It is always reassuring when concepts we've discussed here on Thursdays over the last few years start to be brought up on a regular bases in polite company. Bit by bit, we may claw our way towards a culture that judges the content of a person's character - not useless superficialities like race or self-described ethnicity.

One of our core arguments has been the cancerous nature of the racial and ethnic spoils system that the rent seeking Diversity Industry injected in to our Navy - bringing the worst of early 1970s racial theory in to the middle of the 21st Century. 

As opposed to helping anyone, all it does is justify their paychecks, their hate-based grievance, and, well, their paychecks.

Not a harmless bit of rent seeking, in addition to actively punishing non-protected classes, the racial classifications and quotas they force on the system just perpetuate the problem that everyone really wants solved.

In a recent podcast, author Michael Lewis hit right on this specific problem;

LEWIS: One of the big things the human mind is doing all the time is making similarity judgments: Is this a friend or a foe? Is this a potential mate or not? Is this edible food or not? It’s always classifying. We take it for granted, but we’re doing it all the time. And Amos was interested even before he meets Danny, in how people make these judgments. What makes two things similar to each other. And he did really interesting work on the subject. And out of this work grows this other heuristic that they discover. They call it the “representative heuristic.” And if you want to put it in plain English, roughly what they’re saying is that people think in stereotypes. And the stereotypes are incredibly powerful. And when we’re looking for someone to fill any kind of job the fact that someone looks kind of like the way that we imagined the person who holds that job typically to look has huge effects on our judgment about whether that person will be good at that job, much to our detriment. And in fact I think they would probably agree that if a person looks too much like they belong at a job, it’s probably exactly when you want to question whether they belong at the job. Because maybe they got to the job because of the power of the stereotype.

DUBNER: But you know it seems to me at least that there is a little bit of Catch-22 in that in the modern era we talk a lot about equity and fairness and reparations of different sorts and therefore dwell even more on the defining characteristics that are different. And my concern is that by focusing on the differences, you essentially just continue to rebuild and re-create and magnify the stereotypes. Am I wrong?

LEWIS: I think you’re right. If you want to reduce the power of a stereotype, you eliminate the classifications. The more you reinforce the classifications, the more powerful the stereotype will be. That’s their work, I mean that’s not me speaking. That’s their work. And so it is, you’re absolutely right, the more we focus on race as a differentiator between people, the more stereotypes are going to be driving people’s judgments.

You can listen to the whole podcast below.

The podcast series focuses on many of the ideas in Michael Lewis's latest book, The Undoing Project.

Hat tip John.

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