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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Monday, December 23, 2002



Alan Krueger And Racism In Hiring

This may be the one-minute post to beat all, since I have waaay to many pre-Christmas chores to attend to. Alan Krueger, writing in the NY Times, summarized a study which demonstrates discrimination in hiring.

Brad DeLong posted, and attracted much comment.

The CalPundit and Armed Liberal have joined in.

Let's use the CalPundit piece as a "summary" of objections to the study. The CalPundit characterizes these as "conservative" objections", but one presumes that liberals are also interested in seeing well-designed studies that shed light on the truth.

After that the objections start to break down. Brad DeLong wrote a post about the study that generated an enormous discussion thread, and reading it reminded me of why I haven't bothered to implement comments here at CalPundit. The gist of the thread seemed to be that maybe blacks were more likely to sue over being fired, or maybe their degrees were perceived as being worth less due to lower standards caused by affirmative action...

Sheesh. I thought conservatives were opposed to identity politics like this. Why is it so hard for them to admit that there is still genuine racism left in America?"


Now, two points:

Does preferential admissions leads to preferential grading at colleges and universities?

Two books, one by Thomas Sowell, who is well known; one by Nicholas Stix, who for all I know is a member of the Klan, reach that conclusion.

And is this conclusion so surprising? A school makes a great effort to recruit minorities. Might the faculty feel some pressure to keep those students afloat? And, for the more sinister-minded among you, suppose a white student complains to a dean that a professor is unsympathetic. Possible consequences for the Prof? Now, suppose a minority student complains. Is the Dean more likely to get involved? Is there a possibility that professors think this way as they meet with students who have questions about the professor's grading policy?

As to the second objection, that a black employee has greater legal protection from the EEOC - is that wrong? I have not researched this, but my casual impression is that the EEOC files on behalf of monorities and women, not white guys. But I do try to learn something new every day.

So, the objective of the underlying study was to send out "equal" resumes. But if, due to questions about grades and the legal environment, the resumes are not equal, what do we conclude? Resumes perceived to be unequal result in an unequal call back rate? Really.

None of which means that racism does not exist, or that affirmative action is bad, or that the EEOC must go. The conclusion would be that there are problems with this study.

Or, I suppose, sheesh - why is it so hard for liberals to admit that affirmative action has undermined (did I say "eliminated"? NO.) the credibility of minorities in the workplace?

Hey, an evil righty joins me, or I him.


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