Friday, 1 November 2013

Can Discrimination Ever Be Positive?

Ever heard of 'Positive Discrimination' or 'Affirmative Action'? Well, I've just found out that it's no myth! 

The term was coined by President JFK in America. The basic idea was that certain groups in society - in this case African Americans - had suffered such massive historical disadvantages and discrimination based on race, that they did not realistically have the same opportunity to succeed as everyone else. So therefore active steps needed to be taken to ensure that such minority groups were represented and hired in organizations, government and businesses. It's led to the adoption of hiring quotas (in some countries) in which a certain number must come from previously under-represented groups.

It covers a lot of areas from employment decisions, admission to educational institutions and even public health to name but a few. 
The claim is that 'reverse discrimination' - at least for a period of time - is the only way to restore complete equality in the long term. But is this the case?


On the surface it sounds simple, but in reality it actually means that if there is a lack of black people, for example, in a workplace, then in the event of 2 equally qualified people going for the same job, one black and one white, the employer opts to give the post to the black person from the underrepresented group in order to correct the balance.

No wonder many countries refuse it, as it seems tantamount to unequal treatment to many. They simply choose to treat all people the same.

How can people be preferred purely on ethnicity or origin? Doesn't this actually devalue the person's real accomplishments? I mean, isn't it a bit patronising? This policy could actually end up damaging the people it seeks to help because others will assume 'she only got the job because she was black or a woman etc, not because she was the strongest candidate'.

It also keeps people constantly aware of the barriers that divide us, creating more resentment between different groups, increasing rather than reducing racial tension. 

Perhaps you only agree with it when it is focused on one particular area and not another. For example - you may agree that more women should be seen in top positions, but not necessarily more disabled or ethnic minorities?

So I ask:

  • Is Positive Discrimination a good or bad thing?
  • Should employers in a multicultural society be forced to have a balance of different ethnicity or equal numbers of men and women in the workplace? 
  • Have you ever been chosen over someone else based on your race, culture, ethnicity or sex?

I'd love you to share your comments, views and opinions.

93 comments:

  1. I don't know if there is positive discrimination... I don't want to get a job because I'm a woman... I want it because I'm the best candidate... (I only know for myself and not for others....)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the thing Launna. You believe you're the best candidate but maybe you didn't get that important job because of positive discrimination at play. Or, how would you feel if you found out that you were pipped to the post - only because the other candidate fitted a positive discrimination profile?

      Delete
  2. In this day and age, I would hope the best candidate would be considered regardless of age, sex, race or planet of origin. :) RPD you know I always have hope! Great post...I've missed you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I like about you Nimsy. You always look for hope in any given situation. Always good to hear from you mate.

      Delete
  3. It doesn't work. Instead of hiring the most qualified candidate, you're hiring the person who fits the quota. Do this long enough and you end up with a mediocre staff.

    And I'm with Launna. Judge me by my abilities, not by my sex or ethnicity. That glass ceiling was broken decades ago. I was there when it happened.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But Maria, this PD thing is only supposed to kick in when 2 people are equally qualified, so the firm will still end up having a candidate who is up to the job. Unless they decide to go for a less qualified person because of their quota.

      Delete
  4. I'm conflicted when it comes to affirmative action. There are unquestionably groups that have been oppressed in the past (and many that still are today). They deserve justice and equal treatment. Affirmative action is one way of righting the wrongs. The part of me that recognizes this that likes affirmative action—positive discrimination.

    At the same time, some circumstances are zero sum games. For example, if there is a single job vacancy or a single university vacancy, when someone gets it, everyone else doesn't. Thus, if the candidate is selected not on merit, but because he or she is part of a group that has been oppressed in the past and, therefore is underrepresented in the workplace or university, it is, in effect, inflicting punishment on people (the unsuccessful candidates) who might not have been in any way complicit or complacent in the oppression.

    Like I said, I'm conflicted.

    That having been said, the word discrimination normally has a negative connotation and, in one of it's definitions, "unjust or prejudicial treatment" IS a part of the definition. But that is not the only definition of the word discrimination. It can also mean simply to recognize differences—without necessarily representing bigotry of any sort.

    As such, some forms of discrimination in hiring and other human activities are perfectly acceptable and just. For example, when a hospital is hiring a brain surgeon, discriminating on the basis of whether the candidate has a medical degree and, specifically, training in brain surgery is a good thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've sum the whole thing up pretty well Joel, and I can see why you feel conflicted about it. And when you boil it down, the risk in applying PD is that you can end up 'punishing' people who had nothing to do with the original crime, in order to compensate people who are the victims. It looks fair and just in the big picture, but when you descend down to the detail... that's where the question marks spring up.

      As for hiring the brain surgeon. I hope he does have at least the right qualifications and experience and wasn't hired solely because of colour. It would really mess things up if that was the case, ha ha ha.

      Delete
  5. I'm conflicted about affirmative action, too. In the 60s, I suppose it was a necessary evil here in the US because of the way in which women, blacks, and other minorities had been mistreated. But, I think it's outlived its utility. I do think that it creates an unfair advantage that other people don't have, so it can have the opposite effect by creating a new type of injustice. There shouldn't be quotas for employment based on race, gender, or ethnicity; hiring should be based on an individual's qualifications.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Has it outlived it's utility? There are women who would say that you are still being discriminated against as a group. There are probably also many ethnic minority groups who would say that things for them haven't changed since the 60's as much as you may think or hope. But I know what you mean when you say it can have the opposite effect too.

      Delete
  6. Positive discrimination is still discrimination, and my fear is that in applying for a job, an unsuccessful candidate will complain that they were discriminated against when such discrimination as has taken place is based on experience and qualifications (the only valid criteria) rather than gender or ethnicity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I understand what you are saying here, Dennis. Since qualifications and experience are the only valid basis for deciding which candidate to choose, they should be the only ones that are brought into play. Am I right or have I misread your comment?

      Delete
  7. Not a fan of positive discrimination and I'll tell you why with a perfect example: My kids all went to college--most on scholarships because we do not have the money. My daughter had a 4.0 GPA and excellent SAT scores. Our income was also low enough to warrant financial aide. HOWEVER, she applied to the same school for the same scholarships as her two best friends--one was hispanic, one was black. Their actual GPAs and SATs were lower than my daughter's. Both of her friends got FULL scholarships based on their ethnic background. My daughter only got a partial scholarship. BOTH of those girls failed out of college the first year. My daughter graduated from college on the Dean's List. And now she is stuck paying student loans off for many years to come. Here is one more screwed up situation which I call almost reverse discrimination: When my kids were young, we had them tested for a special gifted program for kids who were exceptionally bright. The rules to get in were as follows: If you were black or hispanic and low income, you only needed a 128 on the IQ test to be admitted into the program. If you were white and from a low income family, you had to score a 132 to get in. Does this sound fair? I think not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A perfect example to show how positive discrimination can fail everyone. The black and hispanic girls were failed by the system because it was obvious that they weren't bright enough, yet they ended up taking a valuable place. Also, they could have been doing something else with their time.

      All in all, the scholarship went nowhere when someone else like your daughter could have got it, and now she has debts to repay.

      It's such a shame that they had to lower the IQ test just to allow someone from an ethnic background to get in. Shouldn't they be more interested in raising the standards of education for black people rather than putting them on programs to fail? And it causes resentment on the part of white people too, especially when their children can't get in based on these rules. This is not the definition of PD that I came across when researching it, I am sad to say.

      Delete
    2. But in this case "positive discrimination" did not fail them. It was used incorrectly because from what you said in your blog post EVERYONE must be exactly the same in ability but are picked based on their ethnic background.

      In this case menopausal mama had a daughter who was better than these two other applicants. The school applied it incorrectly thinking they were doing the best thing or to raise their quota of ethnic intake or whatever their reason. This wasn't the fault of positive discrimination but of the school.

      Sometimes, when everything is handed to us its easy to take it for granted. That is the error these two girls made and later in life I am sure they will live to regret it.

      Congrats to your daughter for graduating. Yes, like my daughter, she has debt (although I refer to it as an investment in her education) but they achieved their goal and will go on to do amazing things.

      Delete
  8. The problem as I see it is that minorities can't expect to be treated the same. not in America at this time, as exemplified by the outrageous treatment of our current President. No president has suffered as much abuse and I do believe racism plays a big part. But it's interesting that many black leaders are against affirmative action because they don't believe lowering the bar helps spread equality or excellence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not surprised black people would be against it. I mean, how would any of us feel if everytime we applied for a job, a course, a training package, a role in society that the bar had to be greatly lowered for us to get in? It's like saying, 'you're stupid' but come in anyway....

      Delete
    2. Good thing it is not about lowering the bar then...
      It is about saying we need someone who can do x, y and z. Who has studied to this level and can do the job we need them to do. Then the company end up with two candidates who are exactly the same and they pick one based on his/her ethnic background.
      The trouble is though how many people of ethnic background have the qualifications and experience to apply in the first place to apply. I guess that is what really needs to be addressed. That is also when people begin to believe if they lower the bar it might help but it just makes things worse. Now you have someone not as qualified as you wanted them to be doing a job they might not be able to manage without a huge investment of time and training. So its easier to pick the more qualified one in the first place.

      Delete
  9. Shoot. Blogger just ate my long comment. In short, I believe there can be abuses on both sides of this coin, so there needs to be very well thought out accountability measures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, the same thing has happened to me many times, so I now do all my writing in 'text edit' or 'word' then I copy and paste it in, so if it gobbles it up I just copy in again.

      I agree about the accountability, but even before that, it is important to decide on principle whether PD is something worth pursuing in the first place. Only then can legislators move to the next stage of deciding how it should be applied.

      Delete
  10. Here's my point of view, and I give it as a member of the 'majority' group in society.

    Granted that no-one alive today was involved in the transatlantic slave trade either as a victim of that crime or perpetrator. Granted also that not all whites were involved - a great many were oppressed by the same economic structures that exploited the enslaved Africans, though obviously nothing like to the same extent.

    Even taking all this into account, the fact remains that disproportionately high numbers of the descendants of those enslaved Africans are economically disadvantaged and incarcerated on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Therefore, either we have to conclude that this is due to a greater propensity to be criminal and less desire to work hard and succeed, or else that the legacy of that historical injustice still lives on.

    From that perspective it seems logical that the systems that engendered this disadvantage at a national and business level do something to redress the balance. It may seem drastic, but only from a point of view that doesn't look back beyond, say the past 50 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you're saying that the legacy of the slave trade lives on long after it has been abolished?

      I saw a documentary a couple of years ago in which analysts calculated the value of the slave labour that went towards building the manufacturing industry of the UK. The sum was greater than could ever be repaid and he projected the amount onto the Houses of Parliament. Perhaps I'm being radical but would it be a bad idea to tax some of those same companies to fund programs to redress the balance?

      Delete
  11. Because of my hearing loss, others have been chosen over me since they could hear and I couldn't in many situations. Discrimination is everywhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's true Susana and I can see how easily it can be done in your case.

      Delete
  12. I agree. I think positive discrimination is the wrong approach.
    I think a better approach would be to give the person who was part of the minority extra private tutoring sponsored by the government. Then the best candidate could be given the opportunity based on their merit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a good idea John, I've already stuck my neck out in my response to Navigator - perhaps programs such as the one you suggest could be the target for that funding?

      What I like about your suggestion is that it raises the bar of merit rather than lowering it.

      Delete
  13. Your first question is something as: have you ever suffered a panic attack?

    Most surely you have, but almost never you are sure, how, or why. And it is not myth, either.

    JFK may have been a good President or an easy-going fibber, depending on what side of the politic ocean is your skiff. But he was no fool and always knew where the itching had to be scratched. Therefore, "Positive Discrimination".

    I agree I am talking from what I heard, studied, and was prompted, since I was not lighting the flame of life at the time, but I think I have reliable information.

    I concede he may have been trying to unbend a twisted rope, but the politic component must not be overlooked, so there is the first weak leg where the whole concept is standing on, most of the other weak legs are the law regulations and the necessary accessory of people who applied it.

    All these ideas were thought, as so many others, as a breakthrough, and maybe they are, if you look at them from near enough. What we forget in the meantime is that we are discriminated by time, situation, position, and so many other reasons.

    We forget it and wanted to straighten a warped condition using the wrong tools.

    There are many questions we do not think about when we "feel" we are discriminated, and less of all when we are discriminating.

    For instance:

    Who stepped out Paradise first, Adam or Eve? (I am not joking).

    Who felt the first jolt of insecurity when the sun set that first day out of Eden?

    Who was the first ape that used a bone, if we believe Kubrick in "2001", to bash a fellow's skull, or any other head even for eating?

    Who was the first to think that their progeny was "better" than any other? Was it a Mom or a Dad?


    Every time we must "choose", we discriminate. Why? Because that is the way the world is done. When preparing a salad, why you choose the small onion, or the large one? Of course, who cares? Not the onions, we think...

    When you look to girls, or boys for that matter, why this one is cuter, and the other is... not cute?

    So, even in the event of defy general "knowledge", why must we qualify "Discrimination" positive or otherwise?

    It is, and that's it. (Answer to your first last question).

    If you are "forced" to anything, it is wrong. (Answer to second last question).

    Of course, who wasn't? (Answer to your third last question).

    Now I am not sure you would love this comment which, as always, is not here, nor there. (Answer to your last sentence).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Od, you should know by now that I appreciate any comment so long as it is thoughtful and made with a voice of respect. I appreciate what you have written here and I want to take my time to chew it over rather than to give a half baked response in haste. So, I'll be back to give an answer but in the meantime, thank you.

      Delete
    2. I'm not saying that JFK's motives were purely ethical or altruistic at all. But that doesn't need to be the case for PD to be a good idea.

      It's true what you say that the world if full of choices, preferences and often this entails discrimination to varying degrees, but doesn't that fact mean that societies should try and do what they can to tackle this and redress the balance? After all, in the cases mentioned in my post and the various comments we're not talking about hurt feelings but people whose whole lives are shaped by historical injustices.

      Delete
    3. That is my point, RPD!

      I may be a disillusioned guy with human beings as a whole, but if we cannot create a balanced society when we are within favorable odds, what can we do in a world where everything conspire against?

      This may be seen as a negative position, unfortunately it is endorsed by my experience in our sad and wonderful world.

      Then again, it is not here or there. One may still be optimistic! :)

      Delete
  14. It honestly depends. The Native Americans are treated in much the same way as Affirmative Action. Certain quotas, especially in college, get those that have those quotas more money. But since its not based on 'talent' it gets murky. I went to the University of Texas in my youth, and one of my most prominent memories is the Native American dude that lived on a floor above me. He barely graduated highschool, and was beyond failing in college. He wasn't going to his classes, and he just hung out all the time. But he was given a free ride because of his ancestory. Yet there were people that couldn't get into the college because there wasn't enough room, no matter how talented they were.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is why it's all so frustrating for everyone Dan. To think that people were being rejected from a college due to lack of vacancies when this Native American guy didn't even appreciate the fact he was given a free pass to be there. At least he should have made an effort to show himself and everyone that people in his position wasn't abusing the system. It would have been easier if he didn't apply and let someone else have a chance at education.

      Delete
  15. A very delicate topic. I suggest that if one is qualified, this person should be chosen. But, sometimes it is difficult for the minority to be qualified it they were not givenna chance.
    I am lucky here in Norway that I got the job because I was qualified and it was the right place and time:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that we should all be given equal opportunities and some form of help given to those that have lost out on a fair chance. But it has to be a fair system where those that have the right qualifications shouldn't be turned away to accept those that are under-qualified. I'm glad you was able to get the job that you wanted Joy :)

      Delete
  16. Well I think men and women have their own qualities and abilities , in some fields men can do better and in some fields women are better than men, so in my opinion jobs should be given to a candidate on this basis only that who will suit it better, a man or a woman?
    Great post as always R.P.D! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am with you Mary although I think jobs are not gender specific
      Best person for best job

      Simple

      ( if only it were)

      Delete
    2. That's a tough one Aunt Mary because if a woman wanted to apply for a job dominated by men, then she should be given the opportunity provided she can do exactly what the men can do. For example, how about the army on the front-line? If she can carry the equipment needed, do the training to a high standard and pass the necessary tests etc, then there should be nothing to stop her.

      Nowadays women want equality and I've got no problem with that unless they can't do what is required of them in that specific area.

      Delete
  17. Without speaking to this specific issue, on a more general level I have to say that rarely is it a good idea to correct an issue by doing the exact thing that you're identifying as wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's one way of saying it, Karen. I like the way you brought out the paradox!

      Delete
  18. In terms of educational opportunity I think Affirmative Action is a good idea. In terms of job employment I think the best candidate should be hired.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But then again, look what happened when this was applied to what Dan and Menopausal mama's comments.

      Delete
    2. Redress has to start somewhere, and the opportunity for a decent education seems the right place. The door must be open, and then it's up the person to walk through it or not. In my experience more minority students made good with the chance they were given than not. We can't ignore history; some compensation must be made for the inequities of the past.

      Delete
  19. I do not believe in discrimination. I don't believe it is ever positive. No one should get and/or keep a job based on anything other than their ability to do that job. But lets face it, discrimination does take place. Folks are refused jobs based on race, sex, sexuality and age all the time. Hell, the interview process itself means a guy can decide not to hire you based on the fact he does not like the sound of your voice, or the shoes you wear. Rules like hiring quotas are never good, because it is saying that "Hey, the only way these people can get a job if you take the white male out of the running." It's bullshit, and we are giving bigots that peace of mind when we establish quotas.
    I also think that companies do better, and are stronger when the employees are representative of the society. More viewpoints, cultures, experiences, benefit a company.
    I have never been hired on for any other reason than I am a hard worker, and good at my job. I got my first job when I was 9 and have been working ever since. Ultimatley I think that if someone knows you to be a good, hard and honest worker I doubt they would care about the colour of your skin, the junk in your pants, the gods you worship, or who you sleep with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like what you said Jamie. Right now in the UK, there are major issues about companies hiring non-British people. Many say that it's because some of the migrants are extremely hard workers, they do a good job and they accept the lower pay without a fuss and fight. I mean, someone has to do it, and when they do, the British complain that the foreigners are taking their jobs - but they still refuse to get their hands dirty.

      I agree totally with you that a diverse workforce is a strong workforce, and the same goes for society at large. And I say that as someone who lives in one of the most diverse cities in the world.

      Delete
  20. I shall keep my comment briefish. I have read this over with my human. It really should be the best candidate for the job. Quotas, for lack of a better word, can cause resentment when the best candidate loses out. My human was told at a job interview that he was tied for first with one other candidate. The other person got the job because he was a family man and my human was single.

    Be well and Guy Fawkes is on his way.

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Penny, I always love to hear from my furry friend. I hope you didn't catch a fright as I know that fireworks can be hard on your kind.

      Your human's situation kind of raises a further point. I mean, once we begin to set aside and privilege certain groups, where does it stop? You start with the most obviously disadvantaged ones, but at some point you've got to draw a line and that's were another set of issues arise. Ouch! My head hurts!

      Delete
  21. Good post, RPD! I'm thinking so hard! Can't even decide whether or not positive discrimination is a good idea poorly executed or a bad thing dressed in euphimisms. Certainly imperfect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Untonyto, so good to hear from you again mate. Yes, many flaws to be fixed but what is the right answer though?

      Delete
  22. I'm with those who say they're conflicted. There are groups that have certainly been at a disadvantage in the past and I commend the effort to rectify that. Unfortunately, I've been witness to many cases where the best person (or even second best, or third best) didn't get a job because a quota needed to be met or it just looked better from a diversity standpoint. Like I said, I'm torn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Along with the world we've inherited from our ancestors we have also received a complex legacy of privileges, injustices and puzzles. The word conflicted is appropriate.

      Delete
  23. We African Americans were treated more like merchandise than human beings in the past. It still gets my blood boiling during Black History month, February, when I see documentaries on the way we were treated back then. I do believe that when the White power structure was in the driver's seat on all fronts in the past and made all the rules, unless legislation was passed to help, the oppressed would simply remain the oppressed. That is, those in power would not willingly give up any of the same, especially to those who were considered anything but human. That's just the ugly truth of the matter.

    I do agree that such legislation discriminates against others. And I would expect those who are the victims of reverse discrimination to voice their objections, though when we were the oppressed, those in power suppressed our efforts to protest the institutionalized injustice.

    Personally, I have never advocated Affirmative Action and I still don't. But do I think it has helped? Yes, somewhat. Do I think the associated reverse discrimination is wrong to those on the receiving end? Yes. The reason I have never advocated Affirmative Action is because I have a Christian view toward life. Affirmative Action will never solve the injustices of the past. The hearts of men must be changed so that our love goes beyond the color line, and so that we desire to do what's right in the sight of God--without the mandates of civil laws.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Frank. Yes, I would agree that we live in a more just time now. Not only are the abuses of any group far less than before, but also the right of groups to object freely without fear of harm.

      Ideally, people would do the right thing from the heart simply because it is the right thing, but wouldn't you also agree that since many people do not seek what is right, we need to frame just and wise law to put in check the worst aspects of human nature?

      Delete
  24. I agree with you, but positive discrimination is a necessary evil in patriarchal societies that judge you according to your ethnicity, your country of origin and on whether you have a disability or not.
    You have to be in somebody's shoes to really understand what they've been through.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What you've said is so very important. There are many people in positions of authority who make decisions all day long for others to obey, but have never ever experienced what they have felt or been in that person's situation. And if they knew what it was to walk in those people's shoes, the decisions that they make might be very different!

      Delete
    2. I definitely agree. If a potential employer only sees me as a black woman applying for a job then there is a problem before we begin. All I want him to see is a qualified woman who is one of a number of applicants. That is why I love programs like "The Voice" were the judges see nothing and hear only their voice. They can't allow age or what someone looks like to influence their decision.

      Delete
  25. By the way, I recently read a study done in Canada that showed that female physicians provide better medical care than male physicians. I can find it for you if you want to read it. You may google it.
    (I mention it because your post seems to suggest that women expect that they will get things easily because they are women).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no, I wasn't suggesting that. I was making a point in saying that if there was a lack of women in a business, then the woman candidate might stand a better chance of being chosen than her male counterpart in order to get the right balance.

      Delete
  26. It doesn't apply equally to all companies. Affirmative action only applies to companies with a certain amount of employees. Then there is a ratio of "minorities" that should be represented.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thanks for the information Paul, I didn't know that the company had to be a certain size. When I sit down and think about it, it's odd having to work out that you must employ a certain percentage of ethnic minorities in your workplace! It's like saying, I've got 1000 cats but I must now get 20% dogs, if you know what I mean

      Delete
  27. Hi Rum Punch! This debate has been going on since the concept was introduced. I have to say that there are many companies and hiring personnel who have their own agendas. African Americans would be not hired based on their skin color. This is an intolerable situation, so I can see where the President was coming from...

    The problems come in just as you said. Qualified people being rejected because they are not minorities, women etc. It all boils down to personal ability to be fair. If we all could see each other for our ability to do the job, not our sex or race, there would be no need for a law like this.

    Something to work for, and pray for.
    Have a good Sunday!
    Ceil

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like the way you said 'personal ability to be fair'. That's right mate. We should first and most foremost know what we are looking for in an employee and choose the best possible candidate to enhance our company whether black or white, male or female etc. A goal everyone should work towards.

      Delete
  28. Even in India, special seats in colleges and universities are reserved for students belonging to the "Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes" as a process of enabling development of certain sections of society. There have been many public demonstrations both for and against this demonstration.
    To be honest, I never know what to think. It is an extremely complicated question.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for giving us another perspective on this. It seems as though wherever you go in the world equivalents of this issue can arise. Certainly even though the lower caste Indians are completely autochthonous they have suffered massive injustices and prejudice and Mohatma Ghandi himself was at pains to see the balance redressed as part of his vision for India.

      Delete
  29. Very touchy subject here in South Africa. We have "affirmative action" and all sorts of other acts that have been implemented to right some of the wrongs of our past. But in all honesty they are all reverse racism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can just imagine the problems that South Africa might have due to this. From the outside (limited view) it looks like the 'boot's on the other foot now'. But there is still such a long way to go in so many different areas and that's another post Lanthie.

      Delete
  30. There are so many different variables that go into these decisions. I also believe that the most qualified candidates should be hired. Two people from different ethnic backgrounds could both look good on paper, but the likability factor also plays a big role.

    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An interesting point Julie and I wasn't even thinking that way. I've interviewed people in the past and you do get the ones that you instantly like because of their character or personality. So, I guess this does come into play too. Could this also be a subtle form of prejudice?

      Delete
  31. I will have to agree with Liam on his line "if you are forced to anything, it is wrong."

    ReplyDelete
  32. I've heard plenty of arguments for it, but I can't help thinking that if we just went for equality then all those arguments would be moot anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Equality sounds good but it's still hard to put into practice these days. There are those that say that treating everyone equally does not mean treating everyone the same.

      Delete
  33. I believe everyone should receive according to their qualifications and work ethics, not their ethnicity ..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A very clear cut statement. Thanks Magical Mystical MiMi.

      Delete
  34. Hi Rum-Punch Drunk! This is a thought-provoking post. I understand the original idea and intent of Affirmative Action, and here in the US, it was absolutely necessary at the time it was instituted (1960s), since many African-Americans (and other minorities) were denied jobs and college admittance, particularly in the South, and often due to prejudice. It also benefited women as well, especially in the area of employment.

    Do we still need it today? Not always. Sometimes a good idea can go too far and discriminate in the opposite direction. I have seen it happen in employment and education. And when that happens, I agree that it can keep people aware of the barriers that divide us and understandably cause resentment. I'm not sure we should toss it out completely, but I think we need to make adjustments in the way it’s applied.

    Employers in a multicultural society should not be forced to have a balance of different ethnicity or equal numbers of men and women in the workplace. In today’s more progressive society, candidates should be chosen by qualification without regard to ethnicity or gender. In general, people have a better sense of pride, and will perform better at their jobs, if they know they’ve been chosen on the merit of their skills and performance.

    I’ve never been chosen over someone else based on my race or gender. But I have seen men promoted ahead of me, and paid more than me, when I knew my job performance was better, and it had a lot to do with business attitudes about male workers versus female workers. In many areas of employment, women are still paid less than men for equal jobs, although women overall have made advances in raising the “glass ceiling.” However, that cannot be corrected with Positive Discrimination. As more women advance in the business world, for example, more women will be hired and promoted. Change will happen organically.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you're acknowledging that although things have improved since the 60s, there is still some way left to go before we achieve an equal society but that PD is not the appropriate initiative to get us there.

      There certainly do seem to be a lot of people from across the pond who have witnessed first hand examples of PD working unjustly and this has really given me something to chew over.

      Delete
  35. Thought provoking indeed. For myself, i'd like to think that I would been chosen for my qualifications and experience and not for my ethnicity. Great topic!

    Madison

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's just it Meddling Mind. I don't know your background but if you were part of a minority group might not PD lessen that sense of satisfaction with the suspicion that you were chosen based upon a quota rather than merit.

      Delete
  36. I've never been for Positive Discrimination. I've seen it work exactly as you said. On the other side of the coin, I've seen so many candidates denied for color, race, religion. I say it's the gov'ts that continue to promote discrimination. We should all be proud of our heritage and genetics and we should realize that no one is better than anyone else, that we're all equal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, no matter how badly we might be treated and what prejudice, positive or otherwise we come across we should never lose sight of the fact that we have a right to be proud of our identity and be treated fairly.

      Delete
  37. I think all discrimnation is bad positive or otherwise. On saying that I believe we all discriminate. We all judge. We may not like someone because they come from a privileged background, or disapprove of their appearance or accent or because they prefer dogs to cats. I am a white woman but feel there are a few times that I haven't got a job not because I couldn't do it but because I am working class. I may have an askewed view of this because of my insecurities. Maybe on the day there were in fact people who were better at demonstrating their capabilities. Great thought provoking topic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, that's the kind of society we live in. When someone 'like' us is rude or disrespectful without cause, we simply put it down to them being rude. Yet if they are of a different race we can find ourselves asking if that is the reason. The truth is that in a lot of cases we will never know as there are people from all backgrounds and walks of life who are simply rude.

      Delete
  38. So sorry I'm tardy... What a fantastic subject that could be debated til the end of time. No easy answers for sure. Points could be made on both sides of this issue. A tough one, but that is what you are so good at my friend: Smart & thought provoking debate.

    Have a great weekend, Slu

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Slu. I've learned so much through this discussion, as always and have to admit that this has made me question my own thinking.

      Delete
  39. This is a great article. It's an ongoing problem.

    ReplyDelete
  40. At the heart of this matter, legislation is powerless to legislate morality! You can't MAKE someone do the right thing by penning external controls to control an interior issue. Until we begin looking at those around us as people, fellow sojourners, we will never erase the barriers that we ourselves build with our own hands faster than mere laws can tear them down. When I get hired, do I want to be hired as a woman or as the right one for the job? I understand the interventions set up, I really do - but in the end, is hiring someone for their quality of skin or gender or some other equally trivial reasoning going to help us to accept those around us as equals? What we need is wise folks who can look past all the red tape and externals and do the right thing at the right time, whether it is written in our laws, or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You make a good point Melody, perhaps this is a flaw that will always be involved with legislation of this sort that seeks to promote something positive through a law. The law is better suited to prohibiting negatives rather than promoting positives.

      Delete
  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  42. A very powerful and thought -provoking post RPD! I am sure, discrimination is never a positive word or will ever be regarded a positive approach, but I guess; it still depends upon certain needs at certain areas in life. What I see or believe- may not justify other person's need. Again I guess it's all about perception. Nice post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear from you again Epsita, hope all is well and thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  43. No. Being African-American, in America is like going to work; some people hate their job, some people REALLY love their job and some people are like whatever with their job. In a nut shell, if everyone could make money not working, they would do it but for the most part, they have to work. Being black in America is similar...a lot of people here love our culture, hell some people go as far tanning their skin to look black, fix their lips to look pouty, get a bigger but, even some men here in America have this obsession with a having what would be considered a huge penis aka "A black dick" At the end of the day, you're tanned, with bigger lips, speaking slang, and probably did some weird surgery to increase your dick size, and put a perm on your hair to curl it...However when you if you ask these same people, "If they would ever be black?" Their answer: GOD NO! What makes you ask that!?! Oh I don't know. I don't have a problem with people of other races wanting to improve body parts but when it obvious what's going on, I question. If you want to tan that's cool: A tan not some ridiculous oompa loompa duck mouth look...

    It's flattering and embarrassing at the same time...I would hate to think I was hired only because of skin tone and it's so obvious when you look around and see you and another black person (who is light skin or half black) in the work place. I'm not a militant black person, I just call it how I see it. If I work in an area where black people are not dominant, I understand but if I'm in area that's mixed, and most of the people in the mixed area are black, but the company has maybe one black person there I question it...I'm not always feeling froggy but if I do leap I study first...lol This was not to meant to offend, this was my honest view.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thanks for the comment L.A.Green. I'm always happy for people to speak their mind providing it's in context and it's always important to check the facts before you 'leap' into any kind of action. I wasn't offended.

    ReplyDelete

Feel free to speak your mind but please keep it respectful.
Disrespect will be happily deleted.
Thanks for posting!

hostgator coupons