Posted by: nhfalcon | July 22, 2009

Today’s Words of Wisdom v.7.22.09

“Feminists are framing the debate in a way that equates opposition to their views with being anti-female. In my case, nothing could be further from the truth. I revere women. I respect women. I think men need women. I believe that in terms of opportunity, we should forget what gender people are. We should forget what people’s skin color is. I would prefer to see everyone encouraged to do his or her best. I would prefer to see excellence rewarded, so that people would have an incentive to achieve. I would much prefer to see people pursuing excellence than taking refuge in their gender and skin color.”

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Responses

  1. Ohhh, boy!

    First of all, you’ve got to start attributing these quotes, Dude!

    Second, while all of this is lovely in the abstract, there’s very little correlation to reality. The history of our system is such that women and minorities are starting at a disadvantage, so to simply do away with the mechanisms in place to counter that would be to further the inequality. We’re a long way from eradicating racism (see the kids who got kicked out of the pool) and sexism (see the persistent pay gap and the outrageous comments made about Sotomayor’s menstrual cycle).

  2. Re: the author of these quotes (and there is only one) – I will reveal that in due time.

    Re: the plight of minorities in these 21st century United States – you know that for the most part I’m with you on this. I do not understand bigotry. Never have, never will. Yes, there is still racism in America. There is still sexism. There is still homophobia. And all of it is wrong.

    But it’s a damn sight better now that it was. It’s not like no progress has been made. Slavery is gone. Women have the right to vote. GLBTQ couples are getting the right to marry in more and more states. Progress is being made.

    As far as the government and the law getting involved in making everybody equal goes, I’ve said my piece about this. For those who missed it, rather than referring you back to the original post with a hyperlink, I will quote the relevant portion of that post here:

    “I look at Affirmative Action in a way similar to how I look at Welfare – a good idea with its heart in the right place that’s been executed poorly and now needs to be revised somehow because too many people see it as a system to take advantage of for their own personal gain rather than as a means of defense against an unfortunate incident.

    Yes, there is still bigotry in this country. Sadly, I don’t think that will ever change. For whatever reason, there are still people on this planet who think other people are lesser beings than themselves because they’re not male, not white, not Christian, not heterosexual, not – oh, hell, I could go on and on listing the various idiocies. Affirmative Action was created to combat those idiocies, and I think it’s been pretty effective in doing so.

    However, for quite some time now it’s been used in some cases to basically ensure reverse bigotry:

    “You have to hire me because I’m black (or gay or female or Muslim or insert minority here).”

    “But you’re not qualified for the job.” (or “But your not as qualified as other candidates for the job.”)

    “That doesn’t matter, I’m black, you don’t have any blacks working here, I need a job, and if you don’t hire me, I’ll sue.” And if the boss thinks he’s kidding, all the boss has to do is look outside his window, because Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the ACLU will be perched in the parking lot like vultures waiting for an injured wildebeest to finally kick off so they can begin feasting on its still-fresh carcass.

    It boggles my mind that National Football League owners are required to interview at least one African-American applicant whenever they decide to get a new head coach for their team (and now they’re considering expanding the rule to include applicants for General Manager positions). Whether or not that African-American is hired is apparently irrelevant, so long as he gets an interview. So, really, is it about equality, or is it just about putting on a dog-and-pony show to make it look like you care about equality? It’s really just about filling a quota, checking off a box, isn’t it? Do these people have any idea how much an NFL franchise costs? Stephen M. Ross, the current owner of the Miami Dolphins, bought 95% ownership of the team in February of 2009 for a grand total of $1.55 billion! Do these people know how NFL franchises make money? By winning. It’s the only proven way to be financially successful in the National Football League. Ask the New England Patriots. Given that, do these people think for one second, even if an NFL owner was a racist, that he would allow those feelings to get in the way of hiring the best coach available (and thereby improving his chances of owning a winning franchise) if that coach happened to be black?

    How about the recent decision to invalidate a test given to Connecticut firefighters because no blacks and only one Hispanic passed the test to a high enough degree to earn a promotion (it should be noted that some blacks did pass the test, just not well enough to earn the promotion)? Isn’t it possible that the people who passed the test did so because they deserved to, not because they were white? Isn’t that at least as possible a conclusion as the “It must have been a racist test” conclusion?

    What about the current to-do about who to nominate to replace soon-to-retire Supreme Court Justice David Souter? Apparently a likely candidate to be nominated by President Obama is Sonia Sotomayor. Now, if she is in fact the most qualified person for the job (and, based on a quick perusal of her Wikipedia entry, her resume does look impressive) then give her the job. If she’s not the most qualified person for the job, though, don’t give it to her just because she’s female, Puerto Rican, and grew up in a housing project.

    Now, despite the apparent bashing I’m giving Affirmative Action here, remember that I like the idea, that I believe the cause to be just, it’s simply that I think the plan has been executed poorly. It actually blows my mind that the Equal Rights Amendment was defeated back in 1982. How could a supposedly modern country predicated on the idea of freedom and equality for all not pass a law designed to make sure women would not be discriminated against? Hell, when I read it I thought it didn’t go far enough, because it was only focusing on women. The version that the National Organization for Women has since been trying to push as a constitutional amendment makes more sense to me, because it also includes “race, sexual orientation, marital status, ethnicity, national origin, color, or indigence” under it’s umbrella.

    I applaud President Obama for his passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

    Yes, I do believe we need a system to ensure that qualified people are not denied jobs because of their gender, gender preference, religious beliefs, country of origin, skin color, native language, or a disability they might have, and that they are paid equally to their peers when they get those jobs. However, that same system needs to make sure unqualified people are not handed jobs for the same reason(s).”

    To sum up – I don’t believe Affirmative Action needs to be eradicated. I DO believe that it needs to be reformed, because, like welfare, in its current form it is just way too easy to take advantage of.

  3. Ah, the “pay gap”–the pernicious, systemic, evil, seething sexism keepin’ a sistah down.

    Equal pay for equal work has been the law since 1972 and the passage of the Equal Opportunity Employment Act. When wage data is properly controlled for experience, education, number of years on the job (including uninterrupted workforce presence), and so forth, women earn 98% of what men do. Source: http://www.iwf.org/campus/show/18948.html

    Perhaps there is sexism in that 2%. Perhaps it is noise. Whatever the case, it is not a serious societal problem.

  4. According to the Department of Labor:

    More than 40 percent of the pay gap remaining between men and women cannot be explained by differences in the characteristics of female and male workers or the jobs they hold and is often interpreted as discrimination. Discrimination can take many forms, such as being hired less frequently in high-wage firms, receiving less training and fewer pro-motions, particularly into the executive suite, and being assigned to lower-paying jobs within the same occupations. For example, in 1998, waiters earned 22 percent more than waitresses.

    It’s not a serious societal problem until it affects you.

  5. In my profession, the only way to close the wage gap is to be successful in school. No amount of quota, incentives, etc, are going to do anything for someone who cannot solve problems or learn to. It has to be encouraged far sooner than the hiring phase.

    For what it is worth (anectdotal and all that), I make as much as or more than nearly every male I know personally in my field. The only ones who earn more are those who have been in the workforce longer without multi-year gaps.

    Do I care that those gaps cause me to get less pay right now than I would have? Hell no. One has to stay current in my field. If you aren’t working at it, you aren’t current. And, it was entirely my choice to drop into another profession for a while. No one owes me anything.

  6. Mrs. Chili: You seem to be quoting this site:

    http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/history/herman/reports/futurework/report/chapter2/main2.htm

    which does contain the oft-flogged canard that women earn 76% of what men do. (Incidentally, I almost always see this presented as if two candidates are otherwise identical except for sex, when in fact it controls for no data variability whatsoever.)

    So I’d guess the claim you’re making is that 40% of the 24% claimed “pay gap,” or 9.6% of the whole, is “often interpreted as discrimination.”

    To the 11-year-old report’s credit, “often interpreted as discrimination” is not a statement of fact. Though your passage ends with a single datum that might be interesting in context (the waiter/waitress bit), it’s preceded by a lot of elaboration on what the speculative “often interpreted as discrimination” might mean.

    There is nothing in evidence demonstrating that you or any other woman is a victim of an institutional sexist “pay gap.”

    I repeat: it is not a serious societal problem.


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