Sunday, May 3, 2009

New Haven and Disparate Impact...

The case of the “New Haven 20” will be heard by the Supreme Court this summer.

This case has been covered to death, but for good reason. At issue is the warped and dysfunctional canard called “disparate impact.”

Being unable to show where ANY standardized exam “discriminates” against ANY specific ethnic group, the pro-quota/pro-racial preference side has hidden behind an inanity called “disparate impact,” which purports that “any standard that disproportionately impacts” an ethnic group proves de facto discrimination.”

Under the standard of “disparate impact” the mentally handicapped SHOULD be given the allotted number of spots in Harvard Medical school, proportionate to their numbers in society.

The perversity of “disparate impact” is a legal fiction that has been tolerated by the courts to achieve certain goals that otherwise probably wouldn’t have been reached, but it’s come at such a high cost that today, few legal scholars still support or defend that policy.

Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom put the case in this perspective; “The case poses a familiar question: Which road will lead to the racial equality most American seek: racial quotas or color-blind, meritocratic standards?”

In a free society, based on individualism and private property rights (as America IS), there is only one possible answer – Meritocratic standards, whether the outcomes on such temporarily favor one group or another.

There is and never has been any such thing as a “discriminatory test.” Tests are designed to “discriminate”/discern between the most able the less able. So at issue, “disparate impact” proponents argue, “What real difference is there between the most able, say the top ten scorers and, say, number 16, or 17, or for that matter, number 42?

Another thorny issue in the case is whether, as the Thernstrom’s put it, “May a municipal employer disregard the results of a qualifying examination, which was carefully constructed to ensure race-neutrality, on the ground that the results of that examination yielded too many qualified applicants of one race and not enough of another?"

In answering that, the Thernstrom’s note that, "All applicants took the same test, and the result was the same for all because the test results were discarded and nobody was promoted," she argued. But change the race of the plaintiffs from white (plus one Hispanic) to black, and the obtuseness of her reasoning is apparent. If a disproportionately large numbers of blacks would have been promoted and the examination results were tossed out for that reason, it would have been an open-and-shut case of blatant racial discrimination.”

TWO of the best articles on this issue:



Roadhouse said...

What's next? The blind having a right to fly commercial jets by virtue of this "logic"?

JMK said...

"Disparate Impact" is one of the most pernicious precedents to ever come down the pike.

namaste said...

years ago, i recall similar accusations about the s.a.t. exams given in high schools. the pink elephant that no one wants to talk about is how under-educated many blacks are.

obviously, not all of us, as you can see from my presence. but families like mine are out-numbered by under-educated blacks. and i understand that the education system has evolved from a history of prejudice and discrimination. especially in the public schools. but using that as a crutch is akin to a mugging victim choosing never to leave their home again.

the intelligent and rational thinker understands that tests are not biased towards any particular group. unfortunately this country has a bad history with race and what liberals and democrats have done is jump on a money-making bandwagon. the clowns involved in this "disparate" lawsuit are simply opportunists trying to have their way with our country's flawed legal system.

thanks for visiting my blog. your knowledgeable comments are appreciated.


JMK said...

Maria, the idea that written exams "discriminate" against any ethnic group is the worst kind of slur imaginable and yet many people still accept that.

Standards themselves don't discriminate, but there are certainly differences in abilities between individuals both within and across the various ethnic groups.

"Group differences" are another matter, but since, in a free society, people are judged as individuals and on their own individual merits, group comparisons are largely invidious.

I think most Americans support outreach and remedial help for those people who are unable to initially compete.

The problem is that such remdial help does little to advance the plight of the poor in real terms.

But that's largely because poverty, among all racial and ethnic groups, is caused by behaviors in the form of choices we DO and DO NOT make.

Sad to say, the vast majority of poor people don't avail themselves of such remdial help because it requires actual participation and effort on their parts.

That may be put a little too bluntly for most people's sensibilities, but it is the sad and inevitable truth about that issue.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting and I hope you continue.

I like your blog a lot....very well crafted and very well thought out. You are a gifted writer and a clear thinker on the issues.

JMK said...

P.S. On that same topic, awhile back, Professor Walter E Williams offered three rules that would help virtually everyone avoid poverty and they are;

(1) At a minimum, finish High School.

(2) Don't have children until you are Married.

and (3) Stay employed....even if you are currently under-employed, stay at that job until you have another, better one lined up and ready to go.

He's right, of course, but his words were seen as "mean" by paternalistic Liberals.

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