Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Haven and “Race as Handicap”

The problem with race and gender-based preferences is the "presumed incompetence" they imply.

People are individuals, and individuals are as unique as snowflakes - no two people are exactly alike or equal.

It follows, then that if you take ANY grouping of people, be it a completely random group of strangers, or a grouping based on various racial, cultural or other traits, that you'll find measurable differences across a whole range of traits.

Group differences should NOT be at all controversial, primarily because people aren't judged as "members of a group," they are judged as INDIVIDUALS....that is how standards are applied on an individual basis.

For instance, what difference does it make to a German with a low IQ that his/her group may rank among the highest in IQ as a group?

It doesn't help THAT individual out one bit.

Standardized exams and stringent standards DO NOT discriminate against any specific group....they differentiate or discriminate between those who know the tested material and those who don't.

The introduction of "disparate impact" is a sham, rooted in an antithesis against common standards....AGAINST all individuals being judged on the SAME criteria, in effect, AGAINST "equality before the law" and "equality of opportunity."

Disparate impact has fallen out of favor with the vast majority of legal scholars and rightly so, because disparate impact, or a disparity in results does NOT prove nor even indicate any deliberate discrimination.

Ironically enough, the federal Appeals Court ruling in the New Haven case pitted race against disability and Judge Sotomayor ruled in favor of race trumping disability.

Frank Ricci (pictured above), one of the plaintiffs, is dyslexic. He spent a couple hundred dollars on Fire Dept study books, then another $1,000 having someone read them onto CD, so he could study more effectively.

He improvised, adapted and overcame a disability to score among the highest on that exam. Those who didn't study as effectively as Ricci, those who didn't have his will, his drive and his devotion, have only themselves to blame.

If anything, it would seem that an exam like that is far MORE challenging to the Frank Ricci's of the world than it is to any ethnic or racial group.

And contrary to many reports, many blacks DID indeed pass that exam, none happened to score in the top 15. That result does NOT imply similar results going forward.

The same thing happens in most Engineering schools across the country today. Asians, who currently represent about 5% of the population, are earning over 60% of the seats in those schools.

Is that at all "bad for America"?

Absolutely NOT....and holding back high achieving Asians to "let others in", will only assure that the skills disparity that exists now between Asians and other groups continues in perpetuity.

If people were calling for more remedial help, that'd be one thing, but calling for ethnic proportionalism serves no useful purpose and leaves those supporting that, in the position of opposing the best candidates being chosen.

There's no way to make a rational case for that.


Linda said...

Wow, you nailed it on the head. I am so tired of different races getting breaks because they are a 'minority'. The best qualified and best prepared should be the ones getting the promotions.

Thanks for your post.

Seane-Anna said...

Instead of punishing Frank Ricci liberals, especially Black ones, should be hailing him as the perfect example of what personal determination can achieve in the face of adversity. Frank Ricci is the American Dream personified, and that's why liberals despise him.

JMK said...

Thanks for dropping by Linda!

This issue is one of the most egregious violations of traditional American principles - equlity of opportunity (being judged on he SAME standards, the SAME tests) and equality before the law.

It is also one of the most polarizing issues of our day.

JMK said...

You're right Seane-Anna, the Left should see Frank Ricci as proof that the American dream is still alive and available o anyone willing to work for it.

I'd bet anything that that exam was a tougher challenge to Frank Ricci than to any of those who sued he exam.

Now if he'd only have not studied and sued under the Americans With Disablities Act, they'd have loved him.

Clifton B said...

Hey, those details on Frank Ricci are facinating, where did you get 'em? I would like to find out more about the other plaintifs.

JMK said...

"Hey, those details on Frank Ricci are facinating, where did you get 'em?" (Clifton B)
Hi Clifton,

There are two excellent pieces on the subject, one by Charles Krauthammer and one by Patrick Buchanan.

Buchanan's was in a recent issue of Human Events and can be found at;

and Krauthammer's was in the Washington Post and can be found at;

Since the WaPo often requires registration to read, I'll post some of that here,

Sotomayor: Rebut, Then ConfirmThe Washington Post
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, May 29, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor has a classic American story. So does Frank Ricci.Ricci is a New Haven firefighter stationed seven blocks from where Sotomayor went to law school (Yale). Raised in blue-collar Wallingford, Conn., Ricci struggled as a C and D student in public schools ill-prepared to address his serious learning disabilities. Nonetheless he persevered, becoming a junior firefighter and Connecticut's youngest certified EMT.After studying fire science at a community college, he became a New Haven "truckie," the guy who puts up ladders and breaks holes in burning buildings. When his department announced exams for promotions, he spent $1,000 on books, quit his second job so he could study eight to 13 hours a day and, because of his dyslexia, hired someone to read him the material.He placed sixth on the lieutenant's exam, which qualified him for promotion. Except that the exams were thrown out by the city, and all promotions denied, because no blacks had scored high enough to be promoted.Ricci (with 19 others) sued.That's where these two American stories intersect. Sotomayor was a member of the three-member circuit court panel that upheld the dismissal of his case, thus denying Ricci his promotion.This summary ruling deeply disturbed fellow members of Sotomayor's court, including Judge José Cabranes (a fellow Clinton appointee), who, writing for five others, criticized the unusual, initially unpublished, single-paragraph dismissal for ignoring the serious constitutional issues at stake.There's also an excellent article about this in the Baltimore Sun;,0,2095154.story?track=rss

I've always had a problem with the premise that ethnic identity or background renders some people unable/inferior/handicapped.

Excellence, like sloth, cuts across ALL ethnic, racial, religious and class groups.

Offering remedial assistance to help people compete more effectively is one thing, but claiming that standards, in and of themselves, discriminate on the basis of race/ethnicty is not only unjust, but it cripples those it claims to champion.

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