Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ricci and racial grievances

Heather MacDonald makes some great points in her latest column in City Journal (copied at Front Page magazine) about the implications of the Supreme Court's recent Ricci decision and the racial grievance industry that created the case in the first place.

Ricci, of course, is the now-famous decision in which a group of 18 firefighters (17 white, 1 hispanic) sued the city of New Haven for invalidating their test results for promotion because no black firefighters passed it. The city's defense was that it feared a law suit by the black firefighters if it validated the test results -- in other words, the racial grievances of the past had put the city in an impossible position: damned if it did and damned if it didn't. The Court decided, in a narrow 5-4 decision, that New Haven was incorrect in invalidating the test results.

As MacDonald points out, however, that 4 of the justices gave creedance to the vapid and ridiculous positions of the racial grievance industry tells you all you need to know about the state of the law regarding race nowadays. It's no longer necessary to prove that bias exists. Unequal results are themselves taken as prima facie evidence that bias exists.

Why was the exam being discussed in terms of race and discrimination at all? The New York Times’s Supreme Court reporter, Linda Greenhouse, wrote in an op-ed that the exam “appeared to favor white test-takers.” It did nothing of the sort. It merely favored those who had studied hard and prepared themselves to become captains and lieutenants. But we have been conditioned by the decades-long reign of disparate-impact theory, which the black firefighters would have used in a potential suit against New Haven, to discuss neutral employment practices in racial terms and to entertain the idea that the expectation of moderate cognitive performance is an unfair imposition on blacks.

Arguments offered by New Haven against its own promotional test — embraced, disturbingly, by nearly half of the Supreme Court — demonstrate how desperate the search for bias has become.


Inreasingly unable to find evidence of real bias or racism in society, the racial grievance industry is forced to argue that any situation where blacks don't do as well as whites is caused by racism, QED.


As MacDonald points out, the test was constructed at a tenth-grade level (for people who have graduated high school, remember). It was dumbed down to the point that anyone who was remotely intelligent and studied for it should have passed. No blacks passed. That isn't evidence of racism. It's evidence that the black firefighters who took that test are lazy (because they didn't study), uneducated (because they don't know enough to pass a tenth-grade-level test), or unintelligent (because they can't pass a tenth-grade-level test). That's it.

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