Affirmative Action

Ah, affirmative action.  I’d forgotten about it.  It just doesn’t come up much in my life.  There are some institutions private and public with policies of inclusion that set a minimum amount of hiring or selection of women or people of color, or other traditionally oppressed or marginalized peoples.  It’s a classique bogeyman of racists, to the extent you can hear it called “affirmative blaction” (get it?) by the wrong uncles.

Anyway, somebody remembered it exists and acquired a raft of assholes to sign on a statement against it, posing as an academic paper.  The beef, as usual, is that there may be talented cishetwhitebros who are being excluded from these institutions and privileges because a lower-scoring person who met certain demographic requirements was forced into place by critical race theory jewish social marxists or whatever they’re called.

It’s hardly worth arguing about, but it occurred to me, in looking at this trash fire, that I would rather have a person with a significant cognitive impairment in charge of a scientific endeavor than any of the people who signed to that paper – if the cognitively impaired person was capable of honest inquiry, of accounting for their own biases in their work.  Why is that such a rare quality in this world?  At least among those privileged to be holding the bullhorn.

Very tiring.  I take a nap now.


  1. invivoMark says

    DE(A)I happens to come up a lot in my work. It’s a core element of what I advocate for in Congress and with our scientific agencies.

    Last year we got Congress to approve four significant DEI provisions in the CHIPS and Science Act, a bill that’s supposed to improve our “competitiveness” in tech industries. Yep, Congress actually did something good, and even some Republicans voted for it.

    Working with the science agencies like NIH and NSF is easier. They’re smart people. They know there’s systemic bias, and that it won’t go away without deliberate effort. They’re changing the way that funding is given out so that we stop giving implicit advantages to white people at Harvard. Bias and inequality in the sciences are going away, but it’s slow – it will take at least a generation if we’re lucky.

    DEI is going to happen no matter how loudly people scream, and I have yet to hear anybody complain about a lack of “merit” in the scientific workforce.

  2. Allison says

    Ah, Affirmative Action. I remember it well from the days of my youth (1960’s)

    One of the great lies of the right wing was that it meant quotas — that places had to hire/admit/etc. a certain number of this or that racial or ethnic group.

    Affirmative Action, at least in hiring, meant that you had to show that you had made a good-faith effort to include certain marginalized groups in the pool of people you were considering.

    Of course, if you really didn’t want to hire black people, or let women into your union, it was possible to go through the motions of doing Affirmative Action and still only hire the kind of people you wanted.

    Quotas were in fact court-ordered in a few cases where it had been demonstrated that the organization was actively excluding members of [minority], and was giving at most lip service to Affirmative Action. IIRC, there was a union or two that this happened to.

  3. invivoMark says

    o hai mark

    I’ve never heard that one before… ::rolleyes::

    I’ll give you a pass because I like you.

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