Today, a client who is a communications director for a prominent nonprofit told me this story. (This is a pretty close paraphrase:)
"We have three communications directors. One slot is reserved for minorities. So we hire this Latino guy. It turns out he has a Latino-sounding name but really, he's Russian. He turns out to be a total failure but we end up having to keep him because we had had to get rid of another minority manager six months ago and our organization's Diversity Committee would give us hell if we fired him. So we hired someone to train him, which cost us (and ultimately the sick people we're trying to serve) a fortune. After a year, we gave up. It was hopeless and we fired him and his trainer. Now we're looking for another person of color."
I am aware that this story would be so much more credible if I could list names and the organization but there's no way I'd even ask my client for permission. He'd lose his job faster than you can say General McChrystal. Of course, the only reason I get to hear these stories is that the client-counselor relationship guarantees confidentiality.
Please, dear reader, where possible, think in terms of the largest perspective: Ask yourself whether reverse discrimination is a net positive or a net negative:
- in terms of the quality of the goods and services we receive
- with regard to the injustice of more competent people not getting hired or promoted because they are of the wrong ethnic group
- in light of the prejudice that fully qualified minorities face because we know that many positions are filled as the result of reverse discrimination. Be honest with yourself: When you, for example, see a Black physician or that a Latino student was admitted to UCLA, do you not think they well might have not been selected if it weren't for their ethnicity and perhaps pushed through, and/or had low grades, and thus are likely to be less competent?
- And perhaps most lofty, ask yourself whether, in terms of the great universal principles of justice, in 2010, after 50 years of affirmative action, 145 years since slavery ended, in light of some minorities (Asians) doing well despite no reverse discrimination, is yet more years of reverse discrimination cosmically right?