America is now “woke.” President Joe Biden declared that America’s long tradition of equality was not good enough for the new America. Then he signed executive orders that would expand racial equity “across the Federal Government.
Equality means that everyone is given the same opportunities to be successful. Equity means that success is guaranteed to everyone. There is a big difference. People are usually more successful because they work harder or work smarter. However, this standard has been replaced with success guaranteed to everyone – no matter their intelligence, their work ethic, or their capabilities.
Schools, corporations, and governments have declared that they will make decisions based on quotas for race and gender. Who are some of the schools and corporations making such drastic promises? Richard Bernstein named names and described some of the problems.
Over the last few months, many Ivy League and flagship state universities have moved away from a seemingly neutral measure long used to assess applicants – standardized test scores – to give minorities a better shot at admissions.
In May, Hewlett-Packard, the technology company with 50,000 employees worldwide, decreed that by 2030 half of its leadership positions and more than 30% of its technicians and engineers have to be women and that the number of minorities should “meet or exceed” their representation in the tech industry workforce.
That same month, United Airlines announced that half of the 5,000 pilots it would train at its proprietary flight school between now and 2030 will be women or people of color, with scholarships provided by United and JPMorgan Chase helping with tuition.
There was nothing in the United announcement showing that there were enough qualified blacks and women in the pipeline so that a black/female quota of 2,500 new pilots could be filled, and nothing about what the company would do if there weren’t enough qualified candidates.
Delta Air Lines, Ralph Lauren, and Wells Fargo are among other major American companies to announce hiring quotas recently as a way to redress imbalances, according to Bloomberg News.
These are just some of the many “woke” initiatives embraced by many of the pillars of American society in the year since social justice protests erupted across the country in response to the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
Bernstein explained that some people believe that “racial preferences and quotas are necessary to end deeply entrenched disparities.” At the same time, other people believe that it is simply “a new form of discrimination.” He continued by reminding his readers that “the stated goal of affirmative action was to simply eliminate unfair discrimination.” However, the equity movement is based on the idea that America is “irredeemably white supremacist, a view meant to continually challenge American institutions and values.”
Bernstein noted that “one of the basic post-civil rights principles of American life” is that “the same standards should be applied to all people. Transitioning from “equality of treatment to equality of outcomes” does away with this basic principle.
Once a measure is applied, not to the unique individual but to that individual’s group identity, the idea that there are neutral, common, universally applicable standards gives way to something else, something subjective and political, with different measures applied to different people, depending on their sex, race, or other characteristics.
The issue of standards, moreover, is not just a matter of values or fairness. With the United States falling behind other countries in math and science, most notably China, standards are matters of competitiveness and national security – even as the military, CIA, and other federal agencies embrace equity.
The movement to reject meritocracy and old standards will weaken our nation in many ways. This is not just a call to open the field and identify qualified candidates. This is a call to “reject and redefine those standards” that prepare the most qualified and capable doctors, engineers, pilots, etc.
When I enter an airplane, I do not care one little bit about the sex or color of the pilot of that airplane. I want a pilot who knows how to fly the airplane and has the skills to safely take me to my destination. When I need surgery, I do not look at the sex or race of the surgeon. I want a surgeon who is qualified to do the surgery.
When my car needs to be fixed, I take it to a black mechanic because he has proven to be a good mechanic. When I want good barbeque, I go to a black-owned business because I like their product. When my daughter-in-law needed brain surgery, she trusted her health and life to a highly recommended doctor of color – maybe from India.
Our nation is in for a world of hurt if/when we do away with the old standard of equality of opportunity and bring in a new standard of equity of outcome. We will be dumbing down our schools, universities, corporations, and military. We should always strive for the best qualified person and stop judging qualifications on sex and race.
I believe that there are highly qualified people of both sexes and all races who should be encouraged to strive for the best. I also believe that there are people of both sexes and all races who do not have the capabilities to be top heart or brain surgeons, airline pilots, and CEOs of corporations. The same opportunities should be available to everyone. However, equity of outcome will not work.