02/17/2006 12:07 pm
Racist Police Hirings
I think there are a few big flaws in their argument.
1) Comparing Population makeup to Job position makeup is completely irrelevant. To jump to the conclusion that "a 20% Black population is represented 10% on the police force == racism" is a ridiculous oversimplification of the issue. At UWEC Women sport a 2/3 majority to men, yet I graduated with 4-5 women of 20 or so CS majors. This has to (of course) mean the CS department is sexist, and doing a poor job of hiding it. It can't possibly be that women and men just have different interests. If 80% of applicants were black and 10% of the force was you'd have an argument, however....
2) Even if that were the case that doesn't mean the hiring process is racist. It's funny to me that the Math portion of the test is being called into question given the fact that math is the "universal" language. The example problem involves knowing the difference in time between 11pm and 1:30am. I don't want police officers who can't answer that. "You were doing 62 in a 55...here a $350 ticket for 18 over...have a nice day."
3) Why do we have to lower standards for anyone to get jobs. Why should we wave the requirement that firefighters be able to lift 200 pounds and carry it over their shoulder so women can make the force? Dragging someones unconscious ass out of a building is an important part of the job. In this case maybe math isn't an important part of the job, but it speaks to a persons problem solving skills. (Plus I have a hard time even calling "telling time" math) More importantly...
4) If I were black I think I'd be way more infuriated at the Justice Department for automatically jumping to the conclusion that I was inherently inferior and needed to have life made easier for me. According to people who know more about the test it's something any 6th grader should breeze through.
5) How long, as a society, are we going to continue to play to the lowest common denominator where we choose "just get rid of the test" over "make sure adults can do grade school math before you give them a gun"? If there is a culture gap where kids of minorities aren't getting the same education as white counterparts then we should attack that problem. However graduation tests are looking to be dropped because they are "unfair" to minorities that go to the same school, and therefor get the same education, as their white counter parts. The reason for this is often that their home life isn't conducive to learning (it's hard to study for a English final when your parents speak Spanish and you have to work 5 hours a night, I guess.) While I can understand their plight at some point the "Tough Shit" law has to come into play. You can have all the legitimate reasons in the world for not learning something, the fact remains you didn't learn it. Why should you slide through the cracks now so in 5 years you can be complaining the business you're applying to wants to verify you can tell time?
It's often a knock on the graduation tests (as well as an oft made complaint during school) that students wont use the knowledge in their lives, so why to the need to prove they know it now. While it's true you probably wont have to prove any theorems or draw a map of Europe from memory in your future life that really isn't the point. School is about learning how to learn/problem solve more than anything. Math is especially important in that regard. Identifying problems, breaking the problem up in to smaller problems, applying a set of rules to a problem, identifying patterns, seeing a problem as the sum of it's parts, etc are all an important part of life. Likewise that English paper you're writing might be a pain in the ass waste of time, at the moment, but the office job you apply to someday will want to know if you've had experience with a word processor. Guess what you can tell them now? You're learning more than what the teachers are teaching, whether you notice or not.
PS) I don't mean to be picking on minorities, I'm just sick of the "Woe is me" attitude that seems is so prevalent in today's America.
PPS) I don't necessarily believe that Graduation tests are the bee's knees, but I think being unfair is the least of the issues with them.
PPPS) Just a reminder that this whole rant is off the record because as a white 20-49 year old male I'm not allowed an opinion on anything.
|icbeast - Refactor Mercilessly|
|I agree completely.|
|Micah - 584 Posts|
"Just a reminder that this whole rant is off the record because as a white 20-49 year old male I'm not allowed an opinion on anything."
Yes you have a point. But as a white 20-something that has never lived anywhere but Eau Claire, WI, no, you don't get to have an opinion on black culture or education. Nor do you get to make statements that start with "If I were black..."
I'm no affirmative action lover, but it always seems like most democrats against AA come from 99% white communities and refuse to acknowledge an underlying societal racism that might go deeper than "a white kid, a black kid, and a latino kid walk into English class. Why can't they just all learn the same thing." You may be sick of the "woe is me" attitude, but I'm sick of the "If they just hitched up their bootstraps like the Irish did, there wouldn't be any more racism" attitude
When graduation tests are declared racist, it isn't because of questions like filling in maps and math. It's reading comprehension and reasoning questions that reflect white culture and values. If they put a bunch of questions on the tests that reflected black or latino culture, the dumb white kids that we all went to high school with would be getting them wrong. And yes, there is a way to design (relatively) culturally neutral tests.
Geaduation tests are worthless because it isn't a reflection of whether you deserve to pass high school. For all intents and purposes, I didn't deserve to graduate HS. I spent 40% of the time at home, McDonalds, or Donut Land, 40% sleeping, and the other 20% in class because my teachers wouldn't let me sleep in those classes. But I was a smart kid who is really good at bullpoo pooting my way through tests and papers. Why do I deserve it more than a kid who works his butt off in high school, but freezes up during tests and flunks the graduation test.
For another thing, who cares anymore if we just hand out diplomas. Our society has marginalized a high school diploma to be pretty much worthless anyways, so who cares if some kid gets one that doesn't deserve it.
Finally, I completely agree that we shouldn't be hiring people who can't answer time questions. I don't think population to hiring ratios are the way to judge racism in hiring policies (it should be applicant to hiring, and even then there has to be a demonstration of qualified applicants.) I'm also not a not a huge AA fan in every respect. But just as you can't assume every time a black person doesn't get hired, its because of racism, you also can't assume that every time someone complains about unfair hiring practices, that they're just playing the race card.
|Jeremy - Always thinking of, but never about, the children.|
I've heard tons of people say the tests are biased, but never actually present examples any of them. Everyone says there are better ways to word questions, but never point out the flaw in the original or a better way to do it. I've yet to see a "Seinfeld" trivia questionaire being used for job placement.
I was never defending graduation tests. They have more cons than pros and theorectically you've already proven learning the topic or not by passing the classes to get you to the graduation point.
Obviously there are legitimate gripes about racist hiring practices. I was never dogging AA (Although honestly I'm not so thrilled about it). I was simply saying it bugs me that we identify a gap in 3 groups of people, are posed with the choice of closing the gap by bringing one group up or just relaxing the standards so everyone gets in and we choose the latter.
What mainly bugged me here was that this wasn't the NAACP down there charging racism on a semi case by case basis. This was some guy in the justice department who saw the results:
and brought the hammer down on the department because the only possible explanation was racism.
Here's a different article on it
|icbeast - 3618 Posts|
I did have to take a graduation test, so I won't comment directly on that. But I have 2 points about high school education in general.
First of all, I don't think high school should be about handing out A's for effort. If you're just a smart kid who didn't have to work hard to get through high school, then that's fine. The fact still remains that you demonstrated the necessary criteria that were required to graduate. You may have slept through class but you still showed up to complete assignments and take tests. If someone chooses to not do what is necessary to graduate, then they shouldn't graduate. And if they can't meet the necessary criteria, I don't care how hard they tried. Maybe it's not their fault, maybe their teachers don't help them, etc etc they're still not deserving of a diploma. You want to fix the problems and help them learn what they need to? I'm down with that. You want to make excuses and exceptions for everyone? Not cool.
Instead of furthering the marginalization of a high school diploma by handing them out to everyone and their mom, we should be maintaining if not increasing standards to keep pace with other countries.
The USA has a bunch of different cultures each of which is as valid as any other. It's a democratic republic, which means the majority rules. The majority still attempts to teach and use proper English and grammar. So when you say, "It's reading comprehension and reasoning questions that reflect white culture and values." I agree completely. However, English is still the official language and therefore if you're going to be a public servant (ie a police officer) you should have to possess a certain level of "white culture" reading comprehension and reasoning. The freedoms to basically have whatever culture you want is this country are a great thing, but until we hold a vote to speak Spanish instead or make Ebonics the official language, Americans should either learn how to read, write, and speak proper English or live with the consequences if they choose not to.
The biggest thing that bugs me about AA is the fact that at its core is the racial categorizing of people. You need to have 5 white employees, 2 blacks, a Native American, and throw in someone who claims Hispanic descent too for good measure. How about just trying to ensure that only the most qualified individuals are hired? AA may accomplish getting more minorities jobs, but I personally believe it itself is just as much a perpetuating source of racism as anything else that categorizes people.
And its just a math test. If you're a grown adult who can't read word problems and do 6th grade math, you sure better not be cruising around town in your beefed up cop car that most likely has a laptop in it with a gun chasing after criminals who are 100 times smarter than you and getting paid my tax dollars to do it.
|Jeremy - 8968 Posts|
It would be hard to do it with job interviews, but I'll never understand why the people doing college admissions need to know race or sex at all. Your file could get sent to the decision makers void of any identifying info at all and matched up to your file later. If the school ends up all white females who could complain, clearly they were just more qualified. (This wouldn't work for the "big wig" colleges where you have to write an essay or something, because they'd probably figure it out)
Also, technically English isnt the official language, we don't have one. (Although who are we kidding) But I agree 100% that if the hang up is proper english then tough nuggies.
I also agree 100% that while a valient effort is to be admired there are crieteria in place that need to be met. I actually wish high school wasn't as easy as it was because I had ZERO work ethic/study habits once I got to college. (I did have options for an "accelerated" path in classes, and my teachers wanted me to go, but I didn't want to take a harder class because in the end all a college would do is look at the GPA. If all things are equal you'ld take the person with the harder classes, but you're not going to get a second look if the cut off is a certain point. In the end it didn't matter because I turned down the UW for UWEC anyway, but who knows. Also I did break down and skip a class my senior year, moving up to be in a class of freshmen. Also this stopped having anything to do with anything like 50 words ago.) Like Micah I slept through many of the classes, only to be woken up to "set the curve" on a test. All taking school down another peg would do is ensure everyone misses out.
Perhaps the solution is to not just greenlight kids all the way down and then stiff arm them right at the goal line. (Hold on Vince Workman just showed up to comment on my football cliche, then ran awkwardly down the hall) Maybe the kids should be held back earlier. It seems to me kids get coddled so they aren't emotionally distraught. I've heard of lots of people not graduating on time, but very few that fail 7th grade. Flunking a Senior might turn them away from education, holding back a 3rd grader they wont even know they have another option, and maybe they'll be encouraged by the improved grades that come and turn it around.
|Jeremy - 8968 Posts|
|Although seeing as this video was made word for word off of an English 112 (college class) final draft term paper it would seem that kids who don't have english as a first, or 9th, language can go on to a higher education.|
|Scott - 6225 Posts|
|The US actually has no official language, but the point is good nonetheless|
|Scott - If you aren't enough without it, you'll never be enough with it.|
|here's the solution. Make it possible for anyone who has the desire to be able to acquire the education that will allow America as a culture and a country move forward. If whites have all the jobs it is because the education system favors white people, directly or indirectly. Fix that area. Educate everyone who wants to be educated, and then check the results in 15 years and see the amazing difference. If you are testing someone to see what they have learned, you are already too late. Start from the beginning, not the end.|
|Jeremy - 8968 Posts|
Agreed, but you touched on, almost in passing, the most important point in all of these issues.
We're always looking for quick fix solutions, be it relaxing standards, quotas, etc. If there is a problem in America of systematic racism then it is going to take time to dismantle it. If you want to take down a building you don't blow up the 100th floor, you get at the infrastructure in the lower levels. Unfortunately there are no immediate results that way, and some of it is out of our control. If minorities aren't learning well because of their home life then it's largely out of our control and any programs to help that would have trouble getting funding because there are no immediate results to speak of.
|Scott - 6225 Posts|
pretty much exactly. But, in your illustration of blowing up a building from the lower levels, I think there are immediate results: no more building.:) But yes, the problem is if you put in a program that will most likely take several years to start showing improvement, no one will take it seriously. Everyone who wants all things to run exactly the way a business is run will refuse to understand that your Return on Investment might not break even for 10+ years or more. And, if you start something with current 1st graders, you won't see substantial results for maybe 20+ years, simply because results won't be seen in terms of employment until these 7 and 8 year olds are in their mid 20s.
What we need is someone bold enough to suggest a new policy for education and be firm with the fact that it will take a long long time to show results. The current system (which is not entirely a failure of the Bush Administration; it is the same basic idea that has been around since the Reagan Administration) wants to find quick fixes and wants to go about it from the wrong end. Someone needs to stand up and say, "What we have now doesn't work, and what we need will take a long time. But I guarantee it will be worth it."
I am now announcing my bid for Senate in the State of Wisconsin for the year 2018 (when I turn 35).
|Jeremy - Cube Phenomenoligist|
|The analogy was that it would take more planning and careful execution to get at the infrastructure and dismantle it enough to eventually bring the building down. As opposed to sending a "unibomber" package to someone on the 100th floor.|
|Scott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!|
|what if you sent a unibomber to the first floor? That might bring the building down in hurry with the same amount of planning.|
|icbeast - 3618 Posts|
|I know you're trying to get more hits, but I don't think it's fair to count the feds checking on this site every day now that we've started a discussion on how to blow up buildings.|
|Jeremy - Robots don't say 'ye'|
|Ha, I didn't even think of that. I'll let you know of the feds ever do come.|
|Scott - Resident Tech Support|
|I'm trying to get president Bush himself on this site.|
|Jeremy - Broadcast in stunning 1080i|
|Someone searched google for "are whites devils" and found this, so I reread it. We had quite the discussion here.|
|Scott - 6225 Posts|
|Well, as it turns out, I used the "Blowing up" and "President Bush" in the same sentence, and I have yet to get a visit from a guy in a black suit.|
|Jeremy - 8968 Posts|
|Well, see now you've said it again. You're going to have to start watching your back all over again.|
|Bombs are flying-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->|
|PackOne - Make my own decisions. That's my perogative.|
|I don't know anyone on this site.|
|Jeremy - 1.21 Gigawatts!?!?|
|The funniest thing is that person found this thread by googling "Jobs for white devils"|