Sunday, March 26, 2006

More on "Affirmative Action for White Men"

I've been arguing with -- or perhaps I should say, arguing *at* -- a person on Yahoo who claims to have graduated from prestigious universities in medicine, but for whom logic is a foreign concept. I might as well copy my arguments over here, with any quotes by the person in question used under the "Fair Use" provision for critiquing.

>>Ahhh, I have performed pre-hire occupational exams, as a physician. NEWSFLASH - it's like that already!! (I have had clients who give us a trailer hitch in clinic and prospectives have to demonstrate they can lift and hitch it. If the job requires 50 lbs. or 100lbs. lifting, we have bags and boxes that weight and they demonstrate it as part of the work physical.)

Here's a newsflash for you: This isn't true in every field. While you use personal anecdote, here is one example:

>>You are such a blithering whiney idiot to make such comments while oblivious to the fact that such is the norm in hiring and has been for some time.

And you are wrong if you believe it is true in every field.

>>No problem. I'm sure your low IQ coupled with your sense of entitlement and your incredible need to make excuses for your failures will come up with something else equally untrue.

I believe this answers the question, "Was mdmba2000 ever on the debate team?" Ad hominem attacks don't disprove my argument, they only cast doubt on yours.

>>OK, then we will have to remove all the urinals too. No unfair extras to the guy's side.

I don't have a urinal at home, so I think I can manage a regular toilet at work.

>>My stuff went under the names of full profs at Harvard and Hopkins med schools.

And anyone can claim anything at all on the internet. If your argument depends on who you are -- which can't be proved -- rather than what you say, then it tends to be unconvincing.

BTW, on a strictly personal note and unrelated to the argument, I get a kick out of people who insult other's intelligence without having a full command of the facts.


>>Try reading what you link. It lists **Fitness* standards, not hiring standards.

I'm going to mark off the relevent portion with asterisks. Pay close attention:


Now the dictionary definition of "applicant":

ap·pli·cant (plural ap·pli·cants) noun
Definitions: somebody who formally applies for something: somebody who has formally applied for something ***such as a job,*** a grant of money, or admission to a school or college.

>>Try reading what you link. It lists **Fitness* standards, not hiring standards. And low and behold, there's also different (READ LOWER) standards for **older men**! I guess it is affirmative action and favoritism for old farts like you that allows them to hire guys over 29.

This is a curious tactic, trying to proclaim there is no difference in standards between men and women because there *is* a difference in standards between young and old people. If I were somehow arguing age discrimination and linked this page, would you have flipped the argument around and said "Look, they have different standards for men and women, so there cannot be age discrimination"? Different standards for one criterion do not preclude having different standards for another, unrelated criterion.

BTW, I clicked on your links, and they were worthless for this argument. Leaving aside the fact that a proper rebuttal would show where the United States Marshalls Service changed their hiring criteria to a unified scale, they didn't show *any* hiring standards. Perhaps if you provided a link to something a bit more useful.

>>Or if it isn't too overwhelming to your small brain, brain googling "functional capacity evalaution". I got 2,100,000 returns. Awful lot of websites out there for something you claim isn't done that much, isn't there.

I cut and pasted your quoted search and got the following:

Did you mean: "functional capacity evaluation"
No standard web pages containing all your search terms were found.
Your search - "functional capacity evalaution" - did not match any documents.
Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
Try different keywords.
Try more general keywords.

Okay, I realize you made a typo, but I'm easily amused. Less amusing is that you expect me to search for you. Perhaps you could search the 2.1 million documents on the correctly spelled search and give me a link to something that actually supports your argument.

>>No, I was in the hard science classes that were too difficult for you. That's why you can't get a decent job. Debate was for the liberal arts dummies who thought their self serving babble was intelligent. It's not, it's mental masturbation.

Not that my science background has any bearing on this particular argument, but I have a B.S. in Physics and was in MSAE at the University of Texas at Austin until I went into the I.T. field. I freely admit that I have less college coursework than an M.D. or Ph.D., but I do have a passing familiarity with the hard sciences. If we were arguing medical diagnoses and treatment, I would freely bow to your expertise. However, when you argue that physical standards for men and women are identical in every field -- something disprovable after a moderate web search -- I don't believe your appeal to authority matters that much.


standards, but I did see this on regarding the Air Force criteria:

To graduate from Air Force Basic Training, recruits will have to achieve the following minimum standards:

Two Mile Run - 16:45
1.5 Mile Run - 11:57
Sit-Ups - 50 (in 2 minutes)
Push-Ups - 45 (in 2 minutes)

Two Mile Run - 19:45
1.5 Mile Run - 13:56
Sit-Ups - 50 (in 2 minutes)
Push-Ups - 27 (in 2 minutes)

If anyone wants to check, I found it here:

Now, one can certainly argue whether it's necessary to run two miles in order to pilot an aircraft, but it does seem clear the standard for physical fitness is different depending on what sex you are.

It's possible they've updated the requirements in the past 2.5 years since this was created. Perhaps those that disagree can find out what the standards for 2006 are in order to rebut.


>>This is why you will always be an employee (at least until your job gets outsourced to India -- or has that already happened and thus they need to blame someone else?) and never an employer.

Ad hominem aside, do you have a point, or are you trying to bolster your argument with incorrect and irrelevent attacks?

>>You can't show any different *hiring* standards and that doesn't bother you ...

Are you really having that much difficulty in reading comprehension? If something reads "MEN’S APPLICANT FITNESS STANDARDS," how can it possibly mean anything *but* a hiring standard? What on earth are they applying for, if not a job? And did you happen to miss the part where it says "Minimum" (wedged between "Fair" and "Poor")? If an applicant is below the minimum standard, isn't the obvious interpretation that they will not be considered for employment?

>>B) scores of objective evidence and website showing businesses and clinics that specialize in evaluating an applicant's ability to do certain physical tasks doesn't dissuade you either.

And scores of businesses selling measurement equipment and clinics evaluating physical ability is supposed to prove... what, exactly? I said explicitly (and showed with two separate links) that physical ability *was* measured, and that different standards were allowed for men and women in certain occupations. The only way a vague Google link to this would relate even tangentially is if I had somehow claimed physical ability couldn't be measured.

>>You are simply not intelligent nor logical.

Heh. I will refrain from arguing about this, I merely quote it for ironic amusement.

>>It does not and cannot by law allow people to be hired that don't meet the physical criteria that the job requires. It doesn't matter if an individual or a group on average can exceed the requirements.

The requirement is that if there is a disparate impact for employment of a protected class (women and minorities) it must be be the minimum standard necessary to accomplish the job, and no less "discriminatory" requirements exist.

At this point, I'm going to give you a gift, since it appears you are having trouble arguing your own side of the debate. According to section 106 of the Civil Rights act of 1991:

"It shall be an unlawful employment practice for a respondent, in connection with the selection or referral of applicants or candidates for employment or promotion, to adjust the scores of, use different cutoff scores for, or otherwise alter the results of, employment related tests on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin."

This would seem to explicitly prohibit gender-norming in employment. The problem is, there is a "health-based screening" loophole. This is how the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Justice sneaks by -- the latter has the stated policy:

"The Department of Justice is on record as supporting the use of gender-based physical fitness standards for positions, such as police officer. There are a number of cases which have adopted this position. See SEPTA and Powell. In Peanick v. Reno (8th Cir.), a case involving the selection of U.S. Marshals, the Department of Justice set forth its position on this subject. See section I.A. of the brief."

See ea

This should also address the mistakes you made in your next post.


>>Sounds like an awfully crappy school and easy degree. No wonder you need so many excuses for your failures.

The only thing crappy about the school are the grackles in the trees and the humidity.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Seeing illegal aliens protest proposed laws certainly an interesting experience. I'm not sure about other people, but when I see Mexican flags flying over American soil, waved by a group of illegals, resident aliens, and hyphenated Americans, my already low sympathy completely disappears. It's not that I don't think many Mexicans are hard workers -- many clearly are, and these would make better U.S. citizens than people who use welfare as a hammock rather than a safety net. The problem is that I do not like being told how I should think and vote by foreigners who do not have a say in my government.

My solution is thus: Annex Mexico. It'll be expensive and a logistical nightmare -- much like the reunification of Germany, except on an even larger scale -- but if we do essentially nothing like we have for the last century we'll keep having problems forever. This way, we'll at least have a handle on the problem in a generation, and in a century or so they won't be any more annoying than Texans or Californians are today. Annexation will be cheaper in the long run than being the population overflow for a corrupt government.

Affirmative Action for White Men?

Katha Pollitt has an interesting (and by "interesting" I mean "wrong") couple of blogs on The first is entitled "Affirmative Action for White Men, Chap. 4,651," and here is my response:

I have to agree with Katha -- the goal should be excellence in college, not some heavy-handed attempt at "balance."

So...when are we going to make all college sports coed, and choose just the best athletes?

Equality isn't something you pick and choose a la carte. Demanding equality in one area and then demanding preference in another is hypocritical. I'd be quite happy to have everything decided based on ability rather than on what group a person belongs to -- even if it puts me at a disadvantage in some areas -- but it is clear that there are some who are only interested in what personally benefits them.

She was apparently not satisfied, though whether with her first article or simple the response to it, so she wrote a second entitled "Affirmative Action for Men, Part Deux." I recognize the futility of arguing with a blogger, especially one who tries to create a strawman out of steel (she makes a remark that she believes will provoke a chorus of "oh noes" but instead elicit "That would be fine with me" instead), but here is my response:

Katha Pollitt tries to use sarcasm in her remark, "Much better not to take race into account, and let excellence be the only criterion." Apparently, this is designed to have men (presumably of pale complexion) fall back in terror of equality. To her I say, bring it on.

BUT -- and this is a big "but" -- no picking and choosing on where you want to be equal. If an occupation or sport has a physical requirement, then the standard should be the same regardless of sex. If men are required to register for selective service in order to get student loans, then women can fill out forms with them. If lines form outside female restrooms, no "potty parity" rules to give the distaff side twice the toilets per capita. Finally, in fields where the very top tends to be male dominated -- math, science, and art -- no creative accounting in order to balance gender, just a critical examination of each person's talent.

I'm willing to live in such a world of pure equality. The question is, is Katha?

Another responder apparently rose to her bait, and argued that an under-performing class maybe should have preference for equality's sake. I then responded:

The solution to flawed criteria is to develop better criteria, not to add a fudge factor to make the solution fit one's perception. That's what led us to the current problem -- we confused "Men and women are equally deserving of respect" with "Men and women are equal in all respects." Rather than say "Men as a class tend to have different strengths and weaknesses compared to women as a class," we said "There are no differences at all between the sexes, so the numbers in every field of endeavor must be precisely equal in order to be fair."

I personally think using even flawed criteria consistently and without prejudice is better than using quotas. If the mix of men to women on campus is 30-70, then fine; if the mix of male to female mathematicians is 70-30, then that's fine as well. Demanding a percentage of any group must be a certain sex or race is harmful to the group as a whole, as is demanding equality in one area and preference in another.

As an addendum, if students -- male or female, black or white -- are falling behind because of curriculum and teaching style rather than ability, we should of course fix the problem. That doesn't mean giving a bonus to a group simply because it's underperforming, though.


I can certainly understand the rationale for Affirmative Action for those currently being discriminated against.

I don't, however, agree that someone should be given preference simply because of what their ancestors may have suffered -- neither guilt nor virtue is hereditary. For African-Americans, many of their historical oppressors are in their family tree (slave owners not being known for fidelity or even common decency), and for women fully half of their ancestors are men -- if their grandmother suffered under sexism, it was their grandfather (or someone very much like him) that was the cause of it. Forcing me to pay for something your grandfather did is not a basis for fairness, it is a basis for madness.

This is one reason why the criteria for both men and women (as well as blacks and whites) should be uniform, consistent, and fairly applied. There is no way we can solve the racism and sexism of people long dead, we have to concentrate on the equal treatment of those now living. If we don't, we'll end up like the Palestinians and Israelis, each claiming victim status as they fight each other.