When I was an industrial relations manager, the federal government required a racial background report on the people who applied for a job, along with the people who were hired, to facilitate a comparison to the racial composition of the community at large.
This attempt to prove that our hiring practices were not biased was an exercise in futility because we were not legally allowed to ask anybody what their racial background was. That information is protected by law from being considered while applying and interviewing, meaning we were expected to guess the answers for the report!
With the onset of the affirmative action movement on steroids, employers were advised to treat women and minorities “fairly,” meaning we were expected to actively discriminate against white people in general and men in particular, to the extent that the most qualified person didn’t always get the job.
This movement hit a serious speed bump in 1996 with the passage of Proposition 209. Prop. 209 prohibited the state from considering race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in public employment, education or contracting, portending the end of legalized discrimination against some, to hypothetically cure it for others.
Apparently, Santa Barbara County supervisors didn’t get the memo advising them that a proposition to rescind Prop. 209 failed in November. Accordingly, they are seeking to return to the glory days of affirmative action policies, in order to root out “systemic racism” in the county workforce and our criminal justice system.
The county’s workforce has a racial composition that is not too far off from the makeup of our general population.
However, in upper management, it is a different story. There, whites, and to a lesser degree, Asians, are disproportionately represented. What to do? Well, why not create “a race, equity, and inclusion framework”?
Huh? You know, “Join Hands, Open Hearts and Minds, Ignite Action, and Navigate Change”! Honestly, these are the actual nauseatingly woke title summaries of their plan. At least they left out the part about singing kumbaya.
An honest cliff note version of the plan? Promote fewer whites and Asians, regardless of aptitudes and outcomes!
Albeit, things are a lot more tricky nowadays with regard to hiring and promoting via race and gender quotas. For instance, which box do you check for a gender-fluid person who identifies as a “they”?
Moreover, many people these days are interracial, a sign that race doesn’t matter to most people in reality. So how can you guess with certainty a person’s race? I, for one, have a grand niece and nephew who are a mix of Italian, Austrian, Mexican, etc.
One has a dark complexion while the sibling doesn’t. Should that one get more opportunities than the other on the basis of skin color versus aptitude? If so, cue Martin Luther King Jr. to roll over in his grave.
More importantly, the county criminal justice system’s new goal is to keep people out of jail (rather than reducing crime), especially people of color, despite the obvious problem that people are not facing arrest based on their color, but their conduct.
Nonetheless, the county diverted upward of 50% of criminals (and their victims) from having their day in court and called that success!
This is part of a movement (The Breathe Act 2020) to eliminate prisons and jails in favor of “therapeutic” alternatives. The end result? Many criminals have lost any fear of facing serious repercussions for their criminal activities. They don’t even bother to show up for their court hearings, a pattern referred to as “failure to appear”!
Call me old-fashioned. I still believe in “commit the crime, do the time” regardless of race, color, ethnicity, national origin and sexual identity.
Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB and the host of “The Andy Caldwell Show” weekdays from 3-5 p.m. on News-Press Radio AM 1290.