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Fighting Fire with Fire?

August 31, 2010

Racism certainly has played its ugly and destructive part in American history, and, thanks in part to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it will continue to do so in the near future. A recent AP story reported that, according to the EEOC, “a blanket refusal to hire workers based on criminal records or credit problems can be illegal if it has a disparate impact on racial minorities.” Just as in the case of Ricci v. DeStefano, where the city of New Haven invalidated the scores of firefighters on a promotional exam because not enough minorities qualified, just because a policy in one case may pick a white candidate over a minority one does not make the policy racist. While it is laudable for the American government to attempt to ensure that all people are treated equally, any policy that only applies when a “screening process weeds out more black and Hispanic applicants than whites” is an undoubtedly racist policy and has no place in the EEOC today. It is fighting for equality by promoting inequality–what else could describe judging minorities on a lower standard than whites? While minorities are indeed more likely to have criminal histories than whites, attacking companies who do not hire anyone with criminal pasts, regardless of race, does nothing to solve the problem. Instead, the government should be looking into why minorities are more likely to have troubles with the law in the first place–perhaps because or poor schools, broken families, and a lack of role models in minority communities. Whether you agree that these are the causes of the problem or not, it still remains racist to hold minorities to a lower standard than whites. All Americans are capable of achieving the American dream, and its about time that we all rose to the occasion and ended these racist policies once and for all.

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