Wednesday, April 22, 2009

That's Affirmative

More random thoughts, brought on by the current suit concerning Fire Fighters claiming discrimination based on exams they took where 'not enough minority persons passed'.

A year or so ago, I watched a program concerning Affirmative Action in Texas colleges. They showed several white students who did not get accepted into programs because the college/uni was trying to follow the affirmative action rules to have a certain % of minority students enrolled. One example was a white girl who worked her butt off for a 4.0 top score, but was not accepted. Another student was accepted, from a minority group, from a lower academic level school. She worked her butt off too, but her scores were not as high as this particular white girl. The program asked the students individually what they thought of the Affirm Action program, and then had the girls meet. The girl who WAS accepted was actually shocked that she was chosen over the other student, simply based on the colour of their skin. She agreed that it was a form of racism in itself, racism against the white student for having the right marks, but the wrong skin colour. The white student was very glad that kids from lower demographics were getting the chance to go to college, but she was very disappointed that her own hard work was ignored completely due to her skin colour. Is that fair? How is it not racism?

It reminds me of when our daycare inspectors told my director that she needs to hire minority groups. They said it as though she avoids doing it. We explained that only one 'minority' person had ever applied in the past 20 years and then they asked why she was not hired. The inspector was acting all indignant, like 'I don't care if only one applied, why didn't you hire her??'. My boss explained that she put in the application when we did not have any staff positions open, and that when we did a few months later, we called the woman and she declined because she had since found another job. End of story. The inspector's response was to grill my boss on what steps she takes to hire minority staff... We listed everywhere that we post job positions (newspaper, Community Employment Services, Man Power) and she said that was not good enough - that we need to target where minority people look for jobs. Um,,, if they don't look in the major employment service places, where else do they look? We did not understand what she meant. She suggested we put up ads in various places like the First Nations community center, SAAMIS immigration dept, etc. My boss explained that those places deal directly with Comm Employ Services (CES) already... and the inspector looked down her nose at us like we were being racist or something. It was ridiculous! Meanwhile, right around this woman stood children from Sudan, Bosnia, Mexico, and Russia. We had about 35% minority children right in the center at that very moment but she ignored that. It was truly ridiculous. Then she told us that we 'best hire' minorities in the near future. How can you do that when none have applied? And if they do apply, but someone else has a better resume and more experience, are we supposed to ignore them if they happen to be white, and choose the less qualified person just because they are a minority? How is that NOT racist too? We evaluate all applications based on merit, not the colour of the person's skin.

That was about 3 years ago, and we have still not had a minority group person apply for a job. We have had 'mentally challenged' people working for us though, found through CES. Does that not count as giving people a chance? Even though they were all white, doesn't that count? We are not some stuck up group who picks and chooses who we hire, we look at everyone and choose based on merit. We do afterall work with young children, which is an extremely important job, and we need to be sure to choose the best of the best based on their abilities and experience and caring, NOT the colour of their skin or cultural background. But we have been cited numerous times in inspection reports for not striving the extra mile to hire minorities. When someone sees that remark in our inspection reports, they assume we are purposefully not hiring minorities and that is completely unfair and unfounded. That makes it sound like we have received applications but turned them down due to their skin colour, which is incorrect.

However, we ARE being asked to turn down applications if the person happens to be caucasion. How is that not racist??

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