There are five times as many inordinately tall white men as black men in America, and yet there are three times as many blacks in the NBA as whites. Why isn’t this a slam-dunk proof that there’s discrimination against white players in the NBA? Because, as any social scientist worth his salt will tell you, asymmetry of outcome is never proof, in and of itself, of discrimination. Basketball, as distinct from downhill skiing, is the pickup sport of blacks because, for most black youth, a basketball court is more accessible than a ski hill, and a ball and pair of sneakers is more affordable than a tow ticket, ski boots and skis.

Let’s provide every black basketball player with a bus pass and free tow tickets and boots and skis and see what happens. Eventually there might be the ‘right’ proportion of black to white faces in the chalet. But there might not. And that too might have a perfectly innocent explanation. 

This is not to say there isn’t discrimination against blacks in America. I have no doubt there is. It is to say, however, that proportional representation is never, in and of itself, a measure of social justice. In fact in some cases it can be a measure of social injustice. For example, how many personal preferences would we have to override to ensure an equal number of male and female nurses?

This has been pointed out to every first-year student in every social science class in every college and university in the country. And yet it never ceases to amaze me how it never ceases to escape the understanding of the SJWs these classes produce, and the college and university administrators they then become. Are these people deliberately stupid? Or are they just, well, stupid?      

Categories: Critical Thinking, Everything You Wanted to Know About What's Going On in the World But Were Afraid to Ask, Social and Political Philosophy, Why My Colleagues Are Idiots

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2 replies

  1. There is discrimination against white basketball players in the NBA. However, the discrimination (i.e. inclusion and exclusion) is not based on skin colour. Instead, it is based on basketball playing skill. What really matters, therefore, is not the proportion of any skin colour that is selected but the method or criterion of selection. Thus, “discrimination” (making choices) per se is neither good nor evil. While asymmetry of outcome may be the result of discrimination it may be good discrimination, and desirable asymmetry. There would be a lot fewer NBA basketball fans if players were chosen on skin colour by proportion of the population, over a certain minimum height, regardless of skill.

    We see partial recognition of this in our anti-discrimation laws, which prohibit discrimination “against” (but not in favour of) anyone on a “prohibited ground”. The debate, therefore, narrows down to two issues whether (i) something such as “gender expression” should be a prohibited ground, and (ii) whether prohibition of discrimination “against” one group may result in discrimination against another group, such as women, on another prohibited ground, such as sex.

    The cause of so many people forgetting that “proportional representation is never, in and of itself, a measure of social justice” is not just stupidity, but also the misuse of “discrimination” — assuming it invariably has an evil motive with an evil result. This misuse has been put on steroids in the last couple of years with the widespread replacement of “discrimination” by “systemic discrimination”. Discrimination simpiciter is gone; only systemic discrimination exists, or so Justin Trudeau told Brenda Lucki. Although discrimination can be good or evil, systemic discrimination is invariably evil. Not because anyone knows what it means, but because it has been decreed to be evil. So now, disproportional representation has become systemic discrimination if it results in any real or imagined disadvantage.

    I look forward to class actions against systemic discrimination by unskilled white wanna be basketball players and uneducated male wanna be nurses — among others.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I know what “systemic discrimination “ means. It’s just a call for affirmative action by the back door. AA has gone into eclipse in the U.S. because white and Asian-ancestry folks there call it “reverse racism”, which it is. Even Clarence Thomas says so. Like bussing (“buss’n”) and Free Medicare for All, it’s a third rail of American politics, now and forever, no matter who’s in the White House. You can play near it, dance around and over it, even pee on it. (Yes, really.). But don’t ever touch it, even on a double-dog dare.

    So to achieve the dystopian dream of equal outcomes without setting heavy-handed race-based hiring quotas you need the propaganda that the system itself is racist, thence its current distribution of outcomes. Then you can inveigle the decision-makers into fixing their systems themselves … by voluntarily adopting their own, lighter-handed, race-based hiring quotas. The outcome measure is the same as with traditional AA, just the methods are more subtle and manipulative. (“We can do better.”). All this seems harmless and silly, something a skilled administrator should know how to pay lip service to as necessary to keep the social-justice harpies off her case. And what does lip service mean except to suck harder? Being castigated by NDP MPs on Commons committees for being unable to come up with the expected confessions is just part of the job.

    The deception inherent in the systemic discrimination charge is that the SJW pretends to concede, generously, that no individuals are racist or evil, thus ingratiating zerself with wary power brokers who have seen zer kind before. But if they aren’t part of the solution, they are part of the problem. So they’d better get on board before zhe starts calling them racist and evil after all for being reactionary instead of progressive when they start to push back. After all, the cover-up is always worse than the crime, right? And then we’ll end up with AA without any politician having to own it, where Homer Simpson runs our nuclear power plants with his degree in Pre-Rutherfordian Quantum Studies from Brock University. (Old joke not about Brock: where the engineers’ slide rules are scaled “qualitatively”. No numbers on them, just “small”, “medium “ and “large.”)

    Liked by 1 person

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