We hear much discussion today about equity. This seemingly innocuous word is leading our country into a frightful future that may affect your health. Someone might ask: Why should we not pursue equity? Doesn’t equity mean being fair and impartial? The problem begins when you ask two people: What is fair? A lawyer might think it is fair to charge $500 an hour for his expert services. A graduate with a sociology degree from a northeastern university might think that such a rate is too high because many working class people cannot afford to pay such a high rate. When you hear someone speaking about equity, often it is someone who is trying to take something that another person has earned.
Heather Mac Donald in her new book, When Race Trumps Merit, informs the public how a good idea of fairness has reached an ugly conclusion.
The Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress in 1964 to prevent one citizen or business from discriminating against another citizen based on their skin color. It was deemed fair to be color blind in how we run our businesses and organizations. Prior to this there was a sad history of many ethnic groups being discriminated against because of their ethnic background. It was deemed equitable to end this type of discrimination.
In 1971, the Supreme Court established a precedent that businesses could not enact a litmus test for a job if the test resulted in a “disproportionate impact on an underrepresented minority.” This disparate impact test has been taken to new heights today in the name of equity.
Redfin, a real estate app, will no longer provide neighborhood crime statistics because someone felt that crime statistics were biased against young black men. It did not matter to Redfin that young black men commit more crime proportionately than other ethnic groups. What mattered to the leftists at Redfin is proving to others that they support equity by preventing the dissemination of vital information because it affects one ethnic group more than another.
In San Francisco at Lowell High School, students were admitted by their results on a standardized test that was given to middle school students.
Lowell High had 82% non-white students but the equity nazis deemed this was not fair because there were not enough black students. The school leadership panicked and threw out the test requirement and instead held a lottery for admission. They decided the lottery would be more equitable. Not surprisingly, after this change, D and F scores went up 300%.
A similar tactic is being used in medical schools. To gain entrance to medical school, a student had to take a standardized test called the MCAT. Because blacks scored disproportionately lower on this test, the leftist establishment decided that blacks did not need to take the test. Today a black person with a slightly below average MCAT score and a below average grade point average has a 9 times greater chance of being admitted to medical school than a white or asian person with similar scores.
The Medical School Licensing Examination (USLE) is a test medical school students take to determine if they will be given a license to practice medicine. In the past, students were given their test scores but because blacks were scoring at the lower end of the grading ladder, the test was changed to a pass/fail grade. No longer can hospitals look for the top ranked students to staff their residency openings. The message being sent is very clear: Hire doctors to staff your facility based on their race instead of their ability.
Law schools are also admitting students of black heritage who do not meet the minimum test scores. In many instances, this has a negative impact on black students who are admitted with lower test scores than their peers. First year exams in law school are anonymous. 51% of black law students, at the end of their first year of law school, are ranked in the bottom 10% of their class ranking. 66% of black law students end up in the bottom 20% of their class.
These students are not being well served when they are thrust into an arena for which they are unqualified. Imagine a 5 foot 7 inch, 200 pound white guy being placed on the Duke basketball team. He may wear the jersey but he will not do well in the arena.
There is a basic problem that our educational system does not seem able to address. Black students progress in high school well behind other ethnic groups. 66% of black 12th graders were tested “below basic” in math skills by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). 27% of white 12th graders were “below basic” and 20% of asians were “below basic”.
7% of black 12th graders were rated “proficient” in 12th grade math. 28% of whites were rated “proficient” and 37% of asians were similarly rated.
4% of whites were rated “advanced” in 12th grade math and 15% of asians were similarly rated. The percentage of blacks rated “advanced” was too small to show up statistically.
These numbers are not published to disparage anyone but rather to show there is an underlying problem in our society. Instead of revamping our public schools to bring the black students up to the performance level of other ethnic groups, our educational establishment merely throws out the test scores and declares the tests to be unfair. The educational establishment which is dominated by Democrats is unwilling to upset the education unions by demanding that they work to improve the performance of black students.
We have seen countless cases of religious schools and charter schools that improve the test scores of their black students. The Democrats ignore these successes and continue to fight against funding for charter schools that serve black students. Years ago this tactic was used by whites who were discriminating against blacks. Today, this form of racial discrimination is used by the Democrat Party who refuse to stand up to the education unions. The Democrats respond to the poor performance of black students by giving the public schools more money. Could you imagine the owner of a football team giving his coaches bonuses if they continued to have losing seasons? Is this Equitable or is it discrimination?
This form of equity which refuses to require black students to rise to the same level as other ethnic groups is “racism by lowered expectations.” The black students who move through the public school system without being challenged will end up earning much less money in their lifetime. Promoting these students into colleges or graduate programs where they are not qualified is not fair to them or to the public. One thing is certain, the Biden/Harris administration believes equity is more important than fairness.