Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 24, 2009 / 30 Nissan 5769

When whites are discriminated against

By Linda Chavez


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There was a time in America when the color of your skin determined whether or not you could get a job or promotion. Thankfully, Congress outlawed such practices in 1964, and we are a better country for it. But just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case that could determine that discrimination is OK, so long as its victims are not black.


The case was brought by a group of New Haven, Conn., firefighters who had taken a civil service test to become lieutenants or captains but were denied promotion because the city didn't like the racial outcome of the test results. The highest-scoring firefighters were whites and Hispanics. No blacks scored high enough to be promoted, so the city decided to throw out the test results, and 17 white firefighters and one Hispanic, who were denied promotions, sued.


One of the more interesting aspects of this case involves the individual plaintiffs — at least one of whom is an ethnic minority, Hispanic, and another who is dyslexic. Frank Ricci, the lead plaintiff, quit a second job so he could study for the test and hired someone to make audiotapes so he could better prepare for the exams. Despite his reading disability, Ricci places sixth out of 77 of those taking the lieutenants' exam. How can anyone claim that denying this man a promotion because he happens to be white is right, much less legal?


A lower court supported the city's decision to throw out the test results, without a full hearing, and a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision. When plaintiffs appealed to have the case heard by all 13 members of the Appeals Court, the court split 7-6 against hearing the appeal.


A Clinton-appointed judge, Jose Cabranes, issued an eloquent dissent: "At its core, this case presents a straightforward question: May a municipal employer disregard the results of a qualifying examination, which was carefully constructed to ensure race-neutrality, on the ground that the results of that examination yielded too many qualified applicants of one race and not enough of another?" It's exactly the right question to ask.


Is it conceivable in this day and age that a court would uphold the right of an employer to throw out test results if blacks were the highest scorers? (And remember, as Judge Cabranes noted, the tests in this case were carefully constructed to ensure that no racial bias existed in the questions.) We'd be rightly appalled if the shoe were on the other foot and high-scoring blacks were denied promotions because the city preferred to promote whites. We should be just as disturbed when the city chooses to deny white and Hispanic firefighters promotions they deserve. Race shouldn't determine who gets promoted, period.


You'd think we'd have learned this lesson long ago, but apparently not — and the effects have had pernicious consequences. We may not have totally eliminated racial prejudice, but promoting less-qualified individuals in the name of diversity undermines our sense of fairness. It also casts doubt on the abilities of even well-qualified members of the racial group that has received favored treatment.


Nonetheless, the case will likely be a close call for Supreme Court justices, not based on the merits but because the court is split almost evenly. Four justices think discrimination is OK, so long as it doesn't disadvantage minorities, and four believe that the civil rights laws and Constitution apply equally to all persons, regardless of their race. The man in the middle, Justice Anthony Kennedy, is often skeptical of race-based preferences, but occasionally votes with those who want to take race into account. How he votes when the court hands down its decision later this year will likely determine this case.


Is it too much to hope that someday we'll get beyond race in this country? The only way to get there is by outlawing discrimination against anyone because of race.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Her latest book is "Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

Linda Chavez Archives


© 2006, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles