T Nation

Moral Equivalents?

Let me stop you right there.

Violent is morally corrupt as you can get. You cannot be worse.

So is it possible that those differences make people of certain races better at certain jobs on average?

It’s certainly seems to be the case that, at this juncture, individuals of certain races are better at some jobs than are individuals of other races. But it’s important to remember that this may be temporary (ie, it may not have been true in the past, and it may not be true in the future). Thus, we would be wise not to over-interpret the present situation as representing some sort of ‘timeless reality’ concerning racial differences in job performance.

Most things might be temporary. But given your first statement, do you think companies should try to actively drive diversity into all parts of their organizations?

I’ve made many statements, so I’m not sure which one you consider to be my first. But at any rate, should implies a value judgment. It is difficult for me to make universal statements concerning what actions would or would not bring value to a company. I think most companies recognize that having a diverse employee population is good from a PR perspective, so there’s that.

That’s not all. After reading some research papers on the subject, the business case for diversity can be made regarding better financial returns and more innovation from diverse companies. The reason is mainly attributed to diverse teams having more disagreement, but better outcomes.

Personally, I think some of the pushes for diversity can be overstated and swing the pendulum too far, but it is clear that having a homogeneous workforce who all think the same is not a good thing. I would also add that I think diversity of thought (attributed to the sociocultural practices, outlooks, and experiences you mentioned) is what I interpret to what is critical for diversity to have a positive impact, not the race or gender. It just so happens that a lot of those experiences happen to be specific to race/gender and race/gender is much easier to measure than opinions, thoughts, and abilities.

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Jonathan Haidt talks about some of the same issues as JP, at least about what drives humans to be so tribal or to be low in trait openness which seems to drive ethno- national leanings. On the positive side, Haidt talks a lot about the kinds of things that develop a sense of “we - ness” or what tends to bind us together.

He’s probably a much better place to start if you’re curious. He’s FAR more civil, agreeable, or diplomatic, than JP. Haidt never uses ad hominem atacks, and he’s a Dem so he’s likely just more compassionate in a sense. JP is Canadian but he describes himself as a Classic British Liberal, so I believe he’s more in my camp politically. I’ll put a fairly humorous clip of Haidt talking about Libertarians in that thread.

It would be nice to take a few of the younger (say 20-25 year old) white supremacists and put them in a cabin with JP for a month. Maybe with JP and the gentleman that Legalsteel posted about who was collecting KKK capes. See how many of these hate-filled young men are redeemable, and if you could get them to start cleaning their rooms instead of looking for scapegoats for their problems.


I’d be interested to see the specifics of these research papers.

The diversity innovation correlation has never really been able to jive with my personal experience as I have always worked on cross functional teams that are basically always 1 deep at any given function. That is, a team has 1 of each of a number of different types of engineers, a project manager, a drafter, a purchaser, someone to manage contracts, etc. So in that sense, the teams are diverse.

Most technology and products are developed in teams like this. A few companies and products are big enough that the teams have more depth at particular functions. But even then, I fail to see how sociocultural practices and outlooks affect a person’s ability to design circuits or write code. I can conceive that in more people facing jobs like sales, HR, marketing, legal, etc. a diversity of life experiences helps a team interact with a variety of people. But that’s not really talking about innovation (possible exception of marketing in certain companies and fields).

Most industry changing innovations happen from teams that form organically, but there aren’t lots of examples of racially and gender diverse teams making these types of innovations. The tech revolution in Silicon Valley was basically white men.

So basically, that’s a long winded way of asking what these research papers are.

I don’t think I can link to the research papers as it requires a login, but here are some articles summarizing some research (I know, not the same as the author will have bias)

That is basically my point, personally I think “diversity” can happen from people of the same gender and same skin color, bringing different ideas to the table in different ways, which is good. In this anecdote, you’re talking about the value of different job perspectives and how it is beneficial. I agree, but that is not the only perspective that is brought to the table. A female engineer might have different perspective than a male engineer, and through that perspective they can help achieve whatever the team is trying to achieve. I do believe that same perspective could be brought by a more feminine male engineer instead of a female (in my specific hypothetical), but that is harder to measure and study.

A research paper specifically addresses this.

An abstract of another that I can’t link to:

I’m not sure you’re basing this on, or what organic team formation has to do with what we’re talking about. I’m not saying that innovation is impossible in a homogeneous environment, only that the research that I’ve seen shows there is a positive moderating effect of diversity and the ability of teams/organizations to innovate.

Yes, they can exist, be totally not racist, but they will be called racists.

We’ll call it ‘Honkey’s against hate’

I don’t know what your experience was but my family could travel behind the iron curtain without having to go to the USSR. I suppose the purpose may have made a difference, but just vacation travel was allowed. Not they could have afforded it, but they go from communist city to communist place for vacation with out much fan fair.

Why on earth would non-racist white people (in America) feel the need to ‘engage in identity politics for white issues’? In other words, what are the non-racist ‘white issues’ in America that necessitate such organizing?

The social, cultural and economic power structures of the US are heavily tilted to the advantage of white folk. That’s not an accusation or a condemnation; it’s simply a statement of fact. It’s no one-person’s fault, and is not (to a large extent) a function of intentional racism on the part of specific individuals (with a few notable exceptions). But the result is, white people in America enjoy advantages–many of which are so insidious as to be almost invisible–not shared by non-white individuals. Thus, there is no need for white people to engage in identity-politics organizing to ameliorate the sort of systematic historical stifling other groups have experienced.

Are you talking historically or currently?

Could you elaborate with specifics?

Whites are less likely to be admitted to college than blacks when all other admission criteria are equal.

Did you actually go there, Silyak?

With the exception of HBCU’s…have you looked at the make-up of American Colleges and Universities?.

A handful of people don’t get in…they sue to the Supreme Court…and all of a sudden there is this wide-spread “reverse discrimination” against whites?

And by the way. American Colleges have never, EVER just admitted on “merit”. Look at the history of women and poor being admitted to U.S. institutions of higher learning (to name a few)…especially graduate education.

Not to worry, though. Your concerns are being taken care of in fast order. (Now…if we could just eliminate all that admission discrimination when it comes to Football and Basketball players).

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There are so many, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Here’s a nice intro, which starts off by contrasting racism vs white privilege:

Are you suggesting this stems from historical, institutional biases against white people, and that it continues to affect white admissions to this day? Because that’s the sort of thing we’re talking about here–not Affirmative Action.

Do you have any stats for this one?

I’m curious what you are referencing. You mentioned the social, cultural, and economic power structures are heavily tilted to the advantage of white folk. Surly when you are saying this you aren’t talking about shampoo and pantyhose like the article you linked to.

Yes, some of the initial examples are telling-but-trite. But they become more substantive deeper in the link.

Not that I care to look for right now. If affirmative action didn’t affect admission rates, why are there so many people and organizations that defend it in court? Either it does nothing or it increases certain race admission rates at the expense of other races. Either way, it’s indefensible.

A little bit of whattaboutism going on here.

I went there because the question was asked and has a fairly straightforward answer. Starting your response by asking such a question with rhetorical disbelief doesn’t really help your argument so much as make you look hysterical that not everyone blindly believes.

Where did you define what type of racism we are talking about? You asked what white issues in America necessitate organizing. College admissions seems important and relevant. Not sure why it’s outside of the scope of your question.

Frankly, assuming that it’s outside of the scope is basically the point. The tendency to scope the definition of racism so that discrimination against blacks is “racism” and discrimination against whites is just something else less important that we don’t really need to talk about right now is exactly why many white people feel the need to organize. The dialog is often cast in such a way that black issues are important and need to be talked about and any white issues are by definition extraneous because “white people don’t experience racism.”