Excerpts from an Article
With the ruling of Griggs vs. Duke Power Co, a Black man – angry at being passed over for promotion – shifted the focus of work from aptitude and ability to ticket-punching credentials.
The 1971 Supreme Court decision remains largely unknown, but no ruling of the past forty-five years (except for Roe v. Wade) has done more harm to the American way of life. It changed the way companies hire, pay, and promote workers, ensuring that America would be a country defined by credentials rather than merit. Griggs is why we’re wasting money and time on a dubious good like a B.S. degree—pun intended.
The saga began in 1969 when Willie Griggs, a black man born in the segregated South, decided he was overdue for a promotion. In order to get one, per Duke Power Electric Company rules, he had to pass two aptitude tests and possess a high school diploma. Griggs smelled racism. The tests surveyed employees on basic math and intelligence questions. None of Duke’s fourteen black workers passed. Griggs and twelve others sued the company for discrimination. A district court and federal appeals court accepted Duke’s claim that the tests were designed to ensure that the plant operated safely. Duke bolstered its case by pointing out that it offered to pay for employees to obtain high school diplomas and that white applicants who failed to meet the requirements were also denied promotions.
Because forcing the company to promote you, regardless of your lack of qualifications, is so much better than getting that high school diploma.
The Supreme Court wasn’t buying it. This was North Carolina after all. The court compared the tests to Aesop’s fable of the Fox and the Stork, in which a fox offers a dish full of milk to a stork, whose beak prevents it from satisfying its thirst. The implication that black and white workers were of a different species did not strike any of the justices as racist, unlike the objective tests. Griggs found that if blacks failed to meet a standard at a higher rate than whites the standard itself was racist—a legal doctrine known as disparate impact.
“What is required by Congress is the removal of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment when the barriers operate invidiously to discriminate on the basis of racial or other impermissible classification,” Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote in Griggs. “Diplomas and tests are useful servants, but Congress has mandated the common sense proposition that they are not to become masters of reality.” Burger may have intended to free America of bureaucracy, but his decision in fact bestowed that title—“masters of reality”—on college administrators.
Diplomas do little to alter the dynamics of innate ability and intelligence—even less so now that institutions have lowered standards. The knowledge gap between college seniors and freshmen is negligible (see: Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses). Other studies have found that class ranks at graduation closely mirror testing ranks upon matriculation. If businesses could recruit and screen candidates using testing metrics, it would allow workers to begin their careers earlier, advance quicker, and do it debt-free.
It would be nice if Blacks – especially Black Men – could get jobs based on their ability, without having to get the massive debt loads needed for today’s credential-based promotion system.
I can guess God’s answer, though: “They made their bed. They can now lie on it.”
Well, I’ll wait until Blacks – especially Black Men – decide to repent of their sins, turn away from evil, and again choose what is good, now and forever.
I won’t be holding my breath for Our Black Leadership to do this. But a few scattered families, here and there… that is possible.
No group has been hurt more by this arrangement more than black men, those Griggs was supposed to help. Chief Justice Burger noted in his decision that whites had an innate advantage over black workers because 34 percent of white males in North Carolina had high school diplomas, nearly double that of blacks. The gap remains roughly the same in Bachelor’s degrees today among black and white men, while both groups lag far behind women.
“That so many employers require college diplomas, tacitly or otherwise, means the court decision accomplished very little in blunting biased company hiring practices,” reads a 2011 editorial at the Vault Education blog. “In fact, it’s probably true that it’s only helped make discrimination more rampant. The more the college degree became a standard employee-screening device, the more college degree holders there were vying for jobs of comparable skill level, jobs which weren’t increasing at a equivalent rate. It was really only a matter of time before the bar raised up again, and again, giving employers more factors to discriminate against.”
The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes again!
The up-by-your-bootstraps mantra of America wasn’t killed by businessmen; it was killed by the lawmakers and regulators who made the diploma into the bootstrap. So why are the same politicians and pundits who condemn inequality zealously defending credentialism?
Well, for one thing, there’s money in disparate impact for the Department of Labor.
The State, Our Friend, Comes to Save the Black Man. Again.
The Right Sort of White People benefit the most. Again.
The Black Man still remains at the back of the line. As usual.
The government has made it so that you cannot be paid based on your individual performance. Businesses need to craft ever more narrow metrics that lump all employees together by education, job title, race, gender, sexual orientation, and whatever aggrieved labels politicians award with protected status next. Your negotiations with the company will not reflect your impact on the bottom-line, but your impact on the payroll. MIT summa cum laude or record sales growth may be a big deal where you come from, but in the business world it won’t mean a thing if your salary brings white males too far ahead of the demographics Democrats treat like endangered species.
Workers already suspect that meritocracy no longer governs America’s economy—more than half of respondents to a 2011 Yahoo Finance survey said “office politics” was responsible for how people are promoted, double those who said hard work. And when they say office politics, they’re referring to the illegitimate monarchy installed by government regulations that rewards the man who waltzes into a company with documents that trace his educational bloodline to Yale or Harvard, a lineage that makes him the rightful heir to the management throne. The company obliges, breeding distrust among the workforce.
An End to the Lies
And so, we wait for this “disparate impact” nonsense to finally die.
What will it take?
I’m betting on the Great Default. When the money just isn’t there to fund this nonsense, then it will stop. And not a second before.
Until then, I am certain that our Glorious Black Leadership will fight for disparate impact, just as surely as they will
- fight for the minimum wage (and thus price Black labour out of the market),
- the unions (who will make sure that union will underprice free labour, thus again cutting down the Black man),
- and the welfare state (and so make certain that Black families stay broken and powerless).
So there you go. Blacks are supposed to be a humble yet righteous people: that’s how they were maid. But as a group, they have chosen to turn their backs on God, and chase after lying silver-tongued politicans instead. An evil and envious leadership for a evil and envious people, just like the rest of the world, from the United States as a whole – Black and White alike, inside and outside the church – to North Korea, to Europe, and all the rest.
I will let someone else determine if all this envy, all these lies, and all this slackness have benefited Blacks – especially Black Men – in any way, whatsoever.
(Change the nature of the lies, and you can say the same for any race and any nation, as we will soon see. But I expect better from Blacks, seeing how many Black pastors claim Biblical warrant for their leadership positions. A lot of pious words… and looking around, we can see just how greatly God has blessed all this visionary rhetoric.
Are Black people the head, and the enemies the tail? This is how God has promised to bless those who obey Him.
Or are Black people the tail, and their enemies the head? This is how God has promised to damn his people, when they disobey Him.
Let us look around, and see for ourselves.)
National Failures Today, Local Successes Tomorrow
If I were a betting man, I would put good money on almost no one learning the lesson after bankruptcy. Long after being kicked in the teeth, most Black people will still put their trust in a Future Messiah who will Restore the Welfare State, just like…
- most Russians will still long for a Strong Leader
- yes, even after Putin is gone, leaving Russia as much a failure as before – with an additional 10 (20?) years of time wasted in corruption, and still dependent on oil and gas
- the French will still long for a leadership position in Europe after the collapse of the Euro
- yes, even after losing out to Germany three times now…
- the Arabs will still dream of a Restored Caliphate
- grinding its heel in the face of the infidels. “It’s so much easier – so much more manly – and so much more pleasurable – than working for a living!”
- patriotic Japanese will still insist that East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere was the best thing in history
- instead of the lie that gutted the future of the Japanese people
…blah, blah, blah.
Fortunately, I am not writing for the majority who will die in the desert of their dreamworld fantasies, but for the minority who want to get to work, and change things where they are, for themselves and their people, starting today.
[Insert “The Parable of the Mustard Seed” here.]
When God’s people crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land, the only divinely-blessed welfare system in history vanished. ‘No more manna from heaven: from now on, you work to get your daily bread.’
Couple with the doctrine of One Law for all – especially Deuteronomy 25:14-16 in this context – and a believing and obedient Christian has all he needs, to step forth and prosper.
Without any special pleading, or begging, or political favours from Our Compassionate Friends.