A common complaint heard from "diverse" employment candidates is that there are few people who "look like me" in the organization. It has been fifty-plus years since Dr. Martin Luther King's I have a dream speech, and now the equal opportunity gold standard is apparently the "look like" test. It's a sad commentary that in the 21st Century we are as tribalized and Balkanized as ever, thanks in no small measure to the diversity industry.
The U.S. Justice Department is preparing to investigate Harvard University regarding affirmative action in college admissions. Unfortunately, the investigation centers on the classification of race, to the exclusion of gender and social class. Specifically, this investigation centers on alleged discrimination against Asians in Harvard University's admissions process.
To effectively combat discrimination in all forms and live up to the true promise of the Fourteenth Amendment, all three major offenders must be attacked: affirmative action, as well as nepotism and cronyism.
Harvard's 2017 freshman class, for example, comprises 30% legacy admissions. That's a disgrace. Selective schools should admit candidates on qualifications and merit as much as possible. That's a worthy goal, consistent with most stated missions of these institutions.
However, pressure must be brought to bear not only to do away with affirmative action, but also to limit nepotism and cronyism.
Women now constitute 55% of college undergraduates, and that percentage continues to rise. Affirmative action for women, at this point, is effectively overkill. As women rise in corporate ranks, it's safe to assume that nepotism and cronyism will follow with respect to their social and family circles as well. It's time to slay this three-headed dragon to ensure a level playing field for everyone, playing by one set of rules, instead of a thumb on the scale for some and a boat-anchor shackle for the rest.
College admissions officers and corporate hiring managers should be guided by the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment: no citizen shall be denied the equal protection of the laws. Equal means equal, without a leg up or government-sanctioned de facto penalties. This should be the goal. Perhaps a more conservative-leaning Supreme Court will move to enforce the letter of the law and abolish race- and gender-based affirmative action. In addition, it's important to make every effort to restrict nepotism and cronyism to ensure that every candidate for college admission or employment has a fair shot with one set of rules based upon merit and qualifications.
The evidence is clear. Affirmative action, nepotism, and cronyism lower the selection standards of whatever they touch. In a highly competitive global market, we can no longer afford the appearance of "achievement charity," as the late sociologist Martin L. Gross once pointed out. The sooner the "inclusion through exclusion" game ends, the better.