A Working Definition Of A Good Job—Too High Class For Quotas
May 15, 2011, 09:46 PM
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On Thursday, Matthew Yglesias blogged:

... new research appears to indicate that anti-anti-racism is now the default view of white Americans who see themselves as a persecuted, put-upon minority that happens to hold over 90 percent of political offices, corporate executive jobs, and other positions of power and prestige.

For example, in his father Rafael Yglesias`s profession of screenwriting, only 6% of screenwriters of studio movies are minorities (and who knows whether that`s counting Yglesias Sr.).

Most of the really good jobs in America, such as screenwriting or being a CEO, are, legally-speaking, Special Snowflake Jobs that are considered so unique that the statistical logic of disparate impact discrimination lawsuits are assumed not to apply to them. A firm only has one CEO, so it`s hard for the EEOC to mount a statistical case showing that the firm`s CEO hiring practices have a disparate impact on legally protected groups: the sample size of CEOs hired by the firm is too small to demonstrate statistical significance.

In fact, a working definition of somebody with a good job is somebody who doesn`t have to worry much about quotas. People who do have to worry a lot about quotas therefore, by definition, don`t have good jobs and, thus, are nobodies who can and should be ignored.

So, the people with the really good jobs in America tend to be fairly clueless and apathetic about how the system works for people competing for average jobs, like, say, fireman.

On Friday, the Chicago Sun Times reported:

City must hire 111 bypassed black firefighter candidates, court rules
By FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter May 13, 2011 7:34PM

The Chicago Fire Department must hire 111 bypassed black firefighter candidates — and distribute “tens of millions of dollars” in damages to 6,000 others who will never get that chance — a federal appeals court ruled Friday, upholding a landmark ruling.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in a 9-to-0 decision, that, contrary to the city’s contention, African-American candidates hadn’t waited too long before filing a lawsuit that accused the city of discriminating against them for the way it handled a 1995 firefighter’s entrance exam.

On Friday, the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that ruling and sent the case back to the trial court to implement what it called the “hiring remedy” the city has been stalling.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Joshua Karsh said ... “The city gave a test back in 1995 that did not measure the ability to be a firefighter. It made it more than six times more likely that white applicants would be hired rather than African Americans with no job-related justification. Nothing about getting a high score on that test predicted anything about whether you’d be a superior firefighter.”

When results from the 1995 entrance exam were disappointing for minorities, the city established a cutoff score of 89 and hired randomly from the top 1,800 “well-qualified” candidates.

In 2005, a federal judge ruled that the city’s decision had the effect of perpetuating the predominantly white status quo, since 78 percent of those ‘‘well-qualified’’ candidates were white. ...

One of those expected to be vying for the coveted 111 jobs is Handy Johnson, a 49-year-old personal trainer whose dream of becoming a Chicago firefighter was put off for so long that he’s now 11 years above the city’s age limit for new firefighter hires of 38 years old. That age limit won’t apply to the 111 new hires because the discrimination occurred before the cutoff was established. ...

Crawford Smith, 35, isn’t interested in cashing out, either. He still wants a job with the Chicago Fire Department.

“My grandfather was a fireman. My father was a fireman. I’ve got an uncle and a cousin who are still firemen. The Fire Department raised me. It’s a dream I’ve always had,” Smith said. ...
Friday’s ruling exacerbates a city budget crisis that Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, who will be sworn in on Monday, will inherit from Mayor Daley.

My June 2, 2010 VDARE column explained the back story of this 16-year-long case:

Well, it’s kind of hard to make this sound plausible … but in 1995 Mayor Daley, hoping to diversify the Chicago Fire Department, used a hiring test designed by a black psychologist in order to hire more blacks. But according to district judge Joan B. Gottschall’s 2005 decision in favor of the 6000 black applicants who scored poorly, the black psychologist’s test wasn’t good enough, so therefore a huge amount of money should be paid to blacks.

Daley set out to create an objective, relevant test that would also get rid of the racial gap. He would pay big money for cutting edge civil service exams that would not discriminate against blacks and Hispanics.

Daley gave a large contract to a black consultant named Dr. James Outtz, who positions himself as a psychometrician who could come up with tests that minorities would do well upon. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported in 2009, "The ‘95 exam was drafted by an African American with an eye toward diversifying the Fire Department."

In 2005, finally, Judge Gottschall, a graduate of Stanford Law (LSAT range 168-172), issued her ruling: total victory for the black plaintiffs. Chicago should just pick randomly among anybody scoring at the 16th percentile on up.

She offered multiple reasons for junking the test: the "chaotic" nature of the black consultant’s video, her assumption that anybody who scores at the 7th percentile of the white distribution of scores is good enough for the job, and the fact that in the Horan case brought by white firefighters passed over for promotion, the city had defended its use of overt racial quotas for promotions: in effect, any compromise on one case will be used against you in the next.

In 2006, Chicago finally gave another firefighter’s hiring test. To avoid disparate impact, it made the test so easy that 96 percent of whites passed it. Then it chose randomly from all who passed.