How to Achieve Woke Justice

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Racial theorists and activists claim that certain minorities, mainly “people of color,” are discriminated against in America, Canada, and the West generally. The measure used to gauge racial discrimination is “representation” on the basis of the percentage of the general population. According to Zach Goldberg, writing in Tablet,

One of the primary drivers behind the conceptual creep around racism is the idea that all observed disparities between different groups in a society are a product of bias. … Atlantic magazine writer and author Ibram X. Kendi writes: “We have a hard time recognizing that racial discrimination is the sole cause of racial disparities in this country and in the world at large … When you truly believe that racial groups are equal, then you also believe that racial disparities must be the result of racial discrimination.”

So, for example, if Hispanics make up 16% of the U.S. population, their presence at lower percentages in any organization or activity proves that they are suffering from racial discrimination. The racial distribution of players in the National Football League is 70% African American, around 28% white, with a sprinkling of Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and others.

According to this theory, African Americans, at 13% of the general population, are grossly overrepresented in the NFL, while Hispanics, at 18%, are grossly underrepresented, and this, so the argument goes, must be the result of racist discrimination. It appears, in this view, that all NFL organizations hate Hispanics and block their entry, while they love African Americans and hire them almost to the exclusion of others. Is this African American privilege?

The NFL is not a unique case. The NBA in 2015 was composed of 74.4 percent black players, 23.3 percent white players, 1.8 percent Latino players of any race, and 0.2 percent Asian players. According to the “underrepresentation is always caused by racial discrimination” theory, the NBA is discriminating against whites, who make up 60% of the general population, not including white Hispanics, and Hispanics, who make up 18% of the general population, and Asian Americans, who make up 6% of the general population. According to the theory, no other factors should be considered; it must be racism!

Switching now from richly paid professional sports to the university sector, what is the racial distribution? To take one major institution, “The enrolled student population at University of California-Berkeley, both undergraduate and graduate, is 29% Asian, 28.6% White, 13.5% Hispanic or Latino, 5.33% Two or More Races, 1.98% Black or African American, 0.153% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.0931% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders.” From a population base of 6%, Asian Americans won 27% of the places at Berkeley. Does this mean that Berkeley loves Asians on racial grounds, and racially discriminates against whites, Hispanics, African Americans, and others? Could there be any other explanation?

Among medical doctors, Asian Americans, at 6% of the general population, are “overrepresented.” According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, “Among active physicians, 56.2% identified as White, 17.1% identified as Asian, 5.8% identified as Hispanic, and 5.0% identified as Black or African American. Note that the race for 13.7% of active physicians is Unknown, making that the largest subgroup after White and Asian.” Asian American doctors make up a segment three times larger than Asian Americans in the general population. Is that because educational and professional officials love Asians for their race? Or is it that Asian Americans are better at competing for academic places than other segments of the population?

According to the Pew Research Center, “Black immigrants from Africa are more likely than Americans overall to have a college degree or higher.” Fifty-nine percent of foreign-born Americans of Nigerian origin have undergraduate or graduate degrees, around double the percentage of the general American population. But the level of education varies among immigrants from different African countries: Among Kenyan immigrants, 47% have college degrees; Ghanaian 37%; Ethiopian 31%; Somali 10%. There is also a variation among immigrants from different Caribbean countries. Are we to conclude, based on the “underrepresentation is always caused by racial discrimination” theory, that Americans racially discriminate in favor of Nigerians and Ghanaians, and against Ethiopians and Somalis?

Jews make up 1.9% of the American population. But they are “overrepresented” in higher education, according to the Jewish Virtual Library: “By the early 2000s 85 percent of American Jews received some college or university education and more than 50% received at least a bachelor’s degree. In all, it was estimated that more than half the Jews in America under the age of 65 were college graduates.” As regards the professorate, “According to a 1968-69 survey, 10 percent of more than 60,000 faculty members of all ranks from all types of institutions (94.4 percent white) indicated that they had been reared as Jews.” Does this “overrepresentation” indicate that university admissions officers and deans hiring new professors were discriminating against Christians? Jews qua Jews are not that popular; rather, Jews are the recipients of the greatest number of hate crimes. Fifty-six percent of hate crimes targeted Jews, according to the FBI (compared to 14.6% against Muslims, the next largest category). The idea that Jewish statistical “overrepresentation” in higher education is due to discrimination against Christians is not credible.

One clear case of intentional discrimination is the priority, preferences, and special benefits given for the past sixty years to females in America. Female dominance is evident in many fields of employment, especially those that are clean, safe, and well-paid, with men dominant only in dirtydangerous, and poorly-paid jobs. A strategically important field of female dominance is university attendance and graduation, where the ratio of females to males now approaches 60% to 40%. However, not satisfied with that female supremacy generally, there is currently a full-court press from feminists and most official organizations — through preferences and special benefits in admission, hiring, and funding — to raise the number of females in science up to and beyond the number of males. No one is concerned about female dominance in the social sciences, humanities, education, and social work. The last anthropology seminar I taught had eighteen female and zero male students. Female supremacy has now proudly replaced the “gender equality” that was earlier claimed as the feminist goal. Males are now designated “toxic.” In North America and beyond, males, particularly white males, are currently persona non grata.

According to the “equal representation” theory, people who are “overrepresented” have benefitted from unjust privilege, suppressing categories of people who are “underrepresented.” How, then, could equality be brought about?

Well, 57% of NFL players who are African American would have to be fired or transferred to other activities, so that the remaining 13% would be “representative,” and their places taken by whites, Hispanics, and Asians in “representative” numbers. Similarly with the NBA. In another sphere, Jews are highly underrepresented in forest industries, so “overrepresented” Jews in accounting and dentistry would have to be frog-marched into the forest to take jobs as forest rangers and lumberjacks. Maybe some of those redundant African American NFL players could be shifted to accounting and dentistry. Those Asian doctors who are taking places “that do not belong to them” would have to find new occupations, perhaps as telephone linemen or bank tellers. Half of the female anthropology and social work majors would be obliged to switch into engineering and computer programming. Some Italian mafiosi and Irish policemen would have to change places, in order to even out the numbers of ethnic representation.

When all of the human pawns have been moved around so as to guarantee “equal representation,” then we will have a just society!

The “equal representation” theory of equality and justice replaces the idea of equality of opportunity with equality of outcome, requiring that everyone end up the same as everyone else. Liberal freedom and individual rights, according to this theory, must take a back seat to the statistical equivalence of census categories. This result could only come about through robust government intervention, such as a vigorous extension of the many current rules and requirements for “diversity.” “Affirmative action” must no longer be a supplemental code, but must be the central and only principle of organizations.

The need according to the “equal representation” theory for massive and intrusive governmental imposition in the lives of its subjects is the reason that many of its adherents favor state control and socialism. Freedom and democracy, which are inhibitions to “equal representation” justice, must be suppressed.

How to Achieve Woke Justice

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AUTHOR

Philip Carl Salzman

Philip Carl Salzman served as professor of anthropology at McGill University from 1968 to 2018. He is the author of Culture and Conflict in the Middle East; the founding chair of the Commission on Nomadic Peoples of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences; the founding editor of Nomadic Peoples; and the author of Black Tents of Baluchistan; Pastoralism: Equality, Hierarchy, and the State; Thinking Anthropologically, Culture and Conflict in the Middle East; and Understanding Culture.


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