The Idiocy of Official Diversity

Walter E. Williams

by Walter E. Williams: Tyrants
and Human Nature

Academic intelligentsia,
their media, government and corporate enthusiasts worship at the
altar of diversity. Despite budget squeezes, universities have created
diversity positions, such as director of diversity and inclusion,
manager of diversity recruitment, associate dean for diversity,
vice president of diversity and perhaps minister of diversity. This
is all part of a quest to get college campuses, corporate offices
and government agencies to “look like America.”

For them, part
of looking like America means race proportionality. For example,
if blacks are 13 percent of the population, they should be 13 percent
of college students and professors, corporate managers and government
employees. Law professors, courts and social scientists have long
held that gross statistical disparities are evidence of a pattern
and practice of discrimination. Behind this vision is the stupid
notion that but for the fact of discrimination, we’d be distributed
proportionately by race across incomes, education, occupations and
other outcomes. There’s no evidence from anywhere on earth or any
time in human history that shows that but for discrimination, there
would be proportional representation and an absence of gross statistical
disparities, by race, sex, height or any other human characteristic.
Nonetheless, much of our thinking, legislation and public policy
is based upon proportionality being the norm. Let’s run a few gross
disparities by you, and you decide whether they represent what the
courts call a pattern and practice of discrimination and, if so,
what corrective action you would propose.

Jews are not
even 1 percent of the world’s population and only 3 percent of the
U.S. population, but they are 20 percent of the world’s Nobel Prize
winners and 39 percent of U.S. Nobel laureates. That’s a gross statistical
disparity, but are the Nobel committees discriminating against the
rest of us? By the way, in the Weimar Republic, Jews were only 1
percent of the German population, but they were 10 percent of the
country’s doctors and dentists, 17 percent of its lawyers and a
large percentage of its scientific community. Jews won 27 percent
of Nobel Prizes won by Germans.

Nearly 80 percent
of the players in the National Basketball Association in 2011 were
black, and 17 percent were white, but if that disparity is disconcerting,
Asians were only 1 percent. Compounding the racial disparity, the
highest-paid NBA players are black. That gross disparity works the
other way in the National Hockey League, in which less than 3 percent
of the players are black. Blacks are 66 percent of NFL and AFL professional
football players, but among the 34 percent of other players, there’s
not a single Japanese player. Though the percentage of black professional
baseball players has fallen to 9 percent, there are gross disparities
in achievement. Four out of the five highest career home run hitters
were black, and of the eight times more than 100 bases were stolen
in a season, all were by blacks.

How does one
explain these gross sports disparities? Might it be that the owners
of these multibillion-dollar professional basketball, football and
baseball teams are pro-black and that those of the NHL and major
industries are racists?

are some other disparities that might bother the diversity people.
Asians routinely get the highest scores on the math portion of the
SAT, whereas blacks get the lowest. Men are about 50 percent of
the population, and so are women, but there’s the gross injustice
that men are struck by lightning six times as often as women. The
population statistics for South Dakota, Iowa, Maine, Montana and
Vermont show that not even 1 percent of their population is black.
On the other hand, in states such as Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi,
blacks are overrepresented.

Finally, there’s
a disparity that might figure heavily in the upcoming presidential
election. Twenty-four out of the 43 U.S. presidents have been 5
feet 11 inches or taller, above our population’s average height.
That is not an outcome that would be expected if there were not
voter discrimination based upon height. Mitt Romney is 6 feet 2
inches tall, and Barack Obama is 6 feet 1 inch.

24, 2012

E. Williams is the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics
at George Mason University, and a nationally syndicated columnist.
To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other
Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators
Syndicate web page

© 2012 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

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