Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Forcing the "minorities" - why?

I've been throwing around some thoughts in my head lately about how people view racism and minorities in the world, and I finally found some example that I could base myself on and stem from to give a better picture of my thoughts (it doesn't always come out right).

The basis of the thought is that Racism isn't about giving priorities TO the minorities anymore than it is about denying it to them. If you want to indicate to the people around you that you're against racism, you don't need to go out of your way to show it - all you need to do, in essence, is to just ignore the skin color, language (to a certain extent) and religion of others around you, and that's enough.

Things that really bother me is when it seems that we, as a society, are obligated to force minorities into our groups in order to be socially acceptable. A blatant example is reality shows and talent shows (canadian idol for example), who always seem to have what I call the minority "tokens". Each year, you'll notice that there is at least one "token black" and most likely one "token asian" that will be selected by the jury to be part of the "winners". I'm not saying that these people don't have talents because that would be a lie. What I'm saying is that if we were to completely ignore the fact that these individuals are black or asian to start with, maybe they wouldn't have been part of the selection and someone else would have been. Or maybe there would be 3 or 4 black individuals in the selection for all we know - but it's almost always only 1, no more, no less. That has got to be by design.

Another example is when the management of any company "notices" that the visible minorities are underrepresented when compared to the national average in their organisation. Management generally calls these "shortfalls", as if they had failed to meet their quotas of "token minorities" and something has to be done about it to become socially accepted. Again this isn't saying that we should not have black people as employees, far from that. The thing is, it just shouldn't be counted at all, one way or another. If anyone, regardless of their origins, qualifies for any position then by all means give them that position. If they don't qualify, then they just don't. If your management feels the need to sort their candidates by "normal" and "visible minorities" because they absolutely want to hire at least one of each of the minorities to get their tokens... That becomes a social problem just as much as sorting them to get rid of them.

The problem doesn't only apply to visible minorities either - this can be said as much vehemently about women in social groups and workplaces, where large companies get criticized for the lack of women in mid and higher management groups. Yes, some of them are all about the big boys not wanting any women in their ranks, but that's only a minority of them. It is my opinion that in most of these cases, it's just because the women in those companies just don't have the necessary qualifications (though they would most likely deny it).

I hope this post eventually shocks someone enough for them to reconsider using affirmative action and racial quotas in their hiring (or acceptance) policies, because that was my goal.

Not that anyone reads this, anyway.

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