Thursday, December 16, 2010

Regulating Equality

When I worked at a company as an in-house software developer, I heard that we had been visited by workers for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  This was largely because the company I worked for wanted to expand into government agencies.  It didn’t work out, for whatever reason, and I know it didn’t because I don’t think I have a security clearance that I’ve applied for twice.

In any case, they did hassle the software department about not having women during the whole process.  Basically, because our department lacked women, we weren’t a diverse enough group.  The department head was from Nepal, and my co-workers consisted a handicapped Indian, a handicapped Ethiopian, a Spaniard, a Korean, and one other white person besides myself.  Given the ethnic make-up of our department, you’d think these do-gooders would have realized that we had about as diverse a department as possible.  Besides, when I graduated from Virginia Tech with a Computer Science degree, there were maybe two women out of a graduating class of a few hundred.

The problem was that the EEOC officials were using the general population rather than the statistics of the profession, which probably would have more accurate.  Truth be told, there a many more non-white software developers these days than white ones.  And my current company has plenty of women working as software developers, although many of them are having children these days so it’s only a matter of time before a good number of them decide to stay at home.  Still, the number of female software developers is much less than the number of male software developers.  Most women just aren’t wired to mindlessly stare at code all day.

Regulating discrimination is probably one of the most useless services the Federal government provides.  When you consider the implications of dealing with racist or sexist employers, why would you want the government to force such a person to hire you?  Do you honestly think this person would treat you well at work?  Do you think you would get the raises you deserve, the bonuses you deserve, or the promotions you deserve by simply working hard and respecting that person?  A racist/sexist employer is going to hate you because he or she will always remember that time when you force him or her to hire you with the force of government.

A better option would be to expose this employer and let the job market play out.  The dirty secret is that most white males are not racist or sexist and we tend to go out of our way to prove it.  If we found out that an employer was racist or sexist and freely admitted it, very few of us would apply for a job there.

Matters of discrimination based on race, sex, sexual preference, wine preference, religion, political preference, and color preference are not the business of State because the State will find the most egregious solution possible and implement.  Just about every social ill that has been handled by the government has not been resolved by the government.  In fact, most discrimination issues began with the government.  Segregation was imposed in most areas by local and state governments.  Most businesses tend to only see the color green, even if they have certain racial prejudices.

The sad fact is, most social issues are really not the State’s business because they start with the individual.  It is the individual’s choice that matters in these cases and it goes out from the there.  The State tends to group individuals based on certain characteristics because that is much easier and economical than dealing with each person individually.

As long as we continue to view each other is terms of groups rather than as individuals, we will only be playing the government’s game.  And like a casino, the house always wins in this game.

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