By Tim Fay, Chairman, Adversity.Net
Imagine that you are a federal employee, and that you have recently applied for a
promotion. But your boss tells you, "I'm sorry, we cannot promote you because
we've already promoted too many people of your color and gender. We have to promote
some different colors now."
Unbelievable? Not at all. That is precisely what the federal government tells
its white, male employees and job applicants every single day--and on a lot of days it
says the same thing to other employees and applicants whose ethnicity it has concluded it
has "too many" of.
Federal employers euphemistically call it "equal opportunity" or
"affirmative action" or "celebrating diversity." Detractors of
the policy call it "racial quotas" or "racial preferences". Call
it what you like, it is clearly and unambiguously discriminatory: People are being
treated differently--some better and some worse--because of skin color and sex.
The minority hiring statistics that result from these policies are exhaustively documented
every year by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in its annual report to
Congress, titled "Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program" (FEORP).
According to OPM's own statistics, the FEORP has little to do with true equal
Link HERE: Opens New
The feds justify their racially discriminatory hiring policies by claiming that blacks,
Native Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, Hispanics and women of any race (including
white women) must be "proportionally represented in the federal
workforce". Anything less, they argue, would constitute discrimination.
There is no reason to suppose that every job will identically mirror every ethnic
group's proportion in the general population--and a requirement to the contrary is clearly
But, what's more, OPM has copiously documented that the feds actually overhire blacks and
other preferred groups (non-white-males) by dozens and even hundreds of percent over their
proportion in the civilian labor force.
As in preceding years, this year OPM proudly presented statistics showing, for example,
that the feds' Court Services and Offender Services (CSOS) agency hired 840 percent more
blacks than exist in the relevant civilian work force. (Note: the availability of
selected minorities in the civilian work force constitutes the feds' de facto racial quota
for each preferred racial group.)
Similarly, the ironically named Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hired blacks at a
rate of 427 percent more than their availability in the civilian work force.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation overhired blacks by 405 percent over their
quota. The story is similar for most federal agencies and departments.
Significantly, neither this year's OPM report (covering FY 2005) nor any of the preceding
five years' reports include a single statistic or mention of the impact of the so-called
"Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program" on white males. Nor does
the report ever mention anything as quaint as equal opportunity based upon merit and
ability regardless of race, gender and ethnicity.
How do the affected and supposedly privileged, advantaged white male federal employees
feel about all this?
Ask Joseph Ray Terry--a white guy attorney at the EEOC and a lifelong supporter of the
civil rights laws--how he feels about EEOC's employment policies. [See Link HERE: Opens New Window] Mr. Terry always received outstanding personnel reviews at
EEOC, yet numerous, less qualified, less senior, but preferred minorities were always
promoted ahead of him. Ultimately, through expensive and time-consuming litigation,
Mr. Terry finally achieved his promotion.
Or ask Michael C. Ryan, a longtime employee at the Federal Aviation Administration's
technical center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. [See Link HERE: Opens New Window] As a white male, Mr. Ryan was repeatedly forced to watch
as less qualified minority employees, many of whom he had trained, were promoted over him
at the FAA. Mr. Ryan sued for discrimination, and he won a substantial settlement
from the FAA.
Or ask U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) employee John Kasprowicz and six other white male
workers at the Argonne National Laboratory. [See Link HERE: Opens New Window] Kasprowicz et al. will tell you that they were
assigned to a "do-nothing office" at Argonne labs, given no meaningful work, and
strongly encouraged to resign or retire so that women and minorities could be hired and
given useful work. According to court documents, the DOE managers even
received "quota bonuses" for hiring and promoting nonwhite males--and females of
any race--ahead of qualified white males. Also according to these documents, during
one four-year period, 26 of 29 promotions at Argonne labs went to minorities and women
while only 3 went to white males.
The point is not that the federal government should rejiggle its numbers and send the word
out to cut back on minority and female hires. The point is that the federal
government should forget about the numbers and stop discriminating against anyone on the
basis of race, ethnicity, or sex.
This is not a new idea. After all, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made such
racial/gender quotas and preferences illegal. It expressly forbade the granting or
denial of opportunities based in any part upon the race, gender, or ethnicity of the
employee. That language was part of a deal struck between Democrat President Lyndon
Johnson and Republican Senator Everett Dirksen in order to get the Republican members of
Congress on board to pass the Act. (In fact, Republican Representatives and Senators
would support the act in higher proportions than Democrat Representatives and Senators.)
This was a good idea in 1964, and it is an even better idea in 2006. The American
workplace has more races, ethnicities, and women in it than ever before, and it is
increasingly untenable to choose winners and losers on the basis of employees' skin color,
what country their ancestors came from, or their personal plumbing. The federal
government, of all employers, should lead the way.
Fay is chairman of Adversity.Net, Inc., a civil rights organization that promotes