If Quotas Harm Beneficiaries…

Washington Post opinion writer Catherine Rampell has noticed that quotas harm even their intended beneficiaries.

After examining a number of studies of the effect the policies in various European countries of mandating quotas for women on the corporate boards of big companies, she notes that this research finds that “forcing companies to appoint women onto their boards has been somewhere between unhelpful and damaging, both to women aspiring to leadership roles and for the companies themselves.”

One of the objectives behind such quotas is to improve the career and pay prospects of women further down the line, but a recent study of Norway’s system finds no evidence of a trickle-down effect for other high-achieving women or on the marital, fertility and career plans of other women. Quotas may, in fact, hurt women’s opportunities if they lead to women being perceived as unqualified, unwanted diversity hires.

Quotas, of course, are not alone in having this unintended but entirely predictable and demonstrated effect. Preferential treatment in admission, hiring, and promotion (aka “affirmative action”), even though it is ostensibly somewhat shy of European-style hard quotas, also produces the perception (based in large part on reality, as revealed by the now well-documented “mismatch” effect) that those who receive the preferential treatment are less qualified “diversity hires.”

Obama Espouses Colorblindness!

You probably think, as I generally do, that our affirmative action president — an accurate description, I think, for two reasons: a white with his exact same ability and experience would not have been nominated and elected president; and he so fervently supports affirmative action — is a principled supporter of racial preference.

Experience teaches, however, that one must be extremely cautious in associating Obama too closely with any principle, even his apparently principled opposition to racially neutral colorblindness. The Miami Herald, for example, reports that he said the following yesterday to and about the Cuban community in Miami:

Today, Miami is often referred to as the capital of Latin America. But it is also a profoundly American city — a place that reminds us that ideals matter more than the color of our skin, or the circumstances of our birth; a demonstration of what the Cuban people can achieve, and the openness of the United States to our family to the South.

So far as I am aware, Obama has never met an affirmative action program — or indeed any race preference program — that he opposes (so long as it favors his preferred races). Can he or his supporters point to one where “ideals matter more than the color of our skin,” where the emphasis is on a “diversity” of ideas more than skin color?

Justifying his new Cuba policy is not the first time Obama has found it useful to appeal to colorblindness. As I discussed at some length in this 2010 post, on another occasion, defending a controversial position he had taken, Obama solemnly proclaimed with a straight face that “In this country we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion.” Indeed, on that occasion he was actually defending the notion that private property owners have rights that are protected by the original intent of the framers of a Constitution written in stone, i.e., not “living.”

That occasion concerned the controversy over the attempt to build a mosque near the site of the destroyed World Trade Center.

Hmm. Perhaps Obama actually does believe in racial and religious neutrality — for Muslims and Cubans and any group except black Americans.

Women, Minorities More Likely To Flee STEM Fields

I have an essay on Minding The Campus discussing a new study showing that women and minority PhDs are less likely to pursue academic STEM careers than white and Asian men. Is this necessarily a problem in need of solving? What if they are paid more working in industry or government or even in some […]

Dupes And The “Dangers Of Arrogance”

Having just said in the post immediately below (“Liberal Inanities“) that commenting on every liberal inanity in the press and elsewhere would be an endless task that I generally choose to avoid, here I go again. Liberal Boston Globe columnist Joan Venochi has some argument-against-interest fun poking holes in the arrogant pretension of Jonathan Gruber […]

Liberal Inanities

Just as it has been said that a history of Italian naval victories would be the shortest book ever written, a blog devoted to recording liberal inanities in the press and elsewhere would be endless. I have, with some difficulty, generally refrained from pointing out even real howlers, since they’re too easy to find and […]

Was Obama Joking About Torture?

“”One of the things that sets us apart from other countries,” President Obama recently told MSNBC, “is when we make mistakes, we admit them.” We? Although in this instance the president presumably was not employing the “royal we” (“Pronoun used by royalty to indicate that they represent both the body natural and the body politic,” […]

CNN Article On Hidden Bias Is Rife With Visible Bias

I encourage everyone to take a careful look at this long CNN article on “The New Threat: ‘Racism Without Racists’” by John Blake. It is a revealing, even wonderful, example of unwittingly exemplifying what it purports to expose — rampant, unrecognized bias. “Science has bad news,” it pontificates, for those who believe in colorblindness, “for […]

Ross Douthat: Too Optimistic Even When He’s Pessimistic

Our Quotable Imperial Presidents

If Arizona “Misguided” In Acting Alone On Immigration, Why Not Obama?

Obama’s Indiscretions

Obama’s Immigration Policy: Rhetoric v. Reality Re Deporting Criminals

Ezra Klein Prompts Another Odd Thought

Some Odd Thoughts On Obamacare

Stanford Attempts To Close A Gender Gap In Law School Grades

If This Presidential Action Without Congressional Authorization Is Illegal …

And Speaking Of Inactivity …