I have been fortunate enough to be on this planet for a good number of years. In those years I have seen a lot of changes in our society. Specifically I am speaking with regards to the disparate treatment of members of different races. Having grown up in an all white neighborhood and having attended an all white school, I had no idea there was racial inequality in America. I guess I just wasn’t paying attention. I had no negative perception nor any racial bias that I was aware of. I was not raised that way. Although the use of the N word became an issue on the public forum in more recent years, the word was forbidden to be used in my parents house and so I was not inclined to use it, even before it became proper not to do so. It was not until I enlisted in the Navy in 1963 and traveled to Pensacola, Florida that I learned that I knew very little about racial equality in America.
At the time, Pensacola, Florida was just an extension of Mobile, Alabama with regards to treatment of the races. I was shocked to find out that African-Americans were not allowed to eat at the same lunch counter as I was. I found this out the hard way when I attempted to have lunch with a Sailor friend of mine, but he was not allowed in. There was a sign prominently displayed in the window that said “No Colored”. I was shocked at a gas station when I went to use the facilities at only to see three rooms, Men, Women, and Colored. I was truly horrified. Not as if it was bad enough that the restrooms were segregated, they were not even given the dignity to have separate restrooms for members of the opposite sexes. But that was back in 1963 and a lot has changed since then. The benefit of having lived as long as I have is that I have been a witness to all that has changed. I have seen vast improvements in treatment of members of minority groups of our society and although there is still room for improvement, we are way far down the road from where we were in 1963. I have witnessed, and to some extent been a victim of, Affirmative Action, Consent Decrees, and court actions. All intended to put right what an unfair system and unfair practices had, in the past, put asunder. But, all of that has caused the pendulum to swing to far the other way.
Now it is time to put the pendulum back into the middle. I think it is time to say that all members of all races now share an equal footing and special entitlements no longer need to be a factor of consideration when selecting a person to fill the position. (I expect a great deal of argument from that last statement, but that is another blog article for another day). I think a position should be filled by the best qualified candidate. Should that candidate be black, then the job should be his or hers. Should that candidate be white, then that job should be his or hers, solely based on the candidates qualifications and nothing else. That is the way I think it should be, but that certainly is not the way it is. In place of Affirmative Action and Consent Decrees we now have a selection process that seems to be based on preferential treatment. The insidious part of preferential treatment is that the process is based solely on the biases of the person making the selection. I have come to these conclusions based on what I am most familiar with, the City of Cincinnati Government and the Cincinnati Police Department. The elephants in the room are the disproportionate amount of minority selections for top posts and other positions.
Examples Within City Government:
- The last four (or more) City Managers have all been African-American.
- John Cranley’s first choice (Willie Carden) and his final choice (Harry Black) are both African-Americans
- The majority of the top positions (Directors) in City Government are African-American.
- Recent selections by Harry Black for Assistant City Manager is Sheila Hill-Christian, an African-American and his crony from Baltimore, Thomas B. Corey to head Economic Inclusion is also an African-American.
- The last two selections to Police Chief were African-American.
Examples Within the Police Department:
- The selection of the Police Chief was an exercise in selection based on race and not qualifications. The current police chief was clearly not the bestqualified candidate, but he was the only African-American in the final three. That speaks for itself.
- In the Police Department’s organization those entities that fall directly under the control of the Police Chief’s Office are comprised solely of either African-American’s or white females.
- The Youth Services Unit of which 16 of the 18 members are African American.
I am not saying that these individuals selected were not highly qualified (well almost all of them), but I am saying that when mostly African-Americans or white females are the only ones being selected, then that becomes statistically improbable. I cannot help but wonder, but I can never prove that if these selections did not have race as a factor would the outcome be the same? If people are being selected because they are a highly qualified candidate and of a certain ethnicity as opposed to the most qualified candidate, then are the taxpayers getting the best bang for their buck. Shouldn’t we expect the best qualified, not the almost best but politically correct candidate? Do we not have the right to expect that? What do you think?
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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