Monday, March 06, 2006

Yes Virginia, there is Still Discrimination...

Minorities in Virginia Beach are failing the police entrance exam by larger numbers than whites, the Virginian-Pilot reports today.

For all applicants from 2000 through 2005, the passing rates for blacks and Hispanics taking the written police recruiting test were 44 percent and 51 percent, respectively.

For the same period, 75 percent of white applicants passed the test.

A little historical context will shed some light on race relations in Virginia Beach. In 1989, the city made national headlines when looting and violence erupted during Greekfest, a Labor Day national beach party from mostly black college sororities and fraternities.

Students maintained that retailers were unwelcoming and refused to wait on them; and when a crowd gathered at one end of the beach during the wee-morning hours, police in riot gear moved in.

With nearly 100,000 students, law enforcement officers overreacted; and in the process arrested people for 'chilling while black.' A nonpartisan committee later criticized the city and the Virginia National Guard for their “lack of communication and poor planning.”

Seventeen years later, the Justice Department has now filed a complaint that something besides bad luck might be responsible for the poor test scores.

The Justice Department studied [the] period from 2002 to mid-2005 - and its conclusions focused on only the math part of the [entrance] test.

During that period, the Justice Department found that 59 percent of black applicants and 66 percent of Hispanic applicants passed the math test, compared with 85 percent of whites.

The Justice Department concluded that blacks and Hispanics might
unfairly be excluded from Virginia Beach police jobs because the disparity is so

Suffice it to say that if there is an 80 percent difference between the rate of whites who pass and minorities who flunk, there are only three options. Either the test is racially biased, something is egregiously wrong with the city’s minority educational policies or their recruiting outreach is a dismal bust.

In any event, some form of corrective action is needed; and the data only reinforces my thoughts on the subject of racial discrimination in its most lethal and subtle context. It may not be anything anyone can lay their accusing finger on -- until pesky statistics reveal their tell-tale signs.

The Washington Post wrote last Thursday that Montgomery County police officials outside the nation's capital have also experienced problems recruiting minorities. Here's what Montgomery County police officer Mauricio Veiga said:
"It's always a struggle to find qualified candidates," Veiga said, outlining the numerous disqualifying factors that tend to stand in the way of all prospective Montgomery officers and a badge. "Those who pass the exam, we will generally lose them on the criminal background or drug use."
And just over a little over a year ago, the International Labor Communications Association had to ask the Washington Post to "diversity its newsroom."

Employees from the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, CWA, "gathered in a church basement around the corner from the Washington Post" to hear a panel of speakers condemn lack of diversity in the newsrooms and management. A report by the UNITY Journalists of Color convention [in 2004] looked at diversity issues at the Post and at the Washington bureaus of other newspapers and news services. UNITY found that the Post, which has 43.2 percent people of color in its circulation area, has 8.7 percent journalists of color covering Washington for its national desk. That's four people out of 46.


A number of the panelists discussing the problem in February 2005, commented that at the Post there is a brief moment of progress following each flair-up of this issue, followed by poor follow-through from management, complacency from workers, and a failure to institutionalize specific requirements for change. Post metro reporter Spencer Hsu said that workers fail to join the equal employment opportunity committee guaranteed in the Guild contract because “complacency grows among minority journalists.”

“People are temporarily satisfied by one or two promotions,” Sports copy editor Stephen King said.

Yesterday at an Oscar night party, one of my closest friends and a staunch liberal pronounced minorities were no longer discriminated against in America.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. What a sad cruel JOKE -- recent news says otherwise. Either that, or you have to accept that something in the racial makeup of minorities make them either dumb, criminal or both.

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