Hello again, Patrick. Lets start with this:
If mandating percentages is a poor solution, how do we ensure and verify that recruitment is being done blindly? For example, in the U.S., would labor laws be rewritten? Would the government refuse to contract with companies that don’t adhere to such rules? Would non-blind recruiting be made a civil offsense? Or is this something addressed by the private sector? If so, how? Trade association rules? Union oversight? Decertification of companies who don’t adhere? How do we handle companies operating internationally?
There are three ways to approach such a problem. The first is on the back end, either by quotas or blind recruiting (however that can be done, if it can). The second is to find the root of the problem, and just keep hacking until it’s dead. The third is to do nothing.
On the first, you must recognize that you are objecting to a bias that blocks certain groups from being hired and rising up in the private sector, based on attributes that have nothing to do with performance. To turn around and say that we’ll now block another group, which has traditionally succeeded in the private sector, is to act in the precise objectionable manner you’re attempting to correct. Some might call it fighting fire with fire, others an eye for an eye.
Tokenism is a result of the type of thinking that casts minority X as a monolith/inanimate object, rather than seeing them as a diverse group of people.
Indeed, white males are a diverse group as well, many of whom are leaders of nothing, failures by most financial measures. They haven’t succeeded, <i>often they aren’t interested or don’t care to partake</i> in that culture. They won’t be helped or harmed by these measures, though, and are largely invisible. The harm, if it manifests, is to those who are interested, and who do possess the secondary characteristics (ambition, competitiveness, aggression, insight, etc..) in spades that would make them an asset, but who would be excluded for their skin color or gender.
Those characteristics are present in some portion of all groups. So what about blinding recruiters? I did posit this as a potential solution, but I’ve come to the tentative conclusion that this method is only marginally effective on recruiting. It is unsustainable on performance reports, as how would you evaluate someone blindly?
Alright, so lets examine the third option next: nothing. This can work iff companies that actively diversify are measurably more successful in their given field. If having 40% women, as some companies do voluntarily, has all of these benefits, then they will surpass their competition and the market will select for such practices. The market is highly competitive, and well-organized firms monitor these shifts for positive and negative causal factors. The study was probably financed by a business group or corporate group, frankly, curious about whether to adopt the same practices.
However, this isn’t very fair. After all, why should the inclusion of a certain group have to improve performance before we open or encourage their participation? Shouldn’t the measure be equivalent performance? Absolutely, but that’s not going to convince any company, so doing nothing only works if there is an improvement due to diversity.
To me, that leaves the final option: tackle the root of the problem. This is…a vast issue, and humanists of all stripes have made strides on these problems for years. Improve access to education, get qualified candidates out in the world, do what can be done without mandates (blind recruiting where possible), and continue making arguments against, well, people like me 🙂