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TOWN HALL: USOC introduces skin games (poll)

November 23, 2011
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The U.S. Olympic Committee has added a new sport. Call it The Skin Game.

Out of the blue, the Springs-based organization has decided to give itself an “F” for diversity. Scott Blackmun, the organization’s CEO, worries openly that too many staffers look like him. They are white men, which in today’s climate is practically a hate crime. An article by Gazette sportswriter Brian Gomez explains that 91 percent of USOC managers are white and 64 percent are men. To change this, the committee will likely make considerations of ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation high priorities when hiring. A diversity working group has studied the dilemma of too many white people. Additionally, the USOC plans to hire a diversity director.

“This is going to be a priority for the USOC,” Blackmun told The Gazette.

Another concern involves the USOC executive team and the board. Of 31 who comprise these groups, 17 are white men. Two are black men, two are black women.

This should be of no concern. Four of 31 members are black, which works out to 12.9 percent. That’s pretty good, considering that black Americans comprise 12.6 percent of the United States’ population. Furthermore, women comprise nearly half of the USOC’s elite leadership.

The effort to go public with a diversity campaign comes across as self adulation and politically motivated white guilt.

If the USOC wants more minority employees, then quietly hire qualified women, blacks, Hispanics, Asians and others who can check boxes other than, or in addition to, “Caucasian.” Work harder to find minorities who are simply better than white applicants. USOC executives do themselves and no one else any big favors bearing this religion of diversity on their sleeves.

They raise concerns that future hiring decisions may have basis in considerations other than merit. Minority hires may be viewed with suspicion, because USOC officials publicly favor minorities. Was it the new employee’s talent, or was it her skin? It’s not fair to others who applied for the job, and it’s not fair for minorities who win jobs on a basis of superior talent, skill and education. Smart, competitive minorities do not need special treatment from white men in order to succeed.

Should the USOC give preference to minorities when hiring? Vote in poll to the right. Must vote to see results.

Racism and inequality survive on perverse incentives and regulation. No executive who desires to succeed would hire a white person over a more-skilled minority who stands to get the job done better and faster. Free markets reward the fruits of production, without regard for the lineages of those who produce. Free markets punish those who indulge in bad hiring decisions based on considerations other than merit.

If the USOC wants to balance the workforce, it should stop preaching diversity and start working with schools, families and organizations to help ensure that minority children have opportunities to attend great schools and compete at the highest levels of society.

It should work with programs, such as Springs-based Parents Challenge, that enhance educational opportunities for children who are otherwise stuck in under-performing schools.

A self-deprecating diversity campaign, on the part of guilt-ridden white people, will do nothing substantial to enhance opportunities for minorities.

Friend editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen on Facebook, follow him on Twitter

Same song, different verse (USOC "white boy" dilemma, 1994, Chicago Tribune)

Gazette news article about latest USOC diversity effort

Pros and cons of affirmative action for sake of diversity

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