back to article Microsoft: After we said we'll try to promote more Black people, the US govt accused us of discrimination

After Microsoft vowed to double its number of Black and African American bosses and senior staffers, the US government challenged the policy as potentially racist, it was revealed Tuesday. The Windows giant went public to say it received a letter last week from the Department of Labor accusing it of possible illegal …

  1. IGotOut Silver badge

    Dammed if you do....

    Etc...etc

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dammed if you do....

      Damned by the US department of labour if you do promote based on race, damned by some clever people on Twitter if you don't.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Dammed if you do....

        Eventually I am hoping that most people are going to realize that the supposedly clever people on Twitter (Facebook, YouTube, et alia) are only clever in the Yorkshire meaning of the word.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dammed if you do....

          It just means that the quality of M$' hires will decline, and the average IQ at Redmond will significantly drop too.

          AC because we have a BLM riot going on in the street outside

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      This is just because of Trump

      They recently announced they would block companies that do business with the government from having any diversity training, and I guess anti diversity hiring is part of it. All part of Trump's campaign strategy of thinking he can win solely by votes from angry white men who are upset their privilege is being taken away from them.

      1. Rasslin ' in the mud
        FAIL

        Re: This is just because of Trump

        BZZZZZT!

        What was banned is indoctrinating with the BS Critical Race Theory within the US Military and Government departments.

      2. Drew Scriver

        Re: This is just because of Trump

        I am quite certain that your statement ("block companies that do business with the government from having any diversity training") is factually unsound.

        However, I'm always open to learning more and adjusting my conclusions accordingly. Can you provide some URLs with information about this ban?

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: This is just because of Trump

          https://www.npr.org/2020/09/22/915843471/trump-expands-ban-on-racial-sensitivity-training-to-federal-contractors

          Here's Trump's actual Tweet:

          https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1308539918075883523

          There's a large DoD contractor a half hour away from me who announced they would be suspending all diversity training for the time being as a result of his order.

          1. Drew Scriver

            Re: This is just because of Trump

            Thank you for providing the link.

            I was aware of that ban, but you stated "block companies that do business with the government from having any diversity training". The Executive Order appears to be more limited in nature.

            Granted, it does include sex-based sensitivity training, but it does seems that the limitations end there.

            From the EO:

            “During the performance of this contract, the contractor agrees as follows:

            1. The contractor shall not use any workplace training that inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating, including the concepts that (a) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (b) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; (c) an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex; (d) members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex; (e) an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex; (f) an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; (g) any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or (h) meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race. The term “race or sex stereotyping” means ascribing character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of his or her race or sex, and the term “race or sex scapegoating” means assigning fault, blame, or bias to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex.

            Full text: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-combating-race-sex-stereotyping/

            Also, the EO includes quite a few statements underscoring equality. Just a snippet:

            From the battlefield of Gettysburg to the bus boycott in Montgomery and the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, heroic Americans have valiantly risked their lives to ensure that their children would grow up in a Nation living out its creed, expressed in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” It was this belief in the inherent equality of every individual that inspired the Founding generation to risk their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to establish a new Nation, unique among the countries of the world. President Abraham Lincoln understood that this belief is “the electric cord” that “links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving” people, no matter their race or country of origin. It is the belief that inspired the heroic black soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment to defend that same Union at great cost in the Civil War. And it is what inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to dream that his children would one day “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

      3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  2. jake Silver badge

    Just do what I do.

    Hire on merit alone. Simples.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just do what I do.

      Such a racist comment. What if a white person is the most qualified?

      1. jilocasin
        Holmes

        Re: Just do what I do.

        Then you hire the white person obviously. Contrary to what some on the left believe, you can be racist against white people, and sexist against men.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just do what I do.

          I've had a job application rejected because "we have to consider the diversity candidates first" and I'm a white male. This is discrimination, and it really does happen in the name of "diversity".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just do what I do.

        What if a white person is the most qualified?

        In technical positions, the most able and best qualified WILL be white. My HR Department hires on the basis of ability and not race. Our technical departments are almost entirely staffed by pale people.

        There's probably some sociological BS that "explains" this. We just find that it's "just the way it is™"

        AC because I don't want a BLM Picket outside again

    2. Chris Fox

      Re: Just do what I do.

      "Hire on merit alone. Simples."

      Perhaps it is not so simple. Unfortunately some people, and institutions, have a habit of assessing "merit" in a way that turns out to embody an element of indirect discrimination, and which amplifies existing structural inequalities.

      The classic example from the media world (and politics etc.) would be judgements related to "polish" and "eloquence" (at least in the UK). In the legal profession it might be judgements about whether the candidate attended a "good" law school. Similarly in the sciences, and academia itself, there is self-perputating bias in favour of graduates from the self-selected "Russell Group" of universities, or Ivy League etc., which themselves embody elements of discrimination and bias. Then there are those "objective" algorithmic assessments of merit, used in the tech industry and elsewhere, that have been shown to embody unlawful discrimination.

      While some general measures, such as "unconscious bias" training, can help, they can also have unintended consequences that actually entrench discrimination in some individuals. But targeted measures (such as hiding details of an applicant's education and age) have been shown to broaden the pool from which candidates are selected. Perhaps a case of "less is better".

      1. Qarumba

        Re: Just do what I do.

        "Unconcious bias" training - developed in room 101 for those who may commit a thought crime.

      2. Robert Grant Silver badge

        Re: Just do what I do.

        While some general measures, such as "unconscious bias" training, can help

        How do you know if they help? What if your own unconscious biases are showing there?

      3. jake Silver badge

        Re: Just do what I do.

        You're over-thinking it. Chris. Making it far more complex than it actually is.

      4. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Just do what I do.

        assessing "merit" in a way that turns out to embody an element of indirect discrimination

        The worst kind, perhaps, being "the soft bigotry of low expectations". Something to think about.

        best thing to do: Just treat everyone the same regardless of "whatever characteristic", ESPECIALLY when hiring. That means that political conservatives make good employees, too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Just do what I do.

          Actually, political conservatives make very bad employees.

          They tend to be sociopaths, looking out for only themselves at the expense of other employees. That ultimately hurts not only their coworkers but also the company.

          Any true merit-based hiring process will therefore exclude any political conservatives from consideration for any position that requires interaction with other employees or the public. And they're not really very good at any safety-related position either, they're likely to cut corners that they perceive as benefiting themselves even if it's at the expense of others, their convenience is more important to them than others' lives.

          1. Robert Grant Silver badge

            Re: Just do what I do.

            I like that that rant is so generic that I could also imagine a conservative saying it about Generation Z.

    3. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: Just do what I do.

      Jake» Hire on merit alone. Simples.

      I completely agree with you. I went to a good school, got a CS degree and may be whiter than white. My preferred pronoun is 'he' and 'him'. I certainly think of myself as open-minded and diverse.

      And, as teamleader, when it comes to new hires, I pick people who will get along best on the team, people whom I understand, people who understand the culture.

      Indeed, Sir Humphrey put it so eloquently here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhZRDoGZg00

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Just do what I do.

      Hire on merit alone.

      Agreed. But the L[aw]yers will want "their share" at some point... (best to watch your ass anyway)

    5. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Just do what I do.

      Hiring on merit alone doesn't prevent you from devoting extra resources to identifying minority candidates that meet your hiring criteria to attempt to increase their number among your ranks.

      1. Drew Scriver

        Re: Just do what I do.

        Aren't you essentially saying that finding the best talent may require extra effort so ensure that the net is cast wide enough because some candidates may not be represented in narrower searches?

        If so, you wouldn't you still be focusing on merit? If the best-qualified candidate happens to belong to a certain group of which you would like to see greater representation within the company that would merely be a side-effect, wouldn't it?

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Just do what I do.

          Sure, Microsoft saying "we're going to double minority representation in management" only means "hiring unqualified people" to white men who think the world owes them a living.

          Minorities are less likely to have headhunter firms representing them, less likely to be recommended by "networking" unless one has worked at more diverse companies in the past, and less likely to be recommended by one's school (since a lot of such candidates may have attended HBCUs) So a company that wants to increase their representation needs to look in places they haven't traditionally looked to identify minority candidates, since the typical search process overrepresents white candidates.

          1. EnviableOne Silver badge

            Re: Just do what I do.

            If they fail to broaded their hiring practices or fail to consider the non-minority candidates from new hiring practices, then they are discriminating on grounds of race, which is illlegal.

            The standard higring practices discriminates against many, not just minorities, and puts breaks on social mobility and stifles inovation.

            They should be looking to cast as wide a net as posible and excluding factors from their decision making that will impact on the inclusivity of their process.

            Arbitary quotas do not solve the problem, what has to be done is to change the culture and the process that lead to it, only by having a more inclusive system with a merit based system can we produce a diverse team that will cover all the problems from all the angles and allow us to achive the best solutions to problems and come together as one society working together for the common good.

    6. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: Just do what I do.

      Define "merit" in a management setting. Particularly when the boss' nephew is a shoo-in.

      Managing employees is all about getting along with people. And if the board of directors decides that a diverse workforce is in its future, the need for hiring a wider range of people into management as a method for ensuring that they work well with those that don't look like them is valid.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Outsource personnel actions...

    to the most qualified group, the government, of course. Instead of being under _threat_ of odious Justice Dept. supervision, just turn it over to them! They'll know exactly how to balance *all the things*, right?

    On the plus side, they probably won't do _worse_ than Microsoft has. And the stock will rise when Wall Street realizes headcount and costs will decrease gradually in the multisided deadlock that will ensue. And the managers will have ready excuses for future problems.

    Everybody wins!Eexcept for a few nobodies, right?

  4. Simon 15

    I have an idea...

    Here's a radical idea... How about everyone just ignore race and promote whoever is best suited for the job!?

    I think most organisations have been doing this since year dot as it's usually best for business... However as there's often a disparity in the number of black people in senior roles then it's instantly deemed to be racism. It also seems strange that it's only black people that seem to be discriminated against too, all other minority groups seem to be more proportionally represented and certain groups of people seem to excel. It's far too easy and very lazy to draw the conclusion that racism is the underlying reason for this disparity. If we were to follow on with this very skewed logic we must also conclude that non-black people are discriminated against in athletic running events as they well under-represented, in fact the top ten 100m sprinters in history are all black. Would we dare state that black people are better at running than their non-black counterparts? If yes, then you've acknowledged that there are differences between the races which instantly makes you a racist. If no, then athletics must be incredibly racist.

    Perhaps we need to introduce 'positive discrimination' in athletics? We can 'promote' white sprinters to give them a artificial advantage against their competitors in order to reduce the amount of racism that is clearly taking place and as 73% of the USA population is white so they should make sure that this is reflected in their athletic teams even if it means giving faster black runners the boot.

    Positive discrimination (affirmative action) is by its very definition a racist act. You are discriminating against one (or several/many) group(s) of people to give an unfair and undeserved advantage to another in order to 'correct' a disparity. Even if we accept the flawed hypothesis that the initial disparity was caused by racism then we are just using further racism to correct it! To coin the old adage, two wrongs don't make a right.

    Judge people based on the content of their character rather than the colour of their skin.

    1. demon driver

      An old idea

      1. "Everyone just ignoring race and promoting whoever is best suited for the job" is either not being done or not helping. That's why there's a large consensus that some things should be done differently there.

      2. If the disparity is there and there's evidence that it's not just a disparity in representation of skin colour, but that black applicants are more likely to be not chosen than white applicants even though they're capable and suited, which is what all of this is about, it is irrelevant whether this it attributed to racism or not, or whether anyone wants to call it racism or not. Even if it wasn't racism or couldn't, for some reason, legitimately be called racism, a conscious decision to not change a thing about it would be.

      3. While it has been cited by racists for ages to prove there couldn't be such a thing as racism, athletics is a completely different subject. In fact, it is the active denial that outside of athletics black people might be more often not chosen for senior roles than white people without even knowing whether they could do the job. It's not that anyone could let them run the mile to see how fast they are in recruiting such jobs. It's not in their black genes that black people would be, by tendency, less suited for senior roles than white people, an allegation that is implicitly made by citing athletics and claiming the disparity in senior roles wasn't racist. Any such alllegation, of course, is.

      4. That there would be other, neglected discriminated-against minorities is no reason for not acting against the discrimination of obvious discriminated-against minorities. It can only be a reason for doing even more against discrimination.

      5. The approach to apply positive discrimination to correct negative discrimination until there's no discrimination does not become racism just because racists say so. The more intelligent definitions of racism expressly deny that there even can be a thing like racism against a privileged majority. Racism always works against underprivileged minorities in that they stay underprivileged minorities. Something like that cannot even happen to the privileged majority.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: An old idea

        Whoa up there, pardner ... Are you seriously trying to suggest that black people can't be racist with regard to white people because black folks are a minority?

        If this is in fact the case, your perception of reality is so warped that having a logical conversation with you on this subject isn't possible.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: An old idea

          My partner is mixed race and grew up in London. The only racism she has ever experienced is from teenage black girls, who bullied her at school for "not being black enough".

          Racism just a "white" disease? Don't make me laugh.

          1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: An old idea

            Absolutely, racism is a human disease, but in the West it has a very bad history these days - something that we need to admit, address, and all move on from although I don't see much effort going on to fixing the problems, not just racism, but other issues like poverty, sexuality, and gender ... the human race is a mess.

            All those factors mean nothing to me, but it does to virtually everyone I deal with, even if they say no.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: An old idea

              Absolutely, racism is a human disease, but in the West it has a very bad history these days

              No, the West is possibly the least racist place in history. It's just it's kept good records (including of its racist actions), it has free press that enables the reporting of everything, including racism, it created a global communications network that exposes all current racism in its open societies in seconds, and also constantly is rooting around trying to identify racism, whether it's there or not. That plus a healthy dose of confirmation bias, et voilà.

          2. EnviableOne Silver badge

            Re: An old idea

            Race is not just about colour of skin either.

            English on Irish or Scots

            French on Belgian

            Japanese on Korean

            Spanish on Catalan or Basque

            Racism is bad, and we are all affected, yeah some are less bad at it than others, but we all got tarred by the same brush.

            Untill we give up making arbitary distinctions based on where you or your ancestors have come from and start treating each other with the respect we deserve, the cancer of racism will live on

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Here's a radical idea...

      I'm fine with the current system because it benefits me.

      Not what I'd call radical.

    3. swm Silver badge

      Re: I have an idea...

      Shades of Shockley.

  5. msobkow Bronze badge

    Special treatment for anyone is by definition discriminatory

    You can't give special treatment to one segment of society without giving short-shrift to the others. Anyone who expects or expected otherwise never thought about it.

    That is what I hate about government or corporate imposed "ideal ratios" and such. Ideal ratios may describe the population base, but it doesn't describe where the skills lie for an industry. Sure if you've got a number of qualified candidates, be fair and mix it up randomly, but to select someone just because they're of *any* particular background is prejudicial decision making.

    But those out for "social justice" and "equality" dream of an impossible world where people really *are* equal cookie-cutter replacements for each other, but in the *real* world, people have different skills and experience they bring to the table, and *that* is what should be driving the decision-making process.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Special treatment for anyone is by definition discriminatory

      They're not talking about special treatment for anyone. The article explicitly quotes MS saying "we'll hire the best person for the job".

      The problem they have noticed is they look at their demographics of their managers, and for some reason, Black people make up a disproportionate small number. If that is happening for any unconscious bias, then it means that they aren't getting the best people for the job. If lack of opportunity or encouragement is making people miss out, you can fix that by ensuring all potential candidates get appropriate training.

      It's not special treatment, it's making sure that you develop the best employees in to the best managers. Keeping on promoting PLUs means you're missing out.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Special treatment for anyone is by definition discriminatory

        "you can fix that by ensuring all potential candidates get appropriate training"

        Everybody currently without work, or unhappy with their existing job, is a potential candidate. Are you suggesting that Microsoft (in this case) should pay for the training of everyone applying for the position, should they need that training in order to do the job?

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Special treatment for anyone is by definition discriminatory

        "They're not talking about special treatment for anyone. The article explicitly quotes MS saying "we'll hire the best person for the job"."

        From the article, Microsoft also "vowed to double its number of Black and African American bosses and senior staffers"

        There are a finite number of positions. Doubling the number of one group automatically decreases the number in another group (or groups). Doing this on the basis of skin colo(u)r alone is clearly racism, no matter how altruistic.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Special treatment for anyone is by definition discriminatory

          You are in effect saying "Black people are less capable of being senior staffers" (which, from knowing your posts, I'm 100% sure is not what you believe). If 10% of junior staffers are Black, but only 1% of senior staffers are Black, then Microsoft aiming to increase the number of Black senior staffers is not racist against non Blacks, its ensuring that they develop their staff the best they can, as they are clearly currently missing good candidates for some reason.

        2. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: Special treatment for anyone is by definition discriminatory

          It seems they think that by always hiring the best person for the job, they will double the number of black employees. Doesn’t sound racist. Of course it discriminates against people who are not very good.

    2. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Special treatment for anyone is by definition discriminatory

      "an impossible world where people really *are* equal cookie-cutter replacements for each other"

      Thank goodness that world really is impossible. Diversity of cultures, talents, desires and ambitions is the fundamental prerequisite for human progress. If everyone was the same, we'd just have had stasis in the state of nature.

  6. mjcohen

    What do you expect from a government run by a white supremacist supporter. Anything affecting the standard white privilege is to be quashed.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Alien

      This is nothing to do with that at all. This is simply pointing out the obvious fact that promoting someone on the basis of their skin colour just to meet some "representative" proportion is an inherently racist action. Doesn't matter if that someone is black, white, yellow, red, green (see icon) or whatever. If their advancement is simply to meet some ideological quota, that's racist.

      1. Drew Scriver

        "If their advancement is simply to meet some ideological quota, that's racist."

        Only if it is based on the premise that the advancement requires the action of a group that is inherently superior. Of course, it that were the case it wouldn't diminish racism.

        One of the problems in these types of discussions is that the definition of the term "racism" is often assumed to be universally understood. As such, it frequently expands into any negative attitude or even action toward others with a different background. To further complicate the matter, sometimes other backgrounds (e.g. specific religions) are also grouped under "race".

        In reality "racism" has a very narrow meaning that necessitates a concept of superiority based on the artificial construct of "human races".

        1. EnviableOne Silver badge

          no racism is purley and simply providing differentiated treatment on the basis of race.

          so by action or inaction favouring one race or another is racism, there is no such thing as positive discrimination, all discrimination is wrong.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Interesting discussion here: https://abovethelaw.com/2019/08/should-the-north-carolina-gun-store-billboard-targeting-the-squad-be-unconstitutional/

      It is actually about what is protected free speech (in the US) but it does include a discussion of how many pieces of civil rights legislation were first used (and frequently thereafter) to prosecute a black person.

      The point being that if even you write a perfect "colour blind" piece of legislation but it is executed by a system that is subconsciously, systemically or deliberately racist, then the outcome will be racist (or sexist, or whatever) no matter what the intent of the legislation was.

      That is the point that the "I'm colour blind, I am" and the "just promote the best person" advocates don't seem to appreciate the significance of. By the time they see the person, a lot of racist filtering has already happened but there is still an opportunity to acknowledge that (a) they may, unconsciously, continue that and this is a thing they could improve on and (b) that they could, if they wanted, exert some efforts upstream to reduce the amount of racist filtering that occurs. No one is suggesting that single organisations or individuals are required to fix the entire problem but you are being asked to acknowledge that you might be an unwitting contributor and that there are some things you can do to improve the situation directly and indirectly.

      Seems to me that this is what MS are trying to do but they are being caught out by the, let's be honest here, deliberately racist current administration in the US.

      Again, although it was about Free Speech I think these two points from the discussion sum it up quite well and are directly comparable to this situation.

      "The legal system disfavors the powerless — particularly racial and religious minorities. Rules devised by the system tend to do the same. The way the system works tends to do the same.

      But — here’s the key — exceptions to constitutional rights absolutely follow the pattern. Put another way, any exception to free speech will be disproportionately applied against the powerless, and especially people of color."

      "We are weak and censorious and we like to punish people for ideas that make us mad. This trend particularly burdens the powerless, because that’s the way the system works. Exceptions to free speech always have been, and always will be, applied disproportionately to people of color and the poor and unpopular political minorities."

      So, I'm not seeing much evidence of the US Department of Labor trying to enforce the laws when the discrimination is against non-white people or women. But, oh look, here they are trying to enforce the laws when there is the merest hint of a possibility that, if you squint in the right way, it could perhaps be construed that there might, just maybe, be a very slight preference being expressed against white men by what is merely an aspirational statement by a company.

  7. Trigun Bronze badge

    Positive discrimination - short sighted & wrong

    What some companies are doing by saying they will hire based on race quotas rather than merit, is a top down approach and has a number fo real issues attached.

    1) It's racist against the other segments of society not included and unfair to them on an individual level, potentially causing resentment and feeding racism where it didn't exist before.

    2) It undermines the people of the race benefitting from the racism as they will always wonder if they got in on merit - as well as their colleagues wondering this, too.

    3) You also might not get the best people for the job as an employer

    If you're going to attack this issue you should do it from the bottom up. I.e. look at the causes of people not getting in such as perhaps certain demographics being primarily in inner cities which are sometimes under funded education and support wise and may have more crime, gangs, etc.. If this is addressed you might find the issue is eased or possibly cured. I suspect this is not being addressed properly because this approach is much harder.

    There may be other, better ways of dealing with this of course. If we new the answers thenit'd be easy to sort out.

    1. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo

      Re: Positive discrimination - short sighted & wrong

      Positive discrimination is probably the best of all the bad solutions to discrimination.

      The H in HR is for humans. With humans deciding which human is to be hired and which humans aren't.

      Acknowledging that all humans are fallible is step 1.

      Designing a work-around for the fallibility is step 2.

      The best solution would be, if we humans collectively stopped being racist (actively, passively, and all the other kinds). However, since we're humans, that will not happen.

      Sure, we can send people into anti-discrimination training, yet the subconcious is a resilient thing.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Positive discrimination - short sighted & wrong

        "Positive discrimination is probably the best of all the bad solutions to discrimination."

        Fighting discrimination with more discrimination is like fighting for peace or fucking for virginity. It's a completely daft concept that can't work.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Positive discrimination - short sighted & wrong

          Positive discrimination is a zero-sum game. Only hire black, white loses. Do you honestly think the white majority doesn't realise this?

        2. 8bitHero

          Re: Positive discrimination - short sighted & wrong

          WWII I would argue was successful in fighting for peace. I will give you the second one however.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Positive discrimination - short sighted & wrong

            "WWII I would argue was successful in fighting for peace."

            You honestly think there was peace following WWII? You obviously weren't alive during the Cold War, and the various proxy wars that went along with it. To say nothing of Korea. Or the complete debacle that was obviously going to happen when the Brits decided it was a good idea to shuffle the European Jews off into Palestine without even bothering to ask the locals if they would mind ... There were plenty of other examples, but peace wasn't one of them.

  8. Blergh

    Diversity

    What should be promoted is that diversity is good in the workplace and should be striven for, and I don't just mean diversity of race and gender.

    It is otherwise far too easy to have two equally good candidates for a position and the final choice be down to "fit", which is an unconscious bias that discriminates against minorities of every sort. Promote that diversity within a team is a good thing because a little bit of friction caused by different viewpoints can be a good thing - but I don't mean alienate people into two opposing camps such as happens with politics.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Diversity

      "It is otherwise far too easy to have two equally good candidates for a position"

      In all my years of hiring and firing (well over 40), I have never, not once, ever, seen two completely equal top candidates for a position. One always clearly stands out.

      If I ever am fortunate enough to find two such equal top candidates, I'd call them both in for a face to face (my dime for their travel & per diem), explain the situation, and have them draw straws. Or flip a coin. Or cut cards. And then I'd go way out of my way to try to place the one who lost, either at the company I was working for, or through a friend elsewhere.

  9. ifm

    Hang on, el Reg is capitalizing the word White now? I thought only Black was supposed to be capitalised in 2020.

  10. Ochib

    Studies in Unconscious Bias

    Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination (https://www.nber.org/papers/w9873)

    COLUMN: Asian names still carry a stigma, especially in the workplace (https://dailytrojan.com/2017/02/26/column-asian-names-still-carry-stigma-especially-workplace/)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course it's racist - it beggars belief that tech companies think they can get away with this without a ferocious backlash from the silent majority (of whatever colour - white, black, brown...I know lots of BAME colleagues who despair at this current obsession with diversity).

    It's the same with Google promoting 'black' companies. Why?

    In a few years we'll look back at 2020 as the year that knocked race relations back decades by focusing more on what separates us than what unites us. You'll be lucky to express that opinion in a tech company without being wheeled off to HR for Clockwork Orange-style retraining.

    Worrying times for all rational, moderate, centrist thinkers. It's why I expect Trump to win, despite his rank incompetence.

    Btw, I had to endure 'unconscious bias' training a few years ago. It was the biggest pile of pseudo-academic horsesh!t I'd ever witnessed. Amazing to think that so many ultra-logical tech brains have such a blind spot where race is concerned.

    1. swm Silver badge

      My group went through sexual harassment training where I worked. It was junk. I finally pointed out that this training was designed to defend the company against lawsuits. They had no answer for this.

      A well-built male window washer claimed sexual harassment against secretaries that whistled at him while he was washing windows. I think he won.

  12. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Surprising

    "After Microsoft vowed to double its number of Black and African American bosses and senior staffers, the US government challenged the policy as potentially racist, it was revealed Tuesday."

    I'm very surprised. This has actually been going on for decades; there've been affirmative action programs in the US for decades. Started out with the sensible requirements to a) Make sure the hiring process is non-discriminatory (it seems easy to make it so decisions are based on objective measures like test scores; or, interviews are done non-face-to-face so the decision makers don't even know someone's race until they are hired.) Then b) Make sure if a job is advertised, the advertising is not discriminatory (if the ad is in like "yachting magazine" and "golf weekly", it might have to go into "ebony magazine" too).

    It balooned from there -- for decades there've been federal programs favoring women and minority-owned businesses. Universities (both hiring and admissions for students) that artificially add points based on race. And things like Microsoft have done, directly saying they are promoting based on race. These initiatives have gotten five thumbs up in the past. It's an odd thing; these actions are undoubtedly illegal, the civil rights act does make race-based preferences illegal, not just race-based preferences favoring whites or something, and there are not exemptions in the law. But these actions have been not only tolerated but encouraged in the past to make up for disadvantages women and minorities had in the past decades and centuries. (I want to make it clear here, I'm not complaining, I'm just pointing out this is a case where the letter of the law and "common law" do not agree at all.)

    It took until Nutjob Trump (who keeps slipping cutsey little references indicating support for white supremacists) to actually call a company out for this though.

  13. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Racism is racism

    "5. The approach to apply positive discrimination to correct negative discrimination until there's no discrimination does not become racism just because racists say so. The more intelligent definitions of racism expressly deny that there even can be a thing like racism against a privileged majority. Racism always works against underprivileged minorities in that they stay underprivileged minorities. Something like that cannot even happen to the privileged majority."

    Racism is being treated differently based on your race, and this "more intelligent definition" is nonsensical and itself racist.

    The US population is not all homogenized, so you can be a member of any race and go into neighborhoods where (in that neighborhood) you are the minority and possibly subject to racism (I've gotten off pretty light, worst I got was a few hispanic gentleman saying "Hey Santa Claus!!" as I went by... I do have the build, and the beard, as well as the skin color though so maybe that wasn't actually racist.). Here in Iowa (midwest US), people are almost excessively polite so about the worst you'd get is someone being "Iowa nice" (instead of saying "Hello, how you doing?" as someone walks by, you look up but don't say anything...) (Despite what my somewhat racist friend thinks... he's sure he's not racist but also sure that if he goes to "those neighborhoods", as a white guy in a mostly-black neighborhood he'll be robbed and stabbed. Actually go to those neighborhoods, there's just kids out playing basketball and riding bicycles and (weather permitting) adults out barbecuing.)

  14. Elledan Silver badge

    Do you want to be discriminated in favour of?

    Thing is that nobody picks to be part of a group in society. It basically just kind of happens. Ditto with being part of some minority. In the end, however, we should all still be human beings, and we should all be judged equally.

    Wealth, ethnicity, physical impairments, eye, hair or skin colour, sexual orientation and abstract concepts like 'race' are not things which do not change the fact that we are all a human being at our core.That's exactly why anti-discrimination laws (law #1 of e.g. The Netherlands' and Germany's constitutions) forbid the discrimination based upon any of those properties. Because doing so would be unfair, ergo it's illegal.

    Affirmative action is still discrimination, ergo it's illegal in many nations.

    And even if it wasn't, would you want to be picked for a position just because of any of those superfluous properties? In between all of the clamouring for male/female quotas I have often joked about there having to be a 4% representation of intersex people in between there as well. As an intersex person (chimaeric, AKA 'true hermaphrodite'), I could make this a point, and probably get people on my side.

    But I don't think it's relevant. Despite having a body and life experiences unlike those of most people, or perhaps specifically because of those, I wish only to be judged and appreciated for me as a person. Not because of properties of my body, or because I'm a minority, or because intersex people are under-represented in lots of parts of society.

    Because to be judged and appreciated equal to other people, to me that is the most precious thing. And why any form of discrimination is a horrible thing, no matter how well-intended.

  15. Jonjonz

    Since when did the U. S. Justice system switch from "innocent until proven guilty" to "guilty until proven innocent"?

    Topic certainly brings all the white supremacist racists out to harrumph and revel in their wrongness.

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