Re: The smug, dismissive way this article is written kinda proves their point
Absolutely spot-on, blind hiring practices would be the perfect solution here as discrimination, be it positive or 'standard' is discrimination nonetheless. Organisations or events that are exclusivity for one ethnic group are equally discriminatory yet many of these do exist such as the National Black Police Association, Music of Black Origin awards to name just a few. Can you imagine how unacceptable it would be to have a National White Police Association or Music of White Origin awards? Anything that discriminates between two otherwise equal persons on the basis of race alone, is, by definition racist and abhorrent.
The problem always seems to arise when companies are given targets to meet for the number or people they should be employing from a particular demographic and this is where this racism occurs as one group of people are treated more favourably than another based on the colour of their skin alone. In my view (which I consider to be entirely logical) it should be the person who is the best skilled to do the job who is employed regardless of their gender, race, religion, sexual preference creed, colour or disability. I'd much rather have a black heart surgeon operating upon me if she was the best applicant at interview rather than a white male. The point is, race, along with any other irrelevant characteristic simply shouldn't enter into consideration.
I think that the fact that we have organisations and industries that are predominantly 'white' or 'male' raises several interesting questions. Unfortunately much of the time the key assumption is that this disparity is caused by discrimination, i.e. "The company favours white males because we don't like anyone who isn't Caucasian even if they are clearly brilliant in their field." This is a very lazy and illogical conclusion to make but one routinely bounded about without any thought, of which the most recent example I can recall is the BBC reporting that a higher percentage of black males were being referred to the NHS for mental health assessment and therefore the NHS was inherently racist. If I take this logic to an extreme I could therefore claim the NHS was also sexist as 100% of admissions to the postnatal ward were female. It's clear to me in both of these examples that the observable effect of a disparity in demographic is caused by reasons other than racism/sexism. This doesn't mean than racism and sexism don't exist (they clearly do) but they simply do not explain the observed effect. Clearly more women than men are admitted to the post-natal ward because they are the ones that give birth to children. Would it be too far to speculate that more black males are referred to the NHS for mental health issues because they are more prone to mental issues than the white folk? Racist! I hear you cry, but once again you have judged me based on the observed effect rather than the underlying cause. I'm no expert but I would suggest a more socio-economic reason for this disparity, perhaps more black males have incredibly stressful jobs?
As with far too many issues in today's society, it is almost impossible to have a reasonable discussion about the underlying cause of many of these disparities without upsetting those unable to distinguish between cause and effect. Even our greatest minds are unable to make suggestions that dare to offend modern sensibilities. James Watson, a Nobel prize winner for his and Crick's discovery of DNA has now been shunned by the entire scientific community for daring to suggest that there may be actual differences between racial groups and genders. He is now considered to be a 'racist' (a bit like the 'communist' tag of the 1950's) even though his suggestion was based entirely on the observable evidence. If I recall my history correctly, Galileo was treated in a very similar way when he dared to suggest that the earth wasn't flat. Just because you don't like what someone is saying, it doesn't mean they are wrong.
May I now dare to speculate that the reason why most tech companies employ far more white males than any other demographic is that, one the day, they were the best applicants for the job? This doesn't mean that the companies being racist, it's just the way it was. There may well be (and often is) discrimination further down the chain that has resulted in fewer ethnic minorities applying for the position (poor education, housing, opportunity) and it is this underlying external cause which needs to be addressed at source rather than warping employment practices to retrospectively compensate for it. All 'positive' discrimination does is discriminate against the demographic of people who are unfairly blamed for causing the problem in the first place! Two wrongs don't make a right...