American Elephants


How the Bureaucracy Proves Racial Bias by The Elephant's Child

One of the big stories about the Obama administration is how often federal courts are overturning executive overreach. But last week’s slapdown of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals was something special.

The EEOC had sued Kaplan, the for-profit education company, for  using the same kind of background check that the EEOC itself uses. The EEOC has made a practice of suing private companies because it claims that credit and criminal background checks discriminate against minorities. In 2012 the agency issued “guidance” to get companies to take special care before using checks for criminal records, but stopped short for checking credit records.

The EEOC sued Kaplan for using credit checks, which the EEOC said had no business necessity and resulted in a “disparate impact” on blacks. A federal judge rejected the case, but the EEOC was so convinced of their virtue that it appealed. Mistake.

Judge Kethledge eviscerated the EEOC, writing that Kaplan had good reason to conduct credit checks on “applicants for positions that provide access to students’ financial-loan information because employees had “stolen payments” and “engaged in self-dealing.” As far as disparate racial impact was concerned, the Judge noted that the credit-check process is racially blind, the company does not report the applicant’s race with her other information.

The EEOC’s methodology left something to be desired. Raters were to look at drivers’ license pictures of applicants and if 4 out of 5 raters agreed on the race of the person, the applicant was classified by that race — and that was how you determined discrimination. As Judge Kethledge put it in closing”

We need not belabor the issue further. The EEOC brought this case on the basis of a homemade methodology, crafted by a witness with no particular expertise to craft it, administered by persons with no particular expertise to administer it, tested by no one, and accepted only by the witness himself.

And thus the bureaucracy grinds on, altering and illuminating the affairs of man. Isn’t it somewhat racist to assume that blacks would have more trouble with credit and criminal background checks, and thus checking such records is racist?



The EEOC Applies For Position on the Agencies to Be Abolished List. by The Elephant's Child

Soft tyranny. What do you call it when your world is being transformed by political correctness, diversity, sustainability— all those meaningless words that provide political cover for accusations of racism, sexism, exclusion, discrimination, judgmentalism, and of course that amorphous fairness.

We have kindergarteners suspended from school for pointing “finger guns” and saying ‘pow!’ Little children questioned by the police for offenses such as bringing a one inch GI Joe gun to school, or biting a pop tart into the shape of a gun (or the state of Idaho). A high-school student is threatened with a year in jail for wearing an NRA tee shirt. This is not “zero tolerance of guns” to protect our children. It’s a sickness. Anyone who is unable to tell the difference between a “finger gun” and a Glock needs some serious psychiatric  help.

What roused my ire in particular is lawsuits filed by the federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Dollar General and a BMW facility in South Carolina for the alleged unfair use of criminal background checks for job applicants.

The EEOC last year issued new guidelines that cautioned businesses against rejecting minority applicants who have committed a crime and recommended that businesses eliminate any policies that “exclude people from employment based on a criminal record.” Such screening, you see, might discriminate against African Americans. How about such screening discriminating against people who might commit a crime? So don’t do any background checks, just cross your fingers and hope for the best.

However, the update was issued out of concern that employers might disproportionately exclude minorities from getting hired because more African Americans and Hispanics are getting arrested and going to prison, according to the guideline report.

While the percentage of working-age Americans with a criminal record has increased significantly over the past 20 years, African Americans and Hispanics are arrested two to three times as much compared with the rest of the U.S. population, according to a commission report at the time of the vote.

I’m not sure that you can legislate fairness. That won’t keep them from trying.




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