MANSFIELD: The “Qualifications” Game

Rarely do I read the “comments” section that follows articles in the PD, but I was curious as to what the reaction from those on the right would be to Mark Naymik’s commentary on the speech attorney Jon Pinney, the managing partner at Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, recently made at the City Club.

When Naymik recounted Pinney’s position that perhaps our lack of diversity at the top of the leadership food chain in Greater Cleveland might in some way be partially responsible for our lagging economy, the enemies of fairness went into full denial mode.

In their worldview, the lack of diversity has more to do with a lack of abilities than anything else. In other words, “those black folks just are not as smart as us white folks.” Which is pure, utter and sheer nonsense. Study after study has shown that provided with the same educational opportunities and a level playing field, blacks can hold their own with any other group — and the reason is simple genetics: Brains are equally distributed among humans, no matter their skin color or part of the world from where they originate.

These current enemies of black progress are the descendants of the racists that, since losing the Civil War, have sought to erect barriers to prevent persons of color from lifting themselves out of poverty via education, while at the same instance accusing us of slothfulness. And this is after our ancestors built this country by the sweat of their brows.

But the reactionaries’ argument really falls apart when gender is factored in. If there is not a concerted effort to keep white males in charge of just about everything, how do they explain the lack of equal opportunities for white women — who generally outshine white males in educational attainment and advanced degrees? That’s a debate they’d rather not have.

Another study (one that could be replicated here in Greater Cleveland if we but had the courage to carry it out, which would require us wanting to know the truth) sends men from different ethnicities — but with the same qualifications on paper — on job interviews and measures who gets the most callbacks. Of course, the results are always the same: In spite of the same qualifications, white males win this race hands down, and it has nothing to do with qualifications — unless white skin is considered a qualification, which it still is in America.

And yet still other studies consistently demonstrate that the areas of the country that are the least racist, homophobic and gender-biased do better. They lead when it comes to attracting young talent and creating new wealth. It’s only the old guard that wants to maintain the racist status quo, and by doing so maintain the economic status quo also.

From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier mansfieldfATgmail.com. Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc.

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