March 15, 2005

Study says getting government jobs harder in "post-affirmative action" period

I got quoted in a new AP piece on a study by the Albany (NY)-based Center for Women in Government & Civil Society at the State University of New York at Albany.

The study's author and the Center's director, Judith Saidel, claims that blacks and Hispanics are not able to rise to managerial and directoral spots in state and local government across the nation in what she calls a "post-affirmative action" period.

"I don't know if I would call it tokenism as I would occupational segregation," said report author Judith Saidel, director of the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society at the State University of New York at Albany.

"There's a number of possible reasons at play here," Saidel said. "We are in a post-affirmative action period. In general, there's a climate less supportive of proactive efforts to identify people of color for various positions."

Michael King, an Atlanta resident and member of the national conservative black group Project 21, said the report, out last month, seemed like it was "engineered to justify an argument."

He noted that with battles ongoing over affirmative action in California, Michigan and Georgia, there is "no logical way you can call this a post-affirmative action period."

King also disputed the suggestion that any advancement by minorities has stopped. "When you look at the number of individuals across the nation both in elective and appointed office, the numbers are certainly increasing," he said.

One of the other points I pointed out was that the study neglected to take into account the larger concentrations of blacks in and around urban areas nationally. You are far more likely to have concentrations of blacks working in government in Chicago or Atlanta than you are in Boulder, CO or Albuquerque, NM.

And to call this a "post-affirmative action period" is just plain silly. Affirmative action, as a whole, is alive and well in this nation. I have insisted in the past that the institution of affirmative action is "broken" -- it largely does not take into account the differences and disparagements between smaller versus larger minority-owned businesses, for example -- but the entity that is affirmative action is certainly in effect across the nation.

Ms. Seidel's report appears to be specifically designed to bolster an overall arguement that qualified minorities are not able to acquire jobs in government.

Posted by mhking at March 15, 2005 09:43 AM
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