Affirmative Action and the CCRI

Robert Neil uarn at MCK-UAII.MCK.NCSU.EDU
Mon Jul 29 17:40:29 MDT 1996

> The problem with quotas is that we are forced to hire people that may
> not be qualified - or forced to overlook people who may be more
> qualified.  On the other hand, without legislation, we have proved that
> we are free to not hire qualified people simply because we do not like
> their color.  Both of these extremes are wrong.

Most people, including many conservatives, overlook the most powerful
tool know to man for overcoming irrational actions such as racial
discrimination (whether it be in the form of 'Jim Crow' or
Affirmative Action). This tool is the market - specifically the labor
market. People equate the pre-1965 lack of institutionalized racial
protections with laissez-faire in the labor market and (incorrectly)
conclude that an open labor market lends itself to racial
discrimination. In fact the opposite is true.

For example, Jackie Robinson was not hired in order to break the
color barrier, nor was his employment an act of compliance with
government fiat. Jackie Robinson made history because the competitive
pressures brought about by the market forced baseball to overcome the
irrational exclusion of the enormous wealth of talent contained in
the African American ball players.

Civil rights legislation did not lead to the creation of large
numbers of laws to equalize the opportunities for African Americans.
For the most part it DISMANTLED the myriad of laws and customs that
were absolutely necessary to keep the labor market from overpowering
the irrational exclusionary system of Jim Crow. Unfortunately, the
liberals couldn't stop when they were ahead and institutionalized
what is essentially a (admittedly less irrational than Jim Crow)
system of reverse racial discrimination.

We should always be working towards the freeing of competition and
the openness of labor markets. That is the only effective long term
solution to this vexing and important problem.

Robert M. Neil
Center for Urban Affairs
North Carolina State University

Robert Neil
Computing Consultant II
Urban Affairs - NC State University, Box 7401
Raleigh NC 27695   tel: (919) 515-6046  fax: (919) 515-3642
"A candle may light the way in the darkness, but NUCLEAR POWER
 means we can have cold beer while we watch the Superbowl." CS

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