Quantity Trumps Quality; Racism and the Privilege of Quotas

Non-profit or virtually non-profit organizations do not need to seek quality workers for any of their positions. Good-enough is the marker of determination, more specifically, what racial or ethnic quota can be filled from any of the semi-qualified to quantify that they are not racist or prejudiced, except in how many people of color they hire and promote. Qualified people of color need not apply. It’s not that qualified people of non-color get hired either–mediocrity is sought to rationalize or even silently justify the lower rate of pay.

The inefficiency or even the buffoonery that arises from time to time in policy decisions–but mostly decisions by race, by ethnicity or by gender that get made are primary in an organization that does not have to show profits to survive. In the marketplace, presumably, the more qualified should get hired irrespective of race or gender or ethnicity, but oftentimes even in the marketplace, quality coupled with bureaucratic quantifications is primary.

Waste is managed, not eliminated, except where government grants fund the operations. Then a pseudo-marketplace mentality is assumed, and administrators get to play in a pretend big-time world where their decisions are judged as they would be in a for-profit company, at least in so far as the bureaucracy manages its quotas for performance evaluation.  There is generally no regard for time of service, seniority, or for quality of work because again, less qualified can be manipulated into good enough to meet the government’s numbers at the the end of the fiscal year. This we see in our education across America–particularly in ESOL where for sure, less qualified seems to be rewarded more greatly than qualified, particularly if it is in New York City and the less qualified or those with less seniority are people of color, better, women of color, even better, African American women. If you are a Jewish woman, then this is better than being a white Catholic male, Italian American, absolutely.

There are enough people who can turn a blind eye to this, enough who will deny that this exists, some who might even say it is about time, and others who to themselves will say you don’t like it, do you, as if two contrary wrongs make a right–actually they would only result in a zero for everybody, including the people who the organization serves. But let this not sound like sour grapes from a white catholic Italian-American man, and only like a genuine critique from a citizen who sees quantity again triumphing over quality and race centered hiring and promoting and rewarding on the job for what it is, racist, racist, endemically racist. So, I do understand when people of color say America is an endemically racist society. Of course, we are, and everybody, I mean everybody, participates.

I do understand that there are qualified people who want to serve, but mostly they get weeded out by the petty authority that usually gets promoted because petty authority is more easily managed and gets on board with the less-than-qualified-good-enough mentality. Also, they are less inclined to promote people who are as qualified or more qualified as they are; their positions most likely have been secured by what quota they fill. But this is in part integral to the general inefficiency anywhere hiring and promoting practices emulate this pattern.

Quotas in hiring are privileges established to address actual or perceived or media received inequalities. They only add to the stress of inequality; they do not erradicate the inequality. In fact, they reinforce it, oftentimes causing us to look for or create the illusion of inequality if it did not persist. This kind of privileging does not demand quality and therefore, there is a lessening of the need to acquire quality in skills or talents. Furthermore, quality, actual quality is ignored. The preference is for the less qualified man or woman from among the established quotas because  the man or woman of quality from among the quotas is only going to think of his job as a right and not a privilege.


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