Archive for December, 2008

White affirmative action is alive and well

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

And it’s living in college football. According to the New York Times, only four out of 119 NCAA coaches in Division 1 football are African American. This amounts to 3.4% in a sport where 50% of the players are black.

The latest high-profile example occurred at Auburn, where the university chose a white coach who had failed miserably at his previous job over a black coach who had turned his college’s program around and made it highly successful. Clearly there are double standards. At perhaps the country’s most visible and prestigious college football program, Notre Dame made headlines by hiring Tyrone Willingham as its first black coach, but after one good season and one bad one, abruptly fired him. Their next coach, Charlie Weiss, had nearly the same results and was given a seven year contract extension and a big raise. He remains on the job in spite of just finishing another horrible season.

At least Willingham has been able to find head coaching jobs after being fired. While the NCAA coaching mill is full of re-treads, no other African American coach has been able to find a head coaching job after being terminated.

This is a disgrace and looks like white affirmative action. You would think that if the public is willing to vote overwhelmingly for an African American president, the athletic directors and college presidents at these colleges and universities could find some coaches who better reflect the demographics of their teams. According to the Times, only 9.2% of the athletic directors and 2.5% of the college presidents are African American. That might explain something.

More about affirmative action.

The bar is high for diversity in Obama’s appointees

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Today President-elect Barack Obama appointed a Hispanic American, Bill Richardson to be his Secretary of Commerce. Obama has also appointed two African Americans to high profile posts – Eric Holder to Attorney General and Susan Rice to UN Ambassador. And he has appointed three women – Rice, Janet Napolitano to Homeland Security, and Hillary Clinton to State. While everyone would expect Obama to have a highly diverse administration, the bar set by his predecessors is already pretty high.

According to the Associated Press, George W. Bush’s first cabinet had four women, two African Americans, two Asian Americans, and one Hispanic American, while Bill Clinton’s first cabinet had three women, four African Americans, and two Hispanic Americans. And while Obama is off to a pretty good start, there is still pressure on him to increase diversity in his appointments.

Many Hispanics were disappointed that Richardson did not get Secretary of State, and are pushing for the appointment of Rep. Xavier Becerra for U.S. Trade Representative. Notably absent are any Asian American appointees. Asian American groups are pushing for ex-Washington State Governor Gary Locke, Illinois Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth, and California Congressman Mike Honda.

While Obama is a noted proponent of diversity, he also values experience, as evidenced by several appointments who served in previous administrations. No doubt his administration will be diverse, not just in ethnicity and gender, but also in background and viewpoints, which should serve him well.

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