Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Anyone who has watched the bodycam footage of the beating of Tyre Nichols, which led to his death, can only cringe at what was done to him by police officers. A traffic stop should not lead to an execution, but it did and the five officers have been charged with second degree murder. News reports indicate that two of the five officers involved were hired after the Memphis Police Department drastically reduced requirements in the hiring of police officers. The elimination of educational requirements as well as lowered fitness requirements in the hiring of these officers resulted in the hiring of at least two of the officers involved. This policy was created mainly to encourage minorities to apply for jobs as police officers, and it was five African American officers who acted more like thugs, than officers in the beating of Tyre Nichols. Unfortunately, this is a microcosm of too many situations that may not result in deaths, but illustrate the left’s obsession with diversity in selection processes that often put ill qualified individuals in positions that they aren’t suited or equipped to handle.
When it comes to diversity and merit, one would only need to look at Joe Biden’s cabinet or watch Karine Jean-Pierre embarrassingly stumble over questions at press conferences to see that his selections are more of a freak show that celebrates diversity over competence. The more boxes of “marginalized” groups a person can claim to be a member of, the better the chance of that person getting the job.
Is there anyone who would prefer substandard care at the hands of a doctor who was given the job to meet some random diversity requirement? The notion that institutions must be equally represented when it sacrifices quality in lieu of diversity in any industry is a horrendous policy. One needs only to look at professional sports teams to understand that their sole goal is to produce winning franchises, and they don’t do that by putting the most “diverse” team on the field; they do it by putting the best team on the field and this is determined by merit. If this applies to sports, why doesn’t it apply to education, industry and politics? Athletes sign huge contracts that are 100% performance based by what they do on a field or on a court, and that is a fact. Lebron James wasn’t sought out by the Lakers because of some holistic rubric that measured anything beyond his basketball skills and athletic talent.
Diversity may well be a desired goal, but merit is a vital one. Each time quotas are instituted and the best person fails to get the position, quality suffers. This can further be illustrated by college dropout rates where admissions departments have abandoned evaluating applicants objectively and use subjective measures to determine who is admitted to their schools. According to Research.com only 14.7% of those enrolled in bachelor’s degrees and 37.5% of associate’s degree-enrollees finish their studies in six years and approximately one out of three freshman will drop out of college. This coincides with colleges that use what they term “holistic” approaches to admission, and the dismissal of things like GPA’s, SAT/ACT scores in favor of subjective measures that allow admissions officers to create a campus that creates an appearance of inclusion, regardless of whether the faces on their brochures have the academic skills sufficient to do college level work. Perhaps if colleges maintained objective standards and admitted the most qualified students, regardless of race, the dropout rate would decline.
An opportunity that is earned is an opportunity that is appreciated and everyone benefits from it. It creates a system where people strive to be the best and it is this competitive spirit that has led to so many great achievements throughout history. However, when opportunities are doled out because of unrelated characteristics, such as skin color or gender or to balance perceived unfair scales of traditionally oppressed groups it leads to rewarding mediocrity. This is what happens when generalizations are made and individuality takes a backseat to group affiliations.
Society is not a crayon box whereby each slot is occupied by a specific color and every single box of crayons is perfectly equal in terms of the number of colored crayons. The attack on merit and excuses made by those who believe merit is a buzz word for racism/sexism deny that competence in any field makes that field better. When we creates lists that are based on race or sex to create what some believe are equitable representations, we do a disservice to those who might be well qualified, but have the misfortune of being members of a group that is overrepresented. Excellence requires skill and when merit is ignored in favor of quotas the end result is diminished quality. Earning an opportunity has always been important, and there is an argument to be made that in the past prejudice and bigotry limited the opportunity of many groups, however, this can’t be rectified by punishing competent people today. “May the best man win,” is applicable in any athletic competition, but when a society is obsessed with not even allowing the “best man (or woman) to compete it creates a losing situation.
I am not saying that Tyre Nichols unfortunate death is exclusively the fault of diminished standards, but it may have been a factor since one of the officers had a history of violent behavior, and probably should never have been given the job as a police officer. Liberals will use this as an attack on police and vilify the many members of police forces throughout the nation who are well trained, professional and greatly care about protecting citizens. In this case there is no white officer who can be blamed for the death of Mr. Nichols because all of the officers were of the same race as him. So, the next attack will most likely be on police and I’m sure there will be calls to defund police, but in reality when you look at this situation objectively perhaps it is liberal policies that malign merit in favor of diversity that play a factor in this tragic situation.
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- Matteo: Merit vs diversity in selection processes - January 31, 2023
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