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Willard Mitt may not have realized it but at the 2nd Presidential debate, he demonstrated his past (and presumably) present support of Affirmative Action for hiring. Follow me below the visual representation of Rmoney explaining a policy position two days in a row:

While dodging the question that was actually asked, Mittens gave the following answer:

ROMNEY: Thank you. And important topic, and one which I learned a great deal about, particularly as I was serving as governor of my state, because I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men.

And I — and I went to my staff, and I said, "How come all the people for these jobs are — are all men." They said, "Well, these are the people that have the qualifications." And I said, "Well, gosh, can't we — can't we find some — some women that are also qualified?"

ROMNEY: And — and so we — we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet.

I went to a number of women's groups and said, "Can you help us find folks," and they brought us whole binders full of women.

Many conservatives and unfortunately even some progressives portray Affirmative Action as some type of quota system. You've seen the arguments:

"It's reverse discrimination"
"Why can't [insert underrepresented minority] compete like everyone else?
"Standards are being lowered to let [insert underrepresented minority] in"
"It's not faaaaaiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrr"

Contrary to the above misguided sentiments, Affirmative Action programs I've encountered work similarly to what was described by Rmoney**. These programs recognize that either through tradition or other historical barriers, some jobs have very little diversity when it comes to race or gender. Not only might this apply to women in executive positions, women in the automotive field, Blacks as veterinarians, etc. but it can also apply to situations like men in nursing (especially in the past).

What an effective program can do is expose underrepresented groups to the field in question. This could be done short term and long term. Short term means advertising your job openings to a wider audience. Make an effort to send it to women's organizations, Black fraternities and sororities, non English media, etc. Longer term can mean sponsoring a mentoring program in underprivileged schools, offering internships, or doing any number of things to open your field to people who may not otherwise be exposed.

Another way to widen the number of people eligible for a particular position is to periodically examine the job requirements. Does a person in 2012 really need to be able to lift 100 pounds or is that a relic of how a job may have done in the past? Do you need to type 60 words per minute? Maybe now a physically disabled person could use voice activation software.

Most of these solutions are not quick fixes. In fact, it would be easier to just rely on some statistical formula or demographic study and dole out the jobs accordingly. What most people in favor of Affirmative Action want is equal access and a fair chance to compete.  Mitt's binder full of women is just the sort of effort that can pay dividends to both potential employer and employee. Now that Mitt has endorsed Affirmative Action, I'm sure his wingnut cohorts will soon follow suit.

**Jeez Mitt, according to diaries here and here, even this anecdote is a lie. Sigh...

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

    by CaliSista on Wed Oct 17, 2012 at 01:47:40 AM PDT

  •  Geez, I don't know why women are complaining (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CaliSista, Chi, FiredUpInCA, afisher

    According to Romney The Secret Feminist:

    "We’re going to have to have employers in the new economy, in the economy I’m going to bring to play, that are going to be so anxious to get good workers they’re going to be anxious to hire women."
    Right. You mean, employers are going to be so desperate for workers that they'll even employ women. That Romney...with his unwavering commitment to women's rights, he reminds me of Emma Goldman.

    Frank Bruni of The New York Times got off a good one:

    ...given his (Romney's) talent for recasting his past and changing his shape, I half expected him to claim that he’d once been a woman, though I suppose that would bring up a new set of political problems. Ralph Reed would have a tough time selling it to evangelical voters.

    Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill

    by Retroactive Genius on Wed Oct 17, 2012 at 02:26:50 AM PDT

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