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Employer Recruiting of "People of Color":

The New York Civil Liberties Union is condemning an employer for taking extra efforts to specifically recruit "people of color." Oh, wait, the employer is the military -- that explains it; I guess they should be scrupulously color-blind in their recruiting (though the NYCLU's allies in supporting affirmative action have long pointed to the military's use of race as an affirmative action success story), even though other employers should indeed specifically recruit non-whites.

The story also reports:

Eleni Angelos Healey, a senior at Trinity School in Manhattan and one of the plaintiffs in the suit, said she had been harassed by letters and e-mail from military recruiters. Her repeated efforts to stop them had failed, she said.

"I'm really glad," Ms. Healey said, "that there's going to be a much easier way for kids to get their names off these lists as soon as possible."

Well, I certainly don't support spam, and if someone asks to be off a mailing list -- including the military's mailing list -- their request should be honored. But it doesn't strike me as a terribly serious civil liberties violation.

(The NYCLU has also apparently been complaining about the military's use of its recruiting database, and the story reports that the Defense Department settled the NYCLU's lawsuit by "agree[ing] to use the database only for recruiting, giving up the possibility of sharing it with law enforcement and intelligence agencies." I assume that the basis of the lawsuit was some statutory objection to the use of the database -- there are no constitutional that I know of -- objections to the use of such a database -- but I don't know the statutory scheme governing the question and thus have no opinion on the subject.)

Steve:
Isn't it the military's promotion methods, as opposed to their recruiting methods, that have been held up as a "success story" by affirmative action advocates?

I seriously cannot believe a human being exists on this planet who does not understand the distinction between the U.S. Army making extra efforts to recruit in minority neighborhoods, and IBM making extra efforts to recruit in minority neighborhoods.
1.11.2007 4:33pm
...Max... (mail):
who does not understand the distinction between the U.S. Army making extra efforts to recruit in minority neighborhoods, and IBM making extra efforts to recruit in minority neighborhoods

I do understand that ROIs would be very different...
1.11.2007 4:38pm
SeaLawyer:
Well Steve lets hear it.
1.11.2007 5:15pm
Spitzer:
I thought that civil rights groups also wanted to see law enforcement agencies recruit more minorities. I have also been given to understand that our intelligence community needed more minorities for HUMINT work. It sounds as if this settlement undermines both of those goals.

I wonder if this group would file a similar complaint against Michigan's universities for tracking race and ethnicity?
1.11.2007 5:18pm
Shangui (mail):
I agree that this doesn't seem like a civil rights violation. But to clarify Steve's point for SeaLawyer (though it didn't seem to need much clarification, I thought), one is more likely to die working for the military these days than working for IBM. IBM is a place that many people would presumably like to work and would do so when a wide array of choices is available. The military these days is a place where one might work if very few decent alternatives seem to available. Thus the assumption would be that the military would be recruiting in minority neighborhoods because many of the people there would be economically disadvantaged (I doubt they're recruiting in, say, places with many Japanese immigrants) and would have few other employment choices. Where as IBM, were it recruiting in the same places, would be seen be doing so because the want a more racially balanced work force, etc. If the military wanted a more racially balanced work force, it would certainly not be recruiting in minority areas. But am I correct that the suit was brought by students at Trinity in NYC? Isn't that an expensive prep school? That may well be EXACTLY the place the military should be recruiting to diversify!

And yes, I realize that there are many fine jobs in the military that don't involve getting killed. I've had relatives who've had both kinds.
1.11.2007 5:31pm
A.G. (mail):
Can someone explain to me why it's a bad thing that the military is still seen by those in the lower echelons of society as a way of advancing themselves? All 3 of my grandfathers (one by marriage) served in the military and were better off for it and so am I. Two of those were in the enlisted corps, which presumably is where many of the minorities that are the crux of the NYCLU complaint, end up. Simply because those that fall in the lower economic sections of the economy are minorities, should we really make it harder for the military to recruit from this base? And who is this good for? My guess is that movements like this help the pride of the activists more than the minorities in question.
1.11.2007 5:36pm
d:

The military these days is a place where one might work if very few decent alternatives seem to available.

Presumably, anyone willing to join the military feels it is the most "decent" place of work that is available to them. So you advocate that those in "minority neighborhoods" should not be informed of such opportunities that may be most beneficial to them?
1.11.2007 5:36pm
Kevin P. (mail):
Shangui (mail):


The military these days is a place where one Shangui might work if very few decent alternatives seem to available


There! I corrected your generalization for you.
1.11.2007 5:43pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
On average the military has a higher percentage of High School graduates and college graduates than the population as a whole. Further, it is entirely a voluntary profession chosen by those who wish to enlist. The military needs to recruit in minority neighborhoods for many reasons, one of which would be to cure the imbalanced over-representation of white kids that have enlisted.

Military service provides a great number of benefits to those who enlist. Such as the best training to discipline your self and motivate your self to succeed. The discipline and maturity attained by those who enlist in the military helps to make many of them ready for a life of success through work, self-discipline, and self-motivation that they would never obtain otherwise. The post service benefits are also pretty good for many who serve and wish to continue their educations.

The people who falsely claim that the military is over-represented with minorities and the poor spout these "facts" without any real knowledge of the facts or the benefits to young people of voluntary military service.

Says the "Dog"
1.11.2007 5:45pm
Shangui (mail):
Presumably, anyone willing to join the military feels it is the most "decent" place of work that is available to them. So you advocate that those in "minority neighborhoods" should not be informed of such opportunities that may be most beneficial to them?

Please read my post again and note that I don't advocate anything at all. I was merely explaining the point Steve made that SeaLawyer seemed to find mysterious. I DO think that there's a difference between the military and IBM recruiting in minority neighborhoods, etc., but I very much think that the military should be perfectly free to do so. And yes, people in "minority neighborhoods" should be as informed of their choices as possible and be free to make whatever choices they feel are best for them. In many cases, enlisting in the military may well be a fine choice.
1.11.2007 5:49pm
Shangui (mail):
Kevin,

Maybe (probably) I'm just dense, but I don't get your joke (which I assume is at my expense).
1.11.2007 5:51pm
Krahling (mail):
Senator Kerry's statement before the last election reflects a widely held belief that only losers and the hopeless choose to join the military. This belief seems to be one of the basic assumptions of the NYCLU. It's certainly one that I've encountered before.
1.11.2007 5:57pm
Steve:
Senator Kerry's statement before the last election reflects a widely held belief that only losers and the hopeless choose to join the military.

...and yet, Kerry volunteered, which I guess goes to show you that even he knew he was a loser. (?)
1.11.2007 6:04pm
Krahling (mail):

...and yet, Kerry volunteered, which I guess goes to show you that even he knew he was a loser.

After which, he came to realize that his former employer operated in the manner of Ghengis Khan.

Returning to your original post, that is a distinction that IBM lacks.
1.11.2007 6:17pm
Shangui (mail):
Kevin,

O.K., I am dense tonight. I get the jibe.

But I do think that the military is a much less appealing job for enlisted people at present than it was, say, 10 years ago. Let's face it, the increased chance of dying in Iraq does matter.
1.11.2007 6:21pm
Houston Lawyer:
You'd think that the military was dragooning minorities instead of recruiting them. The NYCLU thinks the military is bad per se. Therefore anything they do is also bad.

We could easily expand the ranks of the military in this country if we reduced our standards. The problem is that the military prefers the better recruits.
1.11.2007 6:31pm
Anon Y. Mous:

I seriously cannot believe a human being exists on this planet who does not understand the distinction between the U.S. Army making extra efforts to recruit in minority neighborhoods, and IBM making extra efforts to recruit in minority neighborhoods.


Believe it - one such human being exists right here.
1.11.2007 6:34pm
K Bennight (mail):

Believe it - one such human being exists right here.
Here's another. The distinction, such as it is, is that the distinguisher does not approve of the mlitary, finds it disreputable. I find it highly honorable.
1.11.2007 6:57pm
Steve:
Oh, I see, anyone who thinks there's a difference between the two must hate the military. What wonderful commenters this place attracts.
1.11.2007 7:03pm
MnZ (mail):
Hmmm...if some people can be duped and exploited by military outreach programs, couldn't they be duped and exploited by other outreach programs? E.g., "No you won't be in way over your head if you come to our college."
1.11.2007 7:07pm
Shelby (mail):
I just think it's marvelous that things are so good in New York, something as picayune as this is the best use the NYCLU can make of its resources.
1.11.2007 7:13pm
Krahling (mail):
If IBM is welcome and the Marine Corps is not, what explains that difference? Hatred of the military may not be the sole explanation, but it's in there somewhere.
1.11.2007 7:19pm
DG:
I served with many minority folks in the military. None felt pressured to be there. Many could have made more money at other jobs - remember, starting pay for junior enlisted folks is really quite low. Most folks were there for a combination of educational benefits, patriotism, and, frankly, the sort of adventurism that one tends to find in the average 17-25 year old guy. There really was very little difference in the motivation of a poor black kid from the inner city and that of a middle class white kid (who, btw, far outnumbered the black kids). We also had our share of middle class minority folks, including a good friend of mine who had a degree in math, and lots of poor white kids. The only group under-represented? Rich white kids.
1.11.2007 7:29pm
DG:
Correction - my last observation wasn't fair. We weren't lacking rich white kids. We were lacking rich kids in general.
1.11.2007 7:30pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
...and yet, Kerry volunteered, which I guess goes to show you that even he knew he was a loser. (?)
My impression is that he was facing a draft induction notice, so given the choice of a naval reserve commission and being enlisted, he chose the commission. Much more respect and control over his destiny.
1.11.2007 7:30pm
Randy R. (mail):
And considering the fact that the military now allows convicts to sign up, they aren't doing themselves any PR favors....
1.11.2007 7:40pm
Spitzer:
Moving away from minorities, it is interesting that military service seems to have a geographical element as well. My understanding is that southerners and midwesterners enlist in disproportionate numbers. Controlling for the higher percentage of minorities in the south, and one might still find that very few white kids from the northeast or west coast choose to enlist. Is there a link between "blue" states and an unwillingness to serve?
1.11.2007 8:15pm
Shangui (mail):
Is there a link between "blue" states and an unwillingness to serve?

There's probably a very strong link between wealth and unwillingness to serve.
1.11.2007 8:19pm
Steve:
The South has always had a very strong pro-military culture. I doubt there's much of a correlation outside of that.
1.11.2007 8:33pm
Spitzer:

There's probably a very strong link between wealth and unwillingness to serve.


I will stipulate to this point. But perhaps there is something more than a merely economic imperative to service as well. Put differently, one might ponder whether, controlling for wealth and cost-of-living differences, working-class whites (or minorities) from, say, Boston or New York or Philadelphia or Los Angeles, are as likely to enlist as their cohorts in, say, Atlanta, Houston, Cincinnati, or Richmond (or smaller cities and towns in "red" areas)? Political commentary sometimes devolves into simplified economic determinism, but can we hypothesize that the drive to enlist may have a cultural dimension too? Anecdotally, among my colleagues I have often encountered greater respect for service among southerners than among New Englanders.
1.11.2007 8:42pm
Shangui (mail):
I do remember reading an interview with a (white) guy in the army who was from New Jersey. This is so unusual that he was nicknamed "New Jersey." He pointed out that no one could have been nicknamed "Georgia" or "Alabama" given the substantial numbers of people from those and other southern states.
1.11.2007 9:02pm
SeaLawyer:

There's probably a very strong link between wealth and unwillingness to serve.


That is incorrect. I knew far more "rich white kids" as DG put it, in the military than in civilian life.
1.11.2007 9:19pm
SeaLawyer:

The military these days is a place where one might work if very few decent alternatives seem to available.


The only reason any joins the military is they have no other options.
That is such a load of crap! The real difference between IMB and the military, is the military is a much better option.
1.11.2007 9:21pm
SeaLawyer:

, I see, anyone who thinks there's a difference between the two must hate the military. What wonderful commenters this place attracts.


That is why I asked the question Steve.
1.11.2007 9:23pm
jk:
The US had 250,000 troops for the invasion, so well over 300,000 have been in service in Iraq. With about 3000 deaths, the risk of dying is about 1 percent. Or since over 2 million have served in the military since the war began, the risk is lower still. (Injuries are seven times higher, but I don't have a breakdown by severity.)

I don't question the courage of anyone who visualizes getting shot or blown up over there and volunteers anyway, but many of that age take the risk with eyes wide-open.

If they've graduated high school but are not college bound and don't have a job with a future, the military has a lot to offer.

It is presumptuous for anyone born with better opportunities to sneer at this option for the less well-off to better themselves.

(I'm not pro-military, but facts is facts.)
1.11.2007 9:28pm
David Wright (mail):
No one here has touched on the acually relevent distinction between the military and IBM: the military is a government agency; IBM is a private organization. The law should demand that the government be scrupulously non-discriminatory; how discriminatory a private organization is should be up to it.

Of course, this also means that while Harvard should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of sex and race in its admissions, the University of Michigan should not. I can't imagine why the ACLU takes a different view of that case.
1.11.2007 9:28pm
Shangui (mail):
That is incorrect. I knew far more "rich white kids" as DG put it, in the military than in civilian life.

I'll assume you haven't spent your civilian life working for IBM. Am I right?

Military recruits on average come from households with slightly higher than average incomes (with most having median household incomes of 25-50K). But only a tiny percentage (as in less than 2%) come from households making 90K+. And a 90K household income hardly counts as rich. So I guess you were very selective in your friends when you were in the service. But the point, as I recall, was the distinction between IBM and the military. Not the average American and the military.
1.11.2007 9:45pm
The Drill SGT (mail):

Moving away from minorities, it is interesting that military service seems to have a geographical element as well. My understanding is that southerners and midwesterners enlist in disproportionate numbers. Controlling for the higher percentage of minorities in the south, and one might still find that very few white kids from the northeast or west coast choose to enlist. Is there a link between "blue" states and an unwillingness to serve?

I've been a Private, SGT (actually Staff SGT) and Officer. Military enlisted recruit demographic is:

1. slightly more educated than the total cohort
2. slight better household incomes
3. less trouble with drugs, and crime
4. more rural, more red state, more southern

all in all, far from the conventional Democratic PC wisdom. The ACLU is just basicly and reflexively anti-military. we all know that.
1.11.2007 11:30pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):

And a 90K household income hardly counts as rich.


Not if you are a Democrat member of congress thinking about tax rates and tax increases and payroll tax increases. 90k is definitely rich. Basically anyone with a job is rich as far as they can determine.

Says the "Dog"
1.12.2007 12:08am
SeaLawyer:

So I guess you were very selective in your friends when you were in the service.


Well I referred to Marines I served with not my friends. Of course those are one and the same, however I didn't have much choice in who was assigned to my units.
1.12.2007 12:12am
The River Temoc (mail):
The military these days is a place where one might work if very few decent alternatives seem to available.

Yeah, and if you don't study hard, you might get sent to Iraq. Take that!
1.12.2007 12:42am
Jeremy T:

Well, I certainly don't support spam, and if someone asks to be off a mailing list -- including the military's mailing list -- their request should be honored.


Why? If the government can draft them, they can send them spam.
1.12.2007 1:10am
eric (mail):
Newsday Story on NYC Iraq Casualities

According to this, 74% of casualities in the Iraq war are white, but 59% of casualities from NYC are black.

Army Demographics Powerpoint

This tells me that 24% of enlisted persons are black, and only 60% are white. Hispanics make up 10%. The trend is Hispanics replacing both blacks and whites in the military. As would be expected with demographic changes.

It seems that whites are the ones with a disproportionate casualty rate. But some possible reasons are:

- A larger percentage of minorities are women.
- A larger percentage of whites join the high casualty jobs.

It seems to me the military is disproportionately southern, and therefore disproportionately black. Compounding this is that non-rural, non-southern whites do not enlist at high rates. My feeling is that southerners and the rural population is simply more comfortable with weapons than the general population. This may be why rural whites join the high casualty jobs. The military is obviously not exploiting blacks.

Interestingly, the private sector jobs with the highest fatality rates strike me as "white" jobs: fisherman and loggers.

CNN Dangerous Jobs Story
1.12.2007 1:46am
hey (mail):
eric: The trends in military occupations are for whites to join for glory/duty and aim for Ranger/SpecOps/Infanrty/Calvalry while minorities, especially blacks, aim for skilled positions that directly translate into a position in the civilian economy; aka free training. This can be seen in relative casualty rates as well as specialty choices.

NYCLU is pursuing the aim of the ACLU: destroy the military, destroy America, by any means necessary. Their paymasters in the Kremlin are gone, but they're staying bought.
1.12.2007 3:09am
Shangui (mail):
NYCLU is pursuing the aim of the ACLU: destroy the military, destroy America, by any means necessary. Their paymasters in the Kremlin are gone, but they're staying bought.

And the bastards hate Christmas too!!! And apple pie.
1.12.2007 7:52am
The Drill SGT (mail):

My feeling is that southerners and the rural population is simply more comfortable with weapons than the general population.


Add in the "leave the small town to seek your future" factor. NA for inner city youth. Also of course, there is the self reinforcing feedback loop when the military is considered an honorable decision by your peers, parents and veteran relatives. Lastly, much social life in small town red states used to revolve around the local NG Armory. all positive to recruiting.

We always used to joke in peacetime about complaints from the ACLU and people like Rangel about the slur that Vietnam minority casualty rates were much higher than for whites. They were NOT. and of course, the enlisted black population has always been higher than the general population, due to the unique equity of military life and its place as the most equal opportunity career for blacks.

Imagine the complaints in peacetime if the Army had enforced recruiting quotas to lower the number of blacks in the Army to match the general cohort. LOL all those good jobs being denied to blacks :)
1.12.2007 9:24am
Adeez (mail):
"NYCLU is pursuing the aim of the ACLU: destroy the military, destroy America, by any means necessary. Their paymasters in the Kremlin are gone, but they're staying bought."

HAHAHAHA!!! Great stuff. Can I have another?
1.12.2007 10:23am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I recall complaints about the (bogus) disproportionate casualty rates among Blacks in Viet Nam coming practically in the same sentence as complaints about Blacks being kept out of line units in WW II.

In fact, casualties among blacks in Viet Nam did spike. When the first line units went in, paratroopers and Marines, something like 50% of the rifle strength--manuver battalions--was black. Both of those groups took only volunteers.
The reason the casualty rates then regressed to being proportionate to within a tenth of a percent of population representation is that the rates among whites was higher in the beginning-advisers and so forth--and later when the draft brought large numbers of whites into Infantry units which were not volunteer.

The typical enlistee today is characterized as being white, all-thyroid (euphemism alert) who believes in God, Country, and Kicking Ass. Even during the very short period where the Army but not the Marines were behind in recruiting, they were not behind in guys enlisting FOR combat arms. He's better educated than his age peers, healthier, probably not an introvert, a quick thinker, and if he gets out and moves in next door, you're lucky.
1.12.2007 10:34am
Elliot123 (mail):
Are people of color colored people?
1.12.2007 3:30pm
spencere (mail):
I read the referenced article three times and could not find a single word that referenced race or minorities.

Why are you jumping to the conlusion that the law suit had anything to do with race, minorities or affirmative action?

It appears your reaction says more about the assumption you make then about the Civil Liberties Union.
1.12.2007 4:15pm
A.C.:
The New York Times article linked to above makes clear mention of race and targeted recruiting. It doesn't take a stand about whether this is nefarious, and it does quote one source as saying that it's just about making sure the military is representative of society.

But I don't know what the fuss is about. I remember receiving tons of military recruiting information when I was a senior in high school. I also got brochures from all sorts of colleges I didn't want to attend. It isn't hard to throw this stuff out.
1.12.2007 4:25pm
123:
Imagine the complaints in peacetime if the Army had enforced recruiting quotas to lower the number of blacks in the Army to match the general cohort.

The Navy recently did just that.

See www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006611190377

Excerpt:


On whether the policy was discriminatory, the military contradicted itself.

The recruiter tells the white applicant, "Welcome."

But, under the new instructions, the black recruit is told, "Try us next month."

[snip]

Then came the directive from Rear Adm. George Voelker, at the time head of the Navy's recruiting efforts. Now retired and working for a defense contractor in California, the former admiral declined to be interviewed for this story.

Before then, Hudson said, recruiters had received goals for different ethnic groups, "but it never came out as explicit as this instruction made it."

The Navy's desire to enhance its minority numbers was nothing new. It also wanted to attract more "upper mental group" applicants — those who scored 50 or above on the test known as the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.

There were valid reasons the Navy wanted smarter recruits, Hudson said. Meanwhile, "all the services are looking for diversity, just like every Fortune 500 company is looking for diversity."

By November 2002, the lieutenant had taken his concern to the head of the Nashville recruiting district, who told him to follow the policy as given. However, a later investigation would reveal that he and other commanders had expressed the same concerns as Hudson about the new rule.

Hudson said the policy "was just so blatantly wrong. I couldn't do it."

Stewart, too, said the policy was discriminatory to minorities and was a "major contributing factor" to his leaving the Navy after nine years. He said Hudson, his former boss, did the right thing in objecting: "That just blows my mind, the irony of a WASPy guy from Vanderbilt trying to protect the rights of minorities."

[snip]

In April 2005, a Pentagon report acknowledged that discrimination occurred but said it was justified: "Lt. Hudson does not seem to understand or recognize the difference between 'lawful' and 'unlawful' discrimination." It said discrimination was lawful if it was "institutional discrimination," in other words, if the policy were applied to all minority recruits.

But one month later, the Naval IG's office concluded the directive was "not legally defensible," and said the Navy should have investigated whether the new rule discriminated against minorities. But the IG said it would not order a new investigation.
1.12.2007 11:33pm