Double Standard

I must confess that despite the fact that I support affirmative action in principle and realize that innumerable past injustices must be remedied, the playing field made level, and the glass ceiling shattered, I do find myself bothered when I read about a young man who appears to lose out on a job opportunity because he isn’t a woman or a member of a minority. I had a number of students and a son who ran into this sort of reverse discrimination and I was never comfortable with it on an emotional level even though I realized that past wrongs needed to be corrected. There is, however, considerable strength in the argument that today’s young people shouldn’t have to pay a price for the sins of their predecessors. I am happy to see the native people buying back much of their native land with the money they take from gullible white gamblers, but that is a bit different from seeing even deserving women and  people of color get the attention and rewards they deserve and have been denied over the years if there is the least suspicion that there was any sort of discrimination involved in the process. In such cases, there  is always the suspicion that this is not really fair to the people who must step aside in order for others to get ahead. I didn’t like it when it was happening to the minorities and I don’t particularly like it when it happens to those in the majority — though (again) I understand why it happens.

Along these lines I read in the current Sports Illustrated an editorial telling about the dismissal of a black woman coach in Texas for having a sexual affair with one of her athletes while at the same time a white male coach at the same university is reprimanded for having sex with a member of his training staff, forced to take a leave of absence, and then rehired later at a higher salary. The details of the story make it clear that there is a double standard at work here since the two cases are practically identical in most of the particulars; yet the punishment in the two cases is as different as can be: one coach lost her job and the other gets a promotion and a raise in salary. One is a black woman, who was not married at the time, and the other is a white man, who was married and who just happens to have been a star quarterback on the football team — which, in Texas, carries a great deal of weight. The university in question is the University of Texas, reputed to be one of the great academic institutions in the Southern part of this country which is not known for its outstanding academic institutions (though we will find the occasional Duke University, The University of North Carolina, and The University of Virginia which tend to stand out). One would expect more of such exemplary institutions of higher education as the University of Texas.

In the end the matter will be decided in court since the woman who was fired has decided to try to make things right after many years. I am pulling for her with both my head and my heart. I hope she wins and draws attention to the injustice that is so easily recognized. Double standards are always just plain wrong wherever and whenever we find them.

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6 thoughts on “Double Standard

  1. another heart-warming post because you always speak up for the underdog.

    of course i agree with this: “I am happy to see the native people buying back much of their native land with the money they take from gullible white gamblers,”

    so very true! z

  2. Good post Hugh. Someone once wrote about equality when Frank Robinson, the Hall of Fame baseball player became not only the first African American Major League Manager, but the first one to be fired for lack of success. The writer, who was African American, said firing Robinson was an even more important step, as it showed if you are not successful, you should be treated just like every other manager who is not and get fired. I have always felt that was an interesting perspective. To me, this has always been a gray issue. When opportunity is denied because of race, that is where it makes sense. Good issue, good post. BTG

  3. It is a completely stupid set. Everybody is the same. Everybody should be treated the same. Black, white, blue, green, straight, gay, bi, man, woman, both, neither. They are all the same thing … HUMAN!!

  4. I do think there needs to be a time (and I have no idea when this occurs) when one generation stops trying to redressing the sins of past generations and takes up the simple attitude of equality as Alastair is I believe trying to suggest. This would mean that all of the organizations designed to secure equality for particular groups (too many to begin even a partial list) will close their doors and trust that the incoming generation has been immersed in these ideas, they accept them easily and willingly and will afford all people the same treatment. Therein lies the problem.

    There simply are too many people in our society who make a living by continuing to play the inequality card and too many organizations, who are now a part of the American culture, who will NOT disappear even if “equality” becomes more than just a word in scare quotes. This culture will never be free of bias because there are too many people who make a living as a result of that bias. These groups and individuals will continue to feed the perception of inequality because it is their job(s) to remind us of the “inequality” of our society, even if some of those inequalities are actually disappearing to a degree.

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