Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Question About Equality

I was looking at the ads on craigslist.org tonight, just looking for some part-time work, and I came across an ad seeking a tutor in the New Haven area.

Unfortunately, the ad states that the preferred applicant would be black. Well, African American, they say.

Being white, or Italian-Polish-American, if you prefer, I figure I'm right out.

And that's OK. This post isn't going to be me ranting about how that's discriminatory, even though it is, because I think that sometimes discrimination is OK.

This person is looking for someone to hang out and teach their kid, so they should be able to hire anyone they want, and if they are more comfortable with someone black, that's fine with me.

It's a little freaky that someone would directly state the color of the preferred applicant, but not the education level of the applicant.

But, still, I'm fine with that. I love freedom. I think most people would not have any problem with this ad, and that's a good thing.

The one question I have for you, though, is this: Do you think people would be OK with the ad if the person specified that they wanted a white applicant?

Basically, I think that if you took all the groups that some folks make it a point to safeguard -- blacks, Hispanics, gays, Muslims, etc. -- and left all those out and advertised a job that none of them would fit, people would flip out.

Think about it. If I wanted a tutor for my kid, and I posted an ad saying I preferred applicants be English-speaking heterosexual white Christian males, I think it's safe to say that I would be called everything from homophobic to a racist to a plain old hater.

I just find that weird, that inequality.


Anonymous said...

Very strange. I'm Hispanic and I think would be put off by seeing a racially specific ad. I can understand the reasoning behind it -- perhaps Af. Am. children learn better with role models with whom they can relate. That's why we have pilot schools for just Af. Am. males. I don't know how effective those schools have been. I'm not worried about the tutor thing, but I am worried about how far it will go. It's alarming.

Al said...

I have to do some research to find the story, but there was an article in the Register recently out of New Haven where they were discussin the city's public schools, and someone made mention of the need to hire black teachers because the person making the remark thought that one of the problems kids in the city were having in school was that they were being taught by white teachers.
I personally didn't understand how the color of a teacher's skin would affect the information they are passing on to the students. It would seem to me that the city would want the best and brightest to teach the kids, regardless of race.
You're right, though, it IS alarming. If it's socially acceptable to say that black kids need black teachers, what happens when a parent says they don't want an openly gay teacher teaching their kids? Or if a white parent has a problem with their kids being taught by nonwhite teachers? Pretty crazy stuff. I would want my kid to be taught by a really smart teacher, period. Regardless of what some people think, I believe school is where kids go to learn things, skills and info, that they will need to get a good job and have a good life. Whoever can provide that should get the job.

elvis said...

According to craigslist's terms of use, you can't post material that ...

e) that violates federal, state, or local equal employment opportunity
laws, including but not limited to, stating in any advertisement for
employment a preference or requirement based on race, color, religion,
sex, national origin, age, or disability.

The advertiser should be called on that. The ad is just as wrong as one encouraging minorities, gays, women, whomever, NOT to apply.

>>I would want my kid to be taught by a really smart teacher, period.

What you said.