Discrimination: A Cheap Accusation
In a world full of political correctness, cries of racism and sexism are often thrown around without serious consideration. Sometimes, we will be skeptical about the accusations, and that is perfectly rational to do so. For instance, my aunt told me that Caucasians are racist because I told her that they don't initiate conversations with me when I was in England last week. She claimed that the English people were looking down on a Chinese like me. The problem is, how would she know? She did not talk to any of them. This assumption is also very wrong. According to her logic, if a stranger of another race does not approach me, does this automatically make that individual racist? Of all the possible explanations, she deliberately made it a racial issue.
First of all, I would like to say that disagreeing with their flawed conclusions does not automatically make me a supporter of racism and sexism. As seen in the anecdote provided, I disagreed with my aunt but that does not mean that I'm a supporter of racism. If we apply the same logic, would saying something is not stupid considered stupid? I'm simply pointing out why it is wrong of people like her to make hasty assumptions. Are there racist people and organizations? Without a doubt, there are. However, like all humans, I don't think their labels are always correct, especially in the cases that I will present.
I recall reading the course notes for an exam that I took. There was this chapter called "Equal Opportunities", with its content suggesting that the UK is a racist and sexist nation. They cited statistics claiming that women make about 70-80% of men's salary for the same job. They also claimed that only 1% of top managers in the UK are black. The sources were never cited, thus, I doubt the validity. Then, I read about the wonders of diversity, strangely, they didn't list the disadvantages. Ironically, I don't see the diversity in cherry-picking only the benefits of it while intentionally omitting the disadvantages. It is very normal to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of an idea in textbooks.
It is incredibly easy to lie with statistics. We often see politicians rambling about numbers and percentages, and yet, people do not bother to fact check them. If they do, they take it at face value. They do not understand what the statistic accounts for nor how it was derived. The problem with statistics is that you can account for wrong or inadequate variables, do the wrong survey methods, small sampling size or biased sampling method.
• The Wage Gap
The wage gap figure provided by them is that women generally make about 70% to 80% for the same job as their male counterparts. This might be factually true but intellectually dishonest to do so. They clearly accounted for the difference in occupations; However, what they don't tell you is the many factors that they leave out, either unintentionally or to deceive.
There are many other factors such as...
• Hours worked
• Willingness to relocate
• Work ethic
• Work hour flexibility
• Level of education
• Job experience
Not accounting for these factors is foolish. You can't compare the salary of an accountant who is a fresh graduate to an experienced one. This single factor can render the comparison absolutely absurd.
In fact, a Harvard economist named Claudia Goldin even disproves the gender wage gap. She has found that people who work the longest and inflexible hours make the highest salaries- and the people who do are generally men. This is not sexism, in fact, this is economics.
• Racial Inequality
The people who often cry racism are also great at jumping to conclusions. They often conclude that there is racism or sexism simply because there is a disparity in racial composition. In the statistic cited, they claimed that only 1% of top managers in the UK are black. Well, first of all, according to the UK demographics, black British only make-up 3% of the population. It is simple, there are simply less black people. Not only that, not all of the 3% are of working age, they might be children, teenagers, and retired folks.
To make it simple, the population is simply too little. Let us make an extreme scenario to prove this point. Suppose that there are only 100 black people in the UK and the total population is 66 million, even if the 100 black people were all to be top managers, they won't account for a high percentage. That's just how percentages work.
Additionally, inequality does not automatically spell out racism. For example, the NBA consists largely of black athletes, does this automatically mean that the NBA is a racist organization? Also, more women are in my classes, does this also mean that my college administration is discriminating against men?
Accusation of Sexism in STEM
Many third-wave feminists often accuse the general Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics field (STEM) as sexist. Again, they jump to this conclusion by looking at the gender imbalance in the field. The problem is not because they lack the ability, it's simply because they are not willing to join the STEM field. In fact, women generally get better grades than men across-the-board.
According to The Journal, countries with more gender equality actually have fewer female STEM graduates. The researchers think that this might be because sexist nations also lack welfare, therefore, this indirectly incentivizes high-paying jobs. However, this reveals something very telling, that is, women are perfectly capable of joining the STEM field, therefore, it is not about discrimination. The problem lies in choices, men tend to gravitate towards the STEM field and women generally do not.
If the STEM field is considered sexist due to the overwhelming male dominance, this raises the question, are fields like nursing, fashion design, and many other female-dominated fields sexist towards men? I'm just asking for consistency across-the-board.
Am I disagreeing with gender equality? Not at all. I'm simply pointing out that the causes unknown to them cannot be automatically labeled as sexism.
To conclude this entire article, you cannot simply assume that an imbalance of race and gender is automatically discrimination. I think it is evident that not knowing a cause does not warrant you to fill in the gaps with your own assumptions.
If we as a society continue to cry racial and gender discrimination, it degrades the value of the word. The word simply begins to lose its meaning due to overwhelming usage. It is equivalent to repeating the same joke many times, soon, people will find it old. When that happens, the people who actually engage in racial and gender discrimination will seem normal.
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