Maybe They Need Affirmative Fractions?


The Corner links to a report that the Virginia Beach police department has signed a consent decree with the Department of Justice, in which it agrees to end a "discriminatory" hiring practice and cough up a total of $160,000 to compensate applicants adversely affected by it.

The discriminatory practice? Requiring job candidates to score 70 percent or better on a math test.

There was no suggestion that the requirement was initially imposed based on racist motivations, mind you. But white candidates were passing it at significantly higher rates than black and Hispanic applicants, and that constitutes a "disparate impact," which someone decided was unjustified because beat cops don't need to be proficient in math. Now, obviously, there is a kind of racial injustice here—that we have some crappy school systems that disproportionately fail minority students. Weeding out neutral tests that reveal this unfortunate fact, however, seems like a suboptimal remedy.