Walter E. Williams
Academic intelligentsia, their media, government and corporate enthusiasts worship at the altar of diversity. Despite budget squeezes, universities have created diversity positions, such as director of diversity and inclusion, manager of diversity recruitment, associate dean for diversity, vice president of diversity and perhaps minister of diversity. This is all part of a quest to get college campuses, corporate offices and government agencies to "look like America."

For them, part of looking like America means race proportionality. For example, if blacks are 13 percent of the population, they should be 13 percent of college students and professors, corporate managers and government employees. Law professors, courts and social scientists have long held that gross statistical disparities are evidence of a pattern and practice of discrimination. Behind this vision is the stupid notion that but for the fact of discrimination, we'd be distributed proportionately by race across incomes, education, occupations and other outcomes. There's no evidence from anywhere on earth or any time in human history that shows that but for discrimination, there would be proportional representation and an absence of gross statistical disparities, by race, sex, height or any other human characteristic. Nonetheless, much of our thinking, legislation and public policy is based upon proportionality being the norm. Let's run a few gross disparities by you, and you decide whether they represent what the courts call a pattern and practice of discrimination and, if so, what corrective action you would propose.

Jews are not even 1 percent of the world's population and only 3 percent of the U.S. population, but they are 20 percent of the world's Nobel Prize winners and 39 percent of U.S. Nobel laureates. That's a gross statistical disparity, but are the Nobel committees discriminating against the rest of us? By the way, in the Weimar Republic, Jews were only 1 percent of the German population, but they were 10 percent of the country's doctors and dentists, 17 percent of its lawyers and a large percentage of its scientific community. Jews won 27 percent of Nobel Prizes won by Germans.

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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