Equal Opportunity Please?
I’m going to put this bluntly:
I hate equal opportunity employment.
No no, not in that way. Let me make it abundantly clear that I don’t care about race, sex, or disability. That’s why I care about equal opportunity employment, and why I hate the concept of it. Please note here that I’m talking about Equal Employment systems that companies set up, not Employment Equity; Employment Equity is enforced, legal racism, plain and simple.
I was applying for a job today, and at the end of the form, it said “We’re an equal opportunity employer. Please let us know if you’re a woman, in a visible minority, or if you have a disability.” All I could think was “If you’re an equal opportunity employer, shouldn’t those things not matter? Those are questions a company who DOES discriminate would be asking.” By actually asking about any distinguishing features relating to the above, you’re saying that these things DO matter to you. Furthermore, when you ask about these things, it sends a rather disconcerting message to “privileged” people like myself (that being a white male); if a company is actively trying to increase the diversity of its workers, then what does that say about my chances of being hired? To what end will you favour race over ability?
Equal opportunity shouldn’t be a policy of a company, it should be a default. By having policies such as this, we’re showing that we think race, sex, and other such innate traits have some intrinsic value. “But Buncy,” you say, “these policies are meant to make sure that people aren’t placing value on one race (or other attribute) over another by trying to make sure that there’s a mix of all of them in the company!” Okay, here’s a suggestion: get a proper mix by hiring the appropriate people for the job without worrying about that at all.
I think a major symptom that’s causing this obsession with equal opportunity is the fact that the world is still overrun with old boys clubs. I don’t think the solution though is to try to force things to change. That kind of thing is artificial and will at best only be a passing trend.
I can only hope that when my generation comes into the spotlight, and we’re in the position to dictate these kinds of policies and initiatives, that we don’t. Because that is the only true way to be equal.