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Sane Stern, Crazy Cuomo

The sports section of Monday’s New York Times has a long puff piece  on Richard Lapchick and how he pushes for “diversity” (that is, race-based hiring practices) in professional and amateur sports. But in the middle of the predictable pabulum is a bracing dissenting note from NBA commissioner David Stern:

Lapchick said he began receiving more cooperation in the years after Bud Selig and Roger Goodell became commissioners of M.L.B. and the N.F.L. But Commissioner David Stern, whose N.B.A. has historically received higher grades than the other leagues, argued that Lapchick’s good intentions—when carried to routine—missed the essential aim of fair-minded employment.

 “If an enterprise is committed to getting the best work force, which means being an equal-opportunity employer and not limiting its potential talent pool,” Stern said, “then it shouldn’t be perceived as quote-unquote better if its [sic] increases its diversity/gender head count—for that matter if it decreases. If a job is open, and all candidates have a chance to compete, should the employer be praised or criticized based on the outcome of that search? I think not.”

He added: “I recognize the presumption that an organization that is not diverse has a job to do. But once you reach a certain critical distribution, the counting should stop.”

I would oppose the counting even before the “critical distribution” (whatever that means) is reached, but kudos to Stern anyhow for daring to speak up.

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From the other end of the sanity spectrum: NBC reports  that New York governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered state agencies to translate documents and provide interpreters in six languages for immigrants seeking public services.

According to the story, Cuomo said state government for too long made immigrants responsible for learning enough English to apply for public services. “It’s government’s responsibility to figure out how to communicate with the person,” Cuomo declared.

“This is the problem with government today,” countered state Conservative party chairman Michael Long. “We try to do everything for everybody. When immigrants came here at one time, they focused on learning English as fast as possible so they could assimilate into the American culture. This is only enabling people to not try to assimilate because the government will take care of them, which is only increasing the cost of government,” Long said.

Well, there you have it in a nutshell, folks. Which side are you on?

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It is rare that the federal government—and especially the current administration—complains about employment discrimination in favor of a minority group. But recently the Labor Department did indeed announce that it has agreed to a settlement resolving its finding that a beef-packing company had favored Latino men in its hiring.

Good for the Labor Department, but it seems a little hesitant to admit that such discrimination occurs and that the federal government doesn’t condone it. The press release  says only that “the company discriminated against job applicants on the bases of race and gender” and that the Labor Department here acted to protect “the hundreds of qualified white, black, Asian and female job seekers involved in this case.” Only by process of elimination can it be deduced from the press release that this leaves Latino men as the beneficiaries of the company’s discrimination, as the Labor Department then confirmed when I called.

So, nice going, Obama administration — and don’t worry: We won’t tell anyone.