How The Left Discriminates Against Those It Professes To Champion

I thought of the following Thomas Sowell excerpt via a Facebook discussion regarding illegal immigrants/immigration. Stephanie C. said the following:

  • Does anyone here know how many undocumented people live in SCV? [JUMP TO MORE DIRECT ANSWER] Seems like many people are assuming that if your Hispanic they must be undocumented. I hope people know that’s not the case.

California has the highest illegal immigrant population comparing states. And so the assumption of calling into question one’s “status” may be a logical leap in assumption. Which is why I thought of this Sowell portion of a book I just finished. Here is my Facebook response, followed by an excerpt from the aforementioned book (with a quick set-up for it):

I guess that would be another side-effect [harm] done by the open-borders people. Small companies wanting to hire legal aliens but not having the training or knowledge to know the difference, and so they stay away from them entirely. I just finished a Thomas Sowell book entitled, “Discrimination and Disparities,” and this short/concise book really opened up the consequences of actions.

For instance, businesses is black communities are apprehensive in hiring young black men. Businesses that do background checks hire more young black men than the national average. Businesses that do not do background checks stay away from this demographic.

The Democrats in many of these impoverished areas start campaigns or the largely Democrat city council say that doing background checks is bigoted and targets black workers. Racist in other words, the card overused as of late.

So they force these companies to cease-and-desist. And so these companies offering work experience, communication skills, a sense of pride in ones work, etc., are all thrown to the wayside….. these companies that would and did hire large quantities of young black men stay away from the demographic.

I will forego the posting of what Discrimination 1 and Discrimination 2 are, but the main point easily extracted herein is that Leftist Democrats (“Progressives”) stop background checks in employment due to a [wrongly] perceived targeting of black youth. And so this is yet another example of a problem CREATED through Leftist legislation and then used (black unemployment) to keep said demographic in a state of anger and voting for who will give hand-out and not who will allow the market to create opportunity. I believe the leadership of the Democrat Party has this in mind when doing stuff like this, the general Left leaning population just wants to feel good about their position (SEE QUOTE A).


Another example of a problem CREATED by Democrats and then used in a political manner to rile up it’s base against Trump and the GOP is the immigration battle in sanctuary states is this:


Here is the Sowell excerpt as promised…. FINALLY:

To take an extreme example of Discrimination 1b, for the sake of illustration, if 40 percent of the people in Group X are alcoholics and 1 percent of the people in Group Y are alcoholics, an employer may well prefer to hire only people from Group Y for work where an alcoholic would be not only ineffective but dangerous. This would mean that a majority of the people in Group X— 60 percent in this case— would be denied employment, even though they are not alcoholics.

What matters, crucially, to the employer is the cost of determining which individual is or is not an alcoholic, when job applicants all show up sober on the day when they are seeking employment.

This also matters to the customers who buy the employer’s products and to society as a whole. If alcoholics produce a higher proportion of products that turn out to be defective, that is a cost to customers, and that cost may take different forms. For example, the customer could buy the product and then discover that it is defective. Alternatively, defects in the product might be discovered at the factory and discarded. In this case, the customers will be charged higher prices for the products that are sold, since the costs of defective products that are discovered and discarded at the factory must be covered by the prices charged for the reliable products that pass the screening test and are sold.

To the extent that alcoholics are not only less competent but dangerous, the costs of those dangers are paid by either fellow employees who face those dangers on the job or by customers who buy dangerously defective products, or both. In short, there are serious costs inherent in the situation, so that either 60 percent of the people in Group X or employers or customers— or all three groups— end up paying the costs of the alcoholism of 40 percent of the people in Group X

This is certainly not judging each job applicant as an individual, so it is not Discrimination I in the purest sense of Discrimination Ia. On the other hand, it is also not Discrimination II, in the sense of decisions based on a personal bias or antipathy toward that group. The employer might well have personal friends from Group X, based on far more knowledge of those particular individuals than it is possible to get about job applicants, without prohibitive costs.

The point here is neither to justify nor condemn the employer but to classify different decision-making processes, so that their implications and consequences can be analyzed separately. If judging each person as an individual is Discrimination 1a, we can classify as Discrimination 1b basing decisions about groups on information that is correct for that group, though not necessarily correct for every individual in that group, nor necessarily even correct for a majority of the individuals in that group.

A real-life example of the effect of the cost of knowledge in this context is a study which showed that, despite the reluctance of many employers to hire young black males, because a significant proportion of them have criminal records (Discrimination 1b), those particular employers who automatically did criminal background checks on all their employees (Discrimination 1a) tended to hire more young black males than did other employers.1

In other words, where the nature of the work made criminal background checks worth the cost for all employees, it was no longer necessary to use group information to assess whether individual young black job applicants had a criminal background. This made young black job applicants without a criminal background more employable than before.

More is involved here than simply a question of nomenclature. It has implications for practical policies in the real world. Many observers, hoping to help young black males have more employment opportunities, have advocated prohibiting employers from asking job applicants questions about a criminal record. Moreover, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued employers who do criminal background checks on job applicants, on grounds that this was racial discrimination, even when it was applied to all job applicants, regardless of race.2 Empirically, however, criminal background checks provided more employment opportunities for young black males.

[1] Harry J. Holzer, Steven Raphael, and Michael A. Stoll, “Perceived Criminality, Criminal Background Checks, and the Racial Hiring Practices of Employers,” Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 49, No. 2 (October 2006), pp. 452, 473.

[2] Jason L. Riley, “Jobless Blacks Should Cheer Background Checks,” Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2013, p. All; Paul Sperry, “Background Checks Are Racist?Investor’s Business Daily, March 28, 2014, p. Al.

Thomas Sowell, Discrimination and Disparities (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2018), 23-25 (added references).

Here is an excerpt from Jason Riley’s piece mentioned in footnote #2 above, via HOT AIR:

On the contrary, an October 2006 study in the Journal of Law and Economics, “Perceived Criminality, Criminal Background Checks, and the Racial Hiring Practices of Employers,” found that “employers that check criminal backgrounds are in general more likely to hire African Americans,” according to Harry Holzer of Georgetown University and his two co-authors. “[T]he adverse consequence of employer-initiated background checks on the likelihood of hiring African Americans is more than offset by the positive effect of eliminating statistical discrimination.” These researchers surmise that employers who can screen for prison records are less likely to rely on prejudice when hiring.

Blacks aren’t the only beneficiaries. Analyzing “employer willingness to hire other stigmatized groups of workers (such as workers with gaps in their employment history),” they found the same pattern. The results, they wrote, “suggest that in the absence of background checks, employers use race, gaps in employment history, and other perceived correlates of criminal activity to assess the likelihood of an applicant’s previous felony convictions and factor such assessments into the hiring decision.”

Watch Jason Riley  discuss one of his books on C-SPAN’s Book TV interview.


CALIFORNIA UNDOCUMENTED POPULATION


This is with thanks to BLACK PIGEON SPEAKS! Using the numbers below and the idea (fact really) that the largest population of illegal immigrants live in California, I would say California illegal population is at least 13% of Cali’s population. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to say, then, that it could be as high as 20% (so 2-of-every-10 residents). Here are some other factoids:

  • Most undocumented immigrants are from Latin America. Nationwide, 78% of undocumented immigrants are from Latin America—a slight majority (52%) come from Mexico alone. Most of the others (13%) are from Asia, although Africa and Europe also account for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the US. The Pew Research Center (PRC) estimates that as of 2014, 71% of California’s undocumented population was Mexican-born.

Yale Professor: There Are “22.8 Million Undocumented Immigrants” In America, Double Official Estimates

A working paper by Dr. Mohammad Fazel Zarandi from the Yale School of Management, coauthored by two other Yale professors, estimates that there are 22.8 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

This is over double estimates compiled by the Department of Homeland Security, which claims 11.1 million illegal aliens live in the US.

The paper’s abstract outlines some of the reasons why their estimate is both higher, and better than the current government statistics:

We apply standard operational principles of inflows and outflows to estimate the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States, using the best available data, including some that has only recently become available. We generate a lower bound for the number of undocumented immigrants using conservative parameter values that underestimate inflows and overestimate outflows.

Our lower bound is close to 17 million, 50% higher than the most prominent current estimate of 11.3 million, which is based on survey data and thus different sources and methods. Standard parameter values generate an estimate of 22.8 million undocumented immigrants, twice as large as the current estimate.

Conservatives have argued for well over a decade that the number of illegal immigrants is widely underestimated by the government, and think tanks which base their calculations on government data—finally academics are beginning to take an independent look at the problem.

But the fact that the paper needed to be written at all highlights an insidious problem: we really don’t know how many illegal immigrants live in the US.  With that in mind, I think it’s worth surveying the research on the topic—at the very least I’ll be able to give you some context for the broader debate….

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