Volume 92, Issue 81

Wednesday, March 3, 1999


Modern form of discrimination

Country living

Costly mistakes can be made by everybody

Never asked for varsity

Millennium bugs

White male generalization

Cleaning up campus vandalism

The not so Canadian game

Modern form of discrimination

Re: Strategic plan combats society's systematic barriers, Feb. 16

To the Editor:

The argument advanced by Mr. Peter J. Hill, University Students' Council VP-campus issues, that preferential hiring based on an individual's sex or race is not discrimination is confused.

Even if we accept his premises that 1) white males, as a group, have never been discriminated against in our society and 2) other people have historically been discriminated against in our society because of their sex or race, it does not logically follow that preferential hiring on the basis of sex or race is not discriminatory.

Of course it is and the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association's proposed clause, to which he refers, explicitly demands that when two candidates are judged equivalent and one is a white male and the other is from a designated group, e.g., a woman, then the job should go to the woman. In such a case, the white man would lose out only because he is a white man. It is an odd definition of discrimination that would not call this action discrimination.

Perhaps Mr. Hill views it as just that the hypothetical man in the above example being sacrificed for members of historically discriminated against groups. But at the very least he should acknowledge his theory of justice supports discrimination in faculty hiring on the basis of sex and race, supposedly something he claims he is against.

Sadly, Mr. Hill fails to recognize removing barriers to employment, instituting fair hiring practices and offering equal opportunity to all job candidates does not require discrimination against anyone on the basis of his or her sex or race.

Even more sadly, Mr. Hill seems to believe Western can only increase faculty diversity by actively discriminating against white males. Rectifying historical discrimination with contemporary methods of discrimination is immoral. And believing women and other minorities cannot make it on their own merits is patronizing.

Prof. Clive Seligman

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Copyright The Gazette 1999