If this report on a lack of diversity in hiring had put a Republican mayor in the spotlight, I believe the Billy Penn headline would have been, “Controller’s report proves mayor is a racist.”
But since Mayor Jim Kenney is a Democratic, and a weepy, woke one at that, the Billy Penn website handles the statistics in the report from city Controller Rebecca Rhynhart without invective, almost to the point of giving him a pass.
If I were a certain kind of journalist, or unscrupulous enemy of Kenney’s, I would use it to accuse him of racism.
I know some have called him a racist, but I haven’t because I don’t believe it’s true.
Conversely, he has called me a racist, and a homophobe, even though he knows it to be untrue. To paraphrase “Love Story,” being woke means never having to say you’re sorry.
He knows it to be untrue because for a decade, before he severed ties with his former neighbors, friends, and Mummers, we socialized. During the annual AIDS week, we dined out together. We visited each other’s homes, knew each other’s wives. This was while he still lived in South Philly, was still Jimmy from the Block, was an At-Large Councilman and understood the problems, complaints, and hardships of working-class Philadelphians.
His head was on straight, but somewhere along the line it got twisted to the left. Former Councilman Angel Ortiz, himself a piece of work, took credit for making a “progressive” out of what had been a liberal.
Before you could say “Helen Gym,” Kenney discovered I was a racist because I oppose illegal immigration, although I have never made it an issue of nationality. It is a question of legality, and we have many white illegals in this city, starting with a large pool of Irish, who are white. We also have illegal Russians living here, also Israelis, even Canadians!
Most of the latter groups are here with expired visas, whereas the South and Central Americans are illegal border crossers.
Since Kenney falsely accused me of racism, it’s kharma that the charge gets thrown back to him.
Here’s a big oops from a city report:
Whoa! Waaay too many white people in the Mayor’s office, Jim! Deep in your heart, you’re a regular George Wallace, aren’t you? Or is it Lester Maddox? Bull Connor?
What I am saying here is this: If you live solely by the sword of diversity, equity, and inclusiveness, you will die by that sword. Ratios don’t prove racism, what’s in your heart and mouth does.
If you believe, as some do, that it is racist to award a job to the best qualified candidate, you are destroying meritocracy and replacing it with a grievocracy — handing out jobs or college seats to the loudest complainers.
Kenney is not a racist. What the statistics show is that no matter how good your intentions, you can’t always find qualified minorities. (The statistics deal with appointed jobs, not civil service jobs, which require testing.)
Yes, I know that the “can’t find qualified applicants” claim is long used by racists. So you look at the track record of the individual. Kenney is so in love with People Of Color that when illegal felons commit crimes in Philly, he shields them from deportation. You can’t have better street cred than that — unless you are a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen, which is not a group Kenney cares much about.
Nationally, as of July 2019, Blacks account for 13.4% of Americans, Hispanics are 18.5%, and Asians, 5.9%.
In Philadelphia, according to July 2019 Census estimates, Blacks are 43.6% of the population; 44.8% is white, 15.2% is Hispanic, 7.8% is Asian.
Do the math and find that we are in a minority majority city, meaning two-thirds of the city is nonwhite. (Yet only four out of our 17 elected City Councilmembers are white, far below what the percentage “should” be. Are whites raising hell? No, they are not.)
The Controller’s charts indicate the hiring patterns do not perfectly align with minority numbers.
Racism is probably not the right answer.
What might be the right answer?
The Controller’s report suggests the city has to try harder to achieve its own goals. Fair enough.
Every job requires unique qualifications and people lacking those skills should not be hired.
A healthy (and smart) society hires the best, irrespective of race.
A wise society might create apprenticeship programs to help get those who might have been deprived of a good education — for whatever reason — up to code.
A thumb can be gently placed on the scale, without upending the desire to hire the best and the brightest. When they are not one and the same, quality should trump diversity. If not, we will own a society that is diverse in its mediocrity.