Inordinate Ordnance: Marginalizing the Marginalized
Thursday, October 11, 20127 Comments
To get the job here, at The Cannon, I had to fill out a "voluntary" form regarding my sex and background. The form wanted to know if I was of Latin, African, Asian decent. It also wanted to know what gender I identified with. Finally it had an adorable little box that I could have checked to tell my hopeful employers if I identified myself as "queer". Identifiers aside, there is something wrong with this picture, right?
Recently, since I am a student here at UofG, I got a CSA email regarding upcoming events and listings. One of which was a job posting. It was an opportunity to work for the CSA as a recruiter. Your job would to be to recruit "Marginalized students", for jobs with the CSA and surrounding areas. "The primary responsibility of this position is to promote and encourage more students/applicants from marginalized communities."
I can see how this program of sensitivity may have started. There was a group of youngish, progressive-minded people. All bent on equality, each not wanting to show any prejudice. One person may have suggested a way to insure their institution wasn’t populated by one skin colour or mindset, in the name of “diversity”. With the risk of being labeled a racist or bigoted in any way, no one piped up to say, “Hey, maybe this is stupid”.
It’s not a stretch to see that this practice marginalizes all those group who weren’t marginalized before. It’s like being a minority by being the only group that isn’t a minority (i.e. Caucasian males). Any job assessment or placement procedure is completely over-compensating with this practice.
Is there such a thing as too politically correct? In short, yes. We are a community of educated people. As a decidedly intelligent group, we understand that racism, sexism, homophobia and other bigotries are wrong. It’s decided and not abided. However, sometimes as we aim to usurp these potential prejudices, we create an entirely new problem—the stagnation that comes from the fear of perceived intent. Being considered racist, homophobic, sexist is worse that actually being bigoted. So to help curb this possible problem, the university (along with any larger corporation) makes the problem worse by subjecting people to testing, and self-categorization.
How do we get around this? Firstly, the university should drop their perceived political correctness. It’d be more politically correct to convert ever prospective employee to a number, each one with a list of qualifications. Distinguishing someone’s skin colour in order to better understand them is ridiculous and over compensation. To some, marginalization would also be being treated better because of the way they were born. This street goes both ways and the only way to walk it is right up the middle, on the dotted line.
“But we can’t compensate for individuals,” the University’s rebuttal may be. And that is a valid point. And if this is the reason for having such a protocol, it is almost understandable. It’s a way to weed out those who would discriminate. But I don’t think this is the case. It is posturing. It’s the university’s insurance against the possibility of being labeled as a slanted employer.
It’s a fear. That’s where these cockamamie procedures and over-articulated schemes come from. If we forgave cultural faux pas and snafus, maybe the corporation of the university wouldn’t have to implement “marginalized students” sign-up sheets. The circumvention of possible bigotry does more to separate than unify.
The university should take a stand, as an educated trend-setter, to quell over-political-correctness. Treat people as equals and hire based on qualification. Then we all gain from the most talented, capable people running and working at our university. I’d like to see a university working toward a better place for everyone, and not working so hard to gain their diversity merit badge.