Tag Archives: “colorblindness”

U.S. Judiciary: Chief Justice John Roberts Issues 2014 Year-End Report

John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States, issued a 2014 year-end report on the judiciary.

The Chief Justice focused on the U.S. Courts and their adaptation to improvements in information technology. Essentially, the Chief Justice explained that the federal court system is and will be slow to adopt new technology to its operations. The goal of the federal court system is to provide litigants fair and efficient access to courts, the Chief Justice stated. The Chief Justice made a reference to the tortoises on the bases of the Supreme Court’s exterior lampposts as a symbol of the judiciary’s commitment to constant but deliberate progress in the cause of justice.

[Comment:  But a tortoise’s pace is very slow, and it is a presumption that the slow pace is for the cause of justice. It can easily become an obstacle to progress as well (in 2014, in particular, the issues with police authority and its effects on the community as well as the judiciary’s interaction with law enforcement and citizens (that is, grand juries) make this point (of the court’s approach as being an obstacle to progress) salient during this period of assessing the fairness of the court system to all citizens).

The Court is as reliant on the consent of the governed as other government institutions, but it is interesting that the Chief Justice did not discuss this aspect in the report.]

Continuing with the report, the Chief Justice identified several technological improvements that the federal court system has adopted:

  • Computer-assisted legal research.
  • Computer-assisted graphics, video, and other technological aids to facilitate communications with judges and juries in the courtroom.
  • Automation of the federal court’s filing, acceptances, and retrieval of documents that each court receives each day (electronic case filing and case management (CM/ECF).
  • Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) allows the public to find court records in a way not possible before CM/ECF.

For the future, the Chief Justice noted that the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts are planning to develop an updated CM/ECF, which will add a central sign-on feature. Also, the Chief Justice added, the future plans include, for example, automatic calendaring notices to interested parties.

The Supreme Court will develop its own electronic filing system in 2016 or so, the Chief Justice explained. The Court will provide further information about its plans in the coming months, the Chief Justice stated.

[Note 1: Judicial pay has remained at the 2014 level for 2015. See Executive Order 13655, schedule 7 (https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/pay-executive-order-2014-adjustments-of-certain-rates-of-pay.pdf).

Position Pay in 2010-2013 (in dollars) Pay in 2014 (in dollars) Pay in 2015 (in dollars)
Chief Justice of the United States 223,500 255,500 255,500
Associate Justices of the Supreme Court 213,900 244,500 244,400
Circuit Judges 184,500 211,200 211,200
District Judges 174,000 199,100 199,100
Judges of the Court of International Trade 174,000 199,100 199,100

]

In the appendix to the report, the Chief Justice provides and explanation of the workload of the judiciary. I will focus on the Supreme Court’s workload. Six per curiam decisions were issued during this term in cases that were not argued.

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Filings 8521 8857 8241 7738 8159 7857 7713 7509 7376
In forma pauperis 6846 7132 6627 6142 6576 6299 6160 6005 5808
Paid docket 1671 1723 1614 1596 1583 1558 1553 1504 1568
Cases:
argued 87 78 75 87 82 86 79 77 79
disposed 82 74 72 83 77 83 73 76 77
signed opinions 69 67 67 74 73 75 64 73 67

Futility of “Colorblindness”: Edward Blum Uses Legal Complaint to Express Personal Pique, Appeal College Admissions Decision; Affected Student Can Simply Apply for Transfer to University

Edward Blum, an apologist for “colorblindness”, supported the filing of two lawsuits, essentially arguing that the White plaintiff was discriminated for his race because the student did not get into a desired university–the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill). However, rather than filing a 65-page complaint, Students for a Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina, the student (who was admitted to another university) could simply apply for a transfer to UNC-Chapel Hill. Crucially, the legal complaint ignores this option.

As I have argued in this blog, “colorblindness” considers all humans to be equal, but the term ignores that social power is concentrated solely within the White race in the United States of America. No proponent of “colorblindness” dares to admit the thrust of Justice John Marshall Harlan’s argument in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), affirming White superiority and control, or to cite the population numbers (by race) in the U.S. Census. As a result, colorblindness apologists, the Blum-sponsored “colorblindness” argument as well as many similar apologists-have stunning insensitivity for the Black people of the United States who bear the tremendous burden of suffering from the injustice of their “colorblind” “ideas” and have little to no social power to stop the wrongful and abusive actions of the social majority.

United States (population: 308,745,538) (2010 Census)

Race Percentage of population Number
White 72.4% 223,553,265
Black 12.6 38,929,319
Native American 0.7 540,013
Asian 4.8 14,674,252

North Carolina (population: 9,535,483) (2010 Census)

Race Percentage of population Number
White 68.5% 6,528,950
Black 21.5 2,048,628
Native American 1.3 122,110
Asian 2.2 208,962

In addition, as I read through the Blum-sponsored complaint, I stopped on table b in paragraph 55. The data are presented in alphabetical order. But, the data should be presented in order of significance. When the data is sorted from largest number of admissions to the lower number of admissions, Whites are shown to have received 61% (3616) of the 5899 seats, and Asians received 17% (1018) of those seats. These two groups account for 78% of the admitted persons. In comparison, Blacks received 10% (618) of those seats. The lack of clarity in presenting the facts makes me doubt the credibility of the entire complaint.

Table B, as presented in the legal complaint–

Table B
Average GPA and SAT for All Admitted Students (2012)
Admitted GPA SAT
American Indian or Alaska Native 103 4.38 1300
African American 618 4.32 1229
Asian/Asian American 1018 4.63 1431
Hispanic 415 4.51 1319
Pacific Islander 6 4.51 1393
White 3616 4.56 1360
Not Reporting 123 4.46 1344

Table B, adjusted by blog author, in order of significance, by admission number and race–

Average GPA and SAT for All Admitted Students (2012) (in order of admitted persons)
Admitted Percentage of admitted persons GPA SAT
White 3616 61% 4.56 1360
Asian/Asian American 1018 17% 4.63 1431
African American 618 10% 4.32 1229
Hispanic 415 7% 4.51 1319
Not Reporting 123 2% 4.46 1344
American Indian or Alaska Native 103 2% 4.38 1300
Pacific Islander 6 1.75% 4.51 1393
Total 5899

The reader will note that the average GPA and average SAT score is lower for Whites than for Asians, but Whites still received 61% of the admissions.

The complaint, therefore, is one of personal pique that the applicant did not gain admission to a first-choice school.

However, the student, a college student elsewhere, is not locked out from UNC-Chapel Hill, a large state university. The student can apply for admission as a transfer student. The transfer program at UNC-Chapel Hill appears to be extensive. The student should use this option before a lawsuit, as the student could well achieve admission by doing so.

Futility of “Colorblindness”: The n-word Signifies Dehumanization; No Good Can Come from Its Use

With shock (so distressed, I nearly called to cancel my subscription), I saw that the Washington Post, through reporters Dave Sheinin and Krissah Thompson, as well as Lonnae O’Neal Parker, had published an article about the n-word, the vile English word created to enshrine the idea that Black people are not human beings but rather mere property to be bought and sold. The United States (in particular, the White social control structure), regardless of civil rights laws, has never fully accounted for and compensated to Black people for the blood, sweat, and tears resulting from the abuse that has been imposed upon the Black people of the United States of America.

There is significant resistance to do such accounting and compensation, yet there is an eagerness by the same White structure to provide many excuses for the cruel word of Black dehumanization. This time, through the article, it is posited–

  • that since Black young people use some variant of the disgusting word among themselves,
  • that since “Black singers” use (*abuse*) the abhorrent word in their hip-hop lyrics (sold predominately to Whites and worldwide (people learning English hear this word and learn it like other vocabulary–very sad and distressing), in a music industry controlled by Whites,

the horrible word has lost its sting and thus can be used by all.

Except, White people maintain their humanity (and psychological ownership of “free and equal” Black people), while Black people again have their very humanity on the block to be haggled over, debated, bought, and sold. Simultaneously, the humanness of Black people is disregarded and scattered to the winds. These points fuel the volcanic reaction that bursts forth when a White person deigns to use the word and strong offense is taken by a Black person. [In addition, the swastika or the holocaust would never be considered for such a redefinition, yet it is licit for Black people’s humanity to be played with like dominoes.]

With this word and the bloody context surrounding and involving it

  • no young person,
  • no singer,
  • no newspaper,
  • no journalist,
  • no agent provocateur,
  • no athlete,
  • no actor

nobody–can sanitize (or dare sanction the use of) this ugly word! There must be a full accounting of the blood spilled and denied humanity of Black people first (current time included). Once that is done, then the society will be able to take on the word, which if the corrective action would have been placed into effect, the word would disappear from the lexicon.

I have no hope that this accounting will ever occur; I am reaching-ever closer-the point of giving up on this country. The hapless government response–at all levels, state and federal–with the events in Ferguson, Missouri, with the killing of Mr. Michael Brown, Jr. (his parents have had to seek justice from the United Nations Human Rights Committee against Torture in Geneva, Switzerland), serves as an tiny example of what would happen with of a nationwide focus on accounting for the past and present racial abuse against Black people and to finally recognize the innate humanity of Black people in the United States of America.

{Postscript: There was discussion about the National Football League assessing fines for the use of the vile English word on the football field (ostensibly by Black players toward other Black players). The fact is the football field can be considered a workplace and as such the civil rights laws applicable to the workplace should apply.}

Dick Grote: Favors Unjust, Unfair “Rank and Yank” Performance Management, Despite Practical Evidence that Rank and Yank Is a Failed System

Dick Grote, owner of Grote Consulting (“strategy-based performance management”), spoke on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show” on March 19, 2014.

I have covered Grote’s unworkable and organizationally destructive “rank and yank” system in this blog. It is the sole basis of his company’s existence–to profit himself and also managers and those employees deemed “high performers” at a cruel and immoral expense of other people’s (80% of the workforce) livelihoods–so it is unsurprising that he zealously defends it in the face of two organizations (Adobe and CEB) that stopped using it because rank and yank inhibits collaborative work practices.

At its best, rank and yank encourages unjust, artificial comparisons of employees with each other (not their work assignments) and permits total and unaccountable managerial power over powerless subordinates. Rank and yank is a system that is properly avoided by rational firms. In addition, employees are not rated against goal achievement (absolute comparison), they are rated based on their relative worth to the company compared with another employee (relative comparison). Grote deceptively skirts the issue knowing that deep analysis of relative comparision will lead to people rejecting it.

Thus, I was disappointed, but not surprised, that Grote uses double talk to present rank and yank’s inherent negativity (displayed in red font color) as positive (dark blue font color).

GROTE

11:17:12

Yes, it is. And what forced ranking is is a pejorative term, and actually, organizations have almost abandoned the use of the term, forced ranking, because it carries so much negative baggage. But the fact is, what forced ranking involves is relative comparison. When we look at evaluating how well a person on a job is done, there are basically two ways we can do it. One is, absolute comparison. How good a job did George do against his goals and objectives and expectations? The other way we can evaluate the performance is through relative comparison.

GROTE

11:17:50

How well did George do compared with how well Mary and Sam and Bill did? And I think both of those are important spectacles to have in the lens, to understand just how well someone has performed.

The issue that causes rank and yank to be a flawed system is managers are given absolute power (in secret) to rate others without facing any sort of accountability. Indeed, Grote expects that the managers will determine for themselves whether they are objective and fair in giving their opinions over a subordinate. The power disparity in the relationship permits rampant, unchecked abuse of the employment relationship in the rank and yank process. [Note in the discussion, below, how Grote pivots from the observation that a supervisor’s opinion is subjective to a nongermane discussion of objective and fair. Without accountability for their “opinions” on subordinates, “opinions” from these supervisors will most likely be unobjective and unfair.]

 GROTE

11:26:00

Yeah, well, let’s take a look at the fundamental question, what is a performance appraisal? And the answer to that question is, a performance appraisal is a formal record of a supervisor’s opinion of the quality of an employee’s work. And right away that word opinion seems to vibrate in neon lights because people believe that if it’s someone’s opinion, then it’s necessarily subjective.

GROTE

11:26:30

And, Frank, every time I hear someone say that, I feel sad because what that says is that the person doesn’t know what the word objective means, what it means to be objective. What it means to be objective is to be uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices. It means to base your opinion on facts and present those facts — present the examples factually. It means to be fair. And so of course what we want our supervisors to be is to be fair in rendering their opinions.

In order to be truly objective and fair, one solution is to have the subordinate rate the supervisor. This check will resolve the power disparity and provide instant accountability.

Performance Management, Civil Service, & Merit Principles: Discussions Must Be Guided with Sober, Detailed Research and Commitment to Fair & Equitable Treatment; Management Abuse of Authority Must Also Be Addressed

All discussions of performance management within the federal government’s civil service must be done with in-depth, sober, and detailed research and analysis in order to ensure that any system proposed

  • is faithful with the merit principles and all laws of the United States of America,
  • fair and equitable to all those who are subject to the system, and
  • addresses management abuse of authority toward subordinates.

Moreover, vague mentions of “poor performers” must be avoided and replaced with substantiated and detailed examples.

The focus of the Government Executive article, “Wielding the Ax,” seems to be based on the “trials” of the manager trying to fire an undefined “poor performer.” Yet, the article merely passes over a tremendous problem identified by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB): The managers cannot identify proper standards. (Emphasis, added, mine.)

In a 2009 report (quote is from the press release), MSPB said that complexities involved in performance management—not the law—present the greatest challenge to handling poor performers. “The agency is required to articulate a performance expectation, measure it and document the extent to which the employee has failed to meet expectations,” said the report. “According to an MSPB survey of proposing and deciding officials, this is where the actions become difficult. Our survey respondents told us that supervisors have difficulty creating standards for performance and documenting how well employees are meeting those standards.”

If management cannot identify standards, how can they rate performance? Lacking standards, it seems that managers are rating on whim, a situation that is unfair to employees.

The managers cited in the Government Executive article seemed to be focused on removal rather than coaching proper performance. Moreover, both managers cited are no longer with their government agencies. [John Palguta, vice president of policy at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. Palguta also has worked at the Office of Personnel Management and the Merit Systems Protection Board, the agency that adjudicates appeals from employees related to their job status. Henry Romero, who was associate director for workforce compensation and performance at OPM during the Clinton administration and was reported to be a senior adviser at Virginia-based consulting firm Federal Management Partners.]

In addition, and in fairness, the issue of managerial abuse of power toward subordinates must also be considered in any discussion of performance management. There are very few avenues for redress for suffering employees (especially if the avenues of redress–human relations, EEO, upper-level agency management–agree with or do not care about the employee’s suffering of abuse). Strengthening managerial power to discipline or remove–with severe financial consequences to the affected employee–without considering the plight of these affected persons would be a tremendous injustice.

Moreover, the discussion of performance management flies off in a tangent upon mention of “poor performers.” Yet, this mention of poor performer is not substantiated with clear, specific definitions or examples. The discussion will be best served with serious and detailed research and analysis identifying all of the issues from all viewpoints and with pinpointed, transparent, fair, and equitable solutions.

Futility of “Colorblindness”: GOP Demand that Black People Concentrate Only on Today and Forget the U.S.’s Continuing Bias Towards Whites Unreasonable

The “race card” is a term that usually is used to note that race is being discussed in a way that questions the “legitimacy” of the U.S.’s practice of White hegemony. Kathleen Parker, in a Washington Post opinion column, uses this worn-out race-card term.

I am not sure why this race-card terminology has such a hold over discourse on race; social imbalance has been and continues to be a problem. Supreme Court Justice John Harlan spoke openly about White supremacy in his dissent in the court case Plessy v. Ferguson.

The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. And so it is, in prestige, in achievements, in education, in wealth and in power. So, I doubt not, it will continue to be for all time, if it remains true to its great heritage and holds fast to the principles of constitutional liberty. But in view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens.

Because of this history, race-card discussions, like discussions of “colorblindness,” are useless, as they are really another example of White hegemony. In this case, using the term to reaffirm the superior position of Whites.

United States (population: 308,745,538) (2010 Census)

Race

Percentage of population

Number

White

72.4%

223,553,265

Black

12.6

38,929,319

Native American

0.7

540,013

Asian

4.8

14,674,252

The Republican party (GOP) has a firm view on Blacks in their party–to be acceptable you have to accept all of the GOP’s tenets. Questioning any GOP position makes that person a target of a media devalue and discard campaign (like Parker’s column).

The seeming logical argument of the GOP that I think spurred Parker’s column–

  • The GOP is “colorblind” and has policies that benefit all people, including Black people (who avoid the GOP for some reason) [regardless of what anti-Black racial injustice happened in the past (or currently) in the United States].
  • The GOP supports Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and U.S. Senator Tim Scott (as well as Dr. Ben Carson) (all three of them follow GOP tenets closely)
  • Thus, Black opposition to the GOP is baffling.
  • Critique of GOP’s Black standard bearers by Blacks who are not members of the GOP is unacceptable because it is in opposition to the supposed norm of “colorblindness” and, thus, such activity is “racist” because criticism of a Black person that holds complete fidelity to GOP beliefs is a denial of their freedom to sustain such fidelity.

With this foundation, it becomes apparent that a Black person who holds a non-GOP view (here, Alabama State Representative Alvin Holmes) is not welcome. His statement to critique the wisdom of Thomas and Scott being faithful to the GOP, therefore, had to be condemned.

This expectation of unquestioning support of the GOP in order to be a member of the GOP is itself disturbing.

Link

Futility of “Colorblindness”: The Struggle Continues

http://mirrorofrace.org/container.php

Most disturbing is the persistence, breadth, and depth of White hegemony in the United States of America. Recent interaction with Russia concerning Ukraine has sometimes elicited comments that the society of the United States is diverse and free. These claims always provokes a deep concern because the United States has its own issues with race that it has never resolved (all proclamations to the world otherwise notwithstanding).

Hence, it is good to have more articles further explaining where the United States has been, where it is now, and what is to be its future.