John Skrentny’s Op-Ed in The New York Times

Only Minorities Need Apply

By JOHN D. SKRENTNY   MAY 6, 2014

SAN DIEGO — THIS year is the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, which among other things prohibits the use of race in deciding whom to hire, fire, promote or place in the best and worst jobs.

But while the overt discrimination of 1964 is now rare, a more subtle form of bias is emerging: Both public and private employers increasingly treat race not as a hindrance, but as a qualification — a practice that, unchecked, could undermine the basic promise of the act.

For example, corporations often match African-American, Asian-American and Latino sales employees to corresponding markets because of their superior understanding of these markets, or because customers prefer to see employees of their own race, or both.

This is not affirmative action: Such “racial realism” is not intended to guarantee equal opportunity or compensate injustice, but rather to improve service and deliver profits for employers.

Racial realism is common in many sectors. Hospitals, supported by progressive foundations, racially match physicians and patients to improve health care. School districts place minority teachers in schools with large numbers of minority students because they supposedly understand their learning styles better, and serve as racial role models. Police departments try to reduce crime and police brutality by racially matching officers and neighborhoods.

Film producers manipulate audience reactions by displaying the right races in the right roles. This may be motivated by artistic goals — obviously, a film like “12 Years a Slave” required actors of particular races in particular roles. More often, these are business decisions. Whites in starring roles are thought to generate more box-office revenue, though adding nonwhites can broaden appeal.

Such practices are legally dubious. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charged with enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws, states that the Civil Rights Act “does not permit racially motivated decisions driven by business concerns.” Nor may race or color ever be a “bona fide occupational qualification.”

Courts have long supported this position. The Supreme Court’s 1986 decision in Wygant v. Jackson Board of Education held that hiring and placing teachers to be racial role models was discrimination, even linking it “to the very system the Court rejected in Brown.”

In 1999, the 11th Circuit Court considered a telemarketing firm that matched employees’ race with those of the customers they called, and ruled that the company’s belief that this produced better responses was based on a stereotype and was “clearly” discrimination.

Meanwhile, the Seventh Circuit rejected Chicago’s contention that minority firefighters were needed for credibility and cooperation in minority neighborhoods; separately, it ruled that hiring black counselors to deal with black disadvantaged youths was illegal because it catered to discrimination by clients and their parents.There are only two areas where courts have authorized racial realism. Some courts have argued that law enforcement creates a compelling interest — “operational needs” — in communication and legitimacy with nonwhites, justifying racial realism in the hiring and placement of police officers. And there have been some exceptions made for artistic license: In 2012, a Tennessee district court, in a case regarding the reality show “The Bachelor,” stated that casting only whites in the lead roles was expression, akin to speech, and protected by the First Amendment.

Not only is racial realism legally unjustified, but it often hurts the people who, in the short term, would seem to benefit from it. Studies by the sociologists Elijah Anderson and Sharon Collins have found that nonwhite employees who are promoted to fill racially defined roles have trouble leaving them.

Moreover in jobs where part of an employee’s salary is based on sales volume, assigning nonwhites to nonwhite market sectors — which tend to be lower income — can mean significantly smaller paychecks. In 2008, Walgreens agreed to pay $24 million to black managers who objected to being placed in black neighborhoods, which typically had lower sales and thus lower compensation.

Nevertheless, racial realism is too slippery, and too widely used, to stamp out completely. And so rather than trying to end racial realism, we need to make sure that it doesn’t block opportunities for minorities. For one thing, we could require more transparency and verification. If employers think race is a legitimate qualification for a job, they must rely on evidence, not stereotypes.

And in cases where racial-realist hiring and placement is justified, like after a series of racially fraught police incidents, there should be opt-outs and time limits.

This was the position of a New York district court when black police officers sued to limit Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s ability to force them to work in a dangerous precinct after the 1997 beating of Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant, by white police officers. Mayor Giuliani argued that the presence of black officers was necessary to ease racial tensions, and the court agreed — but also held that the placements had to be temporary.

America has changed significantly since the Civil Rights Act. But we are still a long way from the day when race no longer plays a role in society. Racial realism may be unavoidable for the time being, but we must still be wary of its excesses, lest it lead us back down the road toward racial discrimination.


John D. Skrentny, a professor of sociology and the director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego, is the author of “After Civil Rights: Racial Realism in the New American Workplace.”

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May 19 – Scott Blinder – A Public of Two Minds: Opposition to Immigration and Support for Extreme Right Parties – CCIS Spring Seminar

Scott Blinder, Director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford

Monday, May 19, 12:00pm 
*Lunch will be provided

“A Public of Two Minds: Social Norms, Opposition to Immigration and Support for Extreme Right Parties” The politics of immigration in Europe presents a two-sided puzzle: with anti-immigration sentiments so strong and widespread, why do most anti-immigration parties fail? And, on the other side, why does anti-immigration sentiment persist despite broad acceptance of anti-prejudice norms?  Scott Blinder accouts for these tensions by developing a dual process model of political behavior. Negative socially-shared understandings of “immigrants” shape underlying attitudes, but at the same time internalized anti-prejudice norms provide sharp limits on how far these underlying attitudes can shape political behavior. Supporting evidence comes from original surveys conducted in Britain and Germany, with embedded survey experiments, as well as automated textual analysis of 58,000 articles in British newspapers that mention immigration.

Scott Blinder is currently Director of the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory, a project of COMPAS (Centre on Migration, Policy and Society). In the fall he will take up a faculty position in the Department of Political Science at UMass-Amherst. Blinder’s research focuses mainly on attitudes toward immigration and integration, with a particular interest in how the social norm against prejudice shapes both positive and negative responses to national, ethnic, and religious differences. He also leads a project that monitors and analyzes media coverage of migration, and has conducted work explaining the gender gap in partisanship in the US. His work has appeared in leading academic journals in the US and UK and has been discussed in a wide variety of venues by NGOs, civil servants, and government ministers.

 

April 16 – Celia Falicov and Ellen Beck – Providing Culturally Responsive and Empowering Services for Latino Families – CCIS Spring Seminar

 

Celia Falicov, Clinical Professor, UCSD Family & Preventive Medicine & UCSD Psychiatry
Ellen Beck, Clinical Professor, UCSD Family & Preventive Medicine
Lunch will be provided

A variety of professionals such as health and mental health providers, teachers and lawyers will increasingly work with Latino immigrants of various generations. The commonly used, one-size fits all conceptual and practice approach is insufficient to provide effective services. The more recent “cultural competence” emphasis on ethnic characteristics is often formulaic and stereotyped.This discussion presents a strength-based framework that takes the complexities of cultural diversity and ecological stressors into account, with an emphasis on the impact of migration on core family relationships, such as parent-child and couples.

Celia Jaes Falicov, Ph.D. is a renowned family therapy author, teacher, and clinician, widely respected for her expertise on immigrant families and particularly Latino families. She is Clinical Professor, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine & Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. She is Past President of the American Family Therapy Academy. Dr. Falicov, who grew up in Argentina, received a Ph.D. in Human Development, the University of Chicago. She has pioneered writings on family transitions, migration, culture and context in clinical practice and has received many professional awards for her distinguished contributions. Her books include Cultural Perspectives in Family Therapy; Family Transitions: Continuity and Change over the Life Cycle, and the widely praised Latino Families in Therapy (2nd Edition, 2014).
Dr. Ellen Beck is Director of Medical Student Education for the Division of Family Medicine at UCSD School of Medicine.  A family physician, she is Co-Founder and Director of the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project,  Director of the national faculty development program, Addressing the Health Needs of the Underserved, as well as a  yearlong Fellowship in Underserved Health Care, the first in the nation.

Dr. Beck and her programs have won awards including the 2013 Kennedy Center/Steven Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award, 2012 WebMD Magazine Health Hero Award, 2010 James Irvine Foundation California Leadership Award, 2010 KPBS Local Hero Diversity Award, 2008 LEAD San Diego Visionary Award for Diversity, Norman Cousins Award for a medical education program that fosters relationship-centered care, and Society of Teachers of Family Medicine national Innovation award. The free clinic project was featured in a PBS special on integrative medicine called The New Medicine.

 

Co-sponsored by 


For arrangements to accommodate a disability, contact the Office for Students with Disabilities at  deaf-hohrequest@ucsd.edu or (858) 534-9709 (TTY).

April 2 – Who Favors Employment Discrimination Against Immigrants? – CCIS Spring Seminar

Wednesday, April 2, 12:00pm 
Eleanor Roosevelt College Administration Building 
Conference Room 115, First Floor
 Reception will follow


Please join Abdeslam Marfouk for his presentation concerning European perceptions of immigration and employment rights.

Utilizing data from the European Values ​​Study (EVS), the seminar focuses on European attitudes towards immigrants, especially European preference for discrimination against immigrants in terms of access to jobs.

On average, 67 percent of European Union citizens agree with the statement that when jobs are scarce, employers should give priority to citizens over non-naturalized immigrants. The main objective of this talk is to answer to the following question: “Who favors discriminating against immigrants’ access to jobs?” and examine the relationship between the clichés against immigration and this discrimination.


Dr. Abdeslam Marfouk is research fellow at the Institut Wallon de l´Evaluation, de la Prospective et de la Statistique (IWEPS) and Research Associate at the Department of Economic (DULBEA) of the Universite Libre de Bruxelles [ULB], Belgium. Currently, he is a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies
 (CCIS) of the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). He has authored research reports, books chapters and articles in international journals addressing different issues in international migration.

April 8 – Social Sciences Supper Club – What’s Next for U.S. Immigration Reform and Border Enforcement?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 – 5:30pm Special Reception & 6pm Talk & Dinner

RSVP Online by April 4 at alumni.ucsd.edu/supperclub

A comprehensive immigration reform bill backed by a bipartisan Senate majority and President Obama is currently causing tremendous controversy. This presentation will examine the political, demographic, and economic origins of immigration reform and the prospects for passage. Drawing on research conducted by UCSD students, we will discuss how current U.S. policies are affecting migration from Mexico to the United States.

With David FitzGerald, Co-Director of CCIS and the Gildred Chair in U.S.-Mexican Relations at UCSD

Supper Club events include a wine reception, full dinner and Faculty Club parking in addition to the lecture. $65 per person; $50 alumni price.

May 12-18: The Summer Course on Refugee and Forced Migration Issues

The Summer Course on Refugee and Forced Migration Issues is an internationally acclaimed seven-day, non-credit course for academic and field-based practitioners working in the area of forced migration. It serves as a hub for researchers, students, practitioners, service providers and policy makers to share information and ideas.  The Summer Course is housed within the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University. All participants who complete the full course receive a York University Centre for Refugee Studies Summer Course Certificate.

Dates: May 12-18, 2014
Location: York University, Toronto, Canada Course Fee: $1400 CAD +13%HST (until April 1, 2014)

2014 Summer Course topics will include:

  •  Forced displacement: International case studies
  • Legal approaches to refugee studies
  • UNHCR, the Convention and the international refugee regime
  • Humanitarian aid: a comparative perspective
  • Refugee resettlement policy
  • Urban refugees
  • Internally displaced populations
  • Age, gender and diversity mainstreaming in forced migration
  • Sexual minority claims
  • Environmentally-induced displacement
  • Externalization of asylum
  • Transitional justice
  • Detention practices

 

For more information, and to apply, please visit our website at http://crs.yorku.ca/summer/

Angela S. Garcia Publishes Article in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

CCIS Graduate Student and PhD Candidate in Sociology Angela S. Garcia has published an article in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

The paper, titled “Hidden in Plain Sight: How Unauthorized Migrants Strategically Assimilate in Restrictive Localities in California” (download), shows how the immediate legal contexts of receiving communities of unauthorized Mexican immigrants.

 

 

March 3 – U.S. and Foreign STEM PhD’s: Jobs and Workforce (Mis)Matches – CCIS Seminar

CCIS Winter Seminar Series
U.S. and Foreign STEM PhD’s:
Job Preferences, Job Availability and Workforce (Mis)Matches

 


Please join Michael Roach & discussant Kim Barrett, Dean of Graduate Studies at UCSD for this illuminating seminar on immigration and the state of the STEM PhD workforce.Debates regarding immigration reform have highlighted the widening imbalance between the public and private sector STEM PhD workforce. Some argue that the growing number of STEM PhD’s has made it increasingly difficult for graduates to find desirable jobs, forcing them to pursue temporary postdoctoral positions or employment in the private sector in lieu of more preferred faculty careers.On the other hand, there is a rising chorus from both policy makers and firms over the need for a larger STEM PhD workforce in the private sector, with some looking toward immigration reform as an immediate means to satisfy the growing demand for highly skilled workers through the hiring of foreign-born doctorates.Despite the importance of STEM PhD’s to all sectors of the U.S. economy, there is surprisingly little empirical evidence on the drivers of STEM PhDs’ initial career choices. This talk will present new findings from micro panel survey data on the role of career preferences, ability, and labor market conditions in shaping the career choices of recent STEM PhD graduates. These data not only document the potential (mis)match between PhDs’ preferred careers and their actual career outcomes, but they also provide insights into which individuals may be more responsive to policies encouraging private sector employment.


Michael Roach is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. His research investigates the research activities and career choices of science and engineering PhD’s, with a particular emphasis on the role of graduate students and faculty in the commercialization of university research and academic entrepreneurship. He also examines the impact of university research on firm innovation and firm patenting strategies.

 

Kim Barrett joined the faculty of UCSD School of Medicine in 1985, and rose to her current rank of Professor of Medicine in 1996. Her research interests center on the normal and abnormal biology of the intestinal epithelium and their relevance to a variety of digestive diseases including inflammatory bowel diseases, infectious diarrheal diseases, and peptic ulcer disease. She has received a number of honors for her research, including the Bowditch and Davenport Lectureships of the American Physiological Society, and being awarded the degree of Doctor of Medical Science, honoris causa, by Queens University Belfast. She is also the author or editor of several books and monographs and almost two hundred peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and reviews. In 2006, she was appointed as Dean of Graduate Studies at UCSD.


*Please feel free to bring a lunch.

All CCIS research seminars are podcasted. Search “center for comparative immigration studies” on iTunes and listen to our seminars on the go!For arrangements to accommodate a disability, contact the Office for Students with Disabilities at deaf-hohrequest@ucsd.edu or (858) 534-9709 (TTY).