In today’s understanding of “social justice”, it is axiomatic that differences in populations are attributed to race. This is precisely the position held by such enlightened organizations as the Ku Klux Klan.
People who are white are lumped together, regardless of socio-economic background or ethnic differences, and treated as a lump of humanity. Likewise, are “people of color”.
This is the very essence of racism in that it treats all differences as a matter of skin color or in some cases, sexual preferences.
How just is this procedure?
Suppose you are on the Admissions Committee to assess and select incoming medical students for recently or long-established School of Medicine somewhere in the United States. Imbued with the latest fads about “diversity”, “social justice” and “fairness”, you feel that you must admit people of color or marginalized sexual groups to have a “fair” admissions process.
In order to do this, you must downgrade objective criteria of performance such as grades, test scores, life experiences, the ability to write, to think and to deal with people. For if you do use merit as the leading criterion, the mix of people you might select will differ from your goal to uplift underrepresented groups in the name of diversity, social justice and fairness.
Thus, a person of superior merit and achievement might well be rejected because of their skin color or because they aren’t defined as disadvantaged or of a particular group identity. Is that fair treatment to a student that has worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to get where they are? What if they are Asian? Do you discriminate against Asians in favor of African Americans? The answer to the latter is probably yes because that is precisely what many universities do.
What about the future quality of care provided by the medical schools of our nation? If you don’t select, educate and train the best, are you likely to get the best outcomes for patients? If the answer is no, is that ethical for the care of patients and supportive of the institutional reputation of a given medical school? It has taken generations to establish and maintain that reputation, but does that simply get discounted in order to satisfy the desire to make the medical school classes look acceptable to the medical school faculty and administrators steeped in a culture of “diversity “, social justice and political correctness?
What about the patients and their families, some who travel hundreds or possibly thousands of miles to receive what they are led to believe is the very best treatment? They are willing to pay premium prices for such care. They come to the institution with some of the most difficult medical problems, many of life and death importance. But instead, in the future, the diversity-based selection of tomorrow’s physicians may well lower the quality of care because merit-based selection was not as important. You are not only being unfair (in medical practice, the more appropriate term in unethical) to future patients, you may well be defrauding them. And, by providing less than optimal care you may well injure or kill somebody. Is that fair? Is that just?
And what about the candidates themselves? Having been selected by you in the name of diversity and fairness, they get the appointment that they otherwise may not deserve. Do they go to sleep at night wondering if they really are the best or are they simply a product of your diversity-based prejudice? Is that fair? Is that just?
What does this process do to the medical profession itself? Is the public justified in having confidence in professional training and treatment? Or is that confidence now unjustified? How do the members now view themselves? Do they view themselves as the best life savers possible or just another institution corrupted by politics?
We use Arizona’s and the nation’s medical schools here as an example. But you could make similar arguments about the teacher who forms your children, your lawyer, your tax accountant, your financial manager or your airline pilot. In these situations, should you not expect the institution you are dealing with to provide the best possible service with the best personnel? That can only be achieved by selecting and hiring the best people available.
Another way to look at this is to reverse the process. Let’s look at professional basketball as an institution. An institution incidentally, that loudly proclaims for “social justice.”
African Americans make up about 13% of the population. A fraction of that are males in the age bracket to play professional basketball. Yet, African Americans overwhelmingly dominate the game.
What if the NBA hired not out of merit but to achieve diversity so the team in question looks like the community it serves? Only about 6% of the population of Portland, Oregon is African American. Is that the way the Portland Trailblazers look to you? If you really hired on the basis of the “community”, roughly one player should be African American, the rest white, Latino or Asian. Incidentally, as Latinos are lumped together as a group (Cubans, Mexicans, El Salvadorans, etc.), how many Latinos are there in the NBA? And where are the Jews? At one time, Jews made up a considerable percentage of the NBA. The first basketball point ever scored in the NBA was shot by a Jew.
Was firing the Jews and hiring African Americans justice? Yes, if replaced on the basis of merit and ability. But why is basketball more important than medicine? Why does merit count when throwing an inflated bladder through a hoop but not when saving lives?
This is the problem you get into when all disparities in performance are assumed to be racial and compound the problem by arbitrarily lumping all individuals together into a group or class to be moved about like pawns in a chess game based on some quite arbitrary notion of diversity.
Social justice as practiced today is not justice, it is reverse discrimination. You cannot reverse whatever historical injustice that may have existed by practicing injustice in the here and now.