APRIL 03, 2013
In a staggering case of affirmative action gone wild, officials in a major U.S. city are actually recruiting minorities to be lifeguards at public pools even if they’re not good swimmers. It’s all in the name of diversity.
You can’t make this stuff up. It’s a real-life story out of Phoenix, the capitol of Arizona and the nation’s sixth-largest city. It has more than 1.4 million residents and, among its official mottos is “value and respect” of diversity. This means “more than gender and race,” according to the city’s official website. It also encompasses “uniqueness and individuality” and embracing differences. “We put this belief into action to provide effective services to our diverse community.”
Evidently officials are willing to compromise those “effective services” at 29 public swimming pools spread throughout the city. To diversify the lifeguard force, Phoenix will spend thousands of dollars to recruit minorities even if they’re not strong swimmers, according to an official quoted in a news report. Blacks, Latinos and Asians who may not necessarily qualify can still get hired, says the city official who adds that “we will work with you in your swimming abilities.”
There’s a good reason the city is hiring lifeguards that can’t swim. Public pools are largely used by Latino and African-American kids, but most of the lifeguards are white and this creates a huge problem. “The kids in the pool are all either Hispanic or black or whatever, and every lifeguard is white and we don’t like that,” says a Phoenix official quoted in the story. She added that “the kids don’t relate; there’s language issues.”
How did it ever come to this? Competitive swimming is a sport dominated by whites. In fact, studies have found that blacks and Hispanics have lower swimming proficiency compared to whites. In Phoenix public pool lifeguards have traditionally come from “more affluent parts of town” where schools have swim teams. That means virtually no minorities, so the city launched this special program to recruit some.
Though this is a local effort in one city, it’s also part of a national trend to boost the minority workforce at whatever cost. Under President Obama we have seen a lot of this at the federal level through a variety of specially-designed government programs that give ethnic minorities special treatment at all federal agencies as well as medical and agricultural fields, among others.
Earlier this year the administration made history by hiring the government’s first “Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity” to mastermind a multi-million-dollar effort that boosts the number of minorities in biomedical research and slashes discrimination in the federal grant process. The effort was initially launched last year after a government-sanctioned study uncovered a “disturbing and disheartening” lack of racial diversity in the field.
Before that the administration created a new office help build a “diverse and inclusive workforce” at all federal agencies and Obama appointed a “Diversity Czar” at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help advance the goal of greater inclusion and diversity in government programs. Who could forget the race and gender employment quotas required at private financial institutions under Obama’s financial reform measure (known as the Dodd-Frank bill) to overhaul Wall Street? It’s all in the name of diversity.
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