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Discrimination Redefined

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The Obama administration has filed suit against two major companies that disqualify job applicants with serious criminal records. Statistics show that African-Americans are disproportionately arrested and convicted of such offenses, so the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges that evaluating a job-seeker’s violent history amounts to racial discrimination. But for the accused companies only 10% of black applicants and 7% of whites were disqualified on this basis – hardly the “gross disparity” the government claims.

Smaller percentages of African Americans receive college degrees, so would requirement of those credentials also amount to impermissible discrimination?  Discriminating for college graduates and against dangerous criminals may or may not be good ideas. But such policies have nothing to do with race and everything to do with business freedom to select the desired qualifications for prospective employees.

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