I viewed with
mixed feelings the recent passage of Proposition 06-2 in
I understand their feelings because I believe that I was once the victim of such reverse discrimination myself. It was some thirty years ago, not too long after I had finished grad school with a double doctorate in philosophy and theology --with my specialty being in the area of science and religion. I had, as a rather successful, but only part-time and somewhat over-qualified (hiring Ph.Ds full-time cost them too much) community college teacher been attempting to land a full-time position at any one of several state universities. But the job situation, especially back then, when it came to the areas of both philosophy and religious studies, had become very tight.
At one point, however, a department head at a certain state university told me that I was perfect for filling an opening that had just presented itself. But there was one major problem -- he was under pressure to hire a woman for the job. In other words, no matter what my academic qualifications were, I was of the wrong sex.
I suppose I could
have sued for sexual discrimination, but I did not, partly because I suspected
that there was something else here at work. A few years before, an immensely
popular Catholic priest had been dismissed from a similar position at another
public university in
In the years that followed, I have occasionally asked myself why I was so accepting of the situation and did not instead assert what I felt should have been my equal rights to compete for that job on the basis of my academic qualifications alone. It was, I think, because I even back then realized several things.
First, it was
because I knew that in university teaching, just as in many other professions
Second, I had been around academia long enough to realize that university faculties were still predominantly an "old boys network" where hiring was done more on the basis of not what you know but who you know. Since I had almost been hired partly on that basis, I realized that, in the end, political pressures would rule the day.
But, third, I
also knew deep down that if the discriminatory practices that still exist in
R W Kropf 11/8/06 Discrim.doc 590 words 06-11-08.html