“Disparate impact” theory is the left’s most potent weapon in the war on standards. Activists use the theory to attack, say, school disciplinary standards or the use of employment tests or standards on the theory that these policies disproportionately burden blacks. Typically, the remedy they seek is the discarding or relaxation of the standard.
As I observed here, the real goal of this campaign is to impose a de facto quota regime in which benefits are doled out and burdens imposed equally to Blacks and Whites (for example). In this regime, merit will take a back seat to race and ethnicity.
My friend Jim Scanlan is one of the most thoughtful and pioneering experts in the field of disparate impact and group differences. I have relied on Jim’s work in a number of Power Line posts, including this one and this one.
Jim is also the author of the recently published article “Race and Mortality Revisited.” It argues that just about everything said about group differences in the law and the social and medical sciences is incorrect. Earlier in the year, he wrote “Things the Government Doesn’t Know About Racial Disparities,” for The Hill.
Jim will be conducting a workshop on October 10 at the University of Maryland’s Maryland Population Research Center. The workshop — Rethinking the Measurement of Demographic Differences in Outcome Rates — will take place at 1101 Morrill Hall on the University campus, from 10:00 a.m. until noon.
Jim tells me that his presentation will be geared towards specialists rather than laymen. I’m confident, however, that it will be worthwhile for those with an interest in the subject of how to demographic differences should be appraised in the law and the social and medical sciences..