Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Harping on the wrong things

All right, maybe not the wrong things, but they shouldn't be the only things.

Here, I'm referring to diversity. The first things that come to mind are probably ethnicity, and then maybe gender. Not that these aren't important metrics, but this article points out some others that probably don't get the attention they deserve:

Who's in the Corner Office?

The article points out things like educational and economic background as "diversity" factors, and how they don't vary with the more common ones. I can't see anything bad about this one - you can't tell what school a person went to by looking at them (maybe by talking to them, but that's for linguists...). I can't see anyway this should be a separate decision parameter from ability.

I suppose, if you take it far enough, you could call it "discrimination" to go on anything the person can't change - and this would include things like intelligence and talent. This is the "Harrison Bergeron" extreme, and it is going too far. It's reasonable to say you shouldn't select based on anything that isn't actually related to doing the job. The problem is deciding what's related to doing the job. If you're looking for a model, it's reasonable to choose based on a lot of physical appearance factors. But what if you're a what if you're hiring a waitress? If you can statistically show that attractive waitresses raise your profits, could you hire only attractive waitresses? Or should the restaurant-going public just get over how their servers look?


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