A recent Bloomberg investigation reported on a shocking development: “The year after Black Lives Matter protests, the S&P 100 added more than 300,000 jobs — 94% went to people of color.” While only 6% of jobs at these top companies went to whites, white people make up 77% of the total U.S. workforce and about 60-65% of the adult population.
This means that after 2020’s summer of rioting for “racial equity,” all whites, and particularly young people seeking entry-level positions after college, were deprived of employment by large institutional employers on a massive scale.
Not only was hiring lopsided, but firing was as well. At Nike, according to the report, whites lost jobs disproportionately at every level of the company. This was rather typical: “At companies where overall employment shrank in 2021, White workers made up 68.5% of the losses, another 16.5% were Black, 9.7% were Hispanic and 2.3% were Asian.” That is, in the BLM era, whites were substantially less likely to get hired and more likely to get fired at the largest companies.
None of this occurred randomly, but, rather, arose from a comprehensive system, whose goal is to reduce whites to second class citizens.
While the political pressure to promote diversity and proportionality has been extant for quite some time, it was particularly heavy in 2020. After months of “we’re in this together” Covid propaganda, suddenly we were allowed to leave our homes because of the public health benefits of protesting for left-wing causes. At that time, large companies began sending out emails and placing ads that sounded like they came from the desk of Huey Newton.
Existing Racial Disparities Have Almost Nothing to do With Racism
Since hiring is a zero-sum game, racially conscious efforts to promote diversity ended up being objectively racist against whites (and frequently Asians).
The entire premise behind all of these measures is dubious. First, it is not clear why, even in a perfectly fair system, anyone would expect hiring to occur in lockstep percentages by race. There are few such things in life. We know with sex there is a lot of self-sorting. There’s almost no male dental hygienists and, similarly, almost no female loggers. This does not make the world a bad place. This is not an injustice. People are allowed to make individual choices that result in disparities.
And we know there are also various disproportions and self-selection for different fields by race. The NBA and NFL are not paragons of racial proportionality, nor should they be. If you’re picking the best athletes, the last thing you should be concerned with is racial background. Why use a proxy when you can employ objective evidence of skill?
Some differences in job-related skills and qualifications also vary by race. Thus, there is a slight over-representation of white men in all jobs, but particularly those at the senior level. This reflects a lot of factors that have nothing to do with racism.
The demographics of senior management, which is an older and more experienced group, simply reflects the racial proportions of America’s past, which was 90% white as late as 1960. Hiring in the 1970s and 1980s came long after the end of Jim Crow and other formal anti-black discrimination due to the 1960s-era civil rights laws. To blame white predominance among executives on “institutional racism” and “white supremacy” shows real ignorance of the conditions that prevailed only a decade or two earlier than the civil rights era.
Further, when looking at disparities between whites and non-white immigrant groups, these disparities flow from varying degrees of English ability and higher education. While many immigrants are degreed professionals who do quite well, many more are low-skilled workers who never learn to speak English. These people will always face a ceiling on their pay, particularly in institutional settings like a large corporation.
Finally, as we have all witnessed tragically and repeatedly, there are persistent social problems that hinder black success and employment, including broken homes, poverty, widespread criminality, and a toxic subculture that labels positive behaviors, like good grades, as low status because they are examples of “acting white.” With many lacking the necessary cultural and educational foundations, one would expect some employment disparities even in a perfectly fair system.
The Noxious Impact of “Disparate Impact”
People used to think of discrimination as an intentional act. Divergent outcomes by race were not enough to prove wrongdoing or even a problem. But when the tools previously used to distinguish between white applicants—grades, test scores, and skills—were now applied to everyone, the process resulted in disproportionate levels of success among different racial cohorts. This created pressure to do something beyond removing formal barriers to minority advancement, which led to affirmative action and other efforts to achieve diversity.
Activists particularly focused on disparities in the C-Suite and other senior jobs, which by necessity would always be much whiter, because America was more white when these individuals began their long climb to the top in the 1980s. This is obvious sophistry, but a bunch of conclusory nonsense about systemic racism, invidious discrimination, and disparate impact all now informs the culture of corporate America and its HR departments. Any outcome that deviates from lockstep racial proportionality is now deemed suspicious.
This has all induced a negative purity spiral. At least the earliest iterations of affirmative action were couched in the language of fairness and balancing the scales. There were undeniable headwinds minority communities faced, particularly black Americans, prior to the 1960s. A brief and temporary leg-up was not facially unreasonable, particularly for a society with the cultural capital America possessed during the 1960s.
But during the Summer of Floyd, things really got turned upside down. Idiots called for defunding the police, which supposedly did not respect “black bodies,” and some cities obliged with predictable results.
Aggressive, hateful anti-American sentiments and anti-white racism became widespread. People were openly calling for the abolition of whiteness, which sounds suspiciously close to a call for genocide. Mocking and hateful videos of whites became common on social media platforms. The driving force of all this rhetoric was no longer an appeal to fairness. It was about revenge and resentment.
In the world of aggressive racial grievance, white men were the lowest of the low. Companies, even those run by white men, began to throw lower-ranked whites overboard. Willingness to do this presumably made the high ranked people feel a little more secure in their positions in this new racially charged environment. No one paused to ask if these practices might be hurting the companies or be unfair.
This all has contributed to the extreme result reported by Bloomberg that 4% of hundreds of thousands of people being hired were white in a country with a white majority.
One might counter, “So what? They probably got jobs elsewhere.” But in the same way an Ivy League degree can accelerate one’s career and success, getting a job at a GE or Google or Apple can be a life-changer for someone with drive and talent. These paths are now closed off to the vast majority of white applicants.
Results this extreme would not prevail in the absence of extensive and deliberate discrimination. There can be little doubt of this, since the perpetrators brag about their discriminatory practices endlessly as a form of virtue signaling.
How to Thrive in a Hostile System
The lessons of this sorry situation are two-fold. One, conservatives who claim to be against affirmative action and to support color-blindness need to stop carrying water for corporate America. Their management and HR departments have no shame in racially discriminating against whites.
Even though white people are America’s heritage people and were responsible for building the successful economy of America’s yesteryear, today they are treated like a hated interloper in their own country. When Republicans have power—at the state level for example—attorneys general and legislatures should be aggressively policing the illegal reverse-discrimination undertaken by companies in the name of diversity. Contrary to popular belief and widespread corporate practice, it is not, in fact, legally permissible to discriminate just because you want more diversity. But it still happens a lot.
Second, whites should emulate the successful practices that other minorities undertook when they were the ones being excluded. In response to the clubby hiring practices of “white shoe” law firms, which were dominated by the old-stock Protestant upper-class in the middle of the 20th Century, Jewish and Catholic lawyers founded their own firms, particularly in New York and Chicago. These often specialized in lucrative areas such as bankruptcy considered déclassé by the old-line WASP firms.
Jewish and Catholic minorities created an opportunity when they were excluded from another. These scrappy outsider firms would eventually evolve into well-known powerhouses like Skadden and Weil Gotschal. In the process, the old-line firms adapted to the new competition and embraced a more meritocratic, less ethnocentric system of hiring.
In other words, when there is a choice to be made, try to live in a way that requires minimal obeisance to the “system.” As I wrote in the wake of the 2020 election, “[O]ne’s livelihood in corporations, the government, or any large organization is fraught with risk if one is the least bit right of center, and doubly so if one is a white male. This is less of a risk for an electrician or plumber or someone else engaged in useful, local work. Nothing is perfect, of course. There are tradeoffs. But the costs of debt and insecurity from trying to thrive in the managerial system are substantial.”
The worst thing of all would be for an ambitious white person to deny reality and try to climb the greasy pole of a large corporation or encourage their kids to follow such a path. What used to work is no longer viable. Everything is being rigged against success for whites, and trying to thrive in such a regime is demoralizing and, if it somehow succeeds, will entail substantial moral compromise.
Instead, we should all try to live, vote, work, and spend in a way that supports our friends, punishes our enemies, and makes our families maximally resilient.
Christopher Roach is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and an attorney in private practice based in Florida. He is a double graduate of the University of Chicago and has previously been published by The Federalist, Takimag, Chronicles, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Marine Corps Gazette, and the Orlando Sentinel. The views presented are solely his own.