Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Prejudice Unseen at the Roanoke Times?

Sunday's Roanoke Times carries a piece examining the history of the famous Harlem Globetrotters in which one on the team's earliest members is quoted as saying the worst discrimination the team faced was from a "prejudice unseen."

Reading this reminded Salt Lick of a recent study showing that the percentage of minority members on the Roanoke Times' staff has sunk to its lowest level in fifteen years (4.2% in a region 11.7% minority -- down from 10.7% of staff 10 years ago). Is this a sign of racism in Roanoke Times' hiring practices? Odds are that it is not. Liberals' self-image is usually tied up in how many minorities with whom they can surround themselves. The actual people aren't important; skin color is. On the other hand, is the low percentage of minorities at the Roanoke Times a sign that it might be experiencing the same difficulties in attracting qualified minority candidates as other corporate and academic entities? Probably.

If we were enterprising, big-time journalists, we might also point to the fact that the Roanoke Times' parent company is Landmark Communications. Landmark's website tells us that one of its "Core Characteristics and Behaviors" is that it "achieves diversity in the workforce." Well maybe "tries to achieve" diversity would be more honest.

The most interesting point, however, is that the Roanoke Times, like so many other left-leaning organizations and individuals (remember Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's failure to hire a single minority staffer?) talks a better game than it walks. These organizations and people don't hesitate to repeat charges of "racism" when someone else is doing the hiring, but when it comes to themselves, racial diversity is a "statistic unseen."