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More on “Bean Counting”


Regarding John Miller’s post Friday on “Definition of ‘Bean Counting’”:

This is the public sector equivalent of the argument that private sector companies must have a workforce that reflects the racial and ethnic makeup of their customers. In either sector, the argument is nonsensical. You don’t have to be black in order to sell a Pepsi to a black person, and you don’t have to be white in order to protect white people. Now, you may need to know something about your different customers in order to market to them effectively, and you may need to be knowledgeable about different parts of America in order to do a good law-enforcement job, but it is wrong-and illegal-to use skin color or national origin as a proxy for such knowledge.

For instance, a Latino whose ancestors came to what is now the United States 300 years ago from Spain is unlikely to have any special insights into a new immigrant community from Guatemala; better you should hire someone with a Ph.D. in Latin American history who wrote his dissertation on Guatemalan immigrants, even if that person happens to be white or Asian. And you can imagine the response from Rep. Watt if he were told that, because most bankers are white men, the Fed was going to make sure that its number of female and minority hires was limited. See my op-ed earlier this week here.


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