The Corner

The Mask Slips at HHS

In a Federal Register notice yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are soliciting nominations for possible membership on the Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but the notice contained this interesting passage (my italics):

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will give close attention to equitable geographic distribution and to minority and female representation so long as the effectiveness of the Committee is not impaired. Appointments shall be made without discrimination on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, HIV status, disability, and cultural, religious, or socioeconomic status.”

I’m afraid the Obama administration’s mask slipped a bit on this one; it might as well have said, “We’ll do our best to include women and minorities, so long as they aren’t TOO unqualified.” And of course the commitment in the first sentence to make the selection with an eye on sex and color is immediately disavowed with the promise in the second sentence not to do so. Just another diverse day’s work. 

It’s interesting that even in an administration supportive of politically correct preferences, and even in a context where selection with an eye on sex and ethnicity has more than the usual plausibility, it’s acknowledged that such preferential treatment is inevitably at odds with choosing the best qualified.


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