The Corner

Re: Jayson Blair

Couple of years ago on NRO I wrote a piece about

the “racial discrimination” racket on Wall Street–unscrupulous attorneys

trawling around among black employees of Wall Street firms, telling them how

much money they could get from a “discrimination” lawsuit, and egging them

on to file one. Talking with a friend on Saturday about the Jayson Blair

case, my friend told me that most racial-discrimination lawsuits by

employees against employers concern promotions and firings. Comparatively

few are about discrimination in hiring, which is more difficult to prove.

If this is true–I haven’t checked–and if businesspeople KNOW it’s true,

the logic of it, from a non-black businessman’s point of view, is clear:

don’t hire black people if you can help it. If you don’t hire black people,

there is a slight chance (very slight, if you are a small business) that the

EEOC will dump an investigation on you, possibly ending with a 4- or 5-digit

fine. If you do, and problems develop with the employee, or some trial

lawyer comes and whispers seductively in his ear, you will be looking at a

7-digit lawsuit, with most likely a 6-digit out of court settlement. It

seems, therefore, that laws against racial discrimination in the workplace

may have made it harder for black people to get jobs. I’d be very

interested to know if there has been any attempt to quantify this effect

(assuming my logic is correct). And if this is right, then the New York

Times’s kid-glove handling of Jayson Blair must have been more than just

racial condescension (though, given the ethos at the NYT, it is not hard to

believe that was the larger component), it must also have been driven in

part by fear of litigation.

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