Disparate Impact: Legal And Political

Kathy Shaidle asks if I have more citations for the “Disparate Impact” theory of minority relations I blogged about earlier.

Legally, “disparate impact” is a term of art coined in Griggs vs Duke Power, 1971, in which, as I said a while back,, “The message of Griggs and “disparate impact” theory: if minorities fail tests at a higher rate than whites, it’s the test that’s wrong.”

This gives the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) tremendous power to mess up both civil service and private sector hiring, requiring them to hire ex-convicts and people with incomprehensible accents, because they`re more likely to be members of minority groups.

Politically, there`s felon enfranchisement, seat belt laws,credit ratings, menthol cigarettes, mortage lending, statehood for the District of Columbia, and the complaint by Haitian-American Councilman Jacques Despinosse, of the City of North Miami, Florida, which is right on the Atlantic Ocean, that is was unfair to ask the City`s police officers to know how to swim:

“North Miami City Councilman Jacques Despinosse created a bit of a stir Tuesday when he asked the police department to rescind its swimming requirement for recruits because it eliminated many black candidates,” the Miami Herald reports. ” `We can`t swim,` said Despinosse, a Haitian American. `Most of us didn`t come on the Mayflower. We came on slave ships.` “[Swimming Requirement Called Unfair, By David Ovalle,Miami Herald (), Feb. 17, 2003, not online, quoted here or here.]

In April, 2004, the North Miami PD dropped the swimming requirement.

There`s a lot more, but I`m saving it for a Fulford File.