Discrimination in a Disparate Impact

I found this article to be very informative. Biddle did a good job of informing the reader first what disparate impact was and then he moved straight into a discussion of the statistical reason behind the need for the three tests that are now used in cases where disparate impact is being used by the complaining party. Knowing the reasons behind the need for that kind of statistical analysis helps the reader understand cases that use it as a basis for their burden of proof. Prior to reading this article I had not realized that there were specific tests that helped to analyze disparate impact.

After reading this article I understood the underlying idea of disparate impact much better. In the article “Now the GOP is For Affirmative Action”, Stein talks about how in the past the Republican party has always been an opponent of the use of affirmative action, but with the passing of California’s Proposition 209, which banned racial preferences in public contracting and universities, it seems that the GOP has jumped on the same band wagon as all of those officials that want to keep affirmative action alive and well (Stein, “Now the GOP.. ”, par. 1).

Stein makes the point that it isn’t so much from a worker’s stand point that the GOP now seems to be for affirmative action initiative, but more from the stand point of what will be good for the image of the Republican party (Stein, “Now the GOP… ”, par 14). Race is a hotly debated topic and it always will be. Republican candidates aren’t eager to touch the subject for fear of how it will look in the eyes of the voting public. That more then anything seems to be the reason for the switch of the GOP to supporting affirmative action when in the past they have been staunchly against it.

I found this article to be informative. I had not realized prior to reading it that the Republican party had been against the use of affirmative action measures. It does make sense though if you look at the attitudes and views that are at the heart of the Republican party that they would be against such measures as affirmative action. I found the way that Stein approached the subject to be very thought provoking. In reading this article I found myself wondering at the many points that he brought up. His use of statistical data helped to give the reader an idea of the points that he was making.

Stein makes a good point that the Republican party now more then in the past seems to flip-flop on what they believe. It does seem that the GOP has become a party of Charlie Browns who can’t make up their minds but choose to believe in what is convenient for the moment. In the article “Discrimination Veiled as Diversity: The Use of Social Science to undermine the Law”, Jones and Ramsey discuss how in the past discrimination has been cleverly used by disguising it as diversity. They make a very good point in this article. It has been over fifty years since the historical case Brown v.

the Board of Education was passed, but yet in schools discrimination does still occur but this time it occurs because of the demographics that schools are made up of (Ramsey & Jones, “Discrimination Veiled as Diversity”, par. 1). Often schools are comprised of neighborhoods which have certain socioeconomic factors that make up the people that live in them. It is also not uncommon for people who share the same ethnic background to settle down in neighborhoods with others of that ethnic background. It is human nature to want to be around people that you can identify with.

The authors use these factors to show how in America we have created a situation in which socioeconomic factors and racially grouped neighborhoods are creating just as much segregation as what occurred prior to Brown v. Board of Education. This article gave me a lot to think about. It is true that often schools are made up of the same people who share similar backgrounds. The school in my neighborhood has clientele that all share the same socioeconomic background. They are all poor families that are struggling to make ends meet.

I disagreed though with the article, though. I think that to say that the same types of segregation issues still exist as there were fifty years ago is wrong. I think that often we are more comfortable in situations where we know that those around us understand because they have faced the same problems that we have. The authors call for more diversity in schools, so that children of varying backgrounds are grouped together. In the end, I think the authors would see that kind of thinking will just lead to more problems then solutions.


Biddle, R. “Employment Discrimination in a Disparate Impact Case”. November 1995. Labor Law Journal. 13 December 2008. <www. biddle. com/documents/disparatetrilogy. htm> Hornberger, L. “Employment Discrimination Law in Michigan. ” 2008. Michigan Bar Association. 13 December 2008. </www. michbar. org/journal/article. cfm? articleID=612&volumeID=47> Jones, S. D. & Ramsey, E. N. “Discrimination Veiled as Diversity: The Use of Social Science to Undermine the Law. ” 2008. Western Washington University. Journal of Educational Controversy. 13 December 2008.