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Liberals Say the Darndest Things


"We only get to make a hire every four or five years."

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Comedian Bill Cosby hosted a weekly television show for two and a half years in the mid-1990's wherein our sweater-wearing host would ask young children a simple question and we’d all chuckle at how the tots responded.

But it's not only kids who say the darndest things as we learned this week. Just substitute liberals for toddlers and tweak the subject from puppies to labor unions.

It all started innocently enough with an American Prospect article posing the question of why there is so little racial and ethnic diversity on the staffs of liberal opinion magazines and publications. The article, “The Unbearable Whiteness of Liberal Media,” asked, “If left-leaning publications value diversity, why don’t they have any?”

Let us stipulate up front that the left does not enjoy confronting its own hypocrisy.

[sharequote align="center"]Let us stipulate up front that the left does not enjoy confronting its own hypocrisy.[/sharequote]

For instance, liberal media watchdog Media Matters has been playing hardball with its own employees recently, pushing back against a union organizing drive. It is obviously an article of faith on the left that unionization is universally desired and should be made as easy as possible to accomplish. President Obama has gone to extreme lengths to pack the National Labor Relations Board with pro-labor partisans to stack the deck in favor of union bosses. But apparently Media Matters has done the math and doesn’t like how a unionized workforce will affect its bottom line.

The Prospect article did the math when it comes to diversity and here is what they found:

“Nearly 40 percent of the country is non-white and/or Hispanic, but the number of minorities at the outlets included in this article’s tally – most of them self-identified as liberal or progressive – hovers around 10 percent.”

We can also stipulate that the left’s other article of faith is that diversity is valuable, period.

“Companies with diverse workforces consistently outperform their competitors; diversity drives innovation, and workers tend to be happier at companies that value inclusiveness. But it’s even more important in journalism than, say, at an accounting firm. When you’re in the business of telling stories, lacking diversity means you’re limited in the sorts of stories you can tell – or even think of telling.”

Midway through the article is where we find our Bill Cosby moment, though it was not innocent child talking but instead a magazine editor. From the Prospect [emphasis added]:

“The stagnation of the industry also means there are few opportunities to increase diversity. ‘The staff here is unionized, which means there is little job turnover,’ says Richard Kim, executive editor at The Nation, who is Asian American and gay. ‘We only get to make a hire every four or five years.’ Among the progressive publications I examined, The Nation scored the lowest, with slightly over 4 percent of its staff hailing from racial and ethnic minority groups.”

Cue the laugh track. Here we see two bedrock principles of the left collide. We also see how unionism won.

A lack of diversity and organized labor is nothing new and it hasn’t been unintentional, as it may have been in this instance. If you take Kim at his word, diversity is an unexpected casualty of unionization. But in our nation’s past, unions worked hard to prevent any diversity at all on the job.

Photo Credit: AP Photo Credit: AP

Harry Alford, President and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce takes us on a walk down Big Labor’s memory lane.

“Due to the Jim Crow laws of the South, there were many Black southern craftsmen who would travel to perform their skills. Many would go to places like New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, etc. and would out compete local white contractors who could not perform as well as they did and could not settle for their affordable pricing. It was because of this, that construction unions in the North were formed to block out Black crews from coming into communities and providing a better service for a cheaper price. Soon after the unions were formed they set in motion the Davis-Bacon Act (named for two New York congressmen).

"This act set up arbitrary labor wage scales so that Black craftsmen could no longer underprice their white counter parts. They all had to pay a certain price, prevailing wage, at a minimum and competition became no more. With the price competition out of the way, the whites moved in through political favor and blatant racism. This would be followed with Project Labor Agreements which meant some projects would be declared ‘Union Only.’ With the construction unions discriminating against Blacks, PLO’s [sic] would also mean ‘Whites Only.’” points out since 2000 over 4,200 complaints alleging racial discrimination by labor unions have been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. Obviously this problem isn’t just in our history – it’s happening today.

Labor Union Report has likewise chronicled Big Labor’s diversity problem at length.

Media Matters for America Media Matters for America 

From hangman nooses on all-white construction sites in the northeast to Las Vegas minority owners of businesses complaining that unions were trying to keep minorities out of the work force, it is clear that it is not just one time in our history, or in one sector of the economy, or in one region of the country, where labor unions are trying to maintain a diversity-free workplace. It’s happening now and it’s happening everywhere.

Now don’t get me wrong: I am as much as a fan of diversity as the next guy and applaud Media Matters for watching their bottom line, as every business owner must.

But the left should drop their haughty moral superiority and stop heaping abuse on business owners who believe that unionization would damage their company’s competitiveness.

And they should recognize that unionization leads to unintended – and maliciously intended – consequences when it comes to diversity, depriving many minorities of a shot at a middle class job. That would do more to advance diversity in the workplace that any liberal article of faith.

Fred Wszolek is a spokesperson for the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI).

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