Denied Jobs, Blacks in Iowa Test New Bias Theory

Ryan J. Foley, Yahoo! News, February 17, 2012

In a case closely watched by civil rights activists, an Iowa judge will soon decide whether to grant thousands of black employees and job applicants monetary damages for hiring practices used by Iowa state government that they say have disadvantaged them.

Experts say the case is the largest class-action lawsuit of its kind against an entire state government’s civil service system, and tests a legal theory that social science and statistics alone can prove widespread discrimination.

The plaintiffs—up to 6,000 African-Americans passed over for state jobs and promotions dating back to 2003—do not say they faced overt racism or discriminatory hiring tests in Iowa, a state that is 91 percent white. Instead, their lawyers argue that managers subconsciously favored whites across state government, leaving blacks at a disadvantage in decisions over who got interviewed, hired and promoted.

Judge Robert Blink’s decision, expected in coming weeks, could award damages and mandate changes in state personnel policies or dismiss a case that represents a growing front of discrimination litigation.


Similar cases against local governments have failed because proving broad bias is extraordinarily difficult, with a myriad of possible factors to explain disparities, said David Friedland, a California human resources consultant who is an expert on discrimination in hiring. Success in Iowa could encourage similar lawsuits elsewhere, he said.


During a monthlong trial last fall, experts called by the plaintiffs’ lawyers testified that blacks are hired at lower rates than whites with similar qualifications and receive less favorable evaluations and lower starting salaries. An employment consultant hired by the administration of Gov. Tom Vilsack, who served from 1999 to 2007, warned of hiring disparities between whites and minorities in a report issued after he left office. Larkin called that report a strong “and pretty unusual piece of evidence” proving the state was aware of problems.

Vilsack’s successor, Democratic Gov. Chet Culver, responded by issuing an executive order requiring agencies to improve the diversity of the workforce. State officials called that evidence of progress, but class lawyers argued it turned out to be ineffective because rules meant to prevent bias still were not followed.

Republican Gov. Terry Branstrad said last fall his administration had ensured agencies were following uniform rules to stop any abuse—but a top state employment official testified days later he’d seen no substantive changes to hiring practices in years. Blacks represented 2.9 percent of the state’s population in 2010 and 2.4 percent of the state workforce.


Lawyers working for Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, argued that the plaintiffs failed to show bias across state government.

“The record simply does not support Plaintiffs’ charge that some monolithic, immutable force of bias infected the decisions made by every department, at every step, for every job, for every year of the class period,” they wrote in a final brief last month.


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  • holyflower

    “…a myriad of possible factors to explain disparities”


    One of those factors is an average four-year achievement gap between white high school seniors and non-Asian minority high school seniors.  From Education Trust:

    “By the time [minority students] reach grade 12, if they do so at all, minority students are about four years behind other young people. Indeed, 17 year-old African American and Latino students have skills in English, mathematics and science similar to those of 13-year-old white students.” (Education Trust, “Closing the Achievement Gap,” National Governors Association Clearinghouse, 2002, 9th paragraph)

    Note the conditional “if they do so [reach 12th grade] at all.”   Those words means that the black-white achievement gap is “four years” for the above-average contingent of black students still in school by 12th grade. The below-average contingent of black students (half of the age cohort) have already dropped out.

  • candide

    Employers who reject black workers are not unconsciouas racists.  They ARE CONSCIOUS OF THE FACT THAT BLACKS ARE NOTHING BUT TROUBLE.

  • Ano Namouse

    Think they’ll figure out a way to “clean out” the subconscious of these poor, racist souls?

  • Statistics show cameras in London are racist…179561,00.htmlThe
    Sunday Times – BritainMay 14, 2006Cameras set racial poser on
    car crimeDipesh Gadher, Transport CorrespondentBRITAIN’S most
    senior policeman Sir Ian Blair is facing a race relations dilemma after the
    release of figures that reveal almost half the number of people arrested in
    relation to car crime in London are black.
    “Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner, has signed off a report by his
    force’s traffic unit which shows that black people account for 46% of all
    arrests generated by new automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR)
    cameras.The technology allows car registration plates to be scanned and
    automatically run through databases to determine whether a vehicle is stolen,
    uninsured or has not had its road tax paid.”

  • Yeah, if you can’t find any “overt” signs of racism, it’s only because it’s now “subconscious” racism. Anything to keep the grievance/redistribution of wealth scam alive at the same time provide an excuse for the failures of blacks. 

  • Boereseun

    The more one hears about ‘racism’ the more one begins to understand how very normal it is.

  • Of course the plaintiffs can’t prove it.  So they’re throwing the good ole “disparate impact” hail mary, and hope that some judge in the end zone catches it.  After all, if it works for firefighters in big cities, it should work for the public bureaucracy in Iowa.  (Unless it doesn’t, let’s hope that Blink has sense.)

  • B

    But will they have the courage to defend themselves and expose the obvious in a court of law? I doubt it.

  • It’s not subconscious bias.  When I interview a person who doesn’t seem to have any relevant skills sets and can’t answer a question coherently, then I’m not hiring them.   The lawyers who concoct lawsuits like this are a hazard to our civilization.   

  • seek

    Ah, subconscious bias!  The plaintiffs and their moralizing, $$$-hungry attorneys can’t prove anything conscious, so the bias has to be “subconscious.”  

    Of course, the larger issue is, or ought to be, that “bias” of some sort is inevitable, regardless of who is designing the tests.  The real reason behind the suit is that blacks are frustrated that they lack a critical mass for political dominance in a state like Iowa.  Too bad.  Let them move somewhere else.  I’m sure the rest of Iowa wouldn’t miss them a bit.

  • Some 100 yrs after its incipience, Blacks got info about Freud & psychoanalysis (subconscious, repression, superego-ego-id,..). Wow !

    • blight14

       So you’re saying they’re quick studies? lol

  • Oh, I get it.  I think, therefore I’m racist against blacks. 
    Sounds about right.

  • razorrare

    A Nobel Prize Winner,Dr.Albert Schweitzer once stated  words to this effect..”Never make blacks your social equals or they will devour/destroy you.”

    • anonymous_amren

      Supposedly. We don’t have any reliable evidence that he actually said that. It’s possible he really said it, but there’s no official record of it. It could be a hoax.

  • loyalwhitebriton

    I’m not a sub-conscious racist!
    I’m perfectly conscious of my own racism, thank you very much.

  • Southern__Hoosier

    Why don’t we just pay every Black $25,000 a year for life, if they pledge not to sue in court?

    • Gary Goble

      And get sterilized.

    • anonymous_amren

      They’d just take the $25,000 a year, then sue in court anyway. And the judge would let them get away with it, and keep giving them the $25,000 anyway, even after they win millions of dollars in damages.

      Then they’d complain that $25,000 a year isn’t enough to live on, and produce statistics that white people’s average incomes are more than that, proving that they are the victims of racism, and they’d demand in court $50,000 a year.

  • Sonya610

    Blacks already get way more of their share of Public Sector jobs. I guess it is time for the non-blacks to sue for their right to those jobs in 40+ some odd states.

    ” One out of every five working African Americans are employed by the government, according to the labor department. That comes out to 19.8 percent of the black workforce, compared to 14.6 percent for whites and 11 percent for Hispanics.”

  • sbuffalonative

    Theory after theory after theory. Each new theory replaces the previous theory which was initially thought to be the ‘grand unified theory of minority failure’. When it turns out to be wrong, a new new theory is needed to replace the previous perfect theory. And on and on. 

    We don’t need these theories. We know what the facts are.  

  • I remember back in the 90’s blacks were complaining about the lack of “diversity” (meaning, blacks) on the gameshow “Jeopardy.”  The shows producers said they didn’t discriminate based on race, only intelligence.  Nobody wants to go on tv and show how  mentally incompetent he/she is.  Therefore, no blacks applied for “Jeopardy.”  The few who were on the show stood there like salt blocks and didn’t answer a single question.  “Jeopardy” still tries to promote diversity, but the fact remains, if you are an idiot, you don’t get on the show.  The situation in Iowa reminded me of the “Jeopardy” fiasco.

    • sbuffalonative

      Years ago I saw a black woman on Jeopardy. They actually had a category, ‘Black History’.

      The black woman picked the category but a white man answered the first question from her and then went on to sweep the category.

      The plan backfired on the producers.

  • JohnEngelman

    When it became obvious that ending racial discrimination against blacks would not achieve racial equality, blacks began to demand racial discrimination against whites. 

  • This_Name_Doesnt_Exist

    These limousine liberal nincompoops….tell me, what’s stopping them from hiring Blacks to do their housework, tutor their kids, maintain and operate their cars, boats, private aircraft, provide their medical needs, manage their investments, what?  What exactly is it?  Why does the government need to provide employment for these people, when they themselves have means enough to employ all the poor unfortunate denizens of the ghetto of their own volition, if they think it’s so damned essential to do so, and no different than employing people of any other race?

    It seems there’s a good reason they don’t want Blacks around their homes, children, money, jets, etc.  We should ask them to explain this to us.  I think they owe us that much, what with all their criticism of us for wanting to achieve what only the wealthiest can now achieve: segregation.

    THIS would be a wonderful platform on which an aspiring politician would sail into office.  This one question alone.  Why don’t they do it, if it’s no different than employing Whites and Hispanics?

  • KenelmDigby

    People should read this story very carefully.

    Now, the so-called concept of ‘subconsious bias’ is making headway and will possibly get fully legal force and be implemented with the strong arm of the US law behind it.
    What does ‘sunconcious bias’ actually mean? – basically it means that whites *apparently without concious thought or volition* are to be held guilty of discriminating against blacks or other favored minorities, simply due to the fact that the accused is white and no actual, definitive evidence of bias or intent can be found.
    So basically, whites who make decisions blacks don’t like have no defence whatsoever, and the accuser can make a case out of anything he deems has ‘discriminated’ against him.In other words whites are damned simply for existing.
     This is not justice – it resembles more or less pre-legal witchfinding or the excesses of eastern potentates in the middle ages, when kings killed people on a whim for looking at them the wrong way. Not even Orwell at his most prescient would have predicted this.
     It just shows how far the USA has degenerated.

    • KevinPhillipsBong

      I can’t see how this is different from ‘disparate impact.’

      • KenelmDigby

        Well this development means that the unknown and unknowable (ie the subconscious) is to be supposedly used as ‘evidence’ in a court of law – in order to get the result the plaintiff wants, and it is incumbent on the defendant to ‘prove’ that the unknown workings of his mind were not guilty as alleged.

        Quite frankly this stinks to high heaven.
        No civilised society ruled by a system of jurisprudence should ever give this outrage the time of day.
        Even ancient peoples the Greeks, the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons etc would have called this proposal barbaric and evil.
        It’s a sight worse than disparate impact. 

        • KevinPhillipsBong

          Yes, but disparate impact requires no intent at all (conscious or subconscious) in order to prove fault. The fact that blacks perform worse than whites (in hiring, testing, promotions, obtaining loans, etc) is all that is necessary to prove wrongdoing.

    •  No, it’s Stalin’s purges in the 1930s. Leszek Kolakowski: “Main Currents of Marxism”, vol.3; S. Sebag Montefiore: “Stalin”; Martin Amis: “Koba the Dread”.

  • The real issue is whether or not there is a correlation between ability/job worthiness and race. Studies have shown that there is such a correlation. Our common sense suggests that there is. The experience of any business owner emphatically insists that there is. Liberal ideology cannot abide it.

    So it’s ideology versus reality. The classic struggle in any authoritarian state. Whether it was divine right during the middle ages, or the worker’s paradise during the 20th century, or Equality at Any Cost during the 21st, the basic motif is the same.

  • JackKrak

    Why is that plaintiffs don’t have to prove that “racism” existed, but the defendants have to prove that it didn’t?

    • JJDKII

      I was taught as far back as grade school that the defendant is presumed innocent, and that the prosecution (or, in this case, the plaintiffs) must establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Times have changed since the 1950s.

  • I guess I never noticed but yes, most Employees were White when I lived there.  Now, that could always have something to do with the fact that Iowa was Majority White but more likely, reason was, “white racism”.

    Sad day it’s going to be for many a White Folk when they realize that Minority Privilege is only for Non-Whites even when they’re the Majority.

  • I forgot the most important part:

    It was more than Twenty Years ago now that I applied at Swift and I applied MANY times and ya know, I never did get an Interview and this was for Factory Work but guess what was a Block from the Factory and on the SAME Road as the Factory?  Los Lobos.  That’s right, a hispanic bar.  I’ll bet it’s still there.

  • Subconscious biases my backside. ARRRRGH. If this goes through than this country is doomed. It would be illegal not to hire and promote even more incompetent blacks.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Now, the so-called concept of ‘subconsious bias’ is making headway and will possibly get fully legal force and be implemented with the strong arm of the US law behind it.

    Exactly.  Designed to give the government more power to control and  oppress us and confiscate and redistribute our wealth.
    The metaphor of Orwell’s Thought Police has come true.

    In the novel (or is it?) Nineteen Eighty-Four, a Thought Crime is an illegal type of thought.  The government attempts to control not only speech and actions but also the thoughts of its subjects.  Illegal thoughts are known as thoughtcrime or crimethink in Orwell’s Newspeak.Sound familiar?  

    Winston Smith writes in his diary:  Thoughtcrime does not entail death:  thoughtcrime is death. 
    “Subconscious thought” means more government oppression and power and harsh and punitive punishment for  imaginary offenses the government has deemed crimes.  This allows class action suits against innocent people and business which gives the government the right to redistribute money to blacks.
    As Orwell writes so presciently in Nineteen Eighty-Four:  A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon,  a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.  Profess in our world will be progress toward more pain.

    Sound familiar?


  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Now we’ve reached the point that promotional lagging by blacks is de facto evidence of active discrimination. 
    The government has been pretending for years that blacks are equal to Whites. (I do not capitalize “black” and will continue until blacks stop assaulting, robbing, murdering, killing, torturing and hunting Whites).
    To continue the odious egaltarian lie, the government decided to hand out unearned diplomas and degrees to blacks.  It is now tying to justify that they have some value.
    The only way to do this is to silence those who deign to question government dogma, even through use of “subconscious thought.”
    This is very dangerous.


  • Detroit_WASP

     “science and statistics alone can prove widespread discrimination.”

    Science and statistics alone can prove that we are NOT all created equally.  Some can dunk a basketball better than others.  And some can split the atom, cure polio and put a man on the moon.

  • Detroit_WASP

    You are both wrong.  There are PLENTLY of blacks on Jeopardy….during celebrity week!

    The lack of white players in the NBA doesn’t automatically mean there is discrimination against whites…..or does it?  The EEOC should really look into that. lol

  • WhiteGuyInJapan

    “What amazes me is that this race of people has absolutely no shame, or
    pride. Every White person on the planet, and I include marxist, leftist
    fools, knows full well why they weren’t hired. Do blacks not realize

    No, they don’t. 

    In my professional life, I have been turned down for jobs.  Sure it’s disappointing, but I try to remember that while I have a BA, the other guy may have an MA.  I have three years of experience, someone else has seven. 

    The Affirmative Action crowd doesn’t see that.  They don’t look at qualifications and such, only skin color and numbers.  A White man gets the job-racism. 

    And they are not open to debate or reason.

  • FACT:  The average black American’s IQ is about 20 points below that of the average white American (85 vs 105).  That is not arguable.  It’s a proven mathematical fact proven over decades with literally millions of IQ tests*.

    Is the lawsuit based on racism …. or reality?

    * “The Bell Curve” by Richard J. Herrnstein, Ph.D. Psychology, Harvard University, and Charles Murray, Ph.D. Political Science, M.I.T.

  • JohnEngelman

    In a case closely watched by civil rights activists, an Iowa judge will soon decide whether to grant thousands of black employees and job applicants monetary damages for hiring practices used by Iowa state government that they say have disadvantaged them. 

    – Ryan J. Foley, Yahoo! News, February 17, 2012  

    All that should be necessary here to present to the Iowa judge is tangible evidence that the blacks were less qualified. Whatever happened to civil service tests?  Also, what do the voters think of this?

  • radical7

    The fact is that the majority of Blacks were more than likely the victims of both unconscious and conscious racism.

    • Boereseun

      Yes, every white, whether they think about it or not, is out to get blacks every minute of the day. If whites are so miserably racist and oppressive, even without thinking bout it, why do blacks continue to move to places where whites reside? Constantly, without fail, whites leave, blacks follow. Seems to me there’s something awfully sinister about your motives for commenting here.

      Would you care to prove such a obviously liberal, crack pot theory? Or do you just prefer to use ‘the fact’ because you think you’re right and every one of those miserable racists is wrong?

  • Bruno

    I have a feeling there are many jobs in Iowa for blacks?
    Burger King, KFC, Car Washes, the problem is with jobs above these you must be able to Read, Think and Act and there is the catch.

  • Former Liberal

    Blacks are nothing but trouble. Anyone who has had to work around them understands that only too well.  But as usual, blacks are totoally blind to their own failings. and to borrow a phrase from Dineesh D’Souza, “live in a haunted house of racism….populated by white ghosts.”

  • radical7

    The fact is that being in denial about racism is a form of racism itself.

    • Is being in denial about being in denial about racism a form of racism?  Or is it just a tongue twister?  (Unless tongue twisters are a form of racism)

      • Thinking out loud here, how tongue twisters can be “racist” or some other form of “ism.”

        Peter Piper picked a peck of pickle peppers.  If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickle peppers, how many pickle peppers did Peter Piper pick?

        I see two forms of racism and one form of sexism here.

        She sells sea shells down by the sea shore.

        Sexism, raping the environment, rapacious capitalist exploitation.

        How much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

        Alert PETA.  Animal abuse.

    • Boereseun

      Ok, now I know you’re being a troll.