Reader feedback: "Positive discrimination" an oxymoron

Re: Legislating equality: Can it be done?, By Martina Jurinová, Sep 20-26, Vol 10, No 36

The concept of "positive discrimination" is an oxymoron. To create social policy based on such an absurd philosophic construct is lunacy. First, you must show that there is an abundance of qualified Roma to step into the "opportunities" such legislation seeks to establish. The assumption that there are legions of educated, skilled, and motivated Roma who are somehow overlooked by a racist mainstream Slovak society is a fantasy that does no one any good, least of all the Roma.

In fact if you want to increase tensions within society, I can't think of a better way than to mandate the hiring of the unqualified over the qualified, especially at a time when unemployment is still a pervasive problem. Just as Slovaks are trying to get over the era when being a Party member made doors open, this idiotic approach will undermine what progress has already been made.

Ironically, the truly qualified Roma will be among the most cruelly affected by such legislation (the others will be the qualified non-Roma Slovaks passed over for less qualified applicants). Any success that they achieve from their own efforts will be overshadowed by the general assumption that their position is that of a token.

It seems to me that this is a crass attempt to bypass the very difficult task of integrating the Roma into Slovak society as if it could be done just by waving the magic wand of legislative authority. Sorry folks, there is no way of getting around the fact that Roma are, for the most part, unprepared for this role. The effort to correct this should be focused on education for the young and job training for the adults.


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