For some time now, activists have been waging a “ban the box” campaign to promote equality. The box they want to ban is the one on employment applications that asks whether the applicant has a criminal history. The idea is that asking about criminal history disadvantages minority applicants who are more likely to have criminal records.
There’s something to that. Sure, as an employer I’d want to know if a prospective employee is a rapist, murderer or robber. Felonies used to be limited to serious crimes like those. But nowadays there are so many felonies that the average American commits three felonies a day without even knowing it, as Harvey Silverglate estimates.
And that reasoning would be valid if the motivation of the BTB movement had anything to do with sympathy toward people ensnared in Silverglatian felony convictions. But we all know that race, especially black, is the straw that’s stirring this drink. All you have to do is to see where BTB proposals are have serious legs or have already been enacted, and who is proposing them. Black or urban white liberal politicians in black-heavy cities.
Since you’re smart enough to read this blog, you know that the real purpose of BTB is political predication to what even its advocates know is the real end game: Mandated affirmative action for ex-cons.
Instapundit then suggests that the box we should ban is the education box, and ends it like this:
Without relying on colleges as a foundation for credentialism, we’d have to find some other way to assess candidates. But odds are it would be something more closely associated with actual performance on the job: A competency test, for example, or an apprenticeship program. These kinds of credentials would be faster and easier to acquire — and less tied to pre-existing privilege — than college degrees are now, and less likely to promote old-boy (or -girl) networks that freeze out newcomers. They’d probably work better for employers, too.
We used to do that, but we jettisoned the other ways to assess candidates, because they had a disparate impact on NAMs. Which is the through line back to the way this op-ed started.