Wednesday, August 25, 2004


"Record numbers of white police officers are launching legal actions claiming they have been victimised because of the colour of their skin, The Observer can reveal today. This reflects an alarming backlash against the Metropolitan Police crusade to encourage ethnic minority recruits, with resentful whites now convinced they are the ones being overlooked for promotion.

Yesterday Ray Powell, the president of the National Black Police Association, warned that moves to end the culture of casual prejudice were backfiring. Attacking 'a ridiculous' pressure to hit strict targets for recruiting black officers, Powell told The Observer there was a risk of undeserving candidates being hired to boost the force's record on race.

Around half of the long-running race cases being taken to employment tribunals by Met officers now involve white complainants, according to evidence submitted to the Morris inquiry, which is examining the force's treatment of its staff. The inquiry has uncovered a bitter undercurrent of resistance to change in anonymous interviews with officers, one of whom complained that 'if you are from a [visible ethnic minority] whatever you want, you can have.'

The Met has been under intense pressure to hire more black officers since the Macpherson inquiry into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, which concluded the force was 'institutionally racist'. It has a target for 25 per cent of the force to come from the ethnic minorities by 2009, so that it reflects London's population as a whole.

However, Powell said with current progress that would require up to 80 per cent of new recruits to be black and Asian, 'which is ridiculous'. He would rather see targets reduced and black recruits rising through the ranks on merit, than allowing substandard applicants to be taken on: 'There is a danger of black officers being set up to fail: human nature being as it is, there is a risk that the standards may be lowered.....

Anonymous interviews conducted on visits to London police stations exposed the hidden resentment among white officers. One complained: 'The perception is that black officers are only getting a promotion because they are black'. Others urged the Met to 'slow [its reforms] down a bit and look at white officers. They are forgotten.'

The problem is not confined to the Met, according to the Nottinghamshire branch of the Black Police Association, which told the inquiry that the promotion of one local Asian sergeant prompted six white rivals to sue for racial discrimination...."

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A college would rather expose its degrees as meaningless than face the fact that there are important inequalities between people

"Two untenured science professors at Benedict College in South Carolina were fired for refusing to adhere to a grading policy that makes effort 60% of the course grade for freshmen. The policy applies only to the first two years of school (the sophomore year applies a 50/50 formula), and then the students are allowed only in the junior year to be "judged strictly on academic performance." The professors, Milwood Motley and Larry Williams, had gone along with it for awhile, but finally could not accept the consequences of the policy.

Motley, who came to Benedict five years ago from the Morehouse School of Medicine, said he was uncomfortable with the concept from the beginning. But he went along with it grudgingly until he was confronted with an academic dilemma: giving a passing grade to a student he believed had not learned the course material. Awarding a C to a student whose highest exam score was less than 40 percent was more than he could tolerate. There comes a time when you have to say this is wrong," he said. This spring, he defied the SEE policy, as did department colleague Williams. Neither has tenure. Williams would not comment for this story. "I did it (awarded grades) strictly on academic performance," Motley said. "They told us to go back and recalculate the grades, and I just refused to do it."

Despite a faculty grievance committee vote to recommend reinstatement, college president David Swinton refused".

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