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Corporal Klinger’s Next Career Move

From Esteban:

From 1972 to 1983 the TV show “M*A*S*H” (set in an Army hospital in Korea during the Korean war) was massively popular in the U.S. One of the regular characters was Corporal Maxwell Klinger, a man who wore dresses in an attempt to get thrown out of the Army. Unfortunately for Max, his CO knew it was a sham and just ignored his antics. The show did have bit of fun with it, though, the usual jests about whether he should wear pearls with this outfit or if these earrings were too much for daytime wear.

Corporal Klinger came to mind due to some recent pronouncements by the Coca-Cola company. Their General Counsel announced that the company would require quarterly reporting of the makeup of legal teams that do work for them and self-identify as American Indian, Alaska Native, Black, Asian, women, Hispanic/Latinx, LGBTQ, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander or persons with disabilities. Going forward, at least 30% of billed hours must be from these types and at least half of that from Blacks. Plans are for these percentages to rise over time to 50%, again with at least half from Blacks. And, of course, Coke sees itself as a standard setter and hopes other large companies follow suit.

Personally, I find this type of racial scorecard keeping abhorrent and divisive but then I’m pretty damn un-woke. But that aside, a couple of things struck me about this Brave New World Coke envisions. First, are there enough Black attorneys to fill the quotas? Big law firms may find themselves desperately recruiting Black attorneys away from other occupations, like being in-house counsel to a business or working for a not-for-profit entity. Or shifting Black attorneys away from other clients to Coke. This may just result in Black attorneys getting premium pay to work for big law firms. C’est la vie.

The second part that really struck me was the phrase “self-identify”. This is where the fun may really start. As the zeitgeist has increasingly demanded that transgender individuals must be treated as the gender they claim to identify with, there has been some pushback about the potential for abuse. To date actual cases are rare, teenage boys haven’t rushed to compete in girls’ sports, although there are some cases and the impact on the girls affected is significant. And there are at least a few reported cases of women and girls being spied upon as a result of trans men having access to dressing rooms. But in most areas of life (to date) the impact has been quite limited.

But perhaps things will start to get more interesting very soon. Note that the statement from Coke referred to those who self-identify as any of the listed victim groups. So, if you’re a straight white male applying for one of these coveted jobs, might you decide to “self-identify” as one of them? Will you be required to specify which one or provide any evidence? If you’re as white as Gwyneth Paltrow, a triathlete and married to a woman, will anyone ask, umm, Eric, which category do you qualify for?

We’ve had a few instances where this got ticklish in the U.S. – Elizabeth Warren’s Cherokee-ness has been a topic for a fair amount of conversation, jokes and memes. Word is that the NY Times, Washington Post, et. al. investigated this matter and concluded that she is definitely a Democrat, so never mind. Someone (sorry, missed the name & haven’t found it yet) said on TV “if she grew up thinking she was Native American, who are we to tell her otherwise?”. Seriously. Rachel Dolezal was a proud Black woman who grew up white.

But if there are serious financial benefits to claiming to be one of the now-favored groups, won’t somebody take advantage? If you’re on the committee at a prestigious law firm deciding which graduates to hire and you believe in this diversity/equity/quota business, do you get concerned if you have a lot of apparent straight white males who checked the “do you belong to one of following disadvantaged groups box” “Yes”. What if 100% of the interviewees do so? If you raise an objection, might you be subject to cancellation?

I may be wrong that this will get thorny. It may be that the coming generation of college graduates, especially from the more prestigious universities, are truly woke and sincere and will not claim a privilege they do not truly deserve. Damn, I’ll probably miss out on the job at the top law firm, but I will not falsely claim membership in one of the “now favored because they have been historically disadvantaged” groups. (From now on that’s “NFBTHBHD” (somebody remind me to trademark that, I suspect it’ll come into play soon)).

As Tim himself has pointed out numerous times, cartels usually fail because somebody cheats. So, even if almost all of our woke attorneys play it straight (sorry, couldn’t help myself), if they suspect one or two others of subterfuge, the temptation will be much greater. I imagine that it won’t be long before there is pressure to make sure that the partner group also fits the required percentages. Hmm, a six-figure raise could be mine if I decide I self-identify as NFBTHBHD, what to do? (Damn, I’m definitely going to have to work on that acronym, not only is it too long, it’s unpronounceable in English. Although the last bit is close to butthead. But I digress.)

Ahh, it finally dawns on me. This is about lawyers. Of course, they’ll all do the right thing. Cue Emily Litella.

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jgh
jgh
15 days ago

Blimey! 50% of Americans are black? When did that happen?

Boganboy
Boganboy
15 days ago
Reply to  jgh

When black supremacy became the fashion?

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
15 days ago
Reply to  jgh

I think they mean 50% of new hires. The problem being that there is a limited pool of candidates. To get them and satisfy statutory regs, employers will engage in a bidding war. The new black hire will earn more than the tenured white counterpart. Now comes the tricky part, when the new black male hire earns more than his white female tenured counterpart. And this is how woke chess is played.

Spike
Spike
15 days ago

And it won’t be long before we’ll TAKE ONE LOOK at a black corporate lawyer and wonder if he is competent or if he got his job as a pity prize. Just like everywhere else “affirmative action” has grown teeth.

john77
john77
15 days ago
Reply to  jgh

No, Coca-Cola (that colourless liquid?) has decided that half (weighted by hours billed) of all those benefitting as specially advantaged groups are black, so 15% of hours billed rising to 25% in due course must be from black lawyers. [I nearly said “worked” but of course hours worked and hours billed are utterly different and unrelated concepts to a woke lawyer]

Steven C Watson
Steven C Watson
15 days ago
Reply to  john77

Hours worked and hours billed are utterly different and unrelated concepts to any kind of lawyer. Do keep up.

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
15 days ago

It isn’t quite as easy as that. In my happy country in which BBBEE (broad based black economic empowerment) is the be-all and end-all, it’s not enough to have the right skin and a degree to get the plum job pulling down a bar a year with a Merc and a Sandton townhouse. You have to have the right political connections.

Spike
Spike
15 days ago

The worst enormity of the Woke wave is the notion that remedial racism is morally different from the original version.

Don’t underestimate the effects of official disapproval, by which Trump reduced the rate of abortions despite mostly failing to stop tax funding. The election of Biden represents a renaissance for misconduct, from border-jumping, to urban rioting, to “minor” crimes guaranteed not to be prosecuted, to fakery to get on the girls’ team.

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
15 days ago
Reply to  Spike

Bread and circuses are back, folks, step up, step up!

Steven C Watson
Steven C Watson
15 days ago
Reply to  Spike

“remedial racism”. That has a nice ring to it. Consider it stolen.

Snarkus
Snarkus
15 days ago

how about “woke stroke” for all these new versions of discrimination ?

TD
TD
15 days ago

Being a professional minority can be pretty lucrative, but this largess will go to people who are already successful but who will now hit a jackpot. Those who either shovel the extra money at them or who compelled others to shove their money at them will expect something back in return, probably in the form of Democratic campaign donations. As noted, the self identification bit is going to get abused. Expect the population of American Indians to increase significantly. Blacks are about 13% of the US population and a smaller portion of the legal profession, but it’s probably higher in… Read more »

Boganboy
Boganboy
14 days ago
Reply to  TD

I do remember that, back in the Dark Ages when even I was young, the accepted version was that the beastly Brits exterminated the poor old Tasmanians.

Needless to say once you could get paid for being an abo, the number of Tasmanians underwent a remarkable increase.

John B
John B
15 days ago

Woka-Wola?

Felipe Grey
Felipe Grey
15 days ago

Hey @esteban. Maybe you can shorten NFBTHBHD to FavHistDis. Rolls off the tongue a bit better.

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