This is the UK blog of a 34 year old man from Sussex who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis last year, charting his attempts to get on with life, keep working, stay married and avoid being eaten by his Border Collie puppy.

Friday, 27 June 2008

'Positive' Discrimination

This new positive discrimination thing is puzzling to me. Even before I had MS, going for a job meant taking the risk that you weren't the best and if you were as good as another candidate, it was going to come down to subtler things like who they thought it would most productive to work with (e.g. personality, face-fitting vagaries). Then I became 'disabled' (hate that word, a ship that gets torpedoed and can't move under its own power is disabled. I am a cripple, not a ship, I haven't had 'ability' 'dissed', I've had function destroyed. Crippled, you may say...) and it all got more challenging - what could I do and who could work with me without going as patently weird as my last employer in rural Sussex?

Now it turns out that being the best person for a job won't matter. Being a white male, employers are now positively encouraged to discriminate against me. Worse, I'm married (ick!) which implies heterosexuality so no browny points there. I'm hoping, in this bizarre identity-politics employment market, that having Irish ancestry will help (+ Ethnic points!) and, perversely, being a cripple makes me a minority and thus of greater employment tokenism value (+ Pity The Disabled points). I suppose I'm dismayed because I used to want to get jobs by virtue of being the best candidate. Now I guess I'll have to get used to ticking some bureaucrat's boxes!

The really, really perverse thing in what is already a pretty twisted matter, is that Melanie Phillips makes a fairly good pass at highlighting the iniquities and illogicality of this positive discrimination malarky. And I *never* thought I'd be linking to one of her posts!

1 comment:

Neal Asher said...

Positive discrimination is simply discrimination, full stop. If you are giving preferential treatment to 'people of colour' then you are a racist. If you are giving preferential treatment to women then you are a sexist. And if you are giving preferential treatment to homosexuals you're a ... I'll have to invent the word: heterophobe.