Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Equality for all is not Title IX's game

Because of continuing massive cuts in California’s higher education funding, the University of California, Berkeley, announced a few months ago that it was cutting five athletics programs—men's and women's gymnastics, men's rugby, women's lacrosse and men's baseball. But because of a sudden discovery of new funding and complaints about Title IX compliance, the women's programs are being restored along with the men's rugby, although for now baseball and men's gymnastics continues to be on the chopping block; this means while all 14 of the women's sports will be retained, the men's side will be reduced to 11. Why the baseball team is being eliminated—when that sport has a successful professional league, and at least the dream for a successful and high-paying career to many low and middle-class students exists—while men’s rugby (and women’s lacrosse, for that matter), are country club sports that are merely pastimes for well-off (and white) elitists, is well beyond my comprehension.

Title IX, for those who do not know, is one brief sentence followed by a novel’s worth of exceptions. One of them concerns the YMCA, which is a “good” thing because it is now just an appendage of the YWCA, and has little to do with helping young men; another exception is financial aid awarded from beauty pageants (i.e. there is no requirement for men to have their own “equivalent”). One of the interesting things about Title IX is that it originally was not concerned with athletics; that only came after women’s advocates pressed the issue, and the Javits Amendment was tacked on. The original design was to address perceived hiring discrimination based on sex at institutions receiving federal funds regardless how much or for what, and it was thought necessary to address the issue of sex specifically since gender wasn’t specified in the 14th Amendment and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But then it expanded into requiring equal access to all programs and activities, or at least access to ones similar if there was gender specificity. Neither the 14th Amendment or the Civil Rights Act has prevented de facto discriminatory behavior against racial minorities or mandates equality on any level per se, but Title IX has been particularly effective in advancing the women’s agenda—and more specifically white women’s agenda, which I will talk about after noting this tidbit contained in Title IX:

“Nothing contained in subsection (a) of this section shall be interpreted to require any educational institution to grant preferential or disparate treatment to the members of one sex on account of an imbalance which may exist with respect to the total number or percentage of persons of that sex participating in or receiving the benefits of any federally supported program or activity, in comparison with the total number or percentage of persons of that sex in any community, State, section, or other area: Provided, That this subsection shall not be construed to prevent the consideration in any hearing or proceeding under this chapter of statistical evidence tending to show that such an imbalance exists with respect to the participation in, or receipt of the benefits of, any such program or activity by the members of one sex.”

Huh? In the first half of this paragraph it appears to ban “preferential” treatment to one sex to address gender imbalances in participation in federally-funded programs, but does a back-flip in the second part, it allows the “consideration” of evidence of said imbalances of participation. “Consideration” to do what? Apply preferential treatment? The paragraph actually makes more sense when one realizes that the level of partisan treatment given to women (again, largely white women), has been advanced to such an extent in our public schools and centers of higher learning that it is no longer about “equality” but aiding and abetting unfairness and de facto inequality. Today, women in colleges outnumber men 60-40, with white women (and Asian students) represented far in excess of their percentage of the population. Under-represented minorities, meanwhile, continue to be under-represented. Thus while white women demand “proportionality” in participation in athletics (a de facto “quota”), they have also been the face of anti-affirmative action and school re-segregation cases before the U.S. Supreme Court (two of them originating in the state of Washington—against the UW law school and the Seattle school district). They only seem to be “high-minded” and “moral” when self-interest is the sole criteria for consideration; “preferential treatment” and “quotas” are OK if white women benefit, but not OK if under-represented minorities benefit. Terms like “selfishness” and “hypocrisy” come to mind. The above paragraph can also be interpreted to mean that we can talk about disparities in college admissions, but we can’t do anything to address the current state of the issue—especially if it ‘hurts” (white) women. That Title IX is administered by the Office of Civil Rights makes one gag, given all the inequality it has fostered in the pursuit of a gender political agenda.

Returning to the issue of athletics, we have been told, without any supporting evidence, that girls have equal interest in participating in college sports as boys. There have been suggestions that a survey should be taken to measure this, but none so far has surfaced, and it likely would not be in the interest in of the gender advocates that such a survey was undertaken. Instead, the OCR forces schools to either “show that the proportion of women in athletics is the same as the proportion of women in the general student body,” or at best “demonstrate that the institution has fully accommodated the interests and abilities of the underrepresented sex.” One gender activist claims that this latter “gives institutions considerable flexibility in meeting the requirements of the law,” which of course is bull. As in the Cal case, the only issue in question was proportionality; the school was being told that it had to have equal numbers of male and female student athletes, and if it carried out its program cuts as previously announced, it would fall out of compliance. Thus the “equal accommodation” option is a sham: If a school does not want to cut men’s athletic programs, but needs to raise the number of women’s programs to reach compliance, it can presumably add a number of sports that will theoretically allow a sufficient number of female participants—that is if they wish to participate (and not just “anyone,” but people who actually play a sport). If all the slots are not filled, is a university nevertheless still fulfilling its obligations under Title IX? Given the current gender activist climate, what do you think?

I remember watching something on TV where these butch-looking women were complaining that women’s sports were not getting enough attention on television, and that is why women’s sports were not taken seriously. If they did receive more airtime, everyone would see how enjoyable watching the WNBA was. Well, for one thing, if women’s sports has spokespersons like that, it’s no secret why men are not interested in watching. Well then, want about the female audience? They would surely watch a WNBA game, since they are presumably supportive of the women’s game. While 111 million people watched the Super Bowl (probably a low number), an average of 200,000 viewers watched the WNBA finals. That’s enough to fill Cowboys Stadium twice over, but that’s about it. ESPN knew there was a problem; that’s why when they promoted the WNBA playoffs, they didn’t tell you to watch because of the quality of play, but because of the “effort” the women were putting into it.

Title IX was necessary for its time; now it is just a tool to promote hypocrisy and inequality. It is now used to give tyrannical women’s advocates the power to maintain the “status quo” that suits them.

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