July 07, 2005

Wal-Mart's Solution to Lack of Diversity - Reverse Discrimination

Wal-Mart gets serious about practicing reverse discrimination:

Law firms that pack their lower ranks with minorities and women while leaving white men in charge are about to find Wal-Mart a tough customer. The nation's biggest retailer wants to see diversity at the top. The company's general counsel has told its top 100 law firms that at least one person of color and one woman must be among the top five relationship attorneys that handle its business. . . . Wal-Mart's move, sent in a letter to outside counsel last month, upped the ante. Once the retailing giant gets lists of attorneys from its outside firms, due in mid-July, it will start weeding accordingly, Mars said. "We'll be making more decisions to retain and terminate firms [at that point]," he said. "We are terminating a firm right now strictly because of their inability to grasp our diversity expectations," he added.

This is simply outrageous. I don't know what is worse: (A) the fact that Wal-Mart is actually stating that it is going to discriminate against "white men", (B) the fact that, in our society, openly stating that you are going to discriminate against one ethnic group in favor of another ethnic group is actually socially and morally acceptable, (C) the fact that Wal-Mart values skin color as more important than quality of work, or (D) the fact that Wal-Mart's move will only lead to "token hiring" of women and minorities simply so that firms can keep the business.
If Wal-Mart truly "values" diversity, why not go all the way? Lee Scott, the CEO of Wal-Mart, is a white man. Tom Mars, Wal-Mart's general counsel and architect of this policy, is a white man. Why aren't these two important positions also filled with minorities? Maybe Scott and Mars should step down in the name of "diversity". Why not put your money where your mouth is??
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