Streetwise Professor

August 4, 2021

Navy Runs Experiment. Gets Wrong Answer. Chooses to Discriminate.

Filed under: Military,Politics — cpirrong @ 5:44 pm

In 2020, Navy Secretary Mike Esper (one of Trump’s many, many horrible personnel choices) eliminated photo portraits from Navy promotion files, on the theory that this facilitated discrimination against African Americans. Presumably Esper believed that promotion boards were stacked with racists.

There is a clear testable implication of Esper’s theory of discrimination: elimination of photos should lead to an increase in promotion rates for African Americans.

The Navy ran the test. The results?

Promotion rates for African Americans fell after photos were removed.

Whoops! Hypothesis rejected! Apparently the promotion boards weren’t so racist after all. Or maybe they were.

There is a clear explanation of the results of this experiment: when photos were included, promotion boards favored African Americans. That is, the results are consistent with discrimination, just in the opposite direction hypothesized by Esper.

So what is the Navy (and perhaps the USMC) likely to do? Reinstate photos. So they can discriminate better. In the name of “diversity” and “equity.” Obviously not in the name of military effectiveness.

I predict that in the current environment, African American promotion rates will exceed those achieved when photos were included prior to 2020.

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1 Comment »

  1. Little social science is based on experiments. In the light of this outcome, no wonder. Experiments might teach you lessons you are determined not to acknowledge.

    Comment by dearieme — August 6, 2021 @ 5:17 am

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