made its achievement more difficult. It is not inconceivable that the country could reverse course, and wipe out the substantial gains that have been
made by affirmative action in some quarters. Such a reversal of progress
happened once before in our history, during the administration of President Woodrow Wilson, which swept blacks out of government jobs
and resegregated theaters and restaurants in the nation's capital.
To bring all elements in the diverse workforce to full participation, corporate management has to fight powerful inertial forces, as well as outright
covert and overt opposition. It has to risk making mistakes and disrupting
workplace amity. What progress is being made is going on without significant pressure by the organizations that ostensibly represent the interests of
the groups who will benefit. That the venture is going forward, and appears
to be gaining adherents, is a tribute to those in the corporate sector with a
vision of what the country could be.
William B. Johnston and
Arnold E. Packer, Workforce 2000: Work and
Workers for the Twenty-first Century ( Indianapolis: Hudson Institute, 1987), p. 95.
U.S. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States,
Colonial Times to 1957 ( Washington, D.C., 1960).
The U.S. statistical agencies treat racial identity and Hispanic identity as
two separate characteristics. When Hispanics respond to the monthly Current
Population Survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and are asked their race, 95.
percent of them declare themselves to be white. In the decennial census, 52 percent
of Hispanics declare themselves white, 3 percent black, 1 percent American Indian,
1 percent Asian or Pacific Islander, and 43 percent "other race."
Many studies suggest that only about half of wage differences between
white males and other groups can be accounted for by education, experience, and
family commitments. For a review of some of the literature on evidence for the extent of discrimination see Barbara R. Bergmann, In Defense of Affirmative Action
( New York: Basic Books, 1996).
Research under way by my students suggests that as many as 50 percent of
secretaries would welcome promotion to nonsecretarial jobs.
William T. Bielby and
James N. Barron, "A Woman's Place Is with Other
Women: Sex Segregation Within Organizations", in Sex Segregation in the
Workplace: Trends, Explanations, Remedies, ed.
Barbara F. Reskin ( Washington,
D.C.: National Academy Press, 1984). See also Erica L. Groshen "The Structure of
the Female/Male Wage Differential", Journal of Human Resources 26 (Summer 1991): 457-72.