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Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Five things MLB can do right now to confront systemic racism

But when we ask organizations about the lack of diversity in certain positions or why there persists a culture impacted by significant bias both overt and in the shadows, there are few answers. Yes, it’s an emotional issue, rooted in long-established systemic biases that can be tough to quantify, but we have developed many social models for a whole host of other circumstances. Why not turn those analytical minds toward this goal of diversity? Or use analytics to understand how the system can perpetuate disparity? After all, there are aspects to it that are indeed equations. Bias is measurable when it comes to outcomes. We have statistical data points. We spend so much time on economic value and on outcome value on the field that we tend to think our unstated human priorities will be met through magic. Perhaps analytics can help us pose questions such as: Why don’t minority candidates advance at the same rate as white candidates? Why do I hire people who look like me? What is the impact of a player playing in a cultural environment that is unfriendly or, worse, openly hostile? Do players of color have someone with whom to discuss experiences with racism anywhere inside the organization? What is done about racism? Is it harder to be a role player when you are Black? In policing, there are data for disproportionate arrest rates, use of force and so on. Many of these data points are tracked along the lines of race. Successfully inclusive companies design themselves to control bias. If any industry can do the deepest of dives, it’s baseball. Why not use it for a greater good?

How to take action right now: Bring in an expert—such as Iris Bohnet from the Kennedy School at Harvard University, whose studies in the fields of people analytics and behavioral design are second to none—and get to work.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 08, 2020 at 10:46 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: racism

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   1. Esoteric Posted: July 08, 2020 at 11:11 AM (#5961668)
[air-wanking motion intensifies]
   2. winnipegwhip Posted: July 08, 2020 at 11:41 AM (#5961673)
One thing networks can do to force sports to confront allegations networks make against sports.

Threaten to reduce or boycott coverage of the sport. (Or cover the sport like ESPN covers hockey since ESPN doesn't have a broadcast deal anymore).
   3. EddieA Posted: July 08, 2020 at 12:56 PM (#5961702)
How traffic signals are unintentionally racist.
   4. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 08, 2020 at 01:08 PM (#5961708)
It's the usual problem: how do you bring in more people who aren't white males without making it look like you're bringing them in because they're not white males?
   5. tshipman Posted: July 08, 2020 at 01:41 PM (#5961717)
So to actually be serious:

Fivethirtyeight had a good series on NFL coaching hiring. Despite the Rooney rule, minority NFL coaches weren't being hired. When they were hired, they never got a second chance at a job.

Why is that?

The coaching pipeline ended up being a big part of that. NFL coaches were most commonly offensive coordinators first. Before that, they were development coaches. Teams that hired minority development coaches and offensive coordinators were more likely to hire minorities as head coaches.

The coaching pipeline is really important when looking at who gets a chance to be "qualified" for a given role.
   6. JJ1986 Posted: July 08, 2020 at 01:46 PM (#5961723)
The current MLB pipeline is "friends with the GM" which probably isn't the most diverse group.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: July 08, 2020 at 01:54 PM (#5961726)
It's the usual problem: how do you bring in more people who aren't white males without making it look like you're bringing them in because they're not white males?


Is that really the usual problem?

It seems to me that MLB GM/Manager is rather like Supreme Court Justice - both that there are many more qualified applicants than there are job openings, and that anyone in his or her right mind would be elated to get the opportunity. That means that there should both be a pool of amply qualified minority applicants and that it shouldn't ultimately matter if it seemed that Owner/President was to some extent 'ticking a box' in hiring a minority.

Perhaps the pipeline is too homogeneous today to easily find those well-qualified minority candidates. But the above is perhaps even more true when applied to the entry level baseball ops jobs that on the bottom rung of the ladder. In other words, I don't see why affirmative action wouldn't work here.
   8. BrianBrianson Posted: July 08, 2020 at 02:00 PM (#5961727)
It's the usual problem: how do you bring in more people who aren't white males without making it look like you're bringing them in because they're not white males?


This is sometimes possible. For instance, when I've seen discussion of improving diversity in grad students, it turns out basically the only thing anyone has tried that works is going to places where non-(white males) are and tell them to apply. If you go to Historically Black Universities, or even currently mostly minority ones, and explain to them how grad school works and that they should apply, you get a lot more applications, and accept them at about the same rate you did before. Everything else ... doesn't make a significant difference. But, it can be possible.

   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 08, 2020 at 02:11 PM (#5961732)
It seems to me that MLB GM/Manager is rather like Supreme Court Justice - both that there are many more qualified applicants than there are job openings, and that anyone in his or her right mind would be elated to get the opportunity.
The Justices have life tenure, the Managers, not so much, unless they’re Connie Mack.
   10. Jay Seaver Posted: July 08, 2020 at 02:21 PM (#5961738)
how do you bring in more people who aren't white males without making it look like you're bringing them in because they're not white males?

You offer more more money and less punishing hours at the entry level, so that you're not just hiring from the pool of people who get out of grad school and can afford to work for internship wages (which skews white and male). You look hard at your hiring processes to find places where nepotism and cronyism can be an influence, and other instances where bias may sneak in. You look at the pipeline that feeds you to see if there are any places you can help make improvements. It's not even completely charitable on a certain level; being the company/team that encourages a more diverse workforce is good for your reputation and leads a broader range of good people to your business.

Admittedly, some of that will be best done by making sure you do some affirmative action. Part of solving the problem is admitting that not only is it a problem, but that as the people who have benefited from the system, you are likely not the ones best suited to recognize its flaws.
   11. PreservedFish Posted: July 08, 2020 at 03:06 PM (#5961754)
The Justices have life tenure, the Managers, not so much, unless they’re Connie Mack.


Yes, there are several obvious differences that I didn't bother pointing out.
   12. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 08, 2020 at 03:20 PM (#5961759)
it shouldn't ultimately matter if it seemed that Owner/President was to some extent 'ticking a box' in hiring a minority.

It shouldn't, but it does, as people tend to congregate with other people similar to themselves. (This is especially true of rich people.)
   13. the virus could be killed by injecting 57i66135 Posted: July 08, 2020 at 03:29 PM (#5961761)
It's the usual problem: how do you bring in more people who aren't white males without making it look like you're bringing them in because they're not white males?
the only people who care about how it "looks" are racist shitbags who would make trouble for "those" people anyway.
AVC: You’ve employed a lot of female writers, in both seasons. That’s not true of a lot of other TV comedies. Was that a conscious decision?

DH: It was conscious on the part of [former NBC programming head] Angela Bromstad, before she left NBC. Angela said, “Get more women on your staff. Make it half women.” I remember going, “Are you ####### kidding me?” to myself. “Okay, I got a sitcom, and this is as far as you go,” because I’ve just been told that half of my staff needs to be a quota hire. From the mouths of bureaucrats come the seeds of great things. I dug extra hard. You find somebody like Hilary Winston. You find people later like [Emily] Cutler and [Karey] Dornetto.

They’re harder to find. It’s definitely not because women ain’t funny, because I’m finding the opposite. It’s because there’s fewer of them. The statistical probability of picking up a shitty script, it’s compounded for women. There’s the same percentage of genius happening in both genders, but there’s less women writing scripts and out there looking for the job. So you dig a little extra-hard, and you end up with a staff that took a few extra meetings and a few extra shitty scripts to read. Now you have a staff that is just as good as the staff you would have had, but happens to be half women. And it seems like the greatest thing in the world, because the world is half women. And the male writers across the board, from top to bottom, in their most private moments drinking with me, when they’re fully licensed to be as misogynist, reactive, old-boy-network as they want, all they can say is, “This turned out to be a great thing.”

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