We were all amazed at Laval University’s placement of only “women, aborigines, the disabled and visible minorities”.
There is something deeply entrenched in excluding a group, the whites here, altogether for a position.
Let’s take the time to analyze the situation as a whole.
Let’s start with the basics: the ideal is that efficiency is the only factor influencing decision making for any position, university or elsewhere.
Let the best candidate possible be appointed in one place.
Unfortunately, we realize that this ideal sometimes escapes reality.
We all have prejudices that, often unintentionally, lead to discrimination against certain minority groups.
The situation is similar at the university.
It is well known to anyone who visits this frequently that women and certain cultural minorities are often under-represented as teachers or in obtaining grants.
This is a fact that is widely recognized within the university community itself.
What to do?
So how do we correct these statistical imbalances?
There are two ways.
On the one hand, we hope the situation improves on its own. We are betting that under-represented groups will succeed sooner or later and that the reasons that explain why some groups are over-represented are not necessarily malicious.
On the other hand, it is a muscular method: we impose limits by quotas, for example. It actually implies positive discrimination.
In other words, requirements are placed in favor of some groups, sometimes to the detriment of others.
One way or another, we can not get out of it: there is discrimination.
For my part, even if this situation does not provide a good, clear and definitive answer, it seems to me that the second way to achieve true equality of opportunity is to have a momentary less evil.