OPINION: The new bigotry sweeping the nation

As Australia's most senior public servant, is Martin Parkinson also our leading 'rexist'?
As Australia's most senior public servant, is Martin Parkinson also our leading 'rexist'? AAP Image - Alan Porritt

THERE is a new form of bigotry sweeping our nation. Potentially, it's as pernicious as apartheid, as revolting as the racism against blacks in pre-civil rights America, as vile as sexism against women before the feminist revolution of the '70s, and as subtle and insidious as the McCarthy-era black-listings.

Although it combines several prejudices, at heart it's a dangerous combo of racism and sexism. So I'm going to give this new form of bigotry a name: rexism.

Rexism is directed against one specific group of people in our society - some of whom might actually be called Rex, but that's coincidental - and it's designed to cripple their careers, lower their earning power, and damage their self-esteem. Rexism is rampant throughout business and politics, and it is being deliberately cultivated by some of the most powerful institutions in the country. Indeed, rexists are encouraged and rewarded with money, power and influence.

I define rexism as "prejudice against heterosexual white males".

Sign at a Cape Town beach in the 1980s, indicating whites only and blacks or coloureds are not allowed.
Sign at a Cape Town beach in the 1980s, indicating whites only and blacks or coloureds are not allowed.

Of course, rexists, like racists and sexists, try to justify their prejudice. As in the past, when bigots would cite crackpot theories to "prove" that blacks or Asians or women were somehow genetically or intellectually "inferior" by the shape of their head or hormones or whatever, today's rexists hide behind weasel words and pseudo-science.

"Diversity", "inclusion" and "perceived merit" are some of those weasel words, and the theory of "unconscious bias" is the loopy science masking this prejudice against straight white men. (Often by straight white men, funnily enough.)

Martin Parkinson is the most powerful public servant in Australia. He is Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. He is also a leading rexist. He believes in the theory of "unconscious bias", that merit is "perceived", and he boasts ­that he's committed to "diversity" and "inclusion".

In his own words: "Treasury's lack of diversity was largely a product of … my own biases. Recruiting on merit meant looking for someone who had done the job before - a safe pair of hands. The only candidates ticking this box tended to look, sound and think like those of us already in Treasury. The fault wasn't the concept of merit, but how we perceived merit."

Think through that logic.

Two people come in for a job requiring certain credentials and experience. Applicant One is a heterosexual white male who has the appropriate CV. Applicant Two is a gay/lesbian/transgender/Asian/African/Muslim/woman/take your pick, whose qualifications for the job are: a.) better than; b.) the same as; c.) worse than Applicant One's. Who gets the job?

In the past, it would - or should - have been the person most qualified to do the job. But now, throughout the public service and in many banks and corporations, that choice is deliberately skewed in favour of Applicant Two.

In all those businesses now boasting about diversity and inclusion (D&I), the person doing the hiring will not only be expected to counter their own "unconscious bias" by choosing Applicant Two, but they will be expected to prove it, thanks to the presence in many organisations of "D&I officers", whose job it is to monitor them.

Thus, the hirer's own job is on the line if they don't repeatedly show that they have defeated their own "unconscious bias".

By definition, in at least 33 per cent of D&I-inspired hirings, the organisation ends up with c.) an employee who's not as good as they could be.

Diversity Council chairman David Morrison chided the army for being "overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly male, overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon". Imagine if he'd said that about women, Muslims or gays.

Meanwhile, it gets harder for straight white men to be certain in their careers because the odds will always be stacked against them in favour of someone who represents "diversity" regardless of merit. Equally, gays/trans/Muslims etc will always have the nagging feeling they only got picked because of D&I. Ultimately, D&I means taxpayers, shareholders and consumers get dudded by political correctness.

And every day another non-gay white bloke is rejected, a victim of rexism

Topics:  bigotry opinion political correctness

News Corp Australia

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