Saturday, May 19, 2012
Another Dubious #1 For The Lone Star State
But there are a few areas where Texas is really number one in the nation -- and far too many of these areas are not things to be proud of, but should embarrass all Texans. Some of these number one's are:
* Texas leads the nation in the number of repeat teen pregnancies.
* Texas leads the nation in the lowest amount of per pupil funding it provides for public education.
* Texas leads the nation in the number of high school drop-outs.
* Texas leads the nation in the amount of pollution produced.
* Texas leads the nation in both the number of workers and the percentage of the workforce that receives minimum wage (or less).
* Texas leads the nation in both the number of and percentage of its citizens who don't have any kind of health insurance.
Now, as if those weren't enough to humiliate the decent denizens of the Lone Star State, Texas has achieved another dubious number one. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has reported that it receives more workplace discrimination complaints from Texas than from any other state in the Union. In 2011, the EEOC received 99,947 complaints about workplace discrimination -- and about 10,000 of those complaints came from the state of Texas. That's slightly more than 10% of the complaints received from all 50 states.
Now the right-wing has been quick to complain that it is only because Texas has such a large population (and they don't want another black mark on the Republican "economic miracle" in Texas). But that excuse won't fly for a couple of reasons. First, Texas doesn't have 10% of the nation's population (only about 8.2%), so the percentage of complaints is significantly larger than the percentage of population.
Second, if the number of complaints was purely population-driven then the state of California should have been first instead of Texas, since California has about 13 million more people than Texas (about 50% more people than Texas).
How can California have less EEOC complaints than Texas? It's because California, largely controlled by Democrats, has created a state commission that effectively deals with discrimination complaints (so most don't have to be filed at the federal level). Texas also has a commission, but it is made up of Republican appointees who tend to rubber-stamp the actions of businesses and corporations. This means a complaint must go to the federal EEOC to receive fair treatment, and Texas employers know they have nothing to fear from the state when they discriminate.
This is the kind of climate that has been created by Governor Perry and his Republican cohorts. They should be ashamed, but I doubt they are. If they were ashamed, they would have to take action -- and that might affect their campaign contributions (which are, after all, the most important thing to a Republican politician).
(NOTE -- I want to thank the excellent blog South Texas Chisme for alerting us to this new dubious distiction for Texas.)