Posted on August 12, 2004

A Victim Of Ivy League Affirmative Action

John Rosenberg, Discriminations, Aug. 11

Although the young person who wrote the following no doubt thinks of herself as a beneficiary of affirmative action, I think of her as one of its victims.

The following appeared a few days ago as a comment on one of my old posts, and I reprint it here because I think it is worth bringing to light and no one cruises old, archived posts for new comments. I have omitted the author’s name/email here, although they do appear on the original comment. Here it is in its entirety:

“My name is — — — — — and I am 17 years old. I am also African-American. I the provided information suppose to discourage or encourage blacks from attending prestigious schools? From what I have read, you are trying to say that affirmative action is a wrong thing, in which it obviously is not. I fit were not for affirmative action, we wouldn’t see black doctors,lawyers,judges,senators,or blacks in the SupremeCourt. How dare you try to put black people down and tell them that they are not good enough for competitive schools! Whatr are you trying to say? That we should leave competitive schools and allow only whites to attend? When did a B in college become a sign of failure? I will attent Univeristy of Pennsylvania and wil not allow this trash to interfere with that. It is a conspiracy against black people to tell us that we would never be able to succeed in competitive schools. You are justy trying to cover the fact that you guys hate affirmative action because you are unwilling to see black people accomplish higher things. But guess what? We will succeed! I wonder why you guyws never included American Indians or Spanish. Why only blacks? And it is funny that you guys don’t see that Indians and Chinese do better than white people in college. You guys aren’t that smart either.Stupid Fools.”

I find this almost unspeakably sad. Ignore the typing/spelling and grammar. All of us are careless and sloppy at least some of the time online, and many of us (I prominently include myself here) commit typos, spelling mistakes, and grammatical lapses online that, we would like to think, we do not do in real life, i.e., on paper. In addition, it is also quite possible that English is not the native language of this young author. And, although it would be easy to make fun of Penn here, I’m sure the lengths to which it goes to meet its “diversity” goals are no more absurd than those at comparable institutions.

Alas, this comment speaks all too eloquently for itself, and there is no need for me to point out what I regard as its obvious flaws and contradictions. I don’t really mind the personal criticism (I oppose affirmative action because I want blacks excluded from good schools, I want to see them fail, etc.). The really sad thing here is that this person, like so many other defenders of racial preferences who ought to know better, assumes so easily that the only reason anyone could want all people treated without regard to their race is a racist desire to repress blacks.

Insofar as this assumption has gained traction, it would appear that we really do have “two Americas”: a traditional one built on the belief that everyone has a right to be treated “without regard” to race, religion, ethnicity; and another, newer one that has adopted the multicultural principle that fairness requires dispensing benefits and burdens on the basis of race.