Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More on Affirmative Action

Perusing the Wikipedia (there go any pretensions of scholarly rigor) article for Ward Connerly, I came across the following quote from Connerly, founder of the American Civil Rights Institute and, famously, anti-Affirmative-Action activist and campaigner:

"Because we have developed this notion of women and minorities being so disadvantaged and we have to help them... we have, in many cases, twisted the thing so that it's no longer a case of equal opportunity. It's a case of putting a fist on the scale."

Perhaps, Mr. Connerly. But when there is already the accumulation of generations and centuries of elite male privilege tipping down the other side of the educational scale, leaning a fist on this side is the least one might do in presenting a sporting chance.

The more I read, the more I realize the question of preextant advantage and Privilege lies near, if not at, the nexus of racial and gender activism: we all agree that the scales have been historically unbalanced in favor of a certain demographic. But what ramifications does this bias carry into the modern era? Depending on the answer to this question, continued attempts to rectify the mistakes of the past may either be an anachronistic oversight or an absolute prerequisite for continued progress in racial reconciliation.

-For added fun (think of this as the DVD extra), Connerly on the effects of the lack of an Affirmative Action policy (Sept. 2003): "I don't care whether they are segregated or not… kids need to be learning, and I place more value on these kids getting educated than I do on whether we have some racial balancing or not. [Emphasis mine]"

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