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Affirmative Discrimination
Via Egoist, interesting bit from the blog mikeseyes on racism. I've always thought that "minority fellowship" programs in journalism were racist. Who needs a leg up, the black kid from an upper middle class neighborhood, simply because her skin is non-white, or the kid of whatever color from the wrong side of tracks, supported by a single mother, who's working his way through college?

I also find it insulting; the intimation that smart, interesting people I know who are black or otherwise "of color" would need some sort of extra help -- beyond the lucky breaks we all get or don't get. From Mikeseyes (and I don't agree with the "only because of their race" bit about civil rights activists):

White racists had been telling blacks that as an individual they had little or no value because of their race. White civil rights activists were telling blacks they did have value but only because of their race, and that the solution to discriminating against blacks and other minorities lies in passing laws that discriminate for those minorities. In other words, the standard of value was still the collective (race) and not the individual. This allowed the white liberals to remain loyal to their core philosophy--collectivism--of which racism is a form.

Staying loyal to collectivism was absolutely essential. It laid the groundwork for getting blacks, and whites for that matter, to accept the next twist on collectivism--diversity--the New Segregation.

Diversity teaches people not to focus on their individual traits, but on their collective differences. Thus it becomes virtuous for schools to have seperate cafeterias, seperate dorms, seperate graduating ceremonies and who knows what else is coming? White southern racists might very well be rolling over in their graves today saying "Damn, why didn't we think of that"?

Americans have been betrayed by their intellectual leaders who have abondoned individualism in favor of collectivism. Adolf Hitler once said "Du bist nichts, dein volk ist alles", "You are nothing, your race is everything"--from Mein Kampf. A lot of real, living, breathing individuals died in his ovens because they did not belong to the right collective.

Dr. Martin Luther King said in his "I have a dream" speech that he wanted his children to be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. While Dr. King did not come right out and say "individualism" he nevertheless was focused on its manifestation: respect for the individual on his own merits and not those of his collective.

If racism is to be ended, it is it's source--collectivism--that must be rejected. But this will require the American people to demand our universities purge themselves of the multicultural and diversity dogmas. I think that alumni refusing to donate until universities abandon their collectivist curriculum and begin to study individualism anew, would be a good start.

Posted by aalkon at October 15, 2006 11:05 AM

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I think he's making a logical leap over a pretty big arroyo when he jumps from "diversity" to "separate accomodations" though. I've always understood the benefits of diversity to be akin to many different ingredients making a better pot of soup (one pot, not many). There's an interesting article about the college admissions process in the 10/2 New Yorker that I'm only a few paragraphs into but looks like it might touch on some of these issues.

Posted by: deja pseu at October 15, 2006 7:43 AM

Bit of an editorial snit here: "it's" means "it is" the apostrophe is not needed for the possessive.

Posted by: moe99 at October 16, 2006 10:20 AM

Yes, of course, you're right -- but I generally don't copy-edit people's blog posts...just put them up as is.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 16, 2006 1:29 PM

Affirmative Action was started based on the Grandfather Clause that gave whites 100 years to use nepitism to their hearts content in business, law, government and education after slavery. Times up. The government agreed to try to even things out by giving other races oppurtunities that were denied their parents and grandparents based on race. And as someone who has heard Dr. King's daughter speak about her father's "Dream" speech, even she agreed that people focus on that part because they think it offers loop holes in programs made to benefit diversity today. And do you honestly think if King was around (and seeing as he was shot for being the brotha who talked too much that's out)he would say "ok good enough" and be alright with the end to affirmative action? My school had 3% black freshman admitted last year- they were bragging about letting the most in of all the UCs. That's pitiful. That's compared to the 65% white freshman admitted. And there are companies trying to put an end to statistics that tell us these numbers. Like not knowing the numbers makes it less racist. And it is racism and nepitism.
And please give up on the whole "black people I know are insulted at the idea of being helped". Then tell them not to think of it as help, because I sure as hell don't. I think of my sharecropper grandmother and I think, "well it's not 40 acres and a mule but dammit it's a start".

Posted by: Lia at October 17, 2006 2:01 AM

And as someone who has heard Dr. King's daughter speak about her father's "Dream" speech,

I met Coretta Scott King, and heard her talk, when I covered the march for jobs, peace, and freedom for UPI as an intern in the early 80s, and I'm still not persuaded that reverse discrimination is a good or fair thing.

And my great grandparents came over from Russia and spoke no English and my grandpa's dad picked up metal trash off the street and sold it. No 40 acres, no mule. Just gutter sweeping and going into people's yards and asking for their scrap. My grandpa went to Wayne State and became a doctor. He had no affirmative action, just Jewish parents who kicked his ass to be somebody.

Flash forward to Ogilvy & Mather advertising, the late 80s, where I worked as an assistant producer right out of college in lieu of going to graduate film school which I couldn't afford. Reggie Hudlin had no problem getting in. Sure, he was black, but like the other kids they hired easily, he went to Harvard and had connections. I was a midwestern kid whose parents knew nobody and who lived in an unfashionable suburb and drove ugly old American cars. Ogilvy was the best place to learn, so I really wanted to work there, but I sent letter after letter, and since I was a nobody, nobody even responded or gave me the time of day. How did I eventually end up working there? I tried to sneak in and get somebody to look at a short film I made. They had good security -- I later became friends with the guard who stopped me from getting on the elevator. So, I was all dressed up and all depressed, and with no real job prospects in sight. I stood outside the door and waited for somebody to walk out. This man with a white shock of hair and seersucker business pants and a sort of Dr. Zhivago shirt walked out. No, it wasn't David Ogilvy. He looked like somebody, so I followed him to Fifth Ave and said, "Excuse me, do you work for Ogilvy & Mather?"

"Yes, I do," he said in an English accent.

I'd been working weekends at a photostat store (and weekdays at a jingle house), and I'd made a really creative resume at the stat store. I gave it to him, and asked him, if he liked it, if he could "give it to somebody who could do something with it." A week later, I had an interview with the head of production, who saw my cute little film and hired me. As I sat in the reception area waiting to be seen by her, I thumbed through the O&M annual report. Who had I stopped on the street? Norman Berry, head of creative, Ogilvy Worldwide.

Like my friend Kevin Simon (, a girl whose skin is a little darker than mine, and who started her fashion business dressing movie stars and others out of the back of her station wagon (after she couldn't afford to live in New York when she got a scholarship to FIT), nobody handed me anything.

PS Kevin later started an entrepreneurs group -- made me realize that I needed an assistant to grow my business, etc. One of my assistants was black -- a cousin of Beyonce. I didn't hire her because she was black, I hired her because she was extremely smart --like my Korean assistant, my Irish assistant, my lesbian assistant, and my fair-skinned blonde assistant. Isn't that how it should be?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 17, 2006 5:32 AM

PS I got my syndicated column the same way I got into Ogilvy and the same way Kevin started her business -- by doing it myself when conventional wisdom said it was impossible and a dumb idea. I got my first column (with my former Advice Lady partners, who later quit) by giving free advice on the street corner, then turning an article in The New York Times into multiple opportunities by breaking ass. Every syndicator I approached turned me down, so I stayed home nights and holidays addressing envelopes with my column samples and sending them to papers. I spent $800 on mailings every four months and spent my days calling papers to beg them to try my column. No 40 acres, no mule.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 17, 2006 6:05 AM

That's pretty much how I got started in art, as well-- mailings and lots of time spent on correspondence until someone liked it well enough to offer me work. "Gumption, Ms. McGill."

Posted by: Melissa at October 17, 2006 12:45 PM

Sending a sob story about how you or your ancestors had it hard and everyone should suck it up and work their best doesn't help anything. Just make everyone look like whiners. It's not reverse discrimination. Anyone who is in a position where they are SYSTEMATICALLY discriminated against, or are in a lesser position should be lent a helping hand until that system is dismantled. Your granpa, everyone.

Posted by: Clark at October 21, 2006 11:05 AM

But my immigrant ancestors weren't given a helping hand and neither was I -- and neither was my dark chocolate-skinned friend Kevin. How ever did we manage to make it in the world without handouts? And where is that money for the handouts to come from?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 21, 2006 2:34 PM

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