Monday, June 18, 2007

For every fella who has ever told me the story...

You know the one. The one about why affirmative action is like, sooooo unjust? That I seem to hear from quite a few white men whenever the subject is broached? Well, if you haven't- it goes like this: "Once upon a time, a friend of a friend of a friend of mine, who was a white male, applied to Harvard. It was the end of the admissions process- and there was only one spot and two candidates- the friend of a friend of a friend, and (dun dun duuuuunn) a black person (often a woman). Amazingly, they had the exact same SAT scores, GPA, extra-curricular activities etc. But, when it came down to who got in, well... who did they choose? The minority!" (and usually they'll throw in that the white dude came from a poor family, you know, for dramatic effect)

Oh the horror! Oh.... yeah, and the white guys whole entire life was ruined as a result of this terrible injustice. Now, obviously, it's a ridiculous argument. First of all... how would someone even know that this occurred, it's not like they would put it in the rejection letter or something. Second, would it somehow be more fair if the white dude had gotten in instead? Third... legacies- what about the people who don't get in because they have to make room for someone who's daddy went to Harvard (or Yale) and contributed a whole shitload of money to the school? Much like our dear president? Oh, and not to mention that affirmative action has always existed- except that it's been white men hiring white men. Yeah, it's not the toughest argument to shut down.

But anyhow... read this. And then, you know- try that argument out again. According to the article- because women are out-performing men in school and on tests, the admissions are becoming tougher for them in order to keep a gender balance in the schools. I think after we hear more about this, the fella's will be complaining just a hint less about the unfairness of affirmative action.

Oh, and hopefully it will also put an end to the "The reason there is a wage gap is because men are harder workers/smarter" argument as well. Not to mention my favorite pick-up line "Gosh, you're smart for a girl!"

1 comment:

aaron said...

I have not know the Harvard version of this story however I am familer with the documented University of Michigan claim (however if I recall correctly it was applicants who preformed lower who got preference).

A few comments in general:

I would not support this male version of affirmative action either, unless of corse the school recived zero money or benefits from the government then I suport their right to have a little boys club. I can't see treating persons as a means to and end of others goals, even if those goals bring about a better state of affaris or world.

This reminds me of a time I saw an affirmative action speaker at my school who claimed that diversity of race would give you diversity of ideas. After he admited the purpose of such plans was to bring about the diversity of ideas I asked a very simple question "what about special placement for atheists, they are a spiritual minority and bring diverse new ideas to many topics". While I don't recall the exact answer he gave me, I do remember thinking he missed the point of my question so much that I thought for a second I may have accidentally walked into a Bush press conference.

FYI this was a quick link I found for the U of M lawsuit if your interested.
http://www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/affirm.html#summary