Mona Charen's latest column

I read this infuriating piece yesterday in the TimesDaily. The link to the infuriating piece won't be active for long as it is on the Creators Syndicate site and will be replaced the next time Charen writes a column, but you need to look at it while you can. Charen is arguing against affirmative action in college acceptance practices, or "quotas" and "racial preferences" as she calls them. She makes me the most angry when she says that "If preferences were eliminated from higher education, black students at every level of education from primary through middle and high school would have to take academic performance more seriously."

WHAT?!?! What a smug piece of entitlement crap! Her whole argument is based on glaring racist assumptions. Do you think African American students and their parents don't take academic performance seriously, or just not as seriously as white students and parents do? What a crock! It's racism like this that the educational system is built upon. Charen says that "When underqualified black students are granted admission to extremely selective schools, they tend to drop out at extremely high rates and to find the work very challenging." Underqualified? More like excluded and intimidated by predominately white classrooms, invisible white privilege, and institutionalized racism. More like inadequately prepared by a government that would rather privatize education than actually invest money in public education, especially public schools in poor neighborhoods!! Does she really not realize that there's a correlation between wealth and race? Does she think that working-class African American families can actually afford such luxuries as tutors, educational summer camps and programs, etc.? Did Charen ever once think of that? I can think of something Charen should do. [Rolleyes]


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Racism and its legatees

This quote is priceless and richly instructive:

"If preferences were eliminated from higher education, black students at every level of education from primary through middle and high school would have to take academic performance more seriously."

Translation: Without preferences they will finally have to work harder. Blacks fail in large numbers because they are lazy.

I live in a rural Kentucky county not quite in the mountains, but definitely not in the Blueblood Bluegrass. Every year at high school graduation I know of many of examples of first generation grads in a family. It has taken a generation and a half for many to realize they were going to have to make it within another system (not tobacco) or starve. Many are "starving". I compare their hardships to that of most blacks and I find Charon's conclusions laughable. Not only is her argument a non-sequitur, but it just doesn't fit my experience. The scars of racism are not in any way healed over here. Hell, it's just now getting it's first scab and the fools here just won't stop picking at it. I know that sometimes affirmative seems like a sledge hammer tool when we need a pair of tweezers, but someone please tell me what else we can try. I heard a story about James Thurber once that is apt. Thurber, as you will no doubt recall, was nearly blind. He drew his characters large and simple. Someone asked him why he did it and he replied, "You have to draw it big so they can see it." Affirmative is action is just drawing it big so that hapless shits like Charon can see it.

Re: Racism and its legatees

Hey, are you Tellio? Anyway, I hear you. I wonder how many people have written to Charen by now? Actually, that piece might be a good thing to assign to students to help them identify implied assumptions in an argument or to teach them about writing for (and alienating) audiences.

I am Tellio. I teach high sc

I am Tellio. I teach high school English and Drama here in Kentucky. Checked out your rhetoric syllabus. Looks like fun.

racism in schools

I see a lot of false "multiculturalism" at my college. The students are mostly middle to upper class white and are extremely homogenous in looks, nature, interests, and beliefs. To keep a quota, students of color are sought out and given scholarships--not a bad thing in my mind. These scholarships help less-econimically able students of color obtain a 4-yr degree at a school known for putting out the best qualified teachers in the state. This is the good part.

Unfortunately, the students of color have a hard time here. They can do the work as well as and often better than the whites, but they are isolated and feel out-of-place here. A black student once told me that she has control in her classes because the TEACHERS don't know what to say in front of her. They stutter when talking about black culture or African-Americans while she sits in the class--do they say "black", African-American, or just American????. She turned the racism into power, but she felt alone, having few other students of color in her classes. She was on scholarship and earned every penny of it. Coming from a low-income family, she could not afford the school but was more articulate, intellectually curious, and wise than most students. Eventually, she dropped out.

Oh--and there was the white student who--after reading _Sula_, by Toni Morrison--said that she was sick and tired of hearing about blacks and what slavery has done to them. She was my first introduction to open racism at the colleg level.

America has done all it can--and is doing more--to keep people of color uneducated, in poverty, and isolated. Just when we "seem" to be willing to make retribution to a large part of America, the ever present underlying fear of all the darker races emerges. What if "they" take away college positions, jobs, communities??? If white students AND teachers look at you with superficial judgment based on color and features, what are the odds of succeeding?

Open racism at the college level

Yes, word to everything you said. How sad and infuriating that the student made that comment after reading Sula. I've heard similar statements too. One time I was teaching a class at the University of Tennessee and the (white) students seemed to think that there was no racism anymore, so I asked them why sororities and fraternities are still segregated. That got them thinking!

racism in schools

What the fuck is racist about "being sick and tired of hearing about slavery?" That is an OPINION (shared by many millions of Americans, I might add). The First Amendment gives me EXACTLY the same right to express MY viewpoint as it does to you to express YOUR viewpoint. Labelling someone a racist because you don't like their viewpoint says a lot more about you than it does about them.

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