Re: White Male Discrimination

From: Pat Inniss (
Date: Tue Aug 07 2001 - 22:58:38 MDT

James Rogers wrote:
> <snip>
> Now, some of this could be attributed to overcompensation for allegations of
> institutional racism in previous years, as many public institutions were
> sensitive to accusations of racism at the time and were trying to avoid them
> at all cost. However, for the people who lived through that period and had
> to deal with the system, it felt like institutional racism against white
> people.
> Speaking unofficially for poor white people from my generation, most of us
> don't really begrudge the fact that this went on; most of us found ways to
> survive and sacrifice with the situation handed to us. However, what really
> pisses us off (and you see some of this on the list in these discussions),
> is that we are being told that we are under some kind of obligation to
> support this system financially, after being told to piss off by the same
> system when an equitable social system would have given us some help.
> Things may be more balanced now (I wouldn't know), but I do see a strong
> resentment of racial preferences of any type in caucasians of my generation,
> largely as a result of firsthand experiences with an over-the-top program to
> reverse racism with racial preferences in social programs. This may very
> well be an unintended consequence that will strongly limit the popularity of
> any future race-oriented programs.
> Hopefully this broadens your perspective some.
> Cheers,
> -James Rogers

While I can sympathize to some extent with anyone who feels that they
were denied a deserved place in the educational system, it seems like
focusing on this particular process (college admission/financial aid)
out of its social context is bound to make one feel cheated. It reminds
me of something from Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff." In discussing the
original astronaut selection process, he proclaimed it to be totally
free of racial bias. Bull. The astronaut selection wasn't just what
happened in Houston. It is really our whole society, especially
educational and military institutions. Black candidates where diverted
long before they got the chance to fill out astronaut applications.
Likewise, the selection of black students based upon different criteria
makes perfect sense when one considers the vastly different experiences
that faced most black people as opposed to what whites encountered. Even
most relatively affluent black families can easily recount losses
attributable to prejudice and discrimination in our society. These tales
go back generations and only begin to trail off recently. So I have no
problem, considering that the aftershocks of these generations of
turmoil still echo through our society, with black students not always
being measured in the same way as whites. The recent thread on the
subject of IQ versus real world smarts highlighted the problem with
measuring intelligence. It is not difficult for me to believe that
college admissions testing is substantially flawed in measuring a
students' merit.

But beyond any question of whites being cheated, let us return to the
position of blacks in colleges. What percentage of college admissions
are blacks taking? Is there any chance of blacks suddenly becoming
over-represented in student bodies? I don't think so. You'd probably
have to enroll twice as many black students before you achieved
proportionality with the general population. Complaints by whites that
they are unfairly excluded to benefit blacks would have much more merit
if there weren't so few blacks admitted to college to begin with. Whites
hardly seem the victims of "institutional racism."

I don't think there is any denying that society has systematically
denied much of the black population equal educational opportunities, as
well as the opportunity to fully enjoy the benefits of any education
that was achieved. I believe this is still being done today, the systems
that effected this discrimination being largely intact. But even if that
were not the case, the effects are still present. The legacy of this
discrimination lives on today not just in the decrepit and impoverished
inner city schools, but also in the absence of a strong tradition of
learning in some large segments of African-American society. Certainly
this fault cannot be corrected merely by attempts to recalibrate
entrance criteria, but such efforts certainly couldn't hurt. For any
whites that feel victimized by this effort to inject some equity, I'd
suggest taking a closer look at the big picture. Look at the entire
system and its history. Ask yourself if you can really say that history
doesn't matter, that whites as a race are at a disadvantage, and that an
SAT score is really the final determinant of what is fair.


Pat Inniss

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:04 MDT