Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Affirmative Action Affirms Failure by Mychal Massie


The problem with race-based scholastic initiatives is at the very least twofold. One problem is that they presume a formulaic representation of people is necessary for equality. The other is that it omits the fact that lowering standards for a few, while maintaining them for others, not only exacerbates the problem it creates, but it fosters a divide by seemingly proving the negative – i.e., resentment based on perceived racial injustice. It also (and this is key) discourages the incentive to seek and/or elevate one's personal level of competence and ability commensurate with the individual's potential.
Paraphrasing Heather MacDonald, in her brilliant expose on the surreptitious efforts of the educational elites to undermine California's Proposition 209 – the admitting of students into top-tier school programs they are not prepared for forces the institution to prepare for the student, rather than the student to prepare for the institution vis-à-vis the study and learning process. (See "Elites to Anti-Affirmative-Action Voters: Drop Dead"; City Journal, Winter 2007.)
The result is that failure rates and dropout rates have increased dramatically among blacks and Hispanic affirmative entrants – thus further substantiating the simmering caldron of "it's because I'm black." If educational preparedness and graduation rates were truly a concern, diversity marplots would have long since admitted weighing admission standards primarily on race has been, and continues to be, a dismal failure.
The 10-ton pink elephant in the middle of the room they choose to ignore is that students who are in no way intellectually prepared are not helped when top-tier schools (especially the law schools, engineering schools and schools of medicine) lower admission standards under the misguided diversity rubric of "in order to have a representative student environment – the school needs two from column 'A,' three from column 'B,'" and so forth – instead of making the student environment representative of academic excellence: race, color, creed be damned.
Few pay attention to the harm done to minority students who have repeatedly been told the world is out to get them after they drop out or flunk out of schools they weren't qualified to attend to start with.
There is a monumental difference between being cut from a Division I athletic team because of skill level and failing one's classes due to inability to perform academically. One is the rude awakening that you're not going to make your fortune scoring touchdowns or hitting home runs – the other is the damning effect of Pygmalion, i.e., "secretly knowing they were in over their heads and not able to admit same."
I have repeatedly argued that the level of bigotry inherent in diversity should be glaringly obvious. It is a perverse form of Hitlerian motivations vis-à-vis attempted social engineering for no other reason than to have a color-coded campus matrix.
No one is suggesting that certain "colors" of children should lower their expectations – quite the opposite. I am advocating that they elevate their expectations by preparing for success through the rigorous weight training of the mind and of their marketable abilities. The answer to the question of how to do this is as simple as the nose on one's face. It is the one thing that diversity zealots decry most – that is hard work, study and preparation.
Race and diversity mongers argue that it is unfair and disingenuous to tell (specifically) minority students all they have to do to get ahead is work hard. I argue, is it not more unfair to tell them that just by showing up they should receive the imprimatur of success?
Such is the patented foolishness and failings of social engineering through "more" diversity. The thought comes to mind that we argue the intellectual capacity of George Bush, Al Gore and John Kerry, but they did graduate. They were able to do their studies. However, that cannot be argued for many minority top-tier school students who got there based strictly on the spelling of their last name or color of their skin.
Even graduates from poorly performing schools can get into two-year and junior colleges that have rigorous academic standards. There they can strengthen themselves academically by taking remedial studies while honing their marketable skills. Their next step can be to a small school that also has rigorous academic standards. After completing those years of undergraduate work, the student would be positioned to seek out graduate programs or other undergraduate programs at schools where they would then be prepared, academically, to compete. Even if they graduate with average grades from those schools after taking the steps outlined – they have still positioned themselves for future success, because they have graduated. And they will have the distinction of knowing they did it themselves.
While most are hardly role models, one only need look toward the halls of Congress to see what average students can become.

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