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    * Update: yesterday, I found out that the group responsible for the fliers is Stanford's Queer Liberation group whose purpose  for putting up the posters was to point "out that there are certain advantages that white and heterosexual people have that they might not even notice until they read about it on a bollard".   

    This blog post was written by Jiesi Zhao, Sarah T. Hermann Intern Scholar 

    A few weeks ago, a host of “white privilege” and “heterosexual privilege” posters appeared on campus at Stanford University, on no other than White Plaza, with messages like:

    • WHITE PRIVILEGE: every month is white history month.
    • WHITE PRIVILEGE: I got into Stanford without having my peers suspect that I only got in because of my race.
    • HETEROSEXUAL PRIVILEGE: I don’t have to come out as straight.

     

    So far, no one or group has come forward to claim responsibility for the fliers, but regardless of who put them up or what the intent behind the act is, the posters blatantly call attention to an important issue that affects all college-bound students in our country – the issue of racial and gender preferences (or what the Left defines as affirmative action).

     

    Guised under the goal of helping underrepresented minorities, liberals will try to have you believe that racial and gender preferences in admissions policies is fair because minority groups do not have access to the same opportunities or resources as do white heterosexual applicants. Pointing to racism and homophobia as the reason why preferencing is needed, the Left is actually routinely creating programs that divide society based on race, gender, and sexual orientation rather than assessing applicants for their own individual merit.

     

    Even though the use of quotas for admissions policies is illegal across the nation, racial preferencing is still used in most states. And in the few states where racial preferences are illegal (only California, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Connecticut have passed measures that ban the use of racial preferences), race and gender do still factor into consideration on admissions committees. Take California, for example; when the state disallowed racial preferences by passing Proposition 209, UC Berkeley fought back and implemented the first “comprehensive review” process for undergraduate admissions, thereby allowing race and other such factors to still come into play. Schools in other states that ban racial preferences, like the University of Michigan and the University of Washington, have since looked to UC Berkeley’s model for their admissions criterion.

     

    Essentially, such preferences create a system that forces each applicant to compete against others in his or her own racial and gender group for the same “spots”, instead of applicants getting in on individual merit as compared to all applicants. If that’s not highlighting race and gender in an unfair way, I don’t know what is. In fact, universities seem to have an ongoing obsession with racial and other preferences. A study by the New York Civil Rights Coalition found that “race and ethnicity considerations permeate every facet of campus life” and “both public and private colleges… have fostered this kind of racial and ethnic separation”, facilitating an atmosphere on campuses nationwide based on racial and other divides that has gotten worse, not better.

     

    Moreover, have you ever noticed that when the Left refers to “minority” groups, Asian Americans are always left out? Is this because they don’t think Asians constitute as a minority group? Maybe. But, more likely, it’s because this minority group has proven that special preferences are not the answer. And let me make something very clear: Asian Americans have faced the same set backs and racial discrimination in our country’s past as the other minority groups that the Left refers to (just look up “Chinese laborers railroad” or “Japanese Internment Camps” on Google). In fact, it was only until the 1980’s when Asian Americans started entering universities and professions usually deemed “suitable” for white men. Yet today, and for several decades now, Asian American students have no problem scoring well on the SAT or being able to compete with straight white males in academic or professional settings.

     

    So does this mean that Asian Americans miraculously gained access to the same opportunities and resources as white Americans? Hardly anymore true than thinking Asians are not a minority group. Most Asian immigrants come to the United States as working class or poor citizens, many of whom do not even speak English and who live in city slums where rent is cheap. Yet by the second generation, the kids attend college, and go on to have successful careers.

     

    A Chinese man who was selling small knick-knacks in San Francisco’s Chinatown once approached me after seeing my Berkeley sweatshirt to proudly tell me how both of his sons attended Berkeley. The secret to his sons’ and other Asian American students’ achievements – hard work, determination, and (gasp!) a Conservative economic outlook – the real colorblind keys to success for minorities and everyone else for that matter.

     

    Special preferences may give “minority” groups an extra boost for now, but only the endorsement and pursuit of hard work and individual responsibility in a society without racial or gender considerations will allow for each minority group’s success in the long term. As the famous Chinese proverb goes, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.

     

    This blog post was written by Jiesi Zhao, Sarah T. Hermann Intern Scholar

     

     

    • Readers' Comments

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      Posted by iva emily on 12/21/2010
    • Special preferences may give “minority” groups an extra boost for now, but only the endorsement and pursuit of hard work and individual responsibility in a society without racial or gender considerations will allow for each minority group’s success in the long term. As the famous Chinese proverb goes, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. ======================= iva emily <a href="http://www.plrprivatelabelrights.com/plr-ebooks/fitness-ebooks" rel="DoFollow And NoFollow Links ">private label rights </a> private label rights
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    • Jiesi, I'm all for meritocracy and though I support affirmative action generally, I am not entirely comfortable with it. But this post just trots out the old reverse-racism charge and adds little to the discussion. We get it: Asian-Americans (or in YAFspeak, and American who just happens to be of Asian descent) are "model minorities". "Most Asian immigrants come to the United States as working class or poor citizens". Well most African "immigrants" came to the United States as SLAVES. That's something worth remembering, whatever your opinions are about affirmative action. "Special preferences may give “minority” groups an extra boost for now, but only the endorsement and pursuit of hard work and individual responsibility in a society without racial or gender considerations will allow for each minority group’s success in the long term. " The centrality of hard work and individual responsibility as elements to social and economic uplift is clear. There is some truth that under "political correctness" these things are ignored, but the orthodox 90s-style PC left is not nearly as powerful as YAF might make it seem. Even within those academic disciplines which are most commonly stereotyped as PC, like sociology. See this NYT (gasp!) article for reference: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/18/us/18poverty.html?pagewanted=2 But as for "society without racial or gender considerations" there is a lot that is still controversial and for very good reason. We certainly don't live in this society now. And we aren't going to anytime soon, especially with gender (another stereotyped PC view that almost nobody holds: women and men are exactly alike in 'nature' and biology doesn't affect our capabilities). Whether, where, or when government can or should be 'colorblind' or 'sex-blind' given a goal of a colorblind and equal society is, in the REAL WORLD, a complicated empirical question. It is a fundamentally important topic of discussion in the academy, which is why many academics discuss and debate it, and why college students try to make people aware of the issues involved through campaigns such as the one profiled in this post. You accuse those who practice radical identity politics of dividing the campus--in some cases (though I don't think here) you are certainly right. But they aren't the only ones trying to divide. When you attack affirmative action as racist, as preventing us from having a Utopian meritocratic society of pure equality and no prejudice, realize that you are effectively advocating a policy in which members of some minorities would be nearly absent from elite schools for the foreseeable future. This IS divisive, just as identity politics can be divisive. Removing affirmative action doesn't magically make test scores go up because people "work harder" and stop thinking that someone will help them out if they fail. Teaching a man to fish actually requires, well, teaching. The proverb isn't "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, don't give a man a fish and then he'll finally have to figure out how to fish on his own, the lazy bastard!" In terms of political/policy justification, affirmative action, especially in educatiob, is itself actually about teaching people how to fish. I'm not saying that removal of the affirmative action might not have benefits--class solidarity would certainly be increased ; ) Anyway, the whole thing is a quite complicated issue and I wish that it could be discussed in a civilized manner by well-informed and thoughtful people. Unfortunately conservatives are usually profoundly ignorant of the unearned advantages the "successful" receive relative to others, something that usually stems from a combination of lack of understanding of others' experiences (for example not realizing that immigration and slavery are very different introductions to America, and that living life as a 'problem' minority is very different from living life as a 'model' minority or a white person). Some on the left, in an occasionally-necessary but often-infuriating essentialist move, reduce advantages/lack of success to privilege/oppression. This usually stems from ideological rigidity and lack of social knowledge (often ironically privileged liberals not realizing that regular people have to get and want to get by on individual responsibility and hard work). Very few on either side are willing to have serious discussions about what colorblind meritocracy would even mean--it is worth remembering that the current subjective, "well-rounded" criteria for college admissions was, as a matter of historical fact, instituted as a way to keep high-scoring but nerdy Jews out of elite WASP schools after quotas had been lifted! Should all subjective judgment be removed from admissions? Is this even possible? Desirable? You can't say the magic word "merit" and make it be so. Education has NEVER been primarily about merit, it has been mostly about money, connections, and social prestige (back on sociology--read some Pierre Bordieu!). I think merit in education is a noble goal, noble enough that it should be defined and discussed by the public, not left alone and valued entirely by the choices of individuals. To end merit at nominal colorblindness and still pretend that it's merit is to give up on merit entirely. In the real world, plutocracy is anything but meritocracy, but that is the direction our country is heading in as long as Republican businessmen co-opt Tea Party-style anti-elitist sentiment. So affirmative action is an important issue to debate because it actually shows that left to its own devices, education is not meritocratic--because merit simply isn't profitable! Speaking of Jews---"Conservative economic outlook" as one of the "real colorblind keys to success" doesn't really fit the Jewish experience. But then again, to radical conservatives, Jews never really fit into the American experience.
      Posted by Gruff on 01/08/2011
    • Gruff, No one here is trying to deny or belittle the disgusting institution of slavery that our country use to have; and no one should ever forget these crimes against humanity that were perpetrated by our forefathers. However, on the issue of affirmative action - we are talking about something that affects students NOW/ TODAY/ IN THIS DAY AND AGE where slavery no longer exists and immigrants from Asia come to the United States and live in the same communities as African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Yet, they manage to achieve success because they value hard work, personal responsibility, and living within their means (by the way, I'm pretty sure Jewish Americans value this kind of lifestyle as well). And sure, there are always going to be the students who are privileged with connections and old family money. But I can tell you that Asian students are definitely NOT a part of this group - so how do you explain their success? Again, its hard work and determination coupled with a community centered around goals and aspirations to be successful. ~ Jiesi
      Posted by Jiesi on 01/14/2011
    • Look, I'm not denying that there is anything wrong about the success of Asian or Jewish immigrants. What I said is that I DON'T believe in the whole "oppression is the flipside of privilege" blanket interpretation of racial disparities. Other minorities should have values more like those of Asian immigrants, because they NEED to develop these values to have healthy and successful communities and individuals. But HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? As I said, this is an EMPIRICAL question, not an ideological one. It is something eminently worthy of discussion, and involves talking about culture, economics, politics, etc. And I will concede to conservatives that it at least potentially might involve discussion of genetics, but as of now biologists and psychologists simply know very, very little, and even if they did know specifics about genetic differences in cognitive skills and emotions, they would not mean much in real life, given the large amount of variability and the malleability of most traits during early childhood. If this is the crucial issue, which I suspect it is (The Bell Curve is very un-PC but I think most Americans secretly believe the conclusions of it's chapter on race), I could argue your head off. I will also concede that the answer would in all likelihood involve a turn away from victimization and oppression as a central way of understanding continuing poverty and social dysfunction in minority communities--blaming everything on slavery and racism is not productive or realistic, because it takes away all agency and responsibility from these individuals and groups. "Goals and aspirations to be successful" must go beyond blaming white people--and they do, usually! That ALONE doesn't do it though, and there are no easy answers to the question of how to significantly and permanently reduce generational poverty and social dysfunction in poor minority communities. Almost everyone with half a brain knows this by now. Capitalism is great but it isn't magic. Are you interested in trying to answer this question? Are you really all about teaching men to fish? I'm willing to discuss it with you but until you show an indication that you have given thought to the issue, beyond unscientific assertions that positive cultures inevitably develop when social and educational supports are withdrawn, I will assume that your approach is ideological. You might tell me that the real issue is that the system should be "fair," but that gets right back into the issue of fantasy meritocracy and is an ideological claim, period. Finally, your comment implies that all minorities live in the same communities. You are wrong on two levels: for one, just because groups are in close physical proximity does not mean that they are part of the same community. And two, Hispanics and especially African Americans often live in highly segregated neighborhoods and go to highly segregated schools. Usually there is also concentrated poverty when there is this kind of segregation. There is a difference between living in a diverse working-class neighborhood (which most Asian immigrants do) and living in segregated, poor neighborhoods (which most African-Americans do). Look at these maps--if you think that we are anywhere close to a "postracial" society, they might just astound you: http://www.flickr.com/photos/walkingsf/sets/72157624812674967/detail/
      Posted by Gruff on 01/19/2011
    • Gruff, The original blog post does not aspire to come up with a solution to the issue of racial preferences, or for any underlying issues such as poverty. The blog post merely points out that it's kind of ironic that universities are the ones putting race and gender in the spotlight, that the posters at Stanford encourage such racial and gender divides on college campuses, and that racial preferences are not the solution (as evidenced by the achievements of Asian American students). The Asian American story of hard work and having a conservative economic outlook is used as an example of success that has been achieved WITHOUT racial preferences. Moreover, saying "only the endorsement and pursuit of hard work and individual responsibility in a society without racial or gender considerations will allow for each minority group’s success in the long term" does not mean that other issues do not come into play or that other problems associated with racial inequality should not be dealt with. It simply means that in order to achieve success in a society that is as racially blind as possible, such values must be ingrained into all communities. And that's all that it says. I mean, unless you are arguing that people should be able to achieve success without hard work and personal responsibility? Notice that there is a difference between claiming to know what a solution to an issue is and merely pointing out that the current way of dealing with the issue is problematic.
      Posted by Jiesi on 01/25/2011
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