McWhorter on Affirming Disadvantage – The American Interest

ne of the most pernicious aspects of the culture of racial preferences is that it has taught all of us to think of black people as inherently less intelligent than other people. Oh, not overtly, of course. But the problem is clear in assorted cultural tropes that could owe their existence to nothing else.

Consider the conception of “welcome” that has become so entrenched in these discussions. “If you don’t admit me, then it means you don’t like me,” we instruct the young black student to think. This notion of welcoming would make sense if it were done after actually comparing people with the same grades and test scores. But when the “welcoming” is amidst changing qualifications for brown people, then it can only mean that the whites “welcome” people despite their lesser dossier stats—with the implication that this lesser performance is eternal, an inherent facet of the body of black and Latino students.

This is, quite simply, calling brown students dim. Yes, Lyndon Johnson said, “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race, and then say ‘you are free to compete with all the others.’” But ladies and gentleman, is this quotation not now a bit elderly? It works beautifully today for a brown student who grew up disadvantaged. But only a small fraction of today’s black and Latino students at selective universities grew up in anything like poverty, as we know from endless reports of how grievously few poor people of any kind gain admission to selective schools.

— Read on

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