by Rob Roper
Elizabeth Warren, the Democrat candidate for the US Senate from Massachusetts, was highly respected for her accomplishments in the academic world. That is, until it came out in the campaign that she told her employers Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania that she was 1/32 Cherokee Indian. She’s not. Or, at least there’s no evidence to prove it.
Both schools used the claim to tout blond-haired, blue-eyed Warren as a “person of color,” bolstering their own claims of faculty “diversity.” Now people are asking if Warren really deserved all that success, or was she just a phenomenon of Affirmative Action. The story certainly raises questions about the policy of racial preferences and whom they really benefit. But, here’s another angle on this, and a question someone should ask Elizabeth Warren. Now that her life’s work has reexamined in the light of her receiving special consideration, how does that make her feel? What has it done for her self-esteem?
Liberals always tout these types of programs – quota-driven diversity, conferring special rights on certain groups, relaxing standards to generate “fairer” outcomes – as necessary for helping disadvantaged minorities get ahead. Promoting the “self-esteem” of the beneficiaries is often at the core of their argument.
Those who question the efficacy and the morality of Affirmative Action claim that the reality inflicted by these programs on their intended beneficiaries is the opposite of the intent. Because their peers come to regard the minority’s success as the result of special treatment rather than hard work or competence, the beneficiaries of affirmative action find themselves in a nearly impossible position when it comes to proving their self worth. Not only is this dispiriting, it can actually fuel the very inter-racial anger and stereo-typing the policies are ostensibly in place to alleviate. Those who don’t benefit from race-based preferences resent those who do, and those who do “benefit” resent that resentment.
We can see this dynamic at work in the Burlington School District’s attempts to force their version of racial justice on the community. The implication within the Diversity Task Force’s report is that the faculty and the majority of the community is racist. This caused hurt feelings and an angry backlash and probably more racial tensions than existed before.
And, think about the message the Diversity Task Force is actually sending to these impressionable kids… The report says the school district is home to “an inhospitable climate for students and families of color and will severely limit the potential of all our students to succeed in a rapidly changing environment.” The reasons for this, the report says, are essentially the existence of “white privilege,” and the “conventional white, middle class, Judeo-Christian culture that invisibly permeates the current social environment that exists in the Burlington schools.”
In other words, white people are in charge, and, in order for minorities to succeed, white people must change their attitudes and behavior. If white people choose not to change for whatever reason, minorities are utterly powerless to control their own destiny. They What a horrible, horrible message to send to these kids! Not to mention, wrong.
The Burlington schools should be teaching inspiring these children with a message of empowerment. The United States is the land of opportunity, and that they can achieve anything they are willing to work hard to achieve. Look at the lives of Americans from Frederick Douglas, to Barack Obama. They have the power within themselves to overcome adversity no matter what obstacles other people or institutions come their way. Unfortunately, they’re going to have a hard time overcoming diversity – the soft bigotry of low expectations, and the spirit crushing message that race determines outcomes.
Now that Elizabeth Warren is experiencing that soft bigotry of low expectations for the first time, I wonder what she’d have to say to these kids now.