Saturday, March 25, 2006


What Goes Around, Comes Around

John O pointed me in the direction of a post by Dr. Helen Reynolds (Wife of Glenn Reynolds) where she discusses an article in the NYT about affirmative action working against females in college adminisions. The author of the NYT's article, Jennifer Delahunty Britz, is the dean of admissions and financial aid at Kenyon college, my alma mater.

Reading the article brought me back to the 3 years I spent at Kenyon, I spent my junior year in Scotland. My major was economics and I could have gone to a school that had a better economics program but my idea was that Kenyon had a good reputation, they accepted me early, and I was 18 and lazy about filling out applications. What was most painful was the essay. I had to write about myself and one of the suggestions was to write about some struggle I had dealt with. Even back then I knew better than to write about my biggest struggle, being a conservative teenager surrounded by leftists or the politically indifferent. Instead, I wrote about the difficulty being an overweight teenager who overcame my condition through exercise and watching my diet. I remember writing about how my diet had made me hunger and weak and that it made me feel sorry for those poor African children who I saw on TV. Complete bullshit but it worked.

Back to the subject at hand, Dr. Reynolds sees diversity policies hurting young women as a great example of chickens coming home to roost. Young women had the edifice of affirmative action built for them and they must live with the consequences.

Okay, so the "you go girl!" program is now backfiring--instead of Prince Charming coming to rescue their little Princesses, some mothers such as the author, have just rewritten the script. It now goes like this: "if you are a girl, the world owes you, nothing can stop you and you will be given everything you want--while pushing all others (e.g. boys) out of the way." All colleges become Daddy, who is to hand over the fat envelopes of admissions, just because you happen to be "an accomplished young woman." Perhaps these same mothers would have been better off teaching their daughters something different about the world--like how to deal with adversity and how to tolerate being rejected. It is something boys learned a long time ago. If shit happens, you suck it up like a guy and do not complain. (Look how feminists tend to dismiss male complaints as unmanly "whining.") If you fall down, you get back up. The world does not owe you and life isn't always fair, especially if feminists are in power.

But now the tides are turning and the very affirmative action rules and regulations that were to be used to promote their little girls (as well as other select groups) are backfiring. Maybe if we selected students based on their actual qualifications, rather than gender or skin color, their daughters would be back in the running. But if you are going to play the affirmative action card, you have to live with the results and play by the rules, and that may mean the very "minority" you are trying to promote may become the very ones who lose out. Watch out what you wish for, it may come back to bite you in the ass. [Emp. added.]

I added the emphasis because Dr. Reynolds points out the double standard when it comes to boys/men and girls/men. Men are expected to suffer in silence. To complain about how men are treated in relation to women brings up female shaming language. (Note: shaming men is something men do also and comes from the chivalric milieu. Chivalry is a concept thoroughly rejected by feminists unless it serves the purpose of shutting men up.) All men reflexively defend women when put into the position where a woman is distressed. Feminists have the dynamic completely wrong. Men do not dominate women, men seek female approval. A man's heart melts when a woman cries or feigns distress. All women know this and use it to their advantage. Face it guys, we are marionettes when it comes to a woman's emotions.

You might think that I am happy to join in the schadenfreude but that is not true. I am opposed to affirmative action no matter who may benefit. Deny qualified woman a chance to matriculate is not the way to help young men. Boy's problems will not be solved by coddling them, protecting their fragile egos from rejection and competition. I do find it amusing that Ms. Britz is so angst ridden by this situation.

What are the consequences of young men discovering that even if they do less, they have more options? And what messages are we sending young women that they must, nearly 25 years after the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment, be even more accomplished than men to gain admission to the nation's top colleges? These are questions that admissions officers like me grapple with.

The nation's admissions officers are only grappling with a problem because they place the primacy of diversity above other concerns like accomplishment. Since women are a designated victim group, Ms. Britz cannot get over the fact that she must discriminate against them in order to serve the greater good of diversity. Ok, I admit that it is fun watching them squirm over this false dilemma. You can see how convoluted your thinking must be when merit is replaced by diversity.

I would tell Ms. Britz to ignore gender and race and look at her applicant's accomplishments. Then let it the most accomplished. Boys do have problems with school. ( A subject I will take up latter. Given my experience I seriously wonder whether a liberal arts degree is worth the cost.) However, 'positive discrimination' will do them no good. They will just find themselves in a situation that is over their head.


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