GABlog Generative Anthropology in the Public Sphere

May 11, 2007

No longer raining on the just and unjust alike

Filed under: GA — Q @ 9:51 am

A headline in my local newspaper today proclaimed “Study finds storm [Katrina] hit blacks harder.”

Is anyone else getting tired of these studies, which seem to be appearing in our news now on a daily basis, that not everybody in America ends up in the same place? A local “scandal” in Utah is that hispanic children in the public schools do not do as well on achievement tests as whites. Public pressure forced the governor to appoint a commission to investigate. Yet there has been no evidence produced of discrimination in the school system, nor even any allegations of discrimination. Aren’t individuals responsible for themselves anymore? I fear we’re going to end up like the futuristic society described in one of Kurt Vonnegut’s stories, in which the smart, talented, and “advantaged” people are forced to wear various torture devices in order to “level the playing field.”

All we can do is make and enforce the laws against discrimination; after that individuals have to take responsibility for their own outcomes.


1 Comment »

  1. James Taranto in his column “The Best of the Web” on has a running gag under the mock headline “World Ends: Women, Minorities Hardest Hit” where he collects (and amusingly comments on) these kinds of “stories.” That might be the best approach by now–instead of anger, just keep showing how rote the whole discourse is–the relevant phrases seem to be automated already. (I don’t know if this is apocryphal, but I remember reading that the NY Times computers have function which automatically changes “black” to “African American,” leading to a few stories sneaking past the editor about previously indebted companies that were now “in the African American.” There were also some reports about last year’s riots in France that mentioned that many of the rioters were “African American.” And my daughter recently came home from school telling me she had been shown a movie about how much African Americans suffered under the apartheid regime in South Africa)

    Comment by adam — May 11, 2007 @ 11:50 am

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