Dennis Dale On Affirmative Action: Mediocrity and Its Discontents
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Dennis Dale writes about a late 1960s prediction that affirmative action would cause blacks to feel endlessly dissed:

I’m glad the good judge isn’t here to see just how effective his predicted black political agitation has been; so successful it’s adopted by other groups such as Hispanics, similarly mismatched by affirmative action. Likewise feminism and transsexual activism provide natural outlets for students with nothing to draw from real study but frustration. One can be a mediocre student or noble victim.

The judge’s predicted black radicalization not only came to fruition, it spread like a contagion–because it works, and it works by taking failure to the disparate impact bank and cashing it in for victim points–the same dysfunctional dynamic keeping black civil rights–and black concerns–front and center always in American politics.

Failure and alienation are the common bonds making allies of feminists and Muslims, transsexuals and blacks, foreigners and fat fetishists … Failure and alienation have become the point of progressive theory, and whether that’s always been the intention is almost beside the point. It seems to be an inevitable result.

But social justice, particularly on the campus, is where blacks and other “underrepresented” groups are over-represented and hold greater influence, where the reverence and deference, particularly for blacks, with which they are treated is being elevated to ritual. For an individual so favored this must be heady stuff, and leaving this environment must come as a shock. Social justice exists in large part so people who didn’t peak in high school get a second shot in college. Of course everybody sees they’re just getting a worthless participation badge, so they must distinguish themselves, within the progressive theory framework, and the way to do that is to be angry about oppression, ideally your own. The competition to stay must be brutal

In other words, students compete over who can most vividly claim to be traumatized by the campus’s oppressive environment, with the winners getting jobs working on campus in the university Diversity Nook so they never have to leave this environment they claim to be victimized by.
… The “special snowflake” explanation only goes so far also; they may speak the language of social justice when they wring another “safe space” out of an institution, but their subsequent glorying and redoubled disdain reveal they understand what is happening, and they love it: they are wielding power. They’re more scary than scared, and they know it. They delight in it.
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