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The Academic Fantasy World
06/23/2003

I was going to comment on that whiteness-studies article, but the whole thing is just so ludicrous. Not the least frustrating is the degree to which the entire process by which the content of such courses are translated to the average person (with the academy hand-in-hand with the media) so dramatically distorts what is being taught in order to make it sound reasonable. Dig just a very little bit, and you see that the entire process is malicious in nature.

Moreover, it's entirely false — entirely fabricated. Lane Core quotes the following:

Naomi Cairns was among the leaders in the privilege walk, and she wasn't happy about it.

The exercise, which recently involved Cairns and her classmates in a course at the University of Massachusetts, had two simple rules: When the moderator read a statement that applied to you, you stepped forward; if it didn't, you stepped back. After the moderator asked if you were certain you could get a bank loan whenever you wanted, Cairns thought, "Oh my God, here we go again," and took yet another step forward.

"You looked behind you and became really uncomfortable," said Cairns, a 24-year-old junior who stood at the front of the classroom with other white students. Asian and black students she admired were near the back. "We all started together," she said, "and now were so separated."

Lane's comment is that "Naomi must come from the other side of the tracks." That was my initial impression, particularly since I read the article on a day that I discovered that I couldn't get enough credit on a lower-interest card to cover what I'm already paying off on a higher-interest card. Last fall, I learned that our financial situation is such that we can afford to pay ridiculous rent, but not to pay the same exact amount as a mortgage.

But Naomi isn't necessarily a little rich girl. In fact, I'd be willing to bet (cash, 'cause the house won't spot me) that Naomi has never attempted to get a bank loan — at least not without her parents' backing her. It is entirely possible that Naomi stepped forward in that classroom based on nothing more than the reassurances of her professor(s) that she most assuredly would get any loan for which she applied. In other words, the professors are very possibly telling young Naomi what reality is and then asking her to answer questions about... what reality is.

Here's a statement that I would had to the "privilege walk": Step forward if you believe that you can get into the University of Michigan law school with average grades, average scores, and average resources. Me, I'd step backwards on that one, too.

Posted by Justin Katz @ 12:58 PM EST



1 Comment


Thanks for the notice.

ELC @ 06/24/2003 01:16 PM EST