Number of Day

[Content Note: Privilege.]

45%: The percentage of US respondents to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll who "believe affirmative action programs are still needed to counteract the effects of discrimination against minorities, while an equal 45 percent feel the programs have gone too far and should be ended because they unfairly discriminate against whites."

That is so fucking depressing.
Reasons for the trend range from the idea of "diversity fatigue" to what others believe is the effect of an African-American being elected president, as well as 20 years of anti-affirmative-action campaigns.

"Right now, I feel like it's reverse discrimination," said one poll respondent, a white, 69-year-old retired teacher from Rhode Island, who was interviewed for this story and did not wish to be identified. "I did support it at first, but, gradually, because of this reverse discrimination it's gone too far."
"What we need is fewer affirmative action programs, and more seminars on how to properly use BOOTSTRAPS!"—45% of USians, apparently.

Among the allegedly multiple "reasons for the trend" is the reason that will not be meaningfully included in any public discussion: The incredibly common practice of treating exceptions to marginalization as evidence there is no more need for affirmative action programs, while casually ignoring that often people who appear to be exceptions are only so because they benefited from affirmative action programs.

(And that evidence of achievement does not axiomatically translate into freedom from prejudice in other aspects of one's life.)

This exceptionalist narrative is deeply pernicious in its capacity to justify a refusal of empathy among privileged people.

If there is one person born to poverty, one person with disabilities, one person who has survived profound abuse, one person who has managed to overcome any potentially success-fucking origin who can be held up as an example of achievement, then everyone else is failing to thrive. Even as we devour barfinating narratives of triumph over tragic circumstances, we pretend that terrible beginnings don't really matter, except insomuch as they make great first acts for Sandra Bullock Oscar vehicles.

This intractable belief in bootstraps manifests bias, and hostility for programs seeking to contravene bias, because it encourages the lie that history doesn't matter. And neither does present bias. It encourages the lie that every life happens in a fucking void.

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