Until reading Ross Douthat’s July 18th column regarding the roots of white anxiety, I was unaware that the roots of white anxiety in this country stemmed mostly from Ivy League admissions policies. Silly me!
His entire argument boils down to this: there aren’t enough poor white people in place like Yale and Stanford, Chicago and Harvard. In his view, these alleged bastions of liberal privilege are interested in selecting upper class and upper middle class minorities and white people who will mindlessly march to the drumbeat of the left.
What strikes me about Douthat’s argument is that he seems to be calling for special considerations made for a specific group of people to be represented in greater numbers because of alleged discrimination. In essence, he’s calling for an affirmative action policy for…wait for it…wait for it…white people?
This doesn’t make sense. Yes, of course institutions of higher learning ought to encompass members of as many segments of society as they can reasonably accommodate. But claiming some kind of discrimination against white people at the hands of university admissions officials is laughable.
And his argument is weak. Glenn Beck calls the president a racist because of who’s getting into Columbia? Rush Limbaugh thinks the president wants reparations because poor white people have a hard time getting into Dartmouth? News flash guys, they’re hard places to get into, they’re selective, they’re competitive, and that’s the way it should be. Limbaugh and Beck throw out these rhetorical bombshells not because of what the 2014 class of Harvard looks like, they do it because a) they find it immensely profitable to do so, and b) they’re ideologically and philosophically opposed to the president and anyone who doesn’t agree with them.
Which is fine. But don’t charge that the roots of white ‘anxiety,’ or, for Douthat’s crowd, I think paranoia is a more fitting term, stems from who’s getting into to select colleges. Let’s be frank. A lot of people in this country are still pretty pissed that a black guy got elected president in a landslide. That, far more than Ivy league admissions standards, are the root of white ‘anxiety.’