Following up on last week’s remarkably successful Tuesday Talk, this will be come an occasional quasi-regular feature, but with a twist. As many suggested, a little directed focus would help to rein in the discussion of favored meats (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and redirect the efforts toward subjects of broader interest.
Over the past week, I’ve had some discussions with Jake and Keith Kaplan that raised interesting issues. Keith make the point that if 100 people were asked whether they supported affirmative action, 30 would enthusiastically back it. I think Keith’s estimate is low, according to how the question was posed. To broaden the question a bit, let’s frame it like this:
Do you support equality for all people?
I would certainly expect, and hope that the vast majority of respondents would immediately exclaim, “of course.” But that’s because the framing of the question makes it easy to answer. This is where we get into the nitty-gritty, where Jake and I ended up.
Would you, as a parent, be willing to give back your child’s acceptance to Harvard (or any school that you really want your kid to attend) so that a “marginalized” student can take the seat?
The bible tells the story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice the life of Isaac because God asks him to. But hey, that’s God, not Catherine Lhamon. There are many variations on the theme of the question: if there was only enough food for one child to survive, would you let your white privileged son starve so that a black child could survive? If there was a job that your child really wanted, and it was him and a female applicant, would you tell him to withdraw so that she could get the job? What if your son had been unemployed for a year? What if this job was his dream job, and dream jobs rarely come along?
To discuss equality on a theoretical level, where the only question is whether you can twit in support of your tribe and are willing to go to a march in a pink hat where everybody will hold hands, sing songs and have a grand time, is nonsense. When push comes to shove, all your deep passion gets put to the test when you have to make the choice between your child’s, or your own, survival, happiness, future and someone else’s.
No cheating. You can’t magically turn water into wine, split the job in half so everybody can have a slice, or have rainbow unicorns arrive in the nick of time. So, are you willing to take that knife and thrust it into your child’s heart for the cause of equality? If not, then can you demand that others do so?
And floor is open.