My friend, the amazing poet Scott Woods, has some shit to say about Affirmative Action. You should read it.
Source: Affirmative Action: You’re getting off light
Contrary to the statements made by Supreme Court Justice Scalia recently, affirmative action isn’t about sub-standard people’s worth being rewarded. It’s about the playing field of opportunities not being level before any number of candidates ever shows up for your job/school/opportunity.
You can’t apply all of the machinery of racism and sexism for hundreds or thousands of years on people and their descendants, then say the field is level and we should run everything magically on merit. You can’t even prove you’re capable of that as a society. All evidence – and it mounts every day – suggests America has no interest in a merit based system of access. America isn’t capable, ready or willing to enact actual equality. So you have to give up some fraction of what you own (owe, really) because you don’t want to straighten the level where it really matters. You don’t want to stop gentrification or pay for good schools or give women equal pay or stop police abuse or pay reparations, so guess what: you have to make a piece of what you got at least give the appearance that we live here too. Trust me: you’re getting off light.
Affirmative action is what you have to pay until you decide you’re going to stop being horrible in dozens of other areas of life.
My friend Grey wrote a fantastic bit about the constant harping on “Millenials” for being lazy and entitled and I thought more people should read it, so I am posting his writing here. I know a lot of folks younger than me who are struggling with temp jobs and student loan debt and it’s fucked. It’s time their voices are heard, so here ya go.
Guest blog By Grey Putnam Continue Reading
“This afternoon I took a walk down our block in Los Angeles and a white man yelled, ‘Go back to Inglewood or Ima shoot you like they did that Trayvon Martin!’
I was going to say something, but I had my son. And I didn’t know if the white man really had a gun. And I want my son to stay alive. So I left and came home. Then I read the text my sister had just sent me that Zimmerman had been acquitted of murdering Trayvon, and I understood why that man felt he could run out after us and say what he said. This verdict has set a precedent giving racists the carte blanche to kill people of color and get away with it. And I am terrified.” – What About Our Fear?: An Open Letter To My Fellow American Friends and Neighbors
This is not okay. To my white friends: it’s not enough to just coolly sit back and assess the case and look at this visceral response from people of color and somehow think that this is “their” problem. Nope. Racism, the overt kind as well as the subtle biases and everything that comes with that…that is very definitely OUR problem.
And it pisses me off that the onus of proving that point is always on people of color when WE need to do the work and LISTEN when they tell us what’s wrong, and analyse our assumptions and beliefs and privileges, and learn where we can do better, and call out our friends and family for their bullshit and teach them how they can be better and more aware, and always, always, always stand up when we see injustice.
Every damn one of us should be enraged. Every damn one of us should want to stop this. And every damn one of us is a starting point. So c’mon. Let’s do the work. Change starts right here, right now.
I’m not sure who ever told y’all that voting was meant to be a soothing salve for your soul, or some high-minded, philosophically untouchable measure of self satisfaction. It seems like everyone’s been viewing voting as if it should be some amazingbeautifulsoulfilling experience; that we should get Stendhal Syndrome every time we pull a lever or fill in a fucking Scantron because we MUST be able to vote for the perfect candidate who says everything and does everything right, right? Or maybe it’s because we somehow think that those we vote for should already be doing the right thing, without us making them do it first?
Does it make it somehow less important that I tell you it’s actually a really ugly fucking hammer? A blunt, simple tool meant to accomplish one small facet of building something? One small step on the way to a larger goal? That’s it, y’all. It’s a tool. And using that tool? It’s fucking strategy, people. I know you want to vote for the perfect candidate who totally represents each person’s every soft and cuddly need, but you know that’s bullshit pie-in-the-sky childish wishfulness, right?