Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm getting very tired of white people and, worse, Cuban people complaining about "identity politics." The latter have no business bitching about it because they've been the beneficiaries of relief and immigrant policy exceptionalism since the early sixties (I won't go into the politics – how for many years it was a morsel offered to distract them from the suspicion that the United States would never topple the Castro regime by force); the former, well, I have no idea about the former, except

Anyway, Stanley Fish (who's currently a professor at FIU's College of Law) wrote this essay in 1993 as the reaction to political correctness had reached the boiling point. Best moment:
At this point someone will always say, "But two wrongs don't make a right; if it was wrong to treat blacks unfairly, it is wrong to give blacks preference and thereby treat whites unfairly." This objection is just another version of the forgetting and rewriting of history. The work is done by the adverb "unfairly," which suggests two more or less equal parties, one of whom has been unjustly penalized by an incompetent umpire. But blacks have not simply been treated unfairly; they have been subjected first to decades of slavery, and then to decades of second-class citizenship, widespread legalized discrimination, economic persecution, educational deprivation, and cultural stigmatization. They have been bought, sold, killed, beaten, raped, excluded, exploited, shamed, and scorned for a very long time. The word "unfair" is hardly an adequate description of their experience, and the belated gift of "fairness" in the form of a resolution no longer to discriminate against them legally is hardly an adequate remedy for the deep disadvantages that the prior discrimination has produced. When the deck is stacked against you in more ways than you can even count, it is small consolation to hear that you are now free to enter the game and take your chances.
Lots of progress made since those heady days, including, yes, the election of the first African-American president. Lots more to go, etc.

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