The Corner

Affirmative Action & My Internships

From an (angry) reader re my syndicated column (linked below):

OK, so blacks are hypocrites for not acknowleding the hypocrisy of defending AA while denouncing legacy admits. But all that doesn’t explain why a principled man such as yourself would accept an internship you hadn’t earned. What’s that all about Jonah? You do the same thing you accuse the Martins of the world of doing — chicken and egg hypocrisy about PREFERENCE.

You and Andrew Sullivan (how many chances did he give Ruthie Shalit again? and why?) don’t have a leg to stand on between you in this argument.

Also to say that minority journalists hired through AA programs are hired “just because they’re black, or whatever” is utterly disingenuous. Most of them (like most legacies) are hired because they are people of color AND qualified. These things are not mutually exclusive. Until you can show me that the other dozens of minority reporters who were hired through the program are somehow less qualified than their “regularly” hired counterparts, you are arguing without evidence. Those programs are designed to give them opportunities not “breaks” — you know just like the opportunities you had — and geez, were you qualified Jonah?

My quick response — because I’ve really got to go: Blair never graduated from college and he screwed up — a lot — and got promoted for it. Yes, I’ve had opportunities because of my background, I don’t deny it nor am I ashamed of it. But every such opportunity I’ve received I felt like I was “on probation.” I didn’t feel like I was entitled to it. If a kid named Goldberg showed up drunk for work and behaved as reprehensibly as Blair did on the job he would have been fired. At least that’s my reasonable conclusion. And — for the umpteenth time — I never said this story was all about race. My objection is with those who refuse to see that it has anything to do with race.

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