Monday, April 12th, 2004

Back for a few days before doing the Seattle to Madison Ghetto Brothers connection. More in a second.

First, here’s an opinion piece on affirmative action in the NYTimes Magazine that not only defies belief but logic itself.

Backgrounder: The Magazine has been on a several year kick to solicit as many anti-affirmative action pieces from disgruntled ex-liberals and less. Apparently there are diminishing returns. This guy–allegedly a tenured English prof at University of Illinois-Chicago (Stanley Fish’s turf, so you can imagine the food fights in the faculty club)–is pretty close to arguing that 4=5. The kicker graf:

“But the real value of diversity is not primarily in the contribution it makes to students’ self-esteem. Its real value is in the contribution it makes to the collective fantasy that institutions ranging from U.I.C. to Harvard are meritocracies that reward individuals for their own efforts and abilities — as opposed to rewarding them for the advantages of their birth. For if we find that the students at an elite university like Harvard or Yale are almost as diverse as the students at U.I.C., then we know that no student is being kept from a Harvard because of his or her culture. And white students can understand themselves to be there on merit because they didn’t get there at the expense of black people.”

OK, we can get with the argument against affirmative action primarily as self-esteem booster, and we’re always into exposing the myth of meritocracy. But whoa! Where did this last sentence come from? Last I heard, white students–and their right-wing demagogue puppeteers–were angry that diversity was being accomplished at their expense. Maybe something changed while I was out last week? Someone tell me.


This is it. The big one.

This weekend, Henry Chalfant, and Benjamin Melendez, the leader of the Bronx gang, the Ghetto Brothers, will be taking our thang to Seattle’s Experience Music Project Pop Music Conference and to the Hip-Hop Generation conference at University of Wisconsin.

We’re gonna be talking about the Bronx gang years from 1968-1973 and how they led into the creation of hip-hop culture. I got music, Henry’s got films, and Benjamin’s got stories. Holla!

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