December 3, 2010

the body heals itself, usually

The human body generally heals itself.  Get a scrape, new skin grows.  Catch a virus, your immune system deals with it. Twist your ankle, it'll get better.

Society also tends to "heal" itself--this belief is the foundation of capitalism and democracy.  Bad policies in place?  The electorate will throw the bums out.  Bad economy?  Investors will buy low, and the economy will grow again.  Generally, I think we can see over time that this is, at least at a superficial level, true.

But suppose you got a huge gash on your leg, long and deep.  Without at least some first aid and maybe stitches, the wound will not heal itself.  You may even bleed to death.

Does society suffer the same kinds of wounds?  Are there gashes so deep and big that they can't possibly be healed by society's natural ability to adjust?

Yes, there are.

In 1998, California voters made Affirmative Action illegal for the University of California.  Since then, UC Berkeley has gotten far less diverse.  The university's freshman class is only 3.4% black and about 12% Hispanic.  There are nearly ten whites for every African-American.  There are 13 Asians for every African-American.

In a state (California) where there is no racial majority (every ethnicity is less than 50% of the population), this is a tragedy.  While I hope that one day we will achieve a "colorblind society," which was the chief selling point of Prop 209, today we have a huge wound in our society that needs emergency help.  This is one rift that is not going to heal itself.  Eliminating Affirmative Action in the hope that it will create a colorblind society is much like eliminating medical care in the hope that it will create a disease-free world.  It is backwards and destructive.

If UC Berkeley had been this racially lopsided when I went there in the 80s, I would have gotten a much less valuable education.  This is a real shame.


jjdebenedictis said...

I agree.

An article came out in a Canadian magazine recently discussing whether some Canadian universities are getting "too Asian".

And of course the concerned citizens they quote are white kids who think all the smart Asian kids are making them look bad.

In other words, lazy, entitled brats who are--just as in your cartoon--pointing at the minority and blaming him/her for their own failures.

Meanwhile, I went to one of these "too Asian" universities, and I'm incensed at that criticism. 25% of my city's population is of Asian descent. How is the university "too Asian" if its student body is an accurate representation of the city's ethnic makeup?

The university isn't "too Asian", it's "very Canadian". This is who we are!

Anonymous said...

How come you don't report the death count of our foreign wars anymore?

PJD said...

Jen: Amen, sister! I do need to point out, though, that the cartoon is not mine. I snarfed it from a google images search. I saw many uses of it, none of which seemed like the original as far as I could tell.

Anonymous: Excellent point! It is never wrong to remember the fallen.