John Donegan started his article on affirmative action ("Affirmative action," Feb. 13) by snidely assessing how liberals struggle with the complex issue of racial justice. Moreover, his hackneyed description of a liberal's mental gymnastics is beyond ironic, when we are in the era of conservatives in Mr. Donegan's camp practically going through a rebirth to justify their devotion to the god/king in the White House destroying our democracy. Spare me.
Mr. Donegan discusses Harvard's entrance process as if he knows what they intend to do about this difficult issue, and he does not. He uses speculation or even conspiratorial theory to explain why and what Harvard is doing as if he sits on their entrance committee. He does not, and we do not need to assume he is speaking accurately. Then he goes to the home of all race baiters: He tries to pit one minority against the other, and implies that affirmative action is an either/or choice. Look out Asians, the Latinos are coming for your spot.
But he is the most offensive when he tells us about his "Latina friend" who gets negative comments because she is an educated lawyer and that it is the fault of affirmative action. The assumption that a person of color can't make it without special treatment is a racist trope pure and simple. It is not because of affirmative action, it is the reason for affirmative action. It is the result of years of white privilege and a level of racism in this country that we do not want to acknowledge.
And the last paragraphs are really the reason I had to write this letter. Mr. Donegan, with hubris dripping from the page, feels that he has to "white-splain" the moral authority of the civil rights movement. So nice to know we have a scholar and historian here to help us little folk understand those big, big ideas. And so glad he thinks racial equality is morally compelling. Who knew?
Really, the man who describes himself as that guy you avoid at the coffee shop because he loves the sound of his own voice and will harangue you for hours with his "brilliant take" on what's wrong with everyone else, needs to look in the mirror and maybe back down on the curmudgeon role. As my younger friends might say, chill out boomer, you're giving the rest of us a bad rep.