this is a fascinating unpacking of the Olympics and the concept of "representing" a nation, on many levels.
Also, sometimes I really despair. How such idiotic, white-and-gender-privileged drivel can get PUBLISHED in the FUCKING LA TIMES is beyond me.
The Gates foundation, see, has a wide-ranging program of college scholarships for disadvantaged ethnic groups--African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islander Americans. Apparently, one Ernest W. Lefever just couldn't handle the injustice:
"America's most celebrated college dropout had a great opportunity to boost higher education, help needy students and strike a blow against racism, but he blew it. If Bill Gates had been able to chat with Teddy Roosevelt before launching his breathtaking $1-billion program of college scholarships, America would be a better place. Unless significantly amended, Gates' 'minority' scholarships will further inflame racial tensions, delay the achievement of a colorblind society and subvert the cherished virtue of reward by merit. The Gates Millennium Scholarships for thousands of high school seniors over the next 20 years are intended to produce more scientists, engineers, doctors and educators from among American minorities, who, he claims, are woefully underrepresented in college. His commitment to arbitrarily preferred groups is bound to increase racial resentment. Gates' vague concept of 'diversity' confuses the laudable diversity of cultural talents that strengthens the nation with the self-conscious racial diversity that divides it by breeding arrogance and envy."
Now, look, race-based affirmative action has its problems and its controversies in many different spheres and communities. I am not here to give testimony to its glories, because it is certainly flawed. But honestly, this guy is grade-B nuts (grade-A is reserved for House Representatives who say we don't need environmentalists to save the world because Jesus already did it). Honestly, column summary:
"I am mediocre and not particularly good at anything. In a world where white guys are on top, I do just fine. Start letting in those uppity...everybody else, and I'll be fucked. STOP FANNING RACIAL RESENTMENT, BILL GATES, BECAUSE I KNOW I'M GETTING PISSY."
(By the way, this is not current events--the op ed was written in 1999. I came across it doing research on Gates Foundation and just couldn't even get over it. Oops, I forgot--"get over it" is what everybody but the poor poor white male victims of the occasional act of protest are supposed to do in order to solve all problems!)