The soft bigotry of low expectations

soft bigotry of low expectations
The practice of expecting less from members of a disadvantaged group and thus implicitly encouraging those people not to reach their full potential.

So, the new government in Germany is heavily invested in doing things for so-called «disadvantaged» groups. Nothing new here — so called disadvantaged groups were supported also under the last government. But who is disadvantaged? Apparently, those who are not already represented. Strange, you might think it might have something to do with — I don’t know, interests, persistence, and the like.

But no, if the group calculus comes up short for your group (i.e., others who share an irrelevant characteristic you have), you are «disadvantaged» and belong to a group that has to receive extra attention — so that you might receive a leg up. Because you cannot make it on your own.

Which makes me glad that as a straight white male, I do not belong to any of those “deserving” categories.

Seriously, I feel with Calvin here:

Calvin and Hobbes Comic (click on image for larger size).

The last thing I would want is attention due to some irrelevant characteristic, whether it’s my sexual orientation (CBT has some interesting options, but thanks no thanks), skin color (I did not chose it nor do I think it should be relevant, I’m with Martin Luther King Jr. here), or sex (not gender, I know my sex chromosomes, thank you very much). I mean, when I was rather desperately looking for a job, there were two or three jobs that specifically asked men to apply — all two or three went immediately into the trash bin. I would not want a job just because I have the right irrelevant characteristic.

But yeah, others do think differently. Including those in the government with money. For example, there is money to increase the visibility of women in science, or in specific branches of science (like artificial intelligence). Personally, I think the sex of the scientist is one of the least interesting things to know. I would be pissed as hell if someone would ask me what it would be like for a person of my sex working in science. Seriously, how about we talk about the work? Or is that above your pay grade — or your intellectual understanding?

Even worse, I think programs to promote people due to irrelevant characteristics (going for so-called group «equality», actually for equity) are hurting those who they are supposed to help. After all, there is something for this quotation:

«You play baseball coach for a moment. Two players run to first. They both have the same time, but one has perfect form, the other, lousy form. Which one do you pick?»
«The one with lousy form.»
«’Cause teach him the right form …»
«And he beats the other guy–it’s a neat analogy …»
Bob Russell and Will in «The West Wing»

If you have two people whose work has similar quality, but one was supported due to an irrelevant characteristic, and the other was not — whom would you pick? Personally, I would pick the one who had it worse, who was not supported due to an irrelevant characteristic, because once this person does get some support, he will blow that chick out of the water.

And that’s pretty much the reason why I know of no competent women or competent man who would accept any support due to an irrelevant characteristic like his or her sex. It’s just degrading, condescending, the soft bigotry of low expectations.

But unfortunately, there are many so-called minorities who go for this kind of thing. These are the ones who know — in their hearts — that they will never amount to anything. And they meet those who offer them money because they likewise will never do anything of value.

Pity, really.