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The Therapy Sessions
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
 
In a New York Times Op-ed, Bob Herbert decries the lack of diversity in American newsrooms, and he has this advice to young black reporters who believe they are being neglected as a result of racism:

“The correct response is to strike back--as hard and as often as it takes.”

Uh huh.

The problem is that young reporters (or young people in any profession) always – at some time – feel neglected, taken advantage of, or ignored. Advice like Herbert gives – assume racism and strike back – makes them even less attractive as employees. Just what any department needs: an employee who knows his job better than his boss and screams racism whenever his boss corrects him.

Jayson Blair was put in a position where he could not possibly do well. Blair – a college dropout with some experience working for his college paper - was competing with Macarena Hernandez, a gifted writer who had a Master’s from Berkeley and several internships at large city papers on her resume.

It was certainly obvious to him that race was the only reason he was there. He had to legitimize himself, to make others think that he was just as gifted as the others.

So he lied to give his stories an extra zing. And for a time, it worked.

Some people get upset when affirmative action is brought up here. But this story is playing itself out all of the time. A black who would do well in biology at the University of Arizona instead finds himself at Yale as a pre-med, where he can’t possibly compete. He either drops out, or he majors in some fictional discipline, like African-American studies.

Nearly two-thirds of black college students never get their degrees.

Is it any wonder that this dropout rate is so high?

Afirmative Action takes the most promising people that black America has to offer, and it turns them into sullen, whiny nothings - like Jayson Blair.


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