26 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2021
    1. To achieve a position in the top tier of wealth, power and privilege, in short, it helps enormously to start there. “American meritocracy,” the Yale law professor Daniel Markovits argues, has “become precisely what it was invented to combat: a mechanism for the dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations.”

      Really good interview with Markovits and Sam Harris on the topic on meritocracy.

    1. Some people "get" the idea of systemic privilege and ask "But what can I do?" My answer is, you can use unearned advantage to weaken systems of unearned advantage. I see white privilege as a bank account that I did not ask for, but that I can choose to spend. People with privilege have far more power than we have been taught to realize, within the myth of meritocracy. Participants can brainstorm about how to use unearned assets to share power; these may include time, money, energy, literacy, mobility, leisure, connections, spaces, housing, travel opportunities. Using these assets may lead to key changes in other behaviors as well, such as paying attention, making associations, intervening, speaking up, asserting and deferring, being alert, taking initiative, doing ally and advocacy work, lobbying, campaigning, protesting, organizing, and recognizing and acting against both the external and internalized forms of oppression and privilege.
    2. Think about why U.S. people, especially White people, have trouble seeing systemically. Explain the myth of meritocracy: that the unit of society is the individual and that whatever one ends up with must be whatever that individual wanted, worked for, earned, and deserved. Why do you think this myth survives so successfully, suppressing knowledge of systemic oppression and especially of its "up-side,"systemic privilege?
    3. I repeatedly forgot each of the realizations on this list until I wrote it down. For me, white privilege has turned out to be an elusive and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy.

      We need more research and details on the idea of the American myth of meritocracy.

  2. Dec 2020
    1. While SoulCycle was promoting a culture of community and belonging, it was also serving privileged adults indulging their worst impulses.

      Sounds like rule by a petty tyrant or maybe a current sitting president.... is it something in our culture that lets us do this? Whatever happened to the idea of meritocracy?

  3. Sep 2020
    1. To cultivate an idea meritocracy, they developed an app called a “dot collector” which enables all employees to rate each other along many different dimensions, ranging from “knowledgeability” to communication style. Over time, the app builds up a picture of each employee’s “believability” on different issues. This enables Bridgewater to understand where expertise lies within the company in addition to the hierarchical authority easily understood on an org chart.

      Bridgewater created a "dot collector" app that collects employee ratings of others across different dimensions to get to a "idea meritocracy"

  4. Sep 2019
    1. Liberals are always slow to realize that there can be friendly, idealistic people who have little use for liberal values.

      So idealistic with other values?

    2. identity alone should neither uphold nor invalidate an idea

      Except ideas have always been structured by identify. Perhaps universal ideas might be better seen as the identity politics of a privilege that doesn't appreciate being interrogated.

    3. Our goal shouldn’t be to tell children what to think. The point is to teach them how to think so they can grow up to find their own answers.

      How many generations have passed mistaking this solution as progress?

    4. The teaching of civics has dwindled since the 1960s—a casualty of political polarization

      So the lack of civics lamented above is not caused by the global cultural studies that happened? There could be both, right?

    5. festooned with all the authoritarian excess of the new progressivism

      Do the policies and practices that shape disadvantaged lives come festooned (eg, drug sentencing laws)? Or do they seep out with a colder, darker, less obvious rhetoric?

    6. an idea of education based on real meri

      Please define this "real merit".

    7. That pragmatic genius for which Americans used to be known and admired, which included a talent for educating our young—how did it desert us?

      Known by who for educating who? This is the most ridiculously reductionist and nostalgic lament in the entire piece.

    8. An extensive survey of American political opinion published last year by a nonprofit called More in Common found that a large majority of every group, including black Americans, thought “political correctness” was a problem.

      This is where it gets really interesting. I'd have to explore what branches out from here, but the term "political correctness" is not really just one thing that everyone agrees on, and from where I'm sitting, mostly seems to arise around areas where people who historically have had less of a voice start having one that disturbs established POVs.

    9. security

      Wait, how does meritocracy value security?

    10. He had picked this moment to render his very first representational drawing, and our hopes rose.

      I like an alternate theory: their kid had been making representational drawings for a long time, but purposely obscuring it until the revelation could make the biggest impact.

    11. On that freezing sidewalk, I felt a shudder of revulsion at the perversions of meritocracy. And yet there I was, cursing myself for being 30th in line.

      This is a great juxtaposition of the trap the author and so many upper-middle-class people find themselves in.

    12. children into overworked, inauthentic success machines

      A worry I have for sure...

    13. stay married

      Ahhh...so THIS is why we stay married!

    14. True meritocracy came closest to realization with the rise of standardized tests in the 1950s

      Interesting, I'm ready to buy that the post-WWII period had the biggest opening to education in the USA — tho far from truly open or meritocratic and definitely unevenly distributed in many ways, including between K12 and higher ed — but I'm not sure I'd put standardized tests first in a list of reasons for the opening. I'd want to hear more about that.

  5. Oct 2017
  6. Jul 2016
  7. Jun 2016
    1. The War on Stupid People

      Lots of difficult things with this text, including the title. The obsession on measurable “smarts” is an important topic and the possible measures to prevent this obsession from impacting (US) society make sense. But it’s really tricky to discuss intelligence in such ways. Part of the text reads as further essentialisation of measured intelligence. Yet it sounds clear from the possible measures described that this form of intelligence takes at least part of its meaning in a given social context.

      Maybe the deep issue with a text like this is that it’s hard to get people to shift from one consistent mindframe (paradigm, episteme) to another. More specifically, it’s hard to discuss intelligence in a context where the concept has become so loaded.

      Would have lots more to say about this from my parents’ experiences (an occupational therapist who spent a career with people labelled as having “intellectual disabilities” and a psychopedagogue who worked in “special education” with students from a low-income neighbourhood who had “learning disabilities”). Maybe later.

    2. When Michael Young, a British sociologist, coined the term meritocracy in 1958, it was in a dystopian satire. At the time, the world he imagined, in which intelligence fully determined who thrived and who languished, was understood to be predatory, pathological, far-fetched. Today, however, we’ve almost finished installing such a system, and we have embraced the idea of a meritocracy with few reservations, even treating it as virtuous.

      The pullquote Audrey Watters used. Sociologists frequently point out the multiple issues of the concept of “meritocracy”, often in connection with education, but rarely use it to discuss “intelligence”.

  8. Oct 2015