Justice at Last
by Fred Reed: One
Man's Angle on Mexico
The Look Like
America bill, originally H.R. 1533, seemed a perfectly ordinary
piece of feel-good legislation when proposed by Barack Osama Obama.
Our diversity is our strength, he said. We must
increase the representation of minorities in our institutions to
reflect our diverse population and ensure the fairness for which
America stands. Congress passed the bill without reading it.
It was the sort of thing one passed. Besides, there was no money
involved, and the bill was not obviously anti-Semitic.
But then one of the obscure policy shops that abound in Washington,
the Committee for Ethnic Piety, filed suit against Harvard for noncompliance.
The proximate cause was an article in the Harvard Crimson, the school
newspaper, about a course called Math 55, the hardest math course
at the university and thus, Harvard liked to think, in America.
The students in Math 55, reported the Crimson, were 45 percent Jewish,
18 percent Asian, and 100 percent male. The class didn't, said the
Committee for Ethnic Piety, look like America.
sensitive to questions of justice, which it conflated with federal
funding, agreed to make the class Look Like America. The administration
asserted that only through inadvertence had it failed to notice
the clear racism, sexism, and continent-ism occurring under its
nose. It established a committee of reform, which set to work.
The first and
most ticklish hurdle was The Jewish Question. Jews were two percent
of the American population. At 45 percent in Math 55, they were
over-represented by a factor of over twenty. The injustice was undeniable.
Two percent of a class of twenty-five meant that Math 55 should
contain half a Jew. It would then look like America. The Jewish
students would have to go.
As news of
the proposed ethnographic hecatomb spread across the country, alarm
erupted among the prejudiced. Over seven hundred departments of
engineering across the country protested. They could see where Looking
Like America was going. Math departments, Silicon Valley, the National
Institutes of Health all reeked of injustice, meaning Koreans,
Jews, Indians, and Chinese, and were conscious of sin. They didn't
Look Like America. They Looked Like Math 55. In the Bay area, the
proportion of geniuses from India in computing was alarmingly high.
Some laboratories Looked Like the Punjab. These malefactors knew
well that the coming of justice would gut their enterprises.
maintain their positions of racial and patriarchal privilege, they
pointed out that the Jewish kids, like all the students in Math
55, had 800 math Boards and had done things like independently develop
tensor calculus by the age of three. The view from the Gulch was
expressed off-the-record by Dr. Gud Soma Darjeeling, president of
Santa Clara Neurocomputing, which employed seventy PhDs in solid-state
physics, including three Anglos. Look, the US is in intellectual
collapse. The average American university wouldn't qualify as a
high-school in Japan. It's crazy. The whole world know it's crazy.
But take out the Kims, Khans, Nguyens, Wangs, and Cohens, and what's
left is Albania in 1750.
The lead attorney
for CEP, Patricia Mikoyan-Gurevich, wasn't having it.
doesn't exist, and occurs equally in all groups, and anyway justice
is more important than patriarchal-racist abstractions. Sexism is
clear at Harvard. When an entire class is male, it isn't by accident.
no one was in disagreement.
as problematic as Jews. If a Jewish population of two percent required
half a Jew in a class of twenty-five, then a six percent population
of Asians required an Asian-and-a-half. Various solutions were proposed.
Perhaps a short, lightweight Gujarati would do, or maybe a prodigy
of ten from Mumbai. Otherwise, admitting three Asians every two
years might serve.
of females in Math 55 was easier to address. Harvard had already
established that there was no difference in mathematical ability
by firing a president who thought there might be. Since ability
didn't exist and was found equally in everyone, the sexual balance
was quickly rendered equitable by eliminating entrance requirements.
set about the intricate matter of making the class thirteen percent
black, sixteen percent Hispanic, a tenth of a percent Iroquois,
and so on.
CEP turned its attention to the lush pastures of music. The New
York Philharmonic, being in New York, was discovered to consist
disproportionately of Italians, Jews, Hungarians, and so on. It
Looked Like New York, which wouldn't do. The American Association
of the Musically Hopeless, consisting of the deaf, tone-deaf, mutes,
and amputees, filed suit on grounds that their membership was not
represented at all. (They carefully overlooked the fact that they
were over-represented among rock bands.) This brought up an important
juridical question: Since most Americans could not play an instrument,
should not the orchestra reflect this?
after the passage of the Look Like America bill, the United States
ranked in international measures of mathematics just behind the
Central African Republic, the New York Phil couldn't play Happy
Birthday, and racial and sexual justice flourished. Yet the vexed
problem of Math 55 had not been entirely solved. Progress had been
made, yes. The class looked almost like America, counting on its
fingers and showing no trace of patriarchalism, which in any event
it couldn't spell. However, CEP's Committee on Oppressed and Marginalized
Indigenous Peoples of Color noted that the class contained no student
from oppressed peoples of the Amazon rain forest. CEP regarded national
boundaries as essentially phallic, since they were longer than they
were wide, and thus beneath notice.
at finding yet another instance of its institutional racism, cast
about for a suitable indigene.
After a laborious
search the university discovered Wunxputl, a member of the Tloxyproctyl
tribe of the Amazon Basin, consisting of twelve people who lived
on yams and the flesh of the Three-Toed Sloth. Wunxputl was at Wellesley,
where he served in a minor administrative position that had no responsibilities.
He had been brought there seven years earlier by the anthropology
department, so it could atone for White Guilt. It didn't matter
that Wellesley was guilty of nothing. The atonement was a pleasant
form of narcissism, allowing the faculty to congratulate themselves
on their moral purity.
with Wellesley to borrow Wunxputl for three minutes every seven
years, which it had calculated would satisfy the demands of ethnic
proportionality. Justice, at last, had been achieved.
is author of Nekkid
in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well, A
Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Bem, Curmudgeing
Through Paradise: Reports from a Fractal Dung Beetle, Au
Phuc Dup and Nowhere to Go: The Only Really True Book About Viet
Nam, and A
Grand Adventure: Wisdom's Price-Along with Bits and Pieces about
Mexico. Visit his
© 2011 Fred Reed
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