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A Talmudic Jump-Shot

I want to be a star center for the NBA, with ten years back pay. Now.

And a rabbi.

As a generic white-bread male, I once opposed affirmative action, and said vicious and insensitive things about its remarkable resemblance to a spoils system. I have seen the error of my ways, however, and hereby recant. We should keep affirmative action, I now believe, but democratize it. Everyone should enjoy the honors and emoluments of proven incapacity.

The flaw with affirmative action is not that it rewards the ineffectual, but that it rewards only some of the ineffectual. It doesn't discriminate even-handedly. Right now, relative preference is given to the relatively incompetent, and absolute preference to the hopeless--but only if they are of the correct race or sex.

Suppose that, say, Samoan Americans score twenty points on the SATs below white applicants for an Ivy League school. Some slight enthusiasm will arise for accepting them--but not much. Twenty points is too niggling a deficit. Maybe the students took the tests with a hangover, and the inability is only apparent.

But if a black student scores 250 points lower that whites, he will be judged almost supernaturally qualified, and stuffed bodily into Berkley. A white applicant whose academic prospects were equally bleak would be junked.

No sensible or fair-minded person can object to awarding advancement according to competitive incompetence, but the American way is to reward individual disqualifications, as distinct from group incapacities. White males also are individually incompetent in some fields, sometimes disastrously so. Should they not be give preference for those specific jobs they can't handle?

Professional basketball, for example. An unbiased judge would have to conclude that I am preternaturally unsuited to replace Michael Jordan on the Chicago Bulls. I am too short, too slow, too old, too weak. My jump shot, though a thing of beauty, is too independent -minded to go where I tell it. It is true that I am not actually confined to a wheel chair, but I am otherwise a dream candidate for affirmative action.

I want to play center.

Further, I have the collateral credentials, being a victim: The NBA obviously discriminates against white players, or would if it had any. Alas, poor me. How I have suffered.

Further still, I have been a victim for generations. (I'm not sure what that means, but I don't think it matters.) Blacks invariably point to slavery as justification for preference, the mistreatment of a great-grandfather being undeniable qualification for admission to a doctoral program in laser physics. Ah, but white males can make the similar claims.

I too can demonstrate that some of my ancestors were discriminated against, somewhere else, a long time ago, by people now dead, who had no connection tot he NBA. (I think a few were burned at the stake ore something on St. Bartholomew's Day in 1572. Good riddance, too. Ever meet a Calvinist?)

But I don't stop at claiming the mantle of Jordan. In accordance with the accepted principle of statistical inference of injustice, I want to be a rabbi. Notice that no white Protestant male has ever been a rabbi. Not to criticize the Jews, but…hey, come on, guys: Four thousand years of history, tens of thousands of rabbis, and not one has been a Presbyterian. I'm expected to believe it's a coincidence?

(Incidentally, there has never been a Jewish pope. Clearly an EEOC case. Can the 14th Amendment be broadened to include Italy? Has it been?)

All right, all right. Honesty compels the recognition that those hostile to competent white males do have a case. Feminists for example point out that white males, being sexually insecure and therefore bedeviled by a compensatory obsession with achievement, have selfishly dominated history for ages. A close reading of history supports them: Such males have invented algebr4a, geometry, calculus, refrigeration, transistors, television, philosophy, architecture, computers, chemistry, automobiles, vaccines, airplanes, symphonies, washing machines, and the Simpsons (Bart and d Lisa, not O.J.)

This egocentric masculine flowering has to be stopped, argue feminists compellingly, and affirmative action is the way to stop it.

Fine. I'm sorry. I apologize. We pale males did do all those things. It was awful of us. We didn't mean it. All I urge is that, now, white male incompetence be equally enriched with everyone else's. Certainly something can be found which each of us guys is unsuited to do.

Me and the NBA, for example. I'll start at four million a year, plus signing bonus.

In conclusion, while there may be minor disadvantages to the universal promotion of inability through a more fair-minded affirmative action, the loss in technical mastery will be more than balanced by the gain in…in…hmmmm. And if you are wheeled into the operating room one day, and see your neurosurgeon standing there with a puzzled look and an ice-cream scoop, well, just have a remedial tag on your toe. ("Open other end.") Think, while you can, of the social benefit.

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