Letter published Richmond-Times April 12, 2019


Talent, not privilege,
should be entree to college
Editor, Times-Dispatch:

What do affirmative action and the privileged pay-to-enter-college bribery scandal have in common? What subliminal message does one’s sense of justice and fairness send when financial and governmental edicts push to the head of the line those deemed to have been disadvantaged based on claims of societal misdeeds of the past rather than demonstrated talent? Is it fair to that person to be placed in a learning environment not earned, and one in which a lack of demonstrated talent weighs heavily against achieving academic success? Is it possible to look at one of those who benefits from such policies, politics or payments with impartiality? Is it now possible not to wonder if any college graduate is a person of talent rather than one of unearned privilege, either by legislation or by family wealth and political influence?

F. Scott Fitzgerald provides insight in his 1925 short story “Rich Boy”:

“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful. … They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different.”

Still true today.

Charles G. Battig.

Houston, Texas.

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