Tucker Carlson: Can A Rich White Boy Even Get A Handout These Days?
Tucker Carlson's daddy was the president of the Corporation for Public Broacasting and an ambassador to the Seychelles. His stepmommy is a TV dinner heiress. He attended boarding school at St. George's School, an elite academy in Middletown, Rhode Island, which boasts Prescott Bush and several Astors as alumni, and then went on to Trinity College in Connecticut.
Anyway, Carlson would like to give us all a good talking-to about merit.
Carlson began by relating the sad tale of James Damore, who was tragically fired from Google for simply suggesting that women were incapable of doing their jobs there because of their ladybrains, and the equally sad story of Alex Jones, who was banished from YouTube for hate speech and glorifying violence. He then launched into a tirade about how, since Trump's election, things have gotten even tougher for white Christian men who wish to say terrible and discriminatory things about other groups of people, and who cannot get jobs anywhere now because people only want to hire unqualified people of color.
Via Media Matters:
In the business world, virtually, every major company seems to have lurched left since Trump's elections. Our corporate leaders are now openly determined to award this country's spoils on the basis on skin color, rather than merit. They say that out loud. This is unfair and it's deeply divisive. It makes Americans hate each other. It's also, as a factual matter, illegal. Corporations are not allowed to practice racial discrimination, neither are universities.
There's an entire division of the Justice Department that exists to enforce our laws against racism. Have they noticed what's happening? Of course they have, they just don't care. Maybe they should find other jobs.
There are still lawyers in this country who care about civil rights, and the administration should hire them and set them to work. And while they're at it, they ought to defend our constitutionally guaranteed religious freedoms as well. Traditional Christian beliefs are not a crime. Discriminating against them is. Corporate America ought to be reminded of that.
Ah, merit! America has always loved "merit." We love Horatio Alger-ish stories, we love to pretend we don't have a class system, we love believing the true reason white men -- particularly those who grew up very rich -- have led our country, our companies and our board rooms is simply because they were the most qualified. Men like Dan Quayle and George W. Bush and Donald Trump, all of whom definitely would have made it to the executive branch even if they had been born poor black women, because they had so much merit!
We talk about the kind of affirmative action that benefits people of color and white women, but we don't talk about the kind of affirmative action that has always existed to benefit white men and that has always benefited the rich (and for most of our history, those who benefited from being rich were white men, like Tucker Carlson). If we did, it would be pitchfork time. So people like Tucker Carlson are very invested in making sure those pitchforks are directed at someone else.
Here's a fun fact that doesn't get mentioned in a lot of screeds like this -- white men are more likely than any other group to be referred for a job, and about 1/3 of all jobs go to referrals. And if you're thinking "Oh! Well, then maybe those white men are just really good and it's just a strange coincidence that black women get 35% fewer referrals than they do," then allow me to point out that the most common type of referral is from family members or close friends.
You see, it's not just having money that provides privilege, though it certainly helps. It's what comes with it. It's the connections and the introductions and the ability to get an internship from the guy your dad plays golf with at the club, or from your fraternity brother's daddy. It's having your parents support you while you do an unpaid internship. It's legacy admissions to elite universities. It's getting extra points on admissions for extra-curricular activities that maybe not everyone else could afford to do.
These are things that we all agree to kind of ignore in order to preserve our idea of America as a country where anyone can boostrap themselves to the top. It's part of the social contract. Another part of that social contract is pretending as if those at the top are deserving, that they are the most qualified, that they are simply the cream of the crop. (Like this guy.)
If companies that have diversity policies are successful, that is a threat to that particular social contract, and an extreme threat to people like Tucker Carlson -- who, you know, just might have had some non-merit-based help here and there in their lives. The very idea that it could even be possible to find any person of color who could do a job just as well as or better than a white man is a threat. It ruins everything.
The truth is, the idea that anyone is getting anywhere on pure "merit" alone is a fallacy. People get hired for jobs because they have connections, because they remind the boss of a younger version of themselves, or because they look a certain way all the time. And sometimes, perfectly qualified applicants get ignored for other reasons. Also true is that no matter how qualified James Damore might have been, he made his workplace uncomfortable for others in it, and that can be just as bad for a company as having someone who sucks at their job.
Almost no one gets completely free speech at work. You can't go around insulting your coworkers, you can't stand up in the middle of a meeting and start going on about the particulars of your diverticulitis, you can't scream at your boss. If your political beliefs or your "Traditional Christian" beliefs involve insulting other people or creating a hostile work environment, then you must keep them to yourself. It's called "being professional."
And if white conservative Christian men cannot figure that shit out, then maybe we'll all have to wait until they do before anyone hires them.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse