Inequality and Winning

In his rallying cry for those who proudly support inequality, Anthony Radice made some very salient and noteworthy statements about the fecklessness and deserved failure of the poor people he now presumably encounters daily whilst teaching in a fee-paying independent London day school.
Shame upon the drippy liberals who suspect that growing up in an overcrowded house might inhibit pupils’ chances of success, or that trifling excuses like not having enough money to eat might make it difficult for pupils to work to the best of their ability. Corbynista guff.
No, poverty is just the phantasmagorical excuse that the poor kids and their Trot teachers invoke from their magic lamps of low aspiration, which are ten a penny in the shitty chaotic comps. It’s interesting when the privileged are writing about why privilege is fine for those who have the privilege of being privileged, which makes pro-inequality conclusions hardly surprising, privilege being quite cushy and all (if you are the privileged one).
I am privileged too by the way.
I am white in a racially stratified society. I’ve got privilege by the bucketload. A man in a patriarchal society. A graduate with career prospects in a society where the gap between rich and poor is widening. I am doing well because of my hard work in addition to this, of course but the whole white, British, graduate man thing is a good platform to build up from.
The problem for anyone flying the flag for inequality is the extrapolation of moral judgement from their own hard work and academic success, and then the presumption that everybody else who doesn’t do as well has failed solely because of their lack of effort.
As nice as it is to imagine that our successes in life are simply the fruits of our own labour, or the shiny pebbles collected along our own humbly-forged pathway to individual excellence, it’s not like that, whether we win or we lose.
In the marathon that is our education system, the reality is that some competitors receive a couple of kilometres head start, the secret tips of previous winners, a team of supportive coaches, a rigorous and expensive training regime, the best footwear and an army of fans not only supporting them but expecting them to win. And some other kids just turn up on their own roughly around the time the starting pistol is fired and hope to make it to the end.
And the saddest part of this is that both of them, once the race is over, think it was a fair competition because they both had a chance to race.

And so, the race goes on.


4 thoughts on “Inequality and Winning

  1. But some of those kids who “just turn up on their own” have teachers like you in their corner, Johnny. They’re fortunate in that.

    Hope you’ve had a very good half term break.

  2. We are told to close the gap but that door is firmly shut when the children get to the last 10k of their marathon at 18.

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