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In Pursuit of PrivilegeA History of New York City's Upper Class and the Making of a Metropolis$
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Clifton Hood

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172165

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172165.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021



The Limits of Antielitism

(p.350) Conclusion
In Pursuit of Privilege

Clifton Hood

Columbia University Press

In June 2010, 18-year old Justin Hudson used his delivery of the graduating speech at Hunter College High School to challenge admissions standards there that had resulted in declining numbers of African-American and Latino students. In his speech, Hudson questioned the very idea of merit that had emerged in the 1970s, an understanding that rested on the two pillars of achievement and diversity that were the foundation of anti-elitism. In pinpointing the social and economic basis of hereditary meritocracy, Hudson attacked the legitimacy of the anti-elitist elite. He identified the central flaw with the present-day understanding of merit by condemning elites for distorting and privileging merit to the point that it reinforced instead of democratizing hierarchies. Ironically, anti-elitism had become the basis of a new upper class.

Keywords:   Justin Hudson, Hunter College High School, hereditary meritocracy, anti-elitism, Occupy Wall Street, Mayor Bill de Blasio, egalitarianism

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