The Limits of Antielitism
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.
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