[FoRK] why is "elite" a dirty word?

zuzu < sean.zuzu at gmail.com > on > Thu Mar 16 08:40:45 PST 2006

On 3/16/06, rudy rouhana <rudy at comlaw.org> wrote:
>   I can think of a few reasons.
>  However, the constantly correcting mechanism of sports doesn't extend to other areas as elite entities typically are allowed to perpetuate themselves without constant competition in the marketplace.  Harvard will always be Harvard; they have an elite reputation that will likely never be questioned by society even in the face of their now former University President's opinion on the ability to succeed in engineering and science.  I can think of many reasons why someone who could meet the standards to attend Harvard wouldn't actually have the opportunity:  Despite Harvard's endowment paying millions to their fund managers, many students are in incredible debt when they leave, and assuming such debt may not be an option for some students.  The University has practiced discrimination in who they accept. (Look up some of the roots of the term: "grinders") Spaces are reserved for kids who attend premier boarding schools, kids who without the benefit of extremely wealthy families
>  are not academically distinct than other. And so on...

Are you thinking of Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker piece?


(of course, arguing what defines "merit" seems to beg the question of
measuring "human action".  also, inherited wealth can be likened to
inherited genetic aptitude.)

> So, the student who opted to go to State U. likely will have a much greater time achieving elite anything status, while the student waltzing out of Harvard will have a society predisposed to accept what they say as having higher value.
> -r

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