The narrative that standards must be lowered or altered in some ways in order for one group to compete with another is one of the biggest bait and switch scams going in today’s society. Before I begin let me set the parameters of that statement. It is not a statement in absolutes. Standards that are proven to be unfair because they are in place for the express purpose of tipping the scales one way or another are not the standards I am referring to. Rather the statement is about the standards that in their general framework are considered to be fair, not put in place to tip the scales and are primarily looked at as being unfair because a group or groups of individuals historically perform poorly or exceedingly well as it relates to said standards. Now with that being said let’s examine why the narrative is a scam.
The first reason is that it lessens the attention given to more substantial issues, such as what are the inherent obstacles that impact certain groups’ ability to succeed. High school and college entrance exams are a prime example of this. While the argument rages on that the tests are unfair because certain socio-economic groups historically perform poorly on them no one is asking the more relevant question. Why is it that certain socio-economic groups fail to perform well on these tests? Is it that the education they are afforded in their elementary and/or secondary schools is not up to the same standards as those in the groups that are excelling at the test? Are there economic issues in their community which serve as contributing factor, such as the inability to obtain adequate pre natal health care, Certain groups have vested interests in the avoidance of such questions and by calling for the lowering of standards they are able to avoid the spotlight being shined upon them.
The second reason is that it provides a crutch to the very same groups that the narrative purports to assist. Rather than saying as a group we are not looking for a handout, we are looking for an opportunity. The narrative becomes the standards must be lowered/altered in order for us to keep up. This plants the subconscious thought that certain groups can not be expected to achieve at the same level as others unless they are given help. It also provides an excuse for some with-in the group for why they do not have to reach for greatness. Because someone is going to bring greatness to them. Of course this way of thinking is fundamentally flawed and dangerous because as Nathaniel Branden stated:
If implicitly we teach people victimhood as their core self-identification, we are not teaching self-responsibility. We are teaching dependency and impotence. The danger is that they will feel “somebody has to do something, and that if the rescuer does not come they are doomed.”
The third and most significant reason to resist this narrative is that in the end it maintains the status quo it seeks to expunge. While standards may be lowered/altered at one level they most certainly will not be at the next one or the one after that. The perceived inferiority one has due to the knowledge that they may only be here because standards were lowered for them embeds in their mindset a sense of limitation and fear of failure which in turn prevents them from even trying to climb higher. Worst yet it removes the concept of personal exceptionalism. Because how can one expect to be exceptional if they believe they are only there because the system was altered to allow them to be there. In the end the lowering of standards grants access to the first step on the ladder but greatness remains reserved for those who work hard to achieve it as they climb to the ladder to the top.