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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

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Saturday, February 22, 2003
1:34 PM

Yikes! I take a couple days off from blogging and my comments box on Augusta explodes. Proving once again the less I write, the higher the demand for my blog. My own comments, and a deep reflection on the folly of hard work, to come.

UPDATE: Well first of all, let me say I'm glad PostWatch could provide something of a forum for discussing this issue. And I thank Jim McCarthy, OmbudsGod and Steve for the work they put into their comments.

I don't have much to add at this point except for the following. OmbudsGod seems to stake part of his argument on past conditions. One item puzzles me a bit, though I think I know where he's coming from: Blacks weren't admitted at Augusta until 1990. If you ask me, that's more than a little embarrassing for Augusta, but irrelevant to the current argument. Unless you retain a visceral dislike of Augusta. The implication seems to be Augusta was awful in that case (arguable) and therefore they must also be awful in this case. I also sense a bit of stereotyping--about southerners and of Evil Plotting Men--in references to "the Ol' Boys Club."

In this context, it seems a bit ludicrous to associate, even rhetorically, Augusta's current membership policy with Jim Crow. I'm afraid that trivializes the gravity of Jim Crow. Comparing life at a golf club to a set of cultural practices that ranged from disenfranchisement to mob lynchings is unfortunate, and I'll leave it at that.

Here's one important area where commenter Steve really hits the nail on the head: In virtually all parts of American culture, women have the opportunity to compete on equal terms if they choose to do so. In some of those areas they are actually dominating, including in higher (and secondary) education, where they do indeed receive most of the degrees and their advantage is ever-increasing. Things have changed. Women generally aren't trying to storm the castle anymore; they're either helping to run it themselves or building they're own castles.

All of this leaves me where I started. Either you think race and gender are identical, or you don't. If you think they're identical, I suppose you can start calling for a ban on New York Times-sponsored women's outings, the scores of all-women's colleges and the thousands of women's networking organizations in the country, but I don't expect OBG or others who agree with him will.

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