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Diverse Issues in Higher Education, April 8, 2018

By Nichole Margarita Garcia

upset Asian Woman looking off into space while seated in front of a laptop and papers.According to Peggy McIntosh, Ph.D., senior research scientist at the Wellesley Centers for Women, obliviousness surrounding white and male privilege is rooted in the myth of meritocracy, the idea that every individual has the same ability to succeed if they work hard. Meritocracy assumes that accomplishment and rejection occur in a vacuum where systemic privilege and disadvantage do not exist. In this opinion piece, Nicole Margarita Garcia, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, argues that our fear of rejection is a result of meritocracy. For Garcia, the myth of meritocracy is dangerous in the higher education world because it creates a competition of individualism rather than a culture of collectivity.

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