Special Preferences

Longtime readers might recognize this one, but it’s the first time it has appeared anywhere in color (and possibly on the internet at all). Still, it bears repeating every decade or so. I’ve been hard at work on an enormous special comic that I’ll be posting a link to here tomorrow.


  • Darris McFarland

    Do you really think this is how 99% of white America gets through life? Are all whites rich? Are all blacks poor and no blacks ever went to college to claim legacy? Where did you go to school? Smith?.. Mount Holyoke? Some other rich kid school? I went to Umass Lowell with the other poor kids. After graduating I took a job just slightly over min wage as did everybody else who wasn’t an engineer or in the medical field. I proved myself reliable and competent and moved up. That’s how you do it. You don’t start at the top. Sucking as an employee then claiming racism or sexism is the weakest excuse there is and it will keep you down forever. Open your mind. The answers do not lie with the hard right or the hard left. Enjoy your privileges provided to you by someone with courage.

    • ThorstenV

      Well maybe, just maybe the point here is not that every WASP is rich in privileges, but that there are a lot of privileges at some which are never seen as privilege but as earned.

      “I proved myself reliable and competent and moved up. That’s how you do it.”

      Respect to you Sir, and what are the numbers? Did you move from number 145,235 on the ladder to 144,997 or even higher? Even more respect of you did it although you were not lucky all the time, say, because of some long term illness or whatever miserable condition we fragile humans unfortunately may fall victim to. Than you are totally justified to say this is how you do it. Emphases on “you”.

      Meanwhile the guy from the comic moved up from say 43.774 to 28, the way the comic shows. This is how he did it.

      These numbers were of course made up, but, we have the real numbers. There is sound scientific data that whatever hard work, whatever knowledge of foreign language or other learning, whatever you can reasonable do or change in your life does not stand a change of beating being born into wealth and power. A few exceptions exist in every generation, which can be explained due to statistical effects, pale in comparison to the mainstream and are in the long run sucked up in it. Meritocracy is a “Cover of Sports illustrated”-type illusion, i.e. focusing on the exceptional winner.

      • Bjorndarock

        That is the way the entire world works friend. Always has. Don’t you think the son of a tribal chief in some 3rd world country doesn’t have more privilege than the rest of the tribe? What is your solution? Kill all the rich, institute soviet style communism? Guess what, the children of party leaders enjoy great privilege and wealth. The rest live like communists. If you take someone’s money at gunpoint, which is what all taxes are, you take their freedom and you become a tyrant dictator. America also has taken in more of the worlds poor and turned them into middle and upper class than any other country in the history of civilization. All you have to do to prove that is ask a few people around you what their name is. That is not a “few exceptions”. Does everyone deserve to live like Bill Gates? Unless they have advanced our species as Gates did I don’t think so. Would bill gates have retired in 1980 if he had no incentive to innovate, grow and create good jobs? Probably. I know I would. I hate fat cats too. I am also smart enough to realize that fat cats are where most of the jobs come from and where most of the money to fund big government comes from. Communism has become trendy with those not old enough to have seen it in action.

        • ThorstenV

          That Gates or X does what he does because of incentives is a sort of truism. Giving out money at gunpoint is also largely due to this: the incentive of the thought that it might me nicer not to have some bullets going through your head pretty soon.

          “Unless they have advanced our species as Gates did I don’t think so.”

          And you have measured this advancement by which methods? And that of say the gunpointer?

          “If you take someone’s money at gunpoint, which is what all taxes are, you take their freedom and you become a tyrant dictator”

          Oh Dear! I don’t want to be this. I guess I just take advice, go west, take my claim of land and make my own fortune. Then I … um … wait. Just looked at a map. There seem to be people already in the West. How’s this … um … they say the own the land already and I shouldn’t … um …

          See what I mean? It was this way when I was born. The day I was born, I was born into an already existing society with rules and rules and rules. And facts established over the centuries by the rules. and more rules and more rules. Rules forming society, society acting on facts with rules. Society acting on itself with rules. That’s what I found the day me lucky ducky picked his way out of his egg: all constrains already in place.

          Let’s go back to the above landowner. How exactly do I know that he advanced society proportional to the patch he owns? All I see at the moment is that the current set of rules and facts favour him and that he arrived at this state through a long history, during which others owned the land by their rules. Maybe rules we today despise of.

          “What is your solution?”

          I think one point in pluralism, democracy and free speech is not to have a panacea like solution but figuring it out on the way making use of critical thought and the best data available.

          So my first general advice would be, not to take a set of rules as superior just because it happens to be the set currently put into action. Maybe taxes are thievery. Maybe property is.

  • Robinanna neibauer

    Or you can make collage affordable! Isn’t that a good idea!

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-syndicated political cartoonist whose work has appeared in The Progressive, The Nation, Daily Kos, Austin Chronicle, NPR, Ms., Politico, and many other publications. The recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, she tweets at @JenSorensen.