It’s all about merit … until it isn’t.

I realize this is a bit of old news, but an article in today’s New York Times reminded me yet again that we’re a meritocracy — no affirmative action allowed! — just so long as it’s euro-derived/white/straight/Christian/cis/non-disabled people who own the merit.

In today’s article about Asian golfers in the L.P.G.A. — the Ladies Professional Golf Association, though you have to scour their website for confirmation that the “L” in fact stands for “Ladies” — we’re reminded that, as Asian players started to succeed in the tour,

the L.P.G.A. commissioner at the time . . . proposed that foreign-born players who had been on the tour at least two years face suspension if they could not speak fluent English.

Because ability to speak English is a well-known merit-based qualification for playing golf.   The article notes that, under pressure, she retracted the proposed condition.   But like the quotas — ceilings — on the number of Jews admitted to Ivy League schools in the 1920s and the number of Asians these days and like the objections to Oscar Pistorius’s participation in the Olympics, and of course like good ol’ fashioned legacy admissions to elite colleges, the response to the rise of Asian golfers is more evidence that merit is myth.