People who rose from very humble beginnings.

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,580
SoCal
#21
Also, I forgot to mention Joan of Arc here. She certainly deserves a mention here since she was the heroine who helped turn the tide in France's war against the English in the early 1400s.

To be fair, it's much easier to defy expectations and rise through the social ranks in 20th/21st century America - even if you're non-white - than it was for someone of a low class to rise through the classes in the ancient or medieval world. Ideas of meritocracy simply did not exist in these eras, or at least only very minimally and specifically.
I actually think that it might be easier for a talented, smart non-White person (especially Black and/or Hispanic person) to rise up the ranks in the US nowadays due to the existence of affirmative action. Since Black and Hispanic talent is more scarce (for instance, I think that there have been no Black Fields Medal winners), it appears to be more valued in our society. A Black mathematician would likely get much more job offers than a White mathematician with a similar resume and achievements would simply because Black mathematicians are much rarer than White mathematicians are. The New York Times recently wrote about the scarcity of Black mathematicians.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,580
SoCal
#23
If we're going to extand this into presidents and the likes, then this list will become much, much bigger. I was mostly thinking we were talking about emperors and kings....
What about generals such as Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Zachary Taylor?
 
Mar 2016
749
Australia
#24
I actually think that it might be easier for a talented, smart non-White person (especially Black and/or Hispanic person) to rise up the ranks in the US nowadays due to the existence of affirmative action. Since Black and Hispanic talent is more scarce (for instance, I think that there have been no Black Fields Medal winners), it appears to be more valued in our society. A Black mathematician would likely get much more job offers than a White mathematician with a similar resume and achievements would simply because Black mathematicians are much rarer than White mathematicians are. The New York Times recently wrote about the scarcity of Black mathematicians.
That's true. Affirmative action is a blight on the cause of true meritocracy, however noble the original intentions were.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,580
SoCal
#27
That's true. Affirmative action is a blight on the cause of true meritocracy, however noble the original intentions were.
Yeah, I mean, it's great that smart and talented Blacks and Hispanics are being acknowledged and rewarded, but at the same time, their achievements and record sometimes only stand out because they are so exceptional for their races. A White or East Asian person with the same criteria wouldn't be as unique since there would be more Whites and East Asians with similar achievements and credentials.

For instance, think of Katherine Johnson. Her work for NASA is very notable in part because she's a Black woman and there were probably few Black women working for NASA. In contrast, the achievements of various White men who worked for NASA might be overlooked since these White men don't stand out as much--with there probably being a lot of White men who were working for NASA.

Also, my own thoughts--and I will repeat them here--is to be inclined to oppose affirmative action of any kind (at least in most cases) while nevertheless supporting income redistribution and wealth redistribution in order to make life fairer for those people who were not blessed with a high IQ or with a lot of talent(s).
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,580
SoCal
#29
BTW, I forgot to mention someone else here--specifically 18th century Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov. I believe that he was a peasant at the time of his birth and thus rose from humble beginnings to become extremely prominent, notable, and famous.
 
Mar 2016
749
Australia
#30
lso, my own thoughts--and I will repeat them here--is to be inclined to oppose affirmative action of any kind (at least in most cases) while nevertheless supporting income redistribution and wealth redistribution in order to make life fairer for those people who were not blessed with a high IQ or with a lot of talent(s).
Not to start a sociopolitical debate here, which would be quite off-topic, but I must say that I don't think affirmative action is more harmful to society than the socialism you are proposing. The Soviet Union had the goal of wealth redistribution to help the less fortunate, and despite their initially good intentions all they ended up doing was stealing money from people and then handing it out to who they felt like, when they felt like. I'd rather the government not steal my money to do with what they please. It's my money. You wanna help less fortunate people, foster an environment that values charity, building more homeless shelters, and creating social safety nets like cheap/free health care and housing. But don't just steal my money because you believe I don't deserve it as much as someone else. That's straight up evil, and trying to play god.
 

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