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3/13/12

Why Is the Obama Administration Trying to Undermine Educational Opportunities for Black Children?

The question is asked by Thomas Sowell. The commentary is provided by Dan Mitchell. The posting was done by me.
Many thanks to Dan for his ongoing permission to re-publish his posts on this blog. It allows me to go play golf today. Every day you don't read the posts at his fine blog, International Liberty, is a day lost to learning something you probably didn't know.



If you care about helping the less fortunate succeed, I’m commenting today on a Thomas Sowell column that will make you sad and angry. It is a story about how powerless and disadvantaged people are being hurt to advance the political interests of some elitists.
Here is the clever way he starts the column. I particularly like the reference to Social Security as a Ponzi scheme, which reminds me of this cartoon.
There have been many frauds of historic proportions — for example, the financial pyramid scheme for which Charles Ponzi was sent to prison in the 1920s, and for which Franklin D. Roosevelt was praised in the 1930s, when he called it Social Security. In our own times, Bernie Madoff’s hoax has made headlines. But the biggest hoax of the past two generations is still going strong — namely, the hoax that statistical differences in outcomes for different groups are due to the way other people treat those groups.
Then he gets to the meat of his topic.
The latest example of this hoax is the joint crusade of the Department of Education and the Department of Justice against schools that discipline black males more often than other students. According to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, this disparity in punishment violates the “promise” of “equity.” Just who made this promise remains unclear, and why equity should mean equal outcomes despite differences in behavior is even more unclear. This crusade by Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is only the latest in a long line of fraudulent arguments based on statistics. If black males get punished more often than Asian American females, does that mean that it is somebody else’s fault? That it is impossible that black males are behaving differently from Asian American females? Nobody in his right mind believes that. But that is the unspoken premise, without which the punishment statistics prove nothing about “equity.”
Professor Sowell contemplates the motive for this Obama Administration initiative.
What is the purpose or effect of this whole exercise by the Department of Education and the Department of Justice? To help black students or to secure the black vote in an election year by seeming to be coming to the rescue of blacks from white oppression? Among the many serious problems of ghetto schools is the legal difficulty of getting rid of disruptive hoodlums, a mere handful of whom can be enough to destroy the education of a far larger number of other black students — and with it destroy their chances for a better life.
Sowell elaborates further, pulling no punches.
Secretary Duncan and Attorney General Holder want to play the race card in an election year, at the expense of the education of black students. Make no mistake about it, the black students who go to school to get an education are the main victims of the classroom disrupters whom Duncan and Holder are trying to protect. What they are more fundamentally trying to protect are the black votes which are essential for Democrats. For that, blacks must be constantly depicted as under siege from whites, so that Democrats can be seen as their rescuers. Promoting paranoia translates into votes. It is a very cynical political game, despite all the lofty rhetoric used to disguise it. Whether the current generation of black students get a decent education is infinitely more important than whether the current generation of Democratic politicians hang on to their jobs. Very powerful stuff. And it should be disturbing as well.
I’ve already commented on the implicit racism in the minimum wage law and thereprehensible decision by leftists to put the interests of teacher union ahead of the interests of black students.
Now we can add something else to the list.
If you like Professor Sowell’s insights, I’ve highlighted more of his work here,hereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere, and here. And you can see him in action here. A truly gifted public intellectual and a (thankfully) prolific writer.

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