People who use others to advance their own agendas are exploiters, and liberals—both black and white—are exploiters of the worst kind. As a rule, people don’t like to be exploited. Consequently, it is difficult to understand why so many in the black community allow themselves to be used by liberals. There is little in the liberal agenda that helps improve the lives of black Americans. The best way to help any human being is to help that individual stand on his own two feet and live a life characterized by self-reliance, individual liberty, personal responsibility, and continual improvement. The agenda of liberals does nothing to help black Americans become self-reliant. In fact, it is designed to ensure that just the opposite—total dependence on the government—is the rule for black Americans. Yet black voters continue to support liberal politicians in overwhelming numbers. Can someone please explain their reasoning?
Consider just two of the most sacred planks in the political platform of the left: support for Affirmative Action and opposition to charter schools. Not only are liberal policies on these issues not helpful to black Americans, they are destructive. All the left’s policies have done for black Americans is breakdown their family structure, create in them an entitlement mentality, and keep them perpetually dependent on government handouts. Black Americans who have bettered their lives—and thankfully the number is growing—have done so by breaking the bonds of government dependence and taking personal responsibility for themselves and their lives. The most successful black Americans are those who have chosen to take education seriously and pursue it vigorously, adopt a positive work ethic, and take personal responsibility for their lives. This is the same formula behind almost all rags-to-riches stories in America, regardless of race. No one ever improved his life by becoming dependent on the government.
Affirmative Action was instituted to ensure that minority applicants were not denied seats in colleges and universities on the basis of racial discrimination. In its original and intended state, Affirmative Action was supposed to ensure that if two applicants were equally qualified and one was a minority, the minority applicant got priority when admission decisions were made. This practice was supposed to continue only until under-represented minorities were appropriately represented in the student bodies of colleges and universities. So much for that theory.
Not surprisingly, like so many well-intended theories that are implemented by an entrenched bureaucracy that is prone to legislate by enforcement, Affirmative Action soon morphed into an entitlement program in which black applicants were admitted at the expense of white and Asian applicants who were better qualified for admission and better prepared to succeed in college classes. Worse yet, some black students who were marginally qualified and might have done well at state colleges or even local community colleges were admitted to our nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher education where they found themselves competing against not just the best and brightest students in America, but in the world; a competition some of them were destined to lose. As it has been implemented, Affirmative Action has managed to be detrimental to black students as well as students of all other races. In short, it has helped no one and hurt everyone.
Perhaps the worst aspect of Affirmative Action is that it carries with it a presumption that black students cannot stand on their own academically—that they need a crutch; something liberals must believe or they would not insist on special treatment for black applicants. This is 2014 not 1964. The world has changed, but the condescending attitude of paternalistic liberals toward black Americans has not. I have taught at the college level for 38 years now and can attest to the fact that black students are just like students of any other race. Those who take education seriously, attend classes regularly, pay attention, study hard, and complete their assignments do well. Those who refuse to do these things fare poorly.
Black students do not need a crutch, not in education or any other aspect of life. What they need is high expectations and accountability—the same things needed by students of all races. One thing is certain: no person of any race will stand on his own two feet until he is expected to do so. When you treat people as if they are disadvantaged, they come to believe they are disadvantaged and perform accordingly. The worst thing you can give another human being is an excuse for failing. Giving college students special privileges on the basis of race amounts to giving them an excuse to fail. This is bad enough in and of itself, but affording special privileges to one group on the basis of race amounts to discriminating against other groups on the basis of race; precisely what Affirmative Action was supposed to prevent.
A better approach than Affirmative Action would have been to provide programs that help underprepared black students remediate where necessary, thereby improving their academic skills to the point that they merit admission to the college or university of their choice and can compete against anyone else. Affirmative Action too often results in throwing black students to the wolves by admitting them before they are prepared. Then, rather than face the consequences imposed by federal bureaucrats when unprepared black students fail to graduate in sufficient numbers, many colleges and universities have simply lowed their standards or began offering nonsense degrees that any sixth grader could successfully complete; degrees like Afro-American Studies and Leisure Management. Worse yet, institutions of higher education perpetrated the fraud that these do-nothing degrees would somehow help students live better, more productive, more prosperous lives when, in fact, they prepare students for nothing more than the minimum-wage jobs they could have gotten without going to college. This is why college students are now suing their alma maters when they cannot secure good jobs after graduating.
Liberals acknowledge the critical role a quality education can play in helping people improve their lives. Why then do liberal politicians, fight so hard against the establishment of charter schools and the provision of school vouchers to poor families; especially when there is so much support in poor black communities for both? The answer to this question can be stated in one word: politics. Conservative columnist Walter Williams explains the opposition of liberals to charter schools and school vouchers in these words: “The largest and most powerful labor union in the country is the National Education Association, with well over three million members. Teachers benefit enormously from their education monopoly. It yields higher pay and lower accountability. It’s a different story for a large percentage of black people who receive fraudulent education.”
Public school teachers benefit financially from their monopoly on education and liberals benefit politically from supporting them in maintaining that monopoly. In the meantime, it is poor black Americans who need a better education than the “fraudulent” version available in their under-funded, burned-out, violence-infested public schools. That liberals can actually claim to care about black Americans and perpetuate the fraud that they are dedicated to helping them is an abomination. That black Americans allow themselves to be used in this way by liberals is even worse.