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I might be a racist

...because I'm going to tell the truth about what is going on in America's schools. And I have Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern (R-Bethany) to thank for it.

Here in Oklahoma, Rep. Kern is widely known as a lightning rod because of her outspoken opposition to gay rights and gay marriage. She has become a "love to hate" villian of the Left and is widely considered to be a dictionary-class example of the stereotypical racist/sexist/ bigot/homophobe straw man Conservative.

This past week, as the state legislature debated an end to Affirmative Action laws in Oklahoma, Rep. Kern explained that in her opinion Affirmative Action was unnecessary because people are responsible for their own choices:

It kind of seems to me that the premise here tonight is that color and sex is the sole factor in whether or not you get ahead, or whether or not you don't get ahead. Well I want to ask the question, what about personal initiative? What about personal drive? What about hard work? What about being willing to, uh, pay the price? Doesn't that enter in somewhere? I certainly think it ought to.


... It's character that ought to count, not whether or not you're black, whether you're white, whether you're purple, whether you're whatever. Whether you come from this side of the tracks or that side of the tracks. It should be your character; it should be your willingness to say 'I'm going to become everything I can become.'


... We have heard tonight already that in prison there's more black people. Yes there are, and that's, that's tragic. It's tragic that our prisons here in Oklahoma are, what are they, 99% occupancy? But the other side of the story, perhaps we need to consider, is this just because they're black that they're in prison, or could it be because they didn't want to work hard in school? And white people often times don't want to work hard in school, or Asians don't want to work some times. But a lot of times, that's what happens. I taught school for twenty years, and I saw a lot of, a lot of, uh, people of color who didn't want to work as hard. They wanted it given to them. Matter of fact, I had one student who said, 'I don't need to study. You know why? The government's going to take care of me.' That's kind of revealing there.

Rep. Kern also talked about comparisons between wages earned by men and women. After fumbling through a statement that "women usually don't want to work as hard as a man" - after which she immediately backed up and clarified her comments, and offered a brief apology - she explained that women in general earn less money than men because they "tend to think a little more about their family" instead of advancing their careers.

I'm going to stop short of defending Rep. Kern because a seasoned politician ought to understand the Left's unquenchable appetite for destructive soundbites that can be used against its "enemies."  She should have thought long and hard about using folksy anecdotal arguments to explain her beliefs about affirmative action. Storytelling, particularly if it runs afoul of commonly accepted progressive narratives, can be the kiss of death for public officials.  And in the eyes of liberals, Rep. Kern committed two of the gravest, most unpardonable sins -- challenging the orthodoxy of both the civil rights and feminist narratives.

Her speech on the House floor, which ran nearly nine minutes, was summarized in one sentence by a reporter from the Tulsa World: "Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, said minorities earn less than white people because they don't work as hard and have less initiative."

Major news outlets and the Leftosphere immediately picked up the story, and included this remark from the above-mentioned Tulsa World article, purportedly a direct quote of Rep. Kern's comments: "We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that's tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don't want to study as hard in school? I've taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn't study hard because they said the government would take care of them."


As you can see from the above transcript, which I typed word-for-word from the official debate video (embedded in the Tulsa World story), these are utter (and, I believe, purposeful) distortions of Rep. Kern's remarks. Of course the usual suspects were all deeply horrified and offended, and numerous calls for Rep. Kern's resignation have peppered the Oklahoma airwaves for the past two days.

But Rep. Kern touched on an issue that ought to be brought front and center in our ongoing debates about public education, which is that the poorest-performing schools in the nation are consistently those with disproportionately high concentrations of African-American students.


The information website Neighborhood Scout prepares an annual list of the 25 worst performing schools in the US. I have narrowed the 2009 list down to 12 public schools with attendance of 300 or more students (the rest were charter schools and academys with very low student enrollment). I have also included the number one worst school, even though it is smaller (181 students) than the other schools. Interestingly, the schools are mostly concentrated in Chicago and South Carolina. Most of the demographic data came from city-data.com.


The Chicago schools (rank, number of students, percentage of black enrollment):


  • #24 Fenger Academy High School; 1126 students, black enrollment 99.2%
  • #21 Englewood Technical Prep Academic High School; 637 students, black enrollment 98%
  • #18 Harper High School; 1261 students, black enrollment 99.7%
  • #6 Robeson High School; 1258 students, black enrollment 99.7%

For the South Carolina schools, student enrollment by race was not available. Instead I have included information for the percentage of black residents in the school's zip code area:


  • #22 WA Perry Middle School, Columbia SC; 57% of surrounding population is black
  • #17 Lakeview Middle School, Greenville SC; 31.4% of surrounding population is black, 62.4% is white
  • #14 Alcorn Middle School, Columbia SC; 81% of surrounding population is black
  • #9 Brentwood Middle School, Columbia SC; 65% of surrounding population is black
  • #8 Morningside Middle School, North Charleston SC; 65% of surrounding population is black

Other schools:


  • #23 Hope Charter School, Philadelphia PA; 456 students, black enrollment 96%
  • #19 Business Entrepreneurship Science Tech Academy, Highland Park ME; 339 students, black enrollment 99.4%
  • #1 Tomorrow's Builders Charter School, East St. Louis IL; 181 students, black enrollment 100%

Does anyone else see a pattern here? A quick look at this list of half of the 25 worst performing schools in the US shows that only one of them is neither located in a predominantly black neighborhood, nor has a black student enrollment greater than 95%.


Rep. Kern's ideas are of course overly simplistic.  The problem isn't just a lack of initiative.  With respect to generationally-poor blacks who live in urban settings, it's a nearly impenetrable culture that has created an isolated and largely distrustful group of people who have little real-world interaction with whites, except for unintentional run-ins with law enforcement or other authorities.   Disrespect for "white man's" educational, justice, and financial systems abounds, as does a values system based on immediate gratification and an over-emphasis on "bling" like expensive shoes, jewelry, cell phones and electronic gadgets, and expensive automobiles. Common choices about the way money is spent is reflected in these values. Long term planning for careers, education, savings, investments, home ownership, etc. is virtually non-existent.


In such a culture, education is written off as a waste of time. And this fact is painfully evident in standardized testing of schools where the racial make-up of students is predominantly black.


Of the "civil rights" community I ask, what have you done to break this cycle of poverty and end these destructive habits and sad legacies among your own people? How many black children were brought out of poverty last week by the tarring and feathering of a token white "racist"?


Those are tough and embarassing questions, and apparently it is much easier for liberals to point fingers and call names, than to take responsibility for utterly failing to help poor blacks during the last 40 years. 


Rush Limbaugh likes to say that liberalism is the most gutless choice that a person can make. I believe that Randy Krehbiel of the Tulsa World and the perpetually offended victims on the Left have just proven him right.

_________________________


A tip of the hat to Patterico, who has also called into question the dubious reporting of Rep. Kern's remarks.



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Comments (37)

"Of the "civil rights" comm... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Of the "civil rights" community I ask, what have you done to break this cycle of poverty and end these destructive habits and sad legacies among your own people?"

Bill Cosby was ostracized for essentially asking the same question.

To further put a point on it, Cosby, IIRC said something to the affect: 'We who were in the Civil Rights Movement busted our asses, some gave their lives, to give you OPPORTUNITY. What have you done with it?'

A lot of Blacks faulted Cosby "for washing our dirty linen in public".

Cosby's reply was "Your dirty linen is out there every day for the public to see."

The problem isn't ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:
The problem isn't just a lack of initiative. With respect to generationally-poor blacks who live in urban settings, it's a nearly impenetrable culture that has created an isolated and largely distrustful group of people who have little real-world interaction with whites, except for unintentional run-ins with law enforcement or other authorities. Disrespect for "white man's" educational, justice, and financial systems abounds, as does a values system based on immediate gratification and an over-emphasis on "bling" like expensive shoes, jewelry, cell phones and electronic gadgets, and expensive automobiles. Common choices about the way money is spent is reflected in these values. Long term planning for careers, education, savings, investments, home ownership, etc. is virtually non-existent.

Interesting, Michael. You sound like quite an expert on this subject. So did you do some sort of comparative sociological study in order to come to these conclusions, or did you just make all this up?

I am especially interested in: 1) How you determined that these communities are all one big "impenetrable culture." Are you saying that these people share one uniform cultural system, regardless of their actual histories?; 2) How you made the determination that these people somehow all share the same "value system" that is based on immediate gratification; and 3) How you came to your sweeping conclusion about long-term planning.

I hope they keep this up. J... (Below threshold)
recovered liberal democrat:

I hope they keep this up. Just keep calling everyone that opposes Obamalala's policies racist. Couldn't be a better strategy for them to lose big in 2012.

Great story. Unfortunately... (Below threshold)
Ryan:

Great story. Unfortunately you seem to be completely out of touch with what's going on. Here's where you missed the beat entirely - the real story is that every Republican I know - and about all I know are Republicans - were disgusted with Kern's latest comments. My liberal friends - everyone of them - are taking the "yawn, here she goes again" approach. It is, in fact, my Republican friends that are most up in arms. If you really want your point to stick - you need to address the multitudes of disgusted Republicans and ask them what they found so revolting about Kern's comments.

I appreciate your "here's what Sally really said" angle - and it almost works - the only problem is that you quote word-for-word every news source that I've read word-for-word. So you're not telling us anything we don't already know and haven't already read word-for-word. There was no great liberal slander by paraphrasing. What people are disgusted with is what she really said as it was laid out for us time and again word-for-word -- there's no story there - despite your Fox-like spin. Dude - the Daily Oklahoman took offense. Need I say more - when you try to spin a subject that the Daily Oklahoman took offense too as a liberal plot - you got not story - just barking hot air into the Oklahoma wind.

My right-wing, liberal-hating, fear-lusting, never voted for a Democrat, Fox-News loving mother gets to the heart of the problem much quicker and much more succinctly than you do. And I quote her word for word: "that bitch needs to shut her mouth."

I believe that people shoul... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I believe that people should have the ability to choose to send their children to other than public schools. obama disagrees with that position. obama is black. Therefore I am a racist.

I believe that the government should not be nationalizing industry in the belief that companies are "too big to fail". obama disagrees with that position. obama is black. Therefore I am a racist.

I believe that increasing taxes will further hamper a damaged economy and keep unemployment high if not increase it. obama disagrees with that position. obama is black. Therefore I am a racist.

I believe that the government should not run healthcare. obama disagrees with that position. obama is black. Therefore I am a racist.

I believe that printing money to sustain excessive government deficit spending ( QEI and QEII) is dangerously inflationary. obama disagrees with that position. obama is black. Therefore I am a racist.

I believe that the DOJ should enforce laws in a colorblind manner. obama disagrees with that position. obama is black. Therefore I am a racist.

I could go on but you get the point. obama disagrees with that position. obama is black. Therefore I am a racist.

No matter what I believe on the issues it makes not one bit of difference to the left because the very act of disagreeing with obama is an act of racism.

jim m,"No matter w... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

jim m,

"No matter what I believe on the issues it makes not one bit of difference to the left because the very act of disagreeing with obama is an act of racism."

Nope. Exaggerate your points much? The very act of disagreeing with Obama is by no means an act of racism. Sorry jim, but you're being kind of melodramatic here.

"There was no great liberal... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"There was no great liberal slander by paraphrasing."

CONTEXT.

You're offended by what she said. Fine. In that case, don't expect Holder's 'discussion about race' any time soon. Because what Kern said IS PART OF THAT DISCUSSION.

Or are you also ready to pay "reparations"?

"Exaggerate your points muc... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Exaggerate your points much? The very act of disagreeing with Obama is by no means an act of racism."

"It's racism, straight up!" - Jeanne Garofalo

GarandFan:"'It's r... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

GarandFan:

"'It's racism, straight up!' - Jeanne Garofalo."

Well if she said it, it MUST be true. I mean, because Garafalo is, like, a real authority on these matters.

I think it's funny that just quoted her.

I think it's funny that jus... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I think it's funny that just quoted her.

Try Google: "Obama+criticsim+racism"

3,920,000 hits.

GarandFan,<blockquote... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

GarandFan,

Try Google: "Obama+criticsim+racism"

3,920,000 hits.

Ha! First you quote Janeane Garofalo as if she's the voice of liberal America, and now this.

Google "cat on mars"

...and you get 68,600,000 hits

Google "Sasquatch"

...and you get 4,150,000 hits

Google "George Bush hippy"

...and you get 12,700,000 hits

Do you get the point yet? Using Google searches as a measure of reality isn't the best system, FYI. Any popular phrase or term is going to give you lots of hits, pretty much no matter what you put in there.

Just to give you one more example, the phrase "Republicans love Obama" gets 14.5 million hits.

Before you get hurt patting... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Before you get hurt patting yourself on the back, take the time to scan the DIFFERENT names that hold the same position as Garofalo.

Ryan,No exaggerati... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Ryan,

No exaggeration. I have been called a racist here for dissenting on all those issues and as GarandFan points out members of the media have made that point about people who dissent from the one's policies with startling regularity.

Just this last week we saw one of obama's sycophants in the media (Tavis Smiley) declaring opposition to him in the 2012 election as being racist for opposing him.

With the left everything is about race. Everything.

I'm not offended by what sh... (Below threshold)
RFA:

I'm not offended by what she said. She's right and the you poor naysayers would like to whitewash it so the truth remains obscured.

Bah! You crybabies that deny reality make me ill.

Since the 'criticizing Barr... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Since the 'criticizing Barry = racism" has been beaten to death on this and other threads, let's get back to the meat of this thread, seeing as EVERYONE ryan knows is offended by what Kern said.

"Before you get hurt pattin... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

"Before you get hurt patting yourself on the back, take the time to scan the DIFFERENT names that hold the same position as Garofalo."

Look GarandFan, I'm just saying that it might be a good idea not to base you assessment of reality on what some lame Hollywood actress and her pals think.

Are there people who criticize Obama because they're narrow-minded racists? Probably. Is anyone and everyone who disagrees with Obama automatically a racist? Absolutely not.

the real story is that e... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

the real story is that every Republican I know - and about all I know are Republicans - were disgusted with Kern's latest comments. My liberal friends - everyone of them - are taking the "yawn, here she goes again" approach.

At the risk of irreversible brain damange, let us parse young Ryan's liberal "logic."

a) about all the people he knows are Republicans;

b) then he cites the reactions of his liberal friends;

c) are we then to conclude that he doesn't know his liberal friends? Are they just two ships passing in the night, at say a bathhouse, a la Patient Zero?

jim,"No exaggerati... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

jim,

"No exaggeration. I have been called a racist here for dissenting on all those issues and as GarandFan points out members of the media have made that point about people who dissent from the one's policies with startling regularity."

People say all kinds of dumb things, and many people resort to baseless, ad hominem attacks that are only meant to stifle discussion. It happens all the time--on both sides. But this doesn't mean that these people should define the terms of debate and discussion.

GarandFan,"...let'... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

GarandFan,

"...let's get back to the meat of this thread, seeing as EVERYONE ryan knows is offended by what Kern said."

If you think I take the time to get offended every time some fool opens their mouth, well, you got another thing coming.

Kern is making another lame "culture of poverty" argument that is based upon lots of assumptions and stereotypes. In short, she doesn't know what she's talking about.

Are you telling me that you agree with her assessment of poverty? If so, why?

many people resort to ba... (Below threshold)
jim m:

many people resort to baseless, ad hominem attacks that are only meant to stifle discussion...But this doesn't mean that these people should define the terms of debate and discussion.

True. However, the left dominates the print and television media and has been shown to be coordinating their attacks for the benefit of obama and has even had members advocating for the use of the baseless accusation of racism to silence conservatives. Given all of those things it is hard to get any message out above the din of these baseless accusations.

Dear Jay Guevara,J... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Dear Jay Guevara,

Just to keep things clear. The "Ryan" who posted with the capital 'R' is someone else, not me. Just so you folks don't start mixing arguments here.

jim,"Given all of ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

jim,

"Given all of those things it is hard to get any message out above the din of these baseless accusations."

Wow. It sounds like you think the left has some all powerful grasp on media and political discourse here in the US. I think you are giving the MSM a bit too much credit for being able to control political debate, rhetoric, etc. But that's just me.

"Are you telling me that yo... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Are you telling me that you agree with her assessment of poverty? If so, why?"

First I'd like to know what "you're interpretation of her statement" is.

I learned long ago that two people could READ the same thing and not HEAR the same thing.

"Wow. It sounds like you th... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Wow. It sounds like you think the left has some all powerful grasp on media and political discourse here in the US."

MSM - We don't report it, it did not happen.

Obviously you've never read the studies on just how left a MAJORITY of the 'media' are. Or is that an inconvenient truth?

Ryan,If you choose... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Ryan,

If you choose to ignore the fact that the media refuse to report on issues that do not fit their narrative don't complain when you find yourself uninformed about the state of reality.

After last year's JournoList scandal I think we can lay to rest any doubt that the MSM has no interest in actually reporting the news but rather are engaged in political advocacy and will not report on any news that detracts from their political position.

I am especially in... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:
I am especially interested in: 1) How you determined that these communities are all one big "impenetrable culture." Are you saying that these people share one uniform cultural system, regardless of their actual histories?; 2) How you made the determination that these people somehow all share the same "value system" that is based on immediate gratification; and 3) How you came to your sweeping conclusion about long-term planning.

When it comes to Affirmative Action it ok to based a program on the Socio Economic premise and apply that to the majority of of people in a community.
It ok to apply the rules of social promotion to school in the "Inner Cities"

It ok to state that minorities need special Financial
http://www.sandiegofeeonly.com/FinancialArticles/financialeduforminorities.htm

The fact everything stated is "common Knowledge" it just taken from a different vantage point.

So after years of Affirmative action, social promotion, low income housing has it helped or made it worse?

By advocating programs that imply that you can get rewards by not working as hard as others it takes away the incentive for hard work and it also setup people for failure.

IS there a cultural aspect to this yes. These there is subculture with in the black community . Books, music television and religion all provide white man keeping you down syndrome.

jim,"If you choose... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

jim,

"If you choose to ignore the fact that the media refuse to report on issues that do not fit their narrative don't complain when you find yourself uninformed about the state of reality."

Look, I don't rely on CNN and MSNBC to keep me informed about the state of reality. But thanks for the advice.

"After last year's JournoList scandal I think we can lay to rest any doubt that the MSM has no interest in actually reporting the news but rather are engaged in political advocacy and will not report on any news that detracts from their political position."

Wow, jim. You mean that the media can be political? You mean we actually have to pay attention to the crap people put on TV? Really? Thanks again for the heads up.

GarandFan,"Obvious... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

GarandFan,

"Obviously you've never read the studies on just how left a MAJORITY of the 'media' are. Or is that an inconvenient truth?"

So you think it's all a big, powerful conspiracy?

hcddbz,WTF are you... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

hcddbz,

WTF are you talking about?

"So you think it's all a bi... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"So you think it's all a big, powerful conspiracy?"

Not at all. But your immediate assumption of 'conspiracy' is very interesting.

Projection?

ryna a,Which part ... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

ryna a,

Which part would you like me to go into detail about?
The racism of low exceptions with Affirmative action and social promotion of inner city schools?
Books like Man Child in the Promise Land,
Artist like Public Enemy or
Film makers like Spike Lee.

The insults of people saying you sound white if there is any amount of articulation in your speech.

The NAACP attacking the Cosby show for the un realistic depiction of black family of having two working professional .

My point is that generalizations of the Black and minorities communities are accepted and praised when it about government handouts.
When those same programs lead to bad affects anyone that mentions them are taken to task about making "Sweeping Accusations"


Trying to pin ryan down is ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Trying to pin ryan down is similar to another that used to post here. About the same consistency as mercury. Make a statement, he comes back with a question.

G'night. Grandkids are calling on Skype.

Priorities.

GarandFan,"Not at ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

GarandFan,

"Not at all. But your immediate assumption of 'conspiracy' is very interesting."

Not assuming, just asking. I am not sure what argument you are trying to make about the media here. Are you saying that they are simply biased, or are you saying they are controlling political discourse?

hcddbz,You block q... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

hcddbz,

You block quoted my three questions to Michael, and then proceeded to, well, I don't know what you're doing. Are you addressing those questions I asked? It doesn't really seem like you are. Your argument/point is a bit unclear.

Just curious to understand ... (Below threshold)
Jake:

Just curious to understand the audience: how many people on this thread are NOT white? How many are NOT men?

I am not white... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

I am not white

Mr. Laprarie,"I'm ... (Below threshold)
Alex:

Mr. Laprarie,

"I'm going to stop short of defending Rep. Kern because a seasoned politician ought to understand the Left's unquenchable appetite for destructive soundbites that can be used against its 'enemies.'"

The tack you exhort, and that it is for the most part played out by "conservatives", is precisely the reason why liberalism marches forward triumphant unto the decades. If you refuse to challenge the foundational premises of liberalism, in fact tacitly and for the most part endorse them yourself, you should not be surprised - nor should you feign surprise - when liberal consequences ensue. How else could it be?

The bedrock dogma of contemporary liberalism is in the absolute, equal genetic potential of all human beings. In addition to being self-evidently false, there is a growing wealth of *scientific* evidence which positively disproves the egalitarian fallacy. It was for saying the unsayable - and yet only what is true - that former Harvard president Larry Summers and Nobel Prize winning scientist James Watson found their employment terminated. This witch hunt must end, and that cannot be accomplished so long as we cower before these squalid little witch-burners.




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