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.

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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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