Gabe: “I don’t know what to do on this.”
Ms. Williams: “Well, you’d better find out. It’s not hard. Nobody else didn’t have to ask no questions bout it. You know what to do, you just want somebody to just sit there and pet you about it, but I ain’t gonna do it. You know how to go in that lunch room and tear that food up every day. Ain’t nothing hard bout that sheet.”
Following this Miltonian eructation, we have:
Ms. Williams: “No, do your work. She ain’t goin to be sittin up in here wanting somebody to help her every time she, cause she don’t wanna apply herself to her work. You know how to go in that cafeteria and enjoy that lunch and breakfast every morning.”
Then, waxing ever more lyrical, even Ciceronian,
Ms. Williams: “Where this go?”
Child: “I colored that yesterday.”
Ms. Williams: “It shouldn’t of got changed at all, that ain’t nothing to be proud of.”
Ms. Williams clearly is barely literate, and should be in the first grade instead of teaching it. Gabe speaks better English than she does. In a country not sliding into degradation, a restraining order would keep her from coming within a hundred yards of a school.
Why do we permit this sort of thing? Ms. Williams is black. The story carefully doesn’t say so, but it doesn’t have to. Only the black uneducated speak as she does.
The proper response from parents would be fury. The discovery that this creature is attempting to turn their children into the equivalent of farm animals ought to result in the lynching of the school board of Mississippi. A civilized people with backbone will not allow their their offspring to be made into gurbling iPodded peasants. But we are not such a civilization.
Why is it happening? “Affirmative action.” Since Ms. Williams does not speak the language of the country, the only possible reason for hiring her is that she is black. She is not just slightly unqualified, allowing an expectation that she might catch up—this being the founding fantasy of “affirmative action”—but absolutely unqualified.
The pattern repeats endlessly. Today I have read that the Chicago police contemplate eliminating their entrance examination on the grounds that not enough blacks pass it. Firemen of my acquaintance tell of women too weak to handle a hose, of female paramedics who can’t carry a stretcher. While I was on the police beat at the Washington Times, I encountered a tiny policewoman who never had to drive the paddy wagon because her feet didn’t reach the pedals.
On intercity buses there once were signs, and probably still are, saying, “Seating is without regard to race, creed, color, sex, or national origin.” Today everything seems to be with regard to nothing else. Anything, everything, must be done to keep the affirmative-action classes happy.
This rush to degradation is not new. In 1981 in Harper’s I wrote, in a piece on race in education, “The bald, statistically verifiable truth is that the teachers’ colleges, probably on ideological grounds, have produced an incredible proportion of incompetent black teachers. Evidence of this appears periodically, as, for example, in the results of a competency test given to applicants for teaching positions in Pinellas County, Florida (which includes St. Petersburg and Clearwater), cited in Time, June 16, 1980. To pass this grueling examination, an applicant had to be able to read at the tenth-grade level and do arithmetic at the eighth-grade level. Though they all held B.A.’s, 25 percent of the whites and 79 percent of the blacks failed. Similar statistics exist for other places.”
If you think it desirable to have black teachers, as I do believe it desirable, then get those who are fit to do the job. Plenty of blacks speak English. If you can’t find enough, then do without. The same applies to women who can’t carry stretchers. Fat chance, though.
What price do we pay for this total abnegation of responsibility, civilizational self-respect, reason? One price is a quiet contempt for blacks, and hostility toward them. Competent blacks are no problem, but “If he doan be eatin dis sangwidge…” doesn’t cut it. Women make perfectly good paramedics, but what is anyone, fellow crewman or patient, supposed to think when she can’t lift the stretcher? (Answer: Scorn, anger.) What does a patient think on seeing a black doctor come his way? “Oh god….” The doctor may have gotten through medical school on ability but, given affirmative action, you figure he probably didn’t. Blacks know this of course, and resent it. Knowing that they are despised, they say the hell with it, and content themselves with just getting by. This is useful?
The suspicion of affirmative action pervades American life. After Katrina, a friend in federal employ visited FEMA. It was, he said, very heavily black, on which fact he blamed the disastrous performance of the agency in New Orleans. Was he right? I don’t know. In the absence of affirmative action, the question would not be asked.
Thus the defining principle of American politics arises: If you don’t think in racial terms, if you look only to ability, you are a racist. Count me in.
This leads to another question, seldom asked and never answered: how much does affirmative action really cost the country? If you hire someone to do a job who can’t do it very well, it doesn’t get done very well. This doesn’t strike me as a profound thought, but it seems to elude many people. In the case of Ms. Williams, the damage is great and clear. It isn’t always so stark. When you regularly pass over the first 135 people, all white, on a test for promotion to sergeant in a police department, so as to get to the blacks and Latinos, what kind of police department do you get? If you hire reasonably good female engineers because they are female, instead of very good males, the consequences are less obvious, but there.
And when it becomes a firing offense to notice, the result is a permanent, irremediable drop in the quality of the work force. I don’t suppose it really matters though. The only serious economic competitors the US faces are, oh, Japan, Korea, China, India, Taiwan, Brazil, and the European Union. Piece of cake
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