Do blacks realize the contempt in which the government, the universities, and what is frequently called the “liberal establishment”—though it is hardly that—hold them? That the transparent premise of virtually all racial policy is that blacks are irremediably helpless?
I recently saw a news story saying that a black girl at the University of Colorado, I believe it was, felt “uncomfortable” because the social atmosphere wasn’t to her taste: there weren’t enough black faces, or black clubs, or black this and that. Her attitude was, “Do something. The universe owes me any adjustment that I demand to my tedious minor problems. How I suffer. Take care of me.”
Now, why was this a national story? I don’t care about her discomforts. Does she care about mine? Discomforts by definition are minor.
Ah, but a governing principle of American politics is that blacks cannot manage their own lives, solve their own problems, or compete with others. It is a position embodying a profound contempt, a smug disguised condescension that might seem excessive in a colonial missionary to the bushmen.
Think about it. As we all know, a wide disparity exists between the academic achievement of black students and white. If government federal or otherwise regarded blacks as being able, it would do the obvious: provide rigorous schooling in the necrotic black regions of the cities, demand from blacks everywhere the homework without which one learns little, supply highly qualified teachers, and expect reasonable decorum.
Government does none of this. It will do many other things for blacks. It will provide food, housing, medical care—charity, things that keepers of a zoo would provide. It provides jobs on easy terms. It never does anything that implies an expectation of performance.
By inescapable implication government expects nothing of blacks except failure—not in the schools, not at work, nowhere. Law after policy after regulation aims at hiding poor performance and bad behavior, or at punishing people for noticing it. If you consistently don’t expect people to perform, the implication is that you think they can’t perform. They can come to believe it themselves, no? And then where are you?
And there is the now-tiresome matter of affirmative action, which can be summed up in four short sentences. It is for losers. If you are good enough, you don’t need it. If you need it, you aren’t good enough. If you don’t need it yet take advantage of it, you are a freeloader. The offer is insulting, and acceptance evidence of a lack of self-respect.
Yes blacks have come to depend on it as Eskimos depend on fish. In examinations for promotion in police departments, admission to universities, federal employment, everywhere, the question is not which candidates are best but which candidates are black.
What must it be like? I’d love to get a degree from CalTech in applied mathematics, but I’m not smart enough. I can’t imagine being accepted on affirmative action and pretending—sitting in class knowing that I was being given grades I didn’t earn, knowing that everyone else knew. I’m close to shameless, but not that close.
One might say, arguably but not unreasonably, that blacks come from an intellectually deprived background and need extra help to catch up. The idea might be plausible if there were the slightest evidence of an expectation that they ever would catch up. There is not. Have you heard a politician suggest a cut-off date for affirmative action, such as January 1, 2005? Special privilege is now demanded by blacks as an entitlement and accepted by the government as perpetual.
Again, there is the implication of contempt. Those you believe permanently to need help are those you believe to be permanently helpless.
The universities treat blacks as prizes, not as students. A school with average boards of 1200 will accept a black applicant with boards of 1000. Now, if the school actually cared about the student, it would recommend that he go to a school with average boards of 1000. He then really would be an equal, the other students would recognize it, and he would have every opportunity to graduate.
Instead the universities admit badly unqualified blacks as diversity trophies—ambulatory bumper stickers exalting the virtuousness of the faculty. This implies contempt, does it not? One thing it does not imply is intellectual respect. The black kid is outgunned, he knows it, and he knows the other students know it. A little less charity and a little more respect might help. Respect and affirmative action are mutually exclusive.
What effect does the unmentionable pervasive scorn have on society? One result is the widespread assumption among whites that blacks are incompetent. For example, I won’t let my children (or me) within shouting distance of a black doctor. I don’t care about his color. I know how great the affirmative action is, how great the pressure not to fail blacks. Sorry. I’m not going to take the chance. Nor are a great many people. Black doctors know it.
Is this fair to the black doctor who advanced on his merits? No. But it is responsible parental behavior.
What does affirmative action do to people who live by it? I can only imagine. What is it like to work in an office of whites and perhaps Asians who quietly look down on you? (Asians assuredly do.) The human response is either to work like a dog to show the white thus-and-suches (which is the Chinese, Jewish, Vietnamese, and Japanese reaction), or to fall back into sulky, marginally cooperative, you-can’t-make-me-ism. And this too many blacks have done.
The effect on whites? A very quiet, angry hostility that would not exist if blacks were held to normal standards. Yes, there are exceptions. I don’t think there are many.
Another effect in a country built on calculated division, and on control of public discourse, is a certain schadenfreude in watching politicians who have overstepped the unspoken bounds. From time to time a white pol slips and says something that upsets blacks, as almost anything does. People wait. The next day he will be on television whimpering and apologizing and saying he didn’t mean what he obviously meant and writhing like a puppy that has wet the rug. It is amusing.
Blacks of course can safely say far worse of whites without consequence. But does this not demonstrate the belief that they can’t be expected to meet usual standards of comportment? If I were black I might wonder whether I weren’t being taken for a ride by people who really didn’t have much use for me.
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