The soft racism of low expectations, Part I
What is “soft racism”? It is not racism in terms of an individual (or group) hating minorities, particularly blacks, and who wishes to exclude them from mainstream society and to potentially harm them. No, soft racism is a form of racism or bigotry that is based on the belief — even if unspoken — that black children cannot be expected to perform up to minimum educational standards; therefore, the standards must be lowered for them and other minority children. At its core, “soft racism” implies that black children are not capable of achieving academically what other children are able to accomplish. However, the “soft racism” that I speak of is not limited to black children, because black Americans, in general, are viewed by many liberals as needing some form of affirmative action in order to compete at the same level as our white counterparts.
This is a racism that is not steeped in hatred for blacks; in fact, it is my belief that it was (and to some extent still is) largely derived from a desire to help what liberals still consider to be a disadvantaged and repressed group of people (more than 50 years ago in this country, this was true, particularly in the Deep South). However, what this assistance has morphed into is a mindset by liberals both black and white that blacks, primarily those who are in the inner city, will not be able to move forward without their help. In other words, black Americans need a crutch, one comprised largely of government largesse and the watering down of basic, minimal standards. Case in point: Liberals who oppose requiring ID to vote claim that for many black Americans it is too difficult and too costly to obtain a government ID — which is completely untrue. Most, if not all, blacks realize that one needs to have some form of government ID just to conduct basic day-to-day business, such as opening a bank account, applying for a job or government assistance, etc. Blacks, in turn, are expected to vote en masse for Democrats to show their loyalty, because most social and fiscal liberals are aligned with the Democratic Party. With this in mind, some black conservatives view such assistance less as compassion for blacks than as a political ploy to keep a loyal voting bloc satisfied and in line.
Why should black children be expected to underperform? Why is just a normal expectation that inner city children cannot perform up to standards required by institutions such as Princeton University, Harvard University, or even a city or state college or university?
I find it ironic that while many educated, upper-class liberals (both black and white) expect their children to do well in school, the expectation does not seem to be the same when it comes to black, inner city children. In fact, many of these same liberals want to “dumb down” the standards for minority children, which will have a negative impact on our children’s ability to perform well in academic settings and to find well-paying jobs in the future in order support their families. Moreover, most liberals expect their children to perform well on their jobs and to move up the corporate (or political) ladder. This is achieved in large part by obtaining a good, solid education and by acting responsibly. All of which leads me to ask the following questions, Why should black children be expected to underperform? Why is just a normal expectation that inner city children cannot perform up to standards required by institutions such as Princeton University, Harvard University, or even a city or state college or university?
Liberal do-gooders have actually enabled a generation of black failure. They know that not being able to speak proper English, understand basic arithmetic, or operate skillfully in the age of technology are shortcomings that make it very difficult to obtain a well-paying job. They know this from their own personal experience, anecdotal stories from hiring managers, research, and just plain old common sense. They also realize that it is important for the homes to emphasize the importance of education; in fact, many of them come from such homes. In contrast, unfortunately, too many black, inner-city homes are dysfunctional, and, as a result, education is not emphasized or encouraged. Based on my observation of several inner-city areas, the by-product of lowering academic and other standards for blacks is a generation (or two) of black Americans who are now part of the permanent underclass (and subculture), and who have no desire to move up, because some of my fellow Americans, who happen to be black, have convinced themselves that living on public assistance is living well. As a result, the pouring of billions of dollars into the inner cities of Americas has not helped. Witness the fact that the legislative and presidential efforts from the 1960s dubbed the “War on Poverty” have not eliminated poverty. Based on my observations, the “War on Poverty” has failed, in large part, because there are just too many amongst my people who have handed responsibility for their lives over to the government. Moreover, and this is critically important, far too many are coming from and creating — by walking away from their children — broken homes. Until the homes espouse positive, life-affirming values, such as discipline, hard work and faith, and until more black homes consist of both a mother and a father, overall, the “War on Poverty” will continue to be ineffective. The bottom line is this: The government can pour billions of dollars into education, for example, but until our black children have the will and the discipline to behave, complete their homework, and attend school on regular basis, it’s all for naught, because these are values that are taught in the home.
Compounding this tragedy is the belief promulgated by too many liberals that blacks ought to believe that there is still a great racial divide in this country (the same country that has twice elected a black man as President of the United States), and that, consequently, black Americans should still view themselves as victims of racial animosity, as well as social, economic, and legal injustices. Too many black civil rights leaders, most of whom have embraced the liberal, social justice agenda, are just too intellectually dishonest to acknowledge the tremendous progress this country has made in bridging the gaps between the races, because it does not fit their agenda to have “victims” who will need their services.
We, as Americans who happen to be black, need to admit our problems, face them honestly and take responsibility for them; this is the only way that healing can really begin within our communities. However, too many liberals want my fellow African-Americans to embrace the fact that Democrats will always be there to bail us out of the consequences of our own irresponsible behavior. This is no way to repair, restore, and rebuild what is broken in the black/African-American communities.[Part two of this two-part article may be found here.]
Original text by Ms. Varditra B. Reid (“Bebe”). No part of this document may be copied or reprinted without permission from the author (copyright 2014).