The soft racism of low expectations, Part II
There are too many liberals and so-called civil rights leaders who do not want blacks to realize that they have the power to move out of the underclass if they value education and work hard, and make the right decisions, such as waiting until marriage before they have children. Instead, they fan the flames of class warfare. Moreover, it is my opinion that many of these liberals do not want blacks to embrace the fact that America, by and large, provides equal opportunities. What is also left unsaid by the Left, which wants to push income equality, is that while the country can provide equal opportunities it cannot guarantee equal results, because that could lead to communism. Every individual has his or her own unique talent, abilities, drive, and ambition, so there’s no way a country can guarantee equal results without government control, which can lead to tyranny. Nevertheless, the number of success stories in Black America, even during the early part of the 20th century (under the shadow of Jim Crow laws and the separate, but equal mindset), proves that America is truly the land of opportunity.
There are now generations of black Americans who have been on public assistance, and I know this from personal experience. The shift to public assistance began during the 1930s with the New Deal and escalated in the late 1960s and forward, where we are now to the point that in some black households practically every aspect of their lives is supported by public assistance: Section 8 vouchers, food stamps, Medicaid, SSI checks, etc. Unfortunately, many of my people know little, if anything, about the founding of this country in terms of the strong work ethic, individual effort, responsibility, courage, entrepreneurial spirit and determination that it took to make this country the most powerful one in the world; in other words, America’s greatness is not due to “dumb luck” or because of the exploitation of other nations. Clearly, the American success story is due in large part to the brave men and women who were willing to fight and die for freedom, to the framers of the Constitution, and to those who were willing to explore new territory and work hard to build this country from the ground up.
What is also left unsaid by the Left, which wants to push income equality, is that while the country can provide equal opportunities it cannot guarantee equal results, because that could lead to communism.
Returning to the topic of education, black children, like any group of children, need to be effectively taught basic educational skills upon which their future academic efforts will rely, such as the ability to speak and write proper English (even at the risk of being accused of “acting white”), and the ability to understand and embrace math, science, and history, just to name a few. These are the subjects that serve as the building blocks for future success in school. The children also need to be tested to ensure that they have learned these subjects very well. Unfortunately, a few years ago some liberals in education promoted the idea to allow “Ebonics” in the classroom, as though it were a legitimate language for black children to learn and to speak. This was promoted , even though most liberals know that employers, particularly those at the Fortune 500 level (and even in the public sector), do not want employees speaking a street slang while they conduct business. English is a universal language that our children need to speak well in order to succeed in the marketplace. Moreover, too many educational institutions, particularly at the collegiate level, spend too much class time attempting to indoctrinate our young people with anti-American, anti-free market ideas and beliefs, instead of ensuring that they have mastered the basic courses that will be needed in order to function effectively in the workplace and in other aspects of their lives.
Black Americans, such as myself, who care about our children’s future should reject the soft racism of low expectations. Amongst our black children are future doctors, lawyers, carpenters, football coaches, and scientific researchers. However, they must be encouraged to achieve their best and to discover their full God-given potential. This will not be realized by caving in to low expectations, nor will it be realized if our children are not equipped to reach the heights of academic achievement.
In closing, black Americans, in general, need to reject the soft racism of low expectations. We, as a people, need to come to grips with the fact that lowered expectations for blacks have crippled our communities in more ways than one. In fact, in some inner-city communities, most of the businesses are owned by non-blacks. This is a symptom of a mindset that we, as black Americans, are victims, so we must depend on the government. As a result, the drive to be entrepreneurs and to embrace the American spirit of independence and hard work has decreased. Unfortunately, too many of my fellow black Americans have bought into the belief that we are owed something: whether it’s from the government, white people or other non-blacks, we expect to receive something for nothing. Yes, our ancestors were brought over as slaves, but white Americans have more than made up for the sins of slavery. Case in point: there is no other first-world country on the planet that has a black man as its leader. In addition, blacks have more opportunities here than in any other country in the world. It’s striking to me that black Americans during the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras, when our rights as Americans were really fragile, understood this. In fact, almost all of the businesses on 125th Street in Harlem during the first half of the 20th Century were black-owned, and most, if not all, of the historically black colleges and universities were built during this time frame. We may have been segregated at that time, but we knew that if we worked hard, we could make it. During that period, we relied on ourselves more and on the government less, and we had pride and dignity in who we were as a people. Somewhere along the way, even after Brown v. Board of Education and the elimination of segregation in general, we lost our way as a people. I pray that we recapture that spirit of independence, pride, and respect and reject the soft racism of low expectations.
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).