On the City Journal website, Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute writes in part,
Judging by video evidence, the participants in the violent mall brawls over the Christmas weekend were overwhelmingly black teens, though white teens were also involved. The media have assiduously ignored this fact, of course, as they have for previous violent flash mob episodes. That disproportion has significance for the next administration’s school-discipline policies, however. If Donald Trump wants to make schools safe again, he must rescind the Obama administration’s diktats regarding classroom discipline, which are based on a fantasy version of reality that is having serious real-world consequences.
The Obama Justice and Education Departments have strong-armed schools across the country to all but eliminate the suspension and expulsion of insubordinate students. The reason? Because black students are disciplined at higher rates than whites. According to Washington bureaucrats, such disproportionate suspensions can mean only one thing: teachers and administrators are racist. The Obama administration rejects the proposition that black students are more likely to assault teachers or fight with other students in class. The so-called “school to prison” pipeline is a function of bias, not of behavior, they say.
This week’s mall violence, which injured several police and security officers, is just the latest piece of evidence for how counterfactual that credo is. A routine complaint in police-community meetings in minority areas is that large groups of teens are fighting on corners…The idea that such street behavior does not have a classroom counterpart is ludicrous. Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic males of the same age. The lack of socialization that produces such a vast disparity in murder rates, as well as less lethal street violence, inevitably will show up in classroom behavior….School officials in urban areas across the country set up security corridors manned by police officers at school dismissal times to avoid gang shootings. And yet, the Obama administration would have us believe that in the classroom, black students are no more likely to disrupt order than white students.
The entire essay is here.
1. “The media have assiduously ignored this fact.” Boy, that’s the truth! I could find no account that hinted of the racial composition of the teens who sparked the mall disruptions, but I wondered. Should I not have wondered? What is the justification for reporters and editors declining to mention the race of the teens, if it was disproportionately one race or another? Is it because the news media regards the facts as inherently racially biased or biasing? If racists use useful and relevant facts to justify their own prejudices, is obscuring those facts from everyone else justifiable? (No, in case you had to pause a second to answer, which, if you did, should disturb you as much as it does me.)
2. “Disparate impact” has become one of the most corrosive, cynical, and damaging social and legal doctrines in our culture. It is used to declare necessary and practical protections of the integrity of our elections racially biased. The Obama Administration used the doctrine to justify ordering landlords not to ask potential tenants about their criminal records. To avoid stigmatizing a group that is disproportionately black (and that has earned at least some degree of stigma), Obama’s Justice Department decreed that criminals were now to be called “justice-involved individuals”-–you know, like lawyers. One of the gazillion Obama Executive Orders that Donald Trump has to smite is the one in which the President decreed that the federal government’s HR departments must “delay inquiries into criminal history until later in the hiring process,” because heaven forbid that a convicted ax-murderer not get a shot as that opening with the Secret Service.
3. The policy approach all of these policies represent is upside down and backwards, but it does avoid making tough choices. Don’t address the reasons why black teens are particularly violent, don’t even admit that too many black teens are violent, just insulate them from the consequences of their violence and pretend the problem is colorblind. How did an entire political ideology embrace this Orwellian dishonesty as anything but batty and doomed to fail?
4. The problem now is that since these various policies have been sold and rationalized as anti-racist when the are really just anti-reality and divisive, any effort to reverse them will be inevitably opposed as racist. Yet these policies are, as MacDonald illustrates, foolish and irresponsible. And it would be irresponsible to allow them to continue.
5. Is this why the false narrative that Donald Trump is a racist has been so enthusiastically repeated and bolstered by the new media? It goes hand in hand with the narrative for the past 8 years the Republicans are racist as well: remember Joe Biden telling a black audience during the campaign that the Republicans were “going to put y’all back in chains”? Wait, I’m sorry, he said that during the 2012 campaign. Romney, Trump: all Republican presidential candidates are racists. I have repeatedly asked my Trump-hating Facebook friends to back up the accusation, and they come up with three weak examples:
- Trump riling up a rally crowd when a black demonstrator was ejected, though The Donald’s comments had no racial content whatsoever.
- Trump’s suggestion that a judge was likely to be biased against him because the judge was “Mexican.”
- Trump’s birther accusations against President Obama.
Did I say weak? The correct word is desperate. #1 is circumstantial, since Trump had mocked white protesters as well; #2 has nothing to do with race; and trying to “otherize” Obama, #3, is not proof of racism, as the Democrats are proving now by trying to “otherize” the President Elect by any means available. Trump also pulled the same dirty trick on Ted Cruz, who is not, last I checked, black.
6. Perhaps it will take an insensitive, proudly undiplomatic “bull in a china shop” like Donald Trump to begin unraveling these toxic, progressive social policies in spite of being labelled a racist, and facing protests and marches.
7. Every time I write or think something like that last sentence, I am reminded how right the timing is for a U.S. leader to confront these failed policies, and what a tragedy it is—well, OK, may be–that the leader selected was the one we got. All we can do is, as Anthony Newley sang,
…wish upon a wishbone,
Pick a four-leaf clover,
Rub a rabbit’s foot and
Throw a horse shoe over
Your lucky shoulder…
8. What is needed is some credible and respected voice in the black community who has the courage to speak the truth. Some black leader, cultural figure, elected official or scholar must make the case that changing policies to avoid the consequences of self-destructive cultural behavior in African American communities only masks symptoms of underlying pathologist that the community itself must take on squarely and fearlessly. Who will do this? What hasn’t such a leader stepped forward? Fear? Corruption? Denial?
Graphic: Red Ice TV