Destroying black youth

Walter E. Williams

7/2/2003 12:00:00 AM - Walter E. Williams

In last week's U.S. Supreme Court's affirmative action decision, Justice Clarence Thomas' dissent included a quotation from an 1865 speech by abolitionist Frederick Douglass. "What I ask for the Negro," Douglass said, "is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. ... All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! ... Your interference is doing him positive injury."

Forget how the majority used the phrase "compelling state interest" to trump the 14th Amendment's requirement of equal treatment under the law and give continued sanction to racial discrimination. Let's examine some practical matters ignored in the pro-affirmative action celebration of the court's decision.

According to recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reports, the average black high school senior had math skills on par with those of the typical nitnth-grade white student. The average 17-year-old black student could read only as well as the average 12-year-old white. Twelfth-grade black students were doing science problems at the level of sixth-grade white students and writing about as well as whites in the eighth grade.

As of 1998, only 18 percent of black students were rated proficient or advanced in reading, as compared to 47 percent for white students, which itself is nothing to write home about. In Michigan, the source of the controversy leading up to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, just 2 percent of black eighth-graders score proficient in reading, compared to 34 percent of whites -- again, nothing to write home about. In addition to grossly fraudulent education, there's unthinkable school violence at many of the schools that black students attend.

According to a Department of Education report, "School Crime Patterns" (August 2002), "High schools with the highest levels of violence tended to be located in urban areas and have a high percentage of minority students (black and Hispanic), compared to high schools that reported no crime to the police."

The bottom line is given the day-to-day destruction of education for black students at the primary and secondary levels of schooling, most will never be able to compete academically. The fact that the affirmative action crowd demands discriminatory admission practices for post-graduate education such as in law and medical schools confirms something else. Black performance on admittance exams, such as the LSAT, MCAT and GRE, is stark testament that four years of undergraduate education cannot erase the damage of 12 years of fraudulent primary and secondary education.

In the name of diversity, college administrators and their campus sycophants support racially discriminatory admissions practices. They argue that racial diversity enriches the education experiences of all college students, for which there's absolutely no evidence whatsoever. However, since most college students and administrators are white, it might simply mean that racial diversity gives them a greater sense of superiority having a few campus mascots around, who can't hold their own, beholden to them.

Then there's the false-face of diversity, as Justice Antonin Scalia pointed out in his dissent. Academics support campus "tribalism and racial segregation" with "minority-only student organizations, separate minority housing opportunities, separate minority student centers, even separate minority-only graduation ceremonies."

Black politicians and civil rights organizations' loyalty to the education establishment means academic doom to black youngsters. Washington, D.C,. politics and its schools, among the worse in the nation, are a case in point. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, along with most members of the Congressional Black Caucus, use private schools to educate their children. But, when D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams broke ranks with most black elected-officials and endorsed recently proposed education vouchers, Norton blasted him as being "a sell-out."

Whom do you think Frederick Douglass would deem the sell-out: those who seek an alternative to rotten schools that cost taxpayers $13,000 a year per student or those who support the status quo?