The 'black leadership's" trivial pursuits

Posted: Feb 13, 2003 12:00 AM
News item: "Civil rights leader" Jesse Jackson and attorney Johnnie Cochran attack the National Football League because "only" three blacks serve as head coaches in a 32-team league. The NFL, they claim, violates its own policy requiring each team to "seriously" consider at least one minority candidate for head coach openings. The good ol' boy network strikes again! Real news item: Nationwide, a mere 40 percent of eighth-grade white students passed the 2000 NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) test for math. But consider the nationwide passing rate for black students -- 6 percent! The Wall Street Journal examined the black passing rates for select states: "New York, 8 percent; California, 6 percent; Michigan, 6 percent; Tennessee, 6 percent; Texas, 7 percent; Arkansas, 2 percent." News item: Jesse Jackson attacks the commercially successful "crossover" black film "Barbershop." In a brief scene, one of the characters argues that other blacks refused to surrender their seats on Jim Crow buses before Rosa Parks famously did so in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955. Even though another character immediately calls the remark disrespectful, Jackson demands an apology from the studio, and requests that the studio edit out the "offensive" scene in the DVD and VHS versions. No justice, no peace! Real news item: Nationwide, only 55 percent of black kids graduate from high school, while whites pass at 76 percent. According to The Wall Street Journal, "Three years ago in New York, the percentage of black students who did not graduate from high school was 54 percent. In California, 41 percent. In Tennessee, 54 percent didn't graduate. And in Wisconsin . . . 59 percent. . . . Across the nation, the average non-graduation rate for black students is 45 percent (versus 24 percent for whites). These numbers are surely the same year in and year out, which means that every June in America, largely unnoticed and unremarked upon, almost half the nation's black kids wash over the falls of our urban school systems." News item: Notre Dame seeks a new head football coach, and Jesse Jackson urges the school to hire a black one. "If a school like Notre Dame makes that breakthrough," said Jackson, "it changes the whole mental construct of the issue." Change the whole mental construct? Tennis great Arthur Ashe once took out a full-page newspaper ad, chastising blacks for placing sports above academics. Guess the Reverend never saw the memo. In other news, attorney Johnnie Cochran declares his support for reparations, "It would be the beginning of giving back to us the pride that was robbed by the institution of slavery." Mr. Cochran suffers from a lack of pride? Say it ain't so. Real news item: "Mortal Wounds: The Unseen Agony of Black-on-Black Murder," headlines a recent Los Angeles Times front-page story. In 2002, 40 percent of Los Angeles' 659 killings involved black victims, although blacks comprise only 11 percent of the population. "Authorities say most black homicide victims die at the hands of other blacks," according to the Times. "Witnesses often are afraid to step forward. Few killers are caught. . . . Of the LAPD's four bureaus, one has 41 percent of the city's homicides -- the South Bureau, which spans precincts in South-Central, Southwest and Southeast Los Angeles. One South Bureau precinct, the 77th Street Division, consistently leads the city in homicides, most of them black-on-black. The caseloads of South Los Angeles detectives are about 40 percent higher than those of their counterparts in the San Fernando Valley. High caseloads are tied to poor rates of solving murders. Homicide detectives in the 77th Street Division hit a low point in 2001, closing only 17 percent of their cases with arrests." News item: Kweisi Mfume, the president of the NAACP, criticizes Hollywood for failing to promote on-screen and behind-the-scenes "diversity." Mfume said, "By any reasonable standard, African Americans and all other races of people are underrepresented in almost every aspect of the television and film industry." Liberal Hollywood, closet bigots? Real news item: The Bush administration attacks the University of Michigan's admissions policy of racial preferences. Jesse Jackson responds, "Mr. Bush has, in effect, turned more white people against black and brown people." Under a point system in which 100 points almost guarantees admission, a black, Hispanic or Native American applicant automatically gets 20 points, irrespective of socio-economic status. By contrast, a perfect SAT score earns the applicant 12 points. Never mind that lowering a minority's admission standards decreases the chances of graduation. But economist and writer Thomas Sowell notes, "At the flagship University of Colorado campus at Boulder, where the average SAT score of black students is more than 200 points lower than that of white students, only 39 percent of the black students graduated, compared to 72 percent of the whites. At the University of Colorado at Denver, however, where the difference in SAT scores was only 30 points, half of all black students and 48 percent of all white students graduated within a six-year span." Never put it past the "black leadership" to snatch trivial from the jaws of crises.