Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Reagan and Race.

MSNBC has a column on things that Reagan did to black people.

After taking office in 1981, Reagan began a sustained attack on the government’s civil rights apparatus, opened an assault on affirmative action and social welfare programs, embraced the white racist leaders of then-apartheid South Africa and waged war on a tiny, black Caribbean nation.

"Ronald Reagan, it is fair to say, was really an anathema to the entire civil rights community and the civil rights agenda,” Ronald W. Walters, a professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, told BET.com just a few hours after Reagan died, at age 93, on Saturday.

Is this an accurate account and is it justified?

The question of America's proper relationship with its black citizens has been going on since 1619. Among many people it is an act of faith that there must be set-asides and quotas to rectify the sins of past generations. Reagan along with anyone with Libertarian leanings did not believe in this.

Further in the article they give a list of specific charges. Many are moral indignation over preceived slights (Began his 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Miss., near the site where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964.) but in the middle of them is this:
Appointed people like Clarence Thomas, who later became a horrible Supreme Court Justice, to the Equal Opportunity Commission.

Why is Clarence Thomas a horrible justice? Because he is against racial preferences (plus he is generally conservative which put him at odds with most black leaders). The most common complaint about Thomas is that he is where he is because of racial preferences so he should be willing to give others the same advantage.

Think about that. How would you react if, for the rest of your career, people said that you could never have gotten where you are without special help?

I assume that Clarence Thomas is proud of his accomplishments but over and over his critics say that he does not deserve them, that he should be grateful for being where he dosen't belong, and that he should pass this favor on to others.

What if there were no racial preferences? What if Thomas had completed in a level playing field? Could he have made it anyway? He probably thinks so but we will never know.

If I was Thomas I would hate racial preferences with a passion. Preferences are never good no matter who they help.

And that is why Reagan and conservatives in general hate them. They turn individual responsibility into group victimhood.

Another of the points against Reagan:
Doubted the integrity of civil rights leaders, saying, “Sometimes I wonder if they really mean what they say, because some of those leaders are doing very well leading organizations based on keeping alive the feeling that they're victims of prejudice."

Just because Reagan said it does not meant that it is not true.

School choice is an interesting outgrowth of the Reagan administration. To many liberals, school choice either means "white flight" or "religious indoctranation." They see this as being anti-black and against the constitution.

Private schools are well established in the US. Church-run schools are also doing well and are not necessarily meant as religious indoctrination. When liberals complain about church-run schools they are thinking of Baptist-run ones but the Catholic church is still the major force in religeous education. Interestingly, 60% of the attendies are not Catholic (at least in Central Ohio). They are just kids whose parents think that they will get a better education there than in public school.

This has always been an option for the rich. Even liberals sound conservative when talking about their own kids.

'No, I think it’s important and the first five years she went to public school, then we moved to New York and we went to see the local public school and we walked through a metal detector and we said, “We’re not putting our child through a metal detector.” We’ll continue our fight to see to it that our society is such that you don’t have to have a metal detector at the entrance to schools. But our daughter is not the one to be sacrificed to make things better. And so she went to a school two blocks away. She just went to the nearest other school.’

‘Is that a bad thing?’ he asks rhetorically of his decision, ‘I don’t know. Every parent wants to do what’s best for their child. Whatever I can afford, I’m going to get my kid the best education I can get.’

‘I’m not a liberal. When you come from the working class and you do well enough whereby you can provide a little bit better for your family, get a decent roof over their head and send them to a good school, that’s considered a good thing. If,’ he emphasises, ‘you’re from the working class. What’s bad about it is if you get to do that and then shut the door behind you so nobody else can do that.’

Michael Moore

The rich can do this out of their own pockets. What about the rest of America? They are supposed to fill the public schools. They may not learn math but they will benefit from the diversity. It also makes sure that the rich and powerful will stay that way. They will be the only ones with good educations.

School vouchers and charter schools give people a chance find the school that best fits their child. Most public schools are geared to the average, plodding student. Smart kids tend to get lost in the system or, worse, they are penalized. God help them if they have a problem such as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). As the father of such a student, I am speaking from personal experience here.

But who uses charter schools and vouchers the most? Blacks!

What a surprise. Many black parents want the sae opertunity for their kids that Michael Moore wants for his. Moore is a multi-millionare so he can afford a Catholic school in Manhatten. Poor black families cannot so this without government assistance.

Critics of vouchers abnd charter schools often cite studies showing that these schools do no better than public education. These studies are intellectually and morally backrupt since they do not make any allowances for the socio-economic background of the children. For example, many charter schools specialize in helping students how have behavioural or learning problems yet their test scores are lumped in with other alternative schools and compared with public schools.

School vouchers and charter schools are beginning to drive a wedge between black leaders and blacks in general. Like the rest of America, blacks want to do right for their children.

Without Reagan this would not be possible.

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