Run­ning out of white folks

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY WES­LEY PRU­DEN

An­other great na­tional cri­sis is at hand: We’re run­ning out of white folks. There just aren’t enough of them to suit the Democrats. Last week the na­tion ob­served the 60th an­niver­sary of Brown v. Board of Ed­u­ca­tion, the dec­la­ra­tion of the U.S. Supreme Court that le­gal seg­re­ga­tion of the races in the pub­lic schools is un­con­sti­tu­tional. The court fol­lowed that later with an or­der for the states to move with “all de­lib­er­ate speed” to de­seg­re­gate the schools.

We’ve come a long way in the six decades since; ev­ery­one agrees on that much. To­day there’s no such re­quired seg­re­ga­tion and the idea that any­one would try to sep­a­rate black and white by law, repris­ing the bad old days, is fan­tas­ti­cal in­deed. But many voices on the left in­sist that the na­tion is mov­ing now to “re­seg­re­ga­tion” be­cause many black chil­dren still can’t sit in a class­room with white chil­dren.

And it’s not just the schools. A grow­ing cho­rus of Democrats com­plain that there aren’t enough white folks to pop­u­late their party in the South. They lament the fact that 65 years ago Democrats held 103 of the 105 con­gres­sional seats in the 11 states of the Con­fed­er­acy, and now Democrats have only 16 of the 131 South­ern seats. “I should be stuffed and put in a mu­seum when I pass away,” says Rep. Steve Co­hen, who rep­re­sents an over­whelm­ingly black district in Mem­phis de­spite his be­ing both white and Jewish. He wants some kind of pub­lic recog­ni­tion, per­haps a brass plaque at the air­port or on one of the bridges across the Mis­sis­sippi River to Arkansas, pro­claim­ing that “yes, a white South­ern Demo­crat once lived here.”

These may be heart­felt tears, but they’re tears of fool­ish in­con­sis­tency. Mr. Co­hen cel­e­brates the right of cit­i­zens, both black and white, to live where they please and vote where they please, he just doesn’t like the choices they make. Nei­ther do Democrats who rage against the “re­seg­re­ga­tion” of the pub­lic schools.

There’s a key statistic that must be kept in mind, says Roger Clegg, the pres­i­dent of the Cen­ter for Equal Op­por­tu­nity. “The num­ber of seg­re­gated (or re­seg­re­gated) pub­lic schools in the United States is . . . zero. Seg­re­ga­tion means send­ing chil­dren to sep­a­rate schools be­cause of their race; it does not mean a fail­ure to have so­cially en­gi­neered racial bal­ance. We can cel­e­brate, un­re­servedly, the fact that we no longer have racial seg­re­ga­tion in our pub­lic schools.”

There’s no ev­i­dence, say many re­searchers, that racial bal­ance nec­es­sar­ily means bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion for chil­dren of ei­ther race. Abi­gail and Stephan Th­ern­strom ob­served in their clas­sic study, “No Ex­cuses: Clos­ing the Racial Gap in Learn­ing,” that “mi­nor­ity stu­dents are not be­com­ing more racially iso­lated; white stu­dents typ­i­cally at­tend schools that are much more racially and eth­ni­cally di­verse than 30 years ago, and the mod­est de­cline in the ex­po­sure of black and His­panic chil­dren to whites is solely due to the de­clin­ing share of white chil­dren in the school age pop­u­la­tion.”

The Joint Cen­ter for Po­lit­i­cal and Eco­nomic Stud­ies, a lib­eral think tank, de­cries the fact that only 4.8 per­cent of black state leg­is­la­tors serve ma­jor­i­tyrace districts. A mir­ror phe­nom­e­non is no doubt true in pre­dom­i­nantly black districts, where a win­ning can­di­date is rarely white. Vot­ers, black and white, vote the way they want, the learned so­ci­ol­o­gists and loud­mouth politi­cians be damned. It’s called “democ­racy.”

Such an­a­lysts in­sist that ev­ery­one is as ob­sessed with race as they are. The white South­ern­ers who switched par­ties to make the South re­li­ably red have done so for a lot of rea­sons, and le­gal seg­re­ga­tion, as dead in Lit­tle Rock and Birm­ing­ham as in Bos­ton or Seat­tle, is rarely one of them. The Demo­cratic im­pulse to em­brace ev­ery strange and weird so­cial whim, from same-sex mar­riage to ban­ish­ing God from the pub­lic square, will al­ways be a tough sell south of the Ma­son-Dixon Line, where tra­di­tion thrives and old-school moral­ity is hon­ored, if some­times in the breach. Get­ting elected to of­fice any­where is hard work and there’s a bro­ken heart for ev­ery live oak on the bayou, but there have been more black elected of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing sher­iffs, leg­is­la­tors and con­gress­men, in Mis­sis­sippi than in any other state.

Sixty years on, there’s much to cel­e­brate, even if the class­room isn’t as white as the lib­er­als and the eggheads think it should be. “It never ceases to amaze me,” Jus­tice Clarence Thomas has ob­served, “that courts are so will­ing to as­sume that any­thing that is pre­dom­i­nantly black must be in­fe­rior.” Just so. Wes­ley Pru­den is edi­tor emer­i­tus of The Wash­ing­ton Times.

Clarence Thomas

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.