“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Those 35 words are likely among the most memorable in our nation’s history. Delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, they echo his innate desire for his children to live in a society where character, not skin color, was the determination of merit. Though this has become true for Black people in America by-and-large, there are those that seek not only to “beat a dead horse,” but to bring it back to life and ride it.
It is clear to many of us that adolescence carries with it its own set of trials and challenges, hormonal concerns notwithstanding. Discovering where you fit into the universal scheme of things can often be difficult, and that difficulty increases when those challenges are not based on intellect or skill, but rather an aspect of yourself that you have no control over. Your race.
As far back as 2012, long before the critical race theories became mainstream talking points, an Education Department study revealed disparities between Black and White students. Rather than consider other factors such as behavior history or violent past activities, these results were immediately attributed to race. Based on these beliefs, students are increasingly being disciplined simply due to the color of their skin.
Case in point:
In an article published by Educationpost.org concerning school disciplinary procedures, it revealed how this focus is trending more and more. While stating actual stats dealing with the disproportionate number of incidents involving Black students, the piece only offered what such research would “suggest,” rather than what the findings actually conclude. However, only a short time before in the Wall Street Journal, as columnist Jason Riley’s article, “Classroom Chaos in the Name of Racial Equity Is a Bad Lesson Plan” explains, the equity component clearly does more harm than good. This plan to ‘level the playing field’ now operates in many schools similarly
to how affirmative action initiatives in the 70’s were once implemented in the workplace.
“The sad irony,” writes Riley, “is that Black students, in whose name this was done, were the ones most hurt by racial quotas in school discipline. A 2017 federal survey of school safety by the National Center for Education
Statistics found that 25% of Black students nationwide reported being
bullied, the highest percentage of any racial or ethnic group.”
“To its credit,” Riley adds, “the Trump administration revoked these policies in 2018 under the direction of then Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who understood the strong link between violent school settings and poor academic performance in a way that seems lost on progressives. Going easy on troublemakers makes life much more difficult for the kids who are in school to get an education.”
Though these reports do little to assuage the focus or intent of those seeking to attach race to anything involving Black students, Americans should nonetheless be very concerned. Under such guidelines, regardless of the offense, a White student would be punished to a significant degree greater than that of their Black counterparts. Despite such attempts to sway the narrative, the evidence to the contrary is irrefutable; in the words of author and talk show host Larry Elder, “If you subsidize bad behavior- you get more bad behavior.”
In 2019, a report by the Institute for Family Studies (also referenced in the Wall Street Journal) recorded sociologists Bradford Wilcox and Nicholas Zill’s findings that, “Black students living with both married parents had suspension rates that not only were less than half as large as those for other Blacks, but also less than the suspension rate for White students from families that weren’t intact. Statistical disparities can’t automatically be
equated with discrimination and pretending otherwise can lead to bad policies that harm the very people you want to help.”
Needless to say, the repercussions of such practices are not the leveling of the ‘playing field,’ but rather the way the ‘game’ is played, as well as the outcomes it produces. The dynamics are quite different as well for those that already recognize that no matter what you do- you get a pass. Reporting as far back as 2015 reveal how black students in New York schools, for example, caught attacking other students, stealing, or even selling drugs
now avoid suspension or even expulsion under the new discipline rules. Thus, leftists prove they have never believed in equality.
The Department of Education in New York is convinced (without substantive proof) that the higher suspensions of Black students must be ‘racist’. Thus, they use “restorative justice,” an alternative practice that ends up being
more like therapy than punishment.
As parents and caregivers, most of us teach our children that success is the reward of tenacity and hard work, as well as the value of fair play. But what do you say to child that forgoes video games, sports and other activities in order to pursue academic excellence, only to discover that their skin color has barred them? How about the students that find themselves suspended for something that their “classmates of color” somehow were
not, yet were allowed to continue in school for the same offense?
If we have learned anything from the legacy of men like Dr. King, it should be reaping the rewards and/or the benefits of his life’s work and experience. We must keep in mind that we have a responsibility to pass that baton to those that come after us, as well as the gravity of such a charge. Otherwise, we will find ourselves with the next generation of Americans simply seeking to get by, rather than excelling in their chosen fields. If you’re like me, you don’t want a surgeon doing open heart procedures on your loved ones simply because he’s Black. You don’t want an Air-Traffic controller in charge of landing your plane solely because his skin was darker than the others who applied.
By daring to proceed as such, we don’t send a message that inspires others to “do their best.” In fact, we
send quite a different message that says instead to disregard the Declaration of Independence; all men are not created equal. The dream is doomed.