"Over the past 50 years, thanks to the scholarship of dozens of experts in many different disciplines, we have come to see just how skewed, prejudiced and dangerous our miseducation has been." (Excerpt from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's April 27, 2008 address to an NAACP gathering in Detroit, Michigan)
"You ain't seen nuttin yet." (Jimmy Durante)
Trinity United Church of Christ looks to be following a steady course in the wake of the retirement of Pastor Jeremiah Wright. While a speech the Rev. Jeremiah Wright recently delivered to an NAACP gathering included controversial claims concerning the miseducation of black children in public schools, it was consistent with earlier preaching from the pulpit of Barack Obama's church.
A sermon delivered there on Sunday, December 17, 2006, entitled "How To Stop A Conspiracy," offered a step-by-step explanation of how young black male students are miseducated by public schools.
The preacher began with a reference to an episode of the HBO series "The Wire" wherein four male children in an inner city Baltimore school are "caught in a system and cycle of neglect and despair." With cascading statements and a crescendo in emphasis, the preacher outlined the miseducation system to which black, male students are subjected.
"It is black children, you see, that when they first start taking tests before they reach the fourth grade, they are at the highest percentile. They are excited about going to school, they [miss not] going to school, they love school, but something happens when they get to the fourth grade.
"Because when they get to the fourth grade they are beginning puberty. They are beginning to become men, and the majority of teachers who are woman, who do not look like them, who have not been kissed by nature's sun, associate normal male behavior during the beginning of puberty as personality disorders and discipline problems. The normal male, whose creative energy is to move and to express himself, is called [sic] immediately diagnosed with ADD and a behavior problem.
"But then on top of all of that, with teachers who have never really taught our children, they have low teacher expectations. And when they see our children, they assume they are less intelligent. And subconsciously, because they assume our children are less intelligent, they then do not call upon our children. And because they do not call upon our children, our children naturally counter that by then trying to make themselves known in the class. They make themselves known in the class by acting out because no child wants to be ignored. But when they act out in class the teacher then says, ‘Go to the office, you are a behavior problem.'
"But then on top of all that, when they reach fourth grade, they've got to start taking all these tests. And when they begin to take all of these tests the school system then designs a specific system that says there are some children who are gifted and there are some children who need help. But if you end up in the ‘need help' category, you can never rise to the ‘gifted' category. You will stay there for the rest of your life.
"And then on top of all of that, as a result of this negative behavior that children then develop, they realize they get attention and they act out. And no child wants to be ignored, so he will act out in order for you just to say something to him.
"And then on top of all that, the parents of the boys who are caught in this cycle, if they are the sole provider in the family, and they are trying to keep the family together but do not have the time nor the opportunity to spend time after school, their child will then be marked for failure.
"But wait a minute, even on top of all that, then the school system, after it sets up its tracking system, it then sells the results of the tests to privatized companies that are trying to predict how many jails we need to build fifteen and twenty years from now so that they can make some money.
"But then on top of all that, the government in turn then introduces vouchers into our community that will help a small number of children to go to private schools. And when you take those children who are doing well from the public school system, shift them to the private school center, then you only have a small amount of children in the public school who are then not doing well.
"Then after all of this, the government and private corporations, then join forces to lobby for the privatization of the public school system so they then can make money off the pain and the misery of our children.
"I'm here to tell you there's a conspiracy to destroy our boys."
(Verbatim transcription from a CD sold on the church's website.)
So this conspiracy, as described, is founded on the racial bias and professional incompetence of non-black, female teachers. Then it is perpetuated by co-conspirators that include school officials and corporations that manage private schools and build prisons. Elsewhere in the sermon, local politicians and police officials are implicated in the conspiracy.
The sermon was delivered in Chicago, but it began by citing the failure of Baltimore Public Schools. The Baltimore School Board has ten members, one of whom is a Student Commissioner. Based on their photographs, six are African-Americans. The school officials most directly indicted in the sermon, given that it was delivered before a Chicago congregation, are the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education. Based on their photographs and biographical sketches, three are African-Americans (including the Board President); two are either Hispanic-Americans or carry a surname that so suggests; one appears to be an Anglo, and one is an Asian-American. These 17 persons from two major metropolitan school boards are, according to the accusation that came from the pulpit of Senator Barack Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ, key members of a conspiracy to put in place "a system designed and cultivated to maintain, to destroy, our children - especially our boys."
The sermon was delivered by a preacher that Obama described to Tim Russert on Meet The Press, Sunday, May 4, as his church's "wonderful young pastor." His name: The Reverend Otis B. Moss III. He is the pastor in line to assume Jeremiah Wright's position upon Wright's retirement.
Barack Obama has made major revisions in public education a key element of his comprehensive plan for change. Just how much do we really know about the Senator's motives and intentions concerning his plan to significantly expand the federal government's role in public education?