The Black Left Needs Right Policies

Since the start of Obama's administration, black liberals have been fulminating against his lack of focus on the black community and issues regarding their plight. These black liberals accuse him of being aloof, indifferent, and more dedicated to aiding his big-business cronies than creating economic policies to better the black middle class and the poor.

Curiously, despite massive ideological differences, these are precisely the same complaints that many white conservative Americans have towards Obama. Irrespective of the red herring of race, everyone wants America to thrive economically and for all people to have enough resources to live prosperously. The bonds that we share as humans trump the infinitesimal differences of race.

However, professional race-baiters like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and portentous academics who have made careers out of casuistry like the fast-talking Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West incessantly talk about the needs of people in the black community as though blacks are so remarkably and inexplicably different from others in society.

Much like whites in America, blacks need infrastructure, security, health care, education, and employment. It is utterly preposterous to suggest that black and white concerns are different or that blacks are so culturally different from whites that it requires special attention to deal with their concerns, but America has so readily accepted the myth, ferociously promulgated by black liberals, that blacks are a people whose needs are so divorced from whites.

This is baseless racial division at its worst.

Moreover, equally preposterous is the notion that it takes a black person to enact the policies that will bring economic prosperity to the black community. Inasmuch as bad economics affects all people and good economics affects all people, America simply needs people who can institute the right kinds of policies that have proven to create economic growth and alleviate poverty. In one word: capitalism. Economic growth does not discriminate against blacks, nor does it carefully look out for special white households to benefit. Those in the societal position to take advantage of economic growth benefit from it. Contrary to popular belief, there is no magical racial formula.

Race is merely a societal construct that should be used only to make certain distinctions between groups for the purpose of understanding minute sociological differences; however, evidently, it has become a tool for race hucksters to spread their poisonous demagoguery and partisanship to seclude groups of people, based on color, as exclusive property of the Democratic Party.

When the economic recession hit, it did not hit just the ghettos of the country. Granted, statistically, black people suffered worst from the economic crisis, but whites too suffered, and continue to suffer, from the economic hardship created by injudicious economic policies.

Now, there are myriad reasons why a recession would hit black people harder than whites -- and none of them have to do with the notion that AmeriKKKa is an evil place. The most logical of these is that blacks are much less likely to be admitted into college and graduate than their white counterparts. Given this disparity, when a recession hits, those who start off from a better position will obviously be better-equipped to remain employed.

It is for this reason that education reform needs to occur for disadvantaged people -- including poor blacks -- to lift themselves out of their cycle of poverty. Unsurprisingly, though, the Democratic Party opposes school vouchers for black children to create brighter futures for themselves.

Peculiarly, however, the Democratic Party does support affirmative action, which essentially has become system of disparate standards for blacks and whites to get into the same universities, with the standard for blacks being pathetically lower than the one for whites.

The only logical analysis that one can draw from such a bipolar liberal view on education is that liberals -- in no difference to their economic policies -- want to give things to blacks that they haven't earned, so they will be perennially beholden to the Democratic Party.

Assuming that one is truly interested in leveling the education gap, it makes no sense not to afford blacks the opportunity to work their way into top universities by academic merit. The fact that liberals happily allow blacks and other disadvantaged groups to drudge their way through embarrassingly poor public schools only to hand them affirmative action grants by the time they are ready for undergraduate and graduate studies is indisputable evidence of the fact that liberals care nothing about meaningfully reducing the education gap. It is merely political posturing on the part of liberals and pandering to the idea of "diversity."

As the incomparable Dr. Thomas Sowell points out, liberals hurt blacks with affirmative action because it artificially increases black dropout rates at prestigious schools by having them compete with people they are not educated to the level of being able to compete with.

America does not need fancy specialist policies for blacks. What America needs is capitalism -- the only economic system on Earth that has proven to produce growth, reduce poverty, and produce the best-quality goods for the most inexpensive price. It couldn't matter less whether the person instituting capitalistic policies is white, black, yellow, blue, or purple. If instituted, they will work.

Predictably, the history of America proves this point exactly. Under the administration of Ronald Reagan, blacks did markedly well -- and even statistically better than whites. As Larry Elder astutely points out:

From the end of 1982 to 1989, black unemployment dropped 9 percentage points (from 20.4 percent to 11.4 percent), while white unemployment dropped by only 4 percentage points. Black household income went up 84 percent from 1980 to 1990, versus a white household income increase of 68 percent. The number of black-owned businesses increased from 308,000 in 1982 to 424,000 in 1987, a 38 percent rise versus a 14 percent increase in the total number of firms in the United States. Receipts by black-owned firms more than doubled, from $9.6 billion to $19.8 billion.

So while black liberal pundits are busily denouncing Obama for not being focused enough on the black community, what they are unwittingly admitting is that they want more capitalism. After all, despite years of trying, from FDR's New Deal to Johnson's Great Society, liberal policies have done nothing more than dismantle the black family, keep blacks dependent on the government, and crush the black entrepreneurial spirit.

Liberals do blacks a disservice of Brobdingnagian proportions by incessantly promoting the poppycock that the way out of poverty is by endless reliance on government largesse. Liberals must stop massaging the victimhood mentality of black America by endlessly citing apocryphal "white racism" as being the decisive factor that "keeps the black man down."

In contradistinction, however, what is needed is for blacks to educate themselves to the top of their chosen fields to close the economic disparity between the races.

Most importantly, what is best for black America is a lot less Obamanomics, and instead never-ending Reaganomics -- and it should be no surprise that that's precisely what's best for the rest of America also.

Mr. Okeem can be reached at