Race obsession, all over
It's become abundantly clear that the people most loudly accusing America of being a bastion of "systemic racism" are either ignorant or self-serving cowards.
In the case of television personality Jon Stewart, it's a bit of both.
A case in point is a recent episode of Stewart's show, The Problem with Jon Stewart.
In the episode, entitled "The Problem with White People," Stewart joined two of his guests in eagerly condemning a third, Andrew Sullivan, as a racist. Sullivan's transgression was his mere willingness to question Stewart's and the other guests' assertions that America today is a hotbed of "systemic racism." Stewart displayed ignorance of America's complicated history with race, and cowardice by essentially lobbing the virtue-signaling, mob-appeasing accusation of "racist" at Sullivan. I don't want to spend too much more time discussing Stewart, other than to reiterate that his "problem" starts with ignorance and cowardice. But there is much to learn from Sullivan's must-read summary of the episode.
The disturbing fact is that the obsession with "systemic racism" is pervasive throughout all American institutions, from "woke" corporate America to the federal government's alphabet bureaucracies to academia and public education. But why, and who benefits?
This brings us to a meeting I had last summer with the superintendent of my local school district, Brevard Public Schools (BPS), on the Space Coast of Florida. Like many districts across the country, BPS is skirting responsibility for racial disparities in educational outcomes by blaming "systemic racism." (In BPS's case, blacks and Hispanics lag behind whites — though it's interesting to point out BPS's lack of concern that blacks, Hispanics, and whites all lag behind Asians).
By blaming "systemic racism," BPS is sacrificing the well-being of students of all colors. For example, the message to white students is that they're guilty of "white privilege" as beneficiaries of "systemic racism." The message to black students is that they're helpless victims of oppression, with the chances for a successful life stacked against them, and therefore must be held to different educational and disciplinary standards. The societal trade-off is the destruction of goodwill and greater conflict in the community.
Using "systemic racism" as the default excuse for a school district's failure to adequately educate all students is also an excuse to expand the district's bureaucracy. For example, the disparities, along with George Floyd's death, and BLM's subsequent daily lootings, beatings, and burnings of people and cities across the U.S. over the summer of 2020, were used to Trojan-horse in BPS's CRT-informed Diversity and Equity (DE) program.
The DE director wasted no time in identifying "systemic racism" as the program's cause du jour:
(BPS) Leadership is also doing a great job of understanding how systemic racism, biases, how mindsight really helps in driving all of these necessary changes.
She continued referring to Floyd's death as a catalyst for DE programs across the country, though there was zero evidence that Floyd's death was due to racism or, more particularly, racism in Florida.
One of the things we will be doing within the district is really being more conscious and committed to unconscious bias training. Also, trying to not only create this shared awareness, of not only what biases are, this systemic racism, things of that nature[.]
The director offered zero evidence to back her claim that disparities are due to "systemic racism," or to prove the existence of "unconscious bias." For the latter, outside explicit deed and action, how can one truly divine what's in another's heart and head? He can't.
As to the former, "systemic racism," those obsessed with it never do provide evidence of its existence. The simple truth is, disparities do not necessarily prove the existence of "systemic racism." Furthermore, "systemic racism" requires two things to exist. One is codified law. The other is mass social acceptance of racism. Neither can be found in America today. (This is hardly to say that "systemic racism" never existed in the U.S., or that America's unfortunate and complicated history regarding race should not be discussed and analyzed.)
As for my meeting with BPS's superintendent, over the previous school year, I had reached out via email on numerous occasions, regarding my family's objections to the racist, CRT-informed material my 6th-grade daughter was bringing home from her elementary school. The superintendent offered an in-person meeting to discuss the matter. I accepted.
The meeting unfolded as I thought it would. I provided evidence that CRT was in the district. I informed the superintendent that he was presiding over the destruction of children in BPS, and the district itself, as parents of students in BPS were already at war over CRT, the DE program, LGBTQ+ issues, and mask mandates, for example. Sides were forming, and the superintendent was choosing his side. I added that CRT was doing exactly what its proponents designed it to do: create conflict to divide, destroy, and conquer.
The superintendent played both ignorant and cowardly, alternately deflecting, denying, and defending CRT's existence in the district. He failed to commit to do anything about it. Rather, he circled the wagons, attacking all criticism of BPS and himself. This confirmed my concerns that CRT and bureaucracies like BPS pose an existential threat to America.
This is not hyperbole. CRT is a radical, Marxist ideology. Its own proponents liken it to a virus, designed to destroy Western civilization. Bureaucracies are inherently inefficient and ultimately unsustainable. Bureaucracies radicalized by CRT, the growing trend across America, are at war with all things liberty. Simply, liberty and racist, CRT-driven bureaucracies cannot co-exist. Suffice it to say, if liberty doesn't win — liberty, the rising tide that lifts all boats — every American loses, sooner than later.
To wit, the superintendent asked me what I would do to address the disparities. I first replied with what I would not do, which is scapegoat "systemic racism." I then informed him that the best way to address disparities is to address the public policies destroying culture. Primarily, the destruction of culture is what's driving disparities.
Take the nuclear family. I pointed out that since the explosion of the U.S. welfare state in the 1960s (LBJ's "Great Society" programs), there's been a drastic decline in two-parent homes. For example, in 1960, nearly 80% of black homes were two-parent homes. Today, that number is under 30%. This is what happens when the welfare state pays people to have babies and not get married. Great thinkers like Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell have been addressing issues like this for decades.
I also mentioned, for example, the minimum wage, which has been artificially raised, keeping poor, un-skilled, and under-educated young people out of work, barring them from taking that first step up the economic ladder, toward a productive, meaningful life. I continued by pointing out the disastrous effects of inflation, which destroys the purchasing power of the dollar, which hurts poor and middle-class families, and single-parent homes, the most. I illustrated that inflation also causes boom-bust economic bubbles and recessions. During booms, many people are lured into buying things they can't truly afford, like houses, only to lose them during the bust-recession, as many families did during the 2008 economic meltdown.
Furthermore, during the boom, municipalities over-spend, and when the inevitable recession hits, they resort to policing for profit and civil asset forfeiture to recover lost revenue. I also mentioned onerous, economy-strangling regulations and licensing fees.
It's important to add that all of the policies mentioned above, which destroy culture and community and, hence, drive disparities, are supported by the political left and Democrats in all blue cities and states, who are those screaming most loudly about "systemic racism." Feel free to draw your own inferences from this fact.
Simply, short of full school choice, which I do advocate, I told the superintendent that the aforementioned policies are verifiable starting points to address, as far as developing a strategy to resolve conflict, strengthen culture and community, and bridge disparities. I recommended that he, as superintendent of BPS, take the lead by opening a public dialogue about these policies, rather than allowing "systemic racism" as the destructive default.
For his part, the superintendent said he agreed with a great many of my points, especially, for example, the role of the destruction of the nuclear family in destroying culture. Yet to this day, he has failed to publicly lead, or effectually act to resolve the growing conflict in his school district and our community.
In this, the problem with the BPS superintendent and his school district, like many superintendents and school districts across the country, is the same problem with Jon Stewart.
Image: NASA via Picryl, public domain.