Voices of unity, voices of disunity

Racist "leaders" actively work to set Americans against each other.

A nation has to be unified enough that people want to share a government.  Historically, immigrants came to America to find a better life. They realized that the American system was designed to give them maximum opportunity to improve their lives, so they tried to become Americans as rapidly as possible.  Political leaders stressed unity.

When Chicago was "the city that works" under Mayor Daley the First, for example, the city leadership recognized ethnic differences but made no apologies for expecting everyone to cooperate in making the city work.  "Nobody gets everything but everybody gets something," was Hizzonner's mantra. He recognized that each ethic group in his city had a different agenda, but he insisted that they overcome their differences and be Americans.

Until the EPA started whining about pollution, the Chicago River was dyed green for every St. Patrick's day.  Mayor Daley didn't mind the Irish being Irish one day a year; he participated in any ethnic celebrations such Chinese New Year's or Cinco de Mayo parades that his people wanted so long as everybody acted like Americans the rest of the year.

Mayor Daley was a uniter.  He had no need to frighten his followers by telling them that the American establishment was trying to keep them down, he tried to show them the way up.

Dr. Martin Luther King also dreamed of a prosperous, united nation.  In his "I have a dream" speech, he said,

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.

Dr. King had a vision of Americans working together in unity regardless of race, creed, color or national origin:

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

Mayor Daley and Dr. King tried to help their people find the best possible place for each individual.  Both men realized that the best outcome for their followers would be to join the American mainstream.  They knew that the American ideals of equal opportunity, hard work, and education would lead to prosperity.

Intellectuals who complain about Americans being too materialistic forget that economic liberty, that is, the right and ability to earn your own money and spend it as you choose, is the foundation of all liberty.  By encouraging everyone to join the American dream and earn enough money to become free and independent citizens, Mayor Daley and Dr. King urged people towards the "promised land."

George Washington Carver was another leader who believed in unity.  As a renowned professor at Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute, he insisted that each student learn a trade to have something to give to the community.  He believed that if a man made the best bricks in town, people would buy his bricks regardless of his race:

Learn to do common things uncommonly well; we must always keep in mind that anything that helps fill the dinner pail is valuable.

When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.

Although he believed that a skilled tradesman would never lack income, he warned that becoming skilled was a lot of work:

There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation - veneer isn't worth anything.

He believed that anyone who took the trouble to become educated would join the American mainstream:

Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.

Mayor Daley, Dr. Carver, and Dr King wanted to bring about the American idea of the melting pot.  People of diverse backgrounds don't understand each other very well and have trouble communicating with leaders and bosses.  Diversity causes so many communications difficulties that it's a weakness, rather than a strength.

Left to themselves, most people hang out with people like themselves.  It's easy to get people to distrust each other, it takes real leadership to get people from different backgrounds to work together.  These three men dedicated their lives to this dream.

Unfortunately, many modern leaders try to keep their followers from becoming Americans.  Instead of promoting unity, these leaders try to set their followers against other Americans.  For example, the leaders of a group of Somali Islamic taxi drivers in Minneapolis persuaded the taxi commission to let Islamic drivers refuse to carry passengers who might be carrying alcohol.  The Islamic leaders based their argument on the American idea of freedom of religion, saying that the Koran forbids being associated with alcohol.

Their plea ignores the longstanding American tradition of restricting religions practices which conflict with the public good.  Having seen drivers refuse to pick up passengers based on race, American taxi commissioners require that drivers pick up anyone, that's a condition of having a taxi license.  If you can't do that, you shouldn't ask for a taxi license.

The Islamic Society's leaders could have pointed out that the Koran forbids consuming alcohol, it does not forbid transporting, selling, or making it.  They could have pointed out that their people had chosen to be taxi drivers and were thus subject to the law; anyone who disagreed with their interpretation of the Koran could find another job.

This would have helped their people join the American mainstream, but would have been disastrous from the leaders' point of view.  Drivers who adapt to American law gradually turn from Islamic leaders to American politicians.  The only way Islamic leaders can keep their followers is to keep them out of the American mainstream by asking for special treatment.  If their people melt in, ethnic leaders lose their followers.

Can you imagine an Islamic scholar being successful in American politics?  Neither could the Minneapolis Mullahs.  Not wanting to give up their leadership positions, they chose to promote conflict between their people and the rest of America instead of promoting unity.

Islamics aren't the only leaders who want to keep people out of the American mainstream.  Ignoring the fact that earlier generations of immigrant children learned English within a few months of being put in American schools, educators have promoted laws requiring that children be taught in their native language.  States gave additional money for each bilingual student; the longer educrats keep children in the bilingual programs, the more money they get.

As far back as 1994, English First lobbied against bilingual education because of its ineffectiveness.  In letters to the US Senate, they said:

Supporters of bilingual education have failed to justify its renewal. They are desperate. The National Council of La Raza has even tried to mislead Congress on the effectiveness of bilingual education programs, programs which are renewed and expanded under S.1513. In their letter to the House of Representatives on February 28, they claim:

"Without the programs made possible by Title VII, LEP [Limited English Proficient] students will . . . be more likely to suffer from high drop-out rates, low rates of academic achievement, and disproportionately low rates of placement in gifted and talented programs."

The facts show that bilingual education at best does not help and more likely hurts LEP children:

"Governmental financial support (for bilingual education) will diminish rapidly as it becomes increasingly clear to legislators that the goals of improved Chicano academic achievement are not met. This could be reversed if enough political pressure is exerted by advocates."

La Raza claims that bilingual education reduces drop-out rates. But the Boston Globe reported that bilingual education was the problem, not the solution:

"Some educators contend that bilingual education, once viewed as a panacea for Hispanic students, has become another part of the problem. Hispanics in bilingual programs -- nearly half of those in the system -- drop out at an annual rate of 17 percent compared to 16 percent for Hispanics in regular programs. Latinos in bilingual education are suspended and held back in the same grade at rates comparable to students in regular programs."

This demonstrated, ongoing failure has provoked even a supporter of bilingual education to comment:

"We have been talking about this problem ever since I have been in Congress and yet the dropout rate seems to be about the same."

In promoting the California petition to outlaw English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, a Hispanic father explained why La Raza wanted bilingual education, "You want my kids to speak Spanish so they grow up to be waitresses and busboys.  I want my kids to speak English so they grow up to be doctors and lawyers."

Education bureaucracies like ESL because of the extra money and because they aren't expected to teach ESL kids anything much.  One of the taunts thrown at the Virginia tech shooter Seung Hhi Cho was, "Go back to ESL."

More money and lower expectations is bureaucratic heaven, but it's bad for students.  As the Washington Post reported on Sept 30, p B8 "High-Speed ESL in the Schools," "There was a time ... that the goal was to mainstream speakers of other languages as soon as possible."  "Getting out of ESL is not easy."  The writer of the article went on to tell how relatives ask her to "do battle" to get their kids out of ESL so they can learn something.

The bureaucracy tries to lock kids into ESL for the sake of the money, but what about La Raza?  As the Minneapolis Mullahs know that mainstream Americans won't need them, La Raza knows that Hispanic doctors and lawyers won't need La Raza.  Speaking English well is the key to the American mainstream as Dr. Carver well knew.  Instead of fighting school bureaucracies who use ESL as an excuse for not teaching kids much, La Raza goes along.  They'd rather keep their people down than have them become prosperous mainstream Americans.  Just look at the complaints when California outlawed affirmative action!

Leading the way backwards again, California passes Proposition 209, which outlaws affirmative action in public employment, public contracting and public education. Other states jump on the bandwagon with their own initiatives and right wing elements hope to pass similar legislation on a federal level.

Locking kids into ESL so that they don't learn English is bad, affirmative action is far worse.  On page 6 of his book about Affirmative Action, Dr. Thomas Sowell says:

Equality of opportunity might be achieved within some feasible span of time, but that is wholly different from eliminating inequalities of results.

People who support affirmative action demand "equalities of results" as opposed to mere equality of opportunity.  They assume that because all races are equality talented, law abiding, and motivated, any differences in result must be due to racism.  Schools respond to this idea by not wanting to recognize outstanding students, after all, recognizing achievement makes poor students jealous.

Students differ in ability, of course, so the only way to achieve "equality of learning" is not to teach anybody anything, which is exactly what many schools seem to do.  Not teaching much is not only politically correct, it's a lot easier for the teacher.

Dr. Sowell points out that black Americans made economic progress faster before affirmative action was put in place than afterward.  He doesn't say explicitly that people who support affirmative action are trying to hurt black people, but the fact that people who are supposed to benefit are actually harmed is so clear that it's easy to think that people behind affirmative action are deliberately trying to harm blacks.

There are three ways that affirmative action harms black people:

  • It makes other groups jealous.  Any grandmother will tell you that one of the best ways to make your kids hate each other is to treat them differently and give them different privileges.  When white, Asian, or Hispanic students see that black students don't have to follow the same rules, do you think it helps them get along with blacks?
  • Affirmative action devalues capable black people.  Affirmative action is common enough that people assume that a black person got his or her job through affirmative action and is not actually qualified for the job.
  • It places students in colleges beyond their ability.  If a school is too tough, a student learns far less than he or she would learn at a slower-paced college.  The Wall Street Journal has written that affirmative action reduced the number of black lawyers--students who go to law schools which are too hard for them have trouble passing the bar exam, whereas they would be much better prepared had they gone to a less elite law school and been able to keep up.

Blacks were treated unfairly in the past.  Dr. Carver was extremely accurate in his vision of people buying the best bricks no matter who made them.  When Tuskegee graduates set up businesses all over the South, white businessmen didn't appreciate the competition.  Instead of improving their operations, established businessmen got laws passed that kept blacks out of their parts of the economy.

The force behind the infamous "Jim Crow" laws was economic.  Outlawing competition had nothing to do with race per se; the fact that most of their new competitors were black made it easier for white businessmen to identify them and put them out of business.

We saw the same economic racism when Japanese automobile makers first took business from Detroit.  Instead of improving their products to benefit their customers, GM, Ford, and Chrysler lobbied to pass laws that cut Japanese automobile imports.  Banning car sales because of the manufacturer's race was just as racist as banning sales of bricks made by blacks, but like the white segregationists before them, Detroit thought it was easier to ban the competition than to compete.  Unfortunately for Detroit, the Japanese switched to making their cars in America and now compete harder than ever.

Dr. Carver's business school graduates couldn't change their race as easily as the Japanese changed the racial composition in their factories.  Affirmative action may have been helpful in overcoming the effects of the "Jim Crow" era, but it's now counterproductive for the reasons given above.  Dr Sowell's book points out at great length that affirmative action always harms the groups it's supposed to help.  The Wall Street Journal says the same thing.

Affirmative action hurts society by dividing us along racial lines and it hurts those it's intended to help.  As our Supreme Court recently said in overturning race-base school assignments, "The only way to stop making judgments on the basis of race is to stop making judgments on the basis of race."

Why, then, with its harms so obvious, does affirmative action continue?

It's partly bureaucratic self-interest.  Googling for "affirmative action staff university budget" shows that colleges and many other organizations have affirmative action bureaucracies in place.  Where would an affirmative action bureaucrat find work if affirmative action were abolished?

The bureaucracy helps keep it going, of course, but the real driving force behind affirmative action is black leaders who need affirmative action to keep their followers.  Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and many others have nothing to offer except payments extorted from society on the basis of past guilt.  Like the Minneapolis Mullahs, black leaders don't want blacks to join the American mainstream.  Instead of promoting racial harmony, they try to divide our society along racial lines.

For example, when a fight broke out at a Decatur, Illinois high school football game in 1999, six black students were suspended.  Jesse Jackson accused the school board of racism and of exaggerating the incident.  Despite a videotape showing that the students had been very violent, he continued to argue against black students being punished and implied that they were being punished for racial reasons, as if blacks never violate the law.

In asking for special treatment for blacks, Mr. Jackson, like the Minneapolis Mullahs, is driving wedges between black people and the rest of society.  If he can keep his followers alienated, they'll follow him, but mainstream blacks drift away.

We see the same accusations of racism in pleas to free the "Jena six," as if blacks never commit violent crimes.  Again, black leaders seek to retain power by convincing blacks that they can't depend on American justice and need their help to get ahead.

Current black leaders need affirmative action to stay in power.   The people behind the California petition to abolish affirmative action broadcast Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech as an argument against affirmative action.  Dr. King's heirs sued for copyright violation and forced them off the air; that part of Dr. King's legacy threatens their power.

There is hope.  In an editorial on page 80 of the Nov. 5 issue, US News and World Report said:

Many blacks have moved from victims to victors.  Bill Cosby summed up the transformation in his book Come on People.  "Victim" is the enemy, he writes, and despair, defeat, despondency, and hopelessness must be rejected.

Mr. Cosby is entirely correct in saying that "victim" is the enemy, but for blacks to reject "victim," they must reject the current generation of black leadership who've based their careers on promoting hopelessness that only they can cure. US News points out that "a new generation of post-civil rights black leaders, ... choose to accentuate the positive."

Going forward may be catching on.  Walter Williams, for example, offerers public absolution for white people in the hope that we can work together; it's well worth reading.

Dr. King's dream may be closer than we think, but we'll have to shut down leaders who sow disunity.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments

So how does the US rebuild that unity enough so others want to share it?  It would seem that the whole thing is a self-feeding, downward spiral.  Once it starts, there is no stopping it.  You can't get people to WANT to share an American unity unless they see benefits from it.  And it no longer exists.

November 14, 2007 8:03 AM

Judging from the number of illegals who risk their lives to come here, the American dream still has pull.  The question is, once they get here, will they become Americans, or will they remain in separate ethic enclaves?

November 14, 2007 10:35 AM

Most large cities in the US have large immigrant neighborhoods where the food, traditions, language, etc is very unique.  These individual burroughs drive a lot of discord between Americans.  However, would you say that those cities lack loyalty and patriotism? New York responded very well for 'one and all' when 9/11 happened.

November 14, 2007 10:51 AM
Decatur does not have a K. I question much of your research when the name of a city is misspelled.
January 27, 2008 1:52 PM
Add Your Comment...
4000 characters remaining
Loading question...