The Tyrannical Revenge of the Downtrodden

Political correct policy in America holds that only African Americans who have been or feel they have been victimized by bigotry are qualified to staff organizations created to serve fellow African Americans. Thus it came to pass that in the aftermath of the 1960’s Civil Rights movement, the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, HEW, became an employment bonanza for disgruntled African Americans. Critics in private—for to speak out publicly would have branded them as racists—derided HEW as a reparations bureau in disguise, a “soft” token agency, as distinguished from “hard” agencies, like the Justice and State Departments, which were staffed mainly by well-qualified, deserving whites. To this day, the majority of employees in the two departments formed in 1979 from the splitting-up of HEW—Education, and Health and Human Resources--are still preponderantly staffed by African Americans.

Another institution that subscribes dogmatically to the unwritten victimization policy is the K-12 public education establishment. Visit any public school in America with a population of African American students— D.C,. The Bronx, Detroit, Los Angeles, Atlanta, to name some--and you will invariably find that most, if not all, teachers, counselors, secretaries, custodians, hall monitors, in-house police officers, administrators, central office personnel and union officials are disproportionately African Americans.

But here the question arises: If the rationale behind the policy of employing African Americans to serve their own is as self-evident as its adherents claim, Why is it that this policy, after holding sway, unchallenged, for fifty years, most K-12 African American students in the U.S. rank markedly below their white, Asian and, increasingly, Hispanic peers in math, science, language arts and every other substantive subject? Most, in fact, come out of high school—half do not even graduate—worse educated than were their grandparents before the advent of the Civil Rights movement.

The stock reason given for this mass failure is that, civil right laws not withstanding, there remains in America a visceral bigotry on the part of the white majority. The lack of parental guidance in poor African American communities, the peer-pressure among African American kids to disrupt classes and fail in school, their high rate of teen pregnancy, (many 16-year-olds are already on their third child), their street gang violence—are all somehow the fault of white people.

Now there is no denying that prejudice persists in America, not so much the blatant KKK variety, but, perhaps worse, the sentiment, disguised as benevolence, which, in effect, maintains that African Americans, like children, are incapable of coping without the assistance and guidance of white protectors, a “velvet” prejudice, as one perceptive critic called it. Then, too, there are the guilt-ridden white folk who, though they themselves never discriminated against anyone, nonetheless feel obliged to make amends for past injustices by going out their way to help African American folk, even when their help is not needed or wanted.

But there is another, darker, side to the picture. Consider the TV clips of the violence wantonly meted out by police and soldiers against poor villagers and slum dwellers in underdeveloped countries. The powers that be in those miserable places—dictators, royalty, feudal lords, or whoever—may be the ones who order the violence, but the thugs who do the dirty work invariably come from the same lower classes they victimize, self-loathing wannabes intent on moving up the pecking order by beating up and lording it over their own people. Nothing so arouses hatred and fear among the wretchedly poor in those places than the strut of uniformed, well-armed thugs who were once their neighbors. As railroad magnate G.M Pullman (1831-97) once said, disaffected workers are easy to deal with, because, “I can always hire half of them to shoot the other half.”

But back to modern-day America. The point I’m getting at is that the notion that only African Americans have the sympathy and understanding to serve minorities is not necessarily true. One reason why black K-12 kids still lag behind their white peers is that, subconsciously or consciously, not all minority teachers, educrats and officials in public education, want their students to succeed. And the same can be said of African Americans in public service as regard to the African American population at large. Pillory me for dredging it up, but after fifty years of festering in secret, it’s high time this tyrannical revenge of the downtrodden was brought to light.

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