With the hearty approval of Mr. Jeremy Midthun, champion name-caller Matt Logan responded this way to the Stately Manor's proposal to abolish our national Census' preoccupation with skin color.
"Would it surprise you ... if you were labeled a racist?"
Surprise me? Not if Logan and Midthun were doing the labeling, for they are human Dymo label makers -- along with so many of Madison's "progressives" who believe people are defined by their melanin. Debate the issues? Use fact, reason and logic? What for, when all they need do is spit out the tape reading "Racist!" douse the lights, and run for the exits?
- Racial set-asides? For Bill Cosby's children?
- Legislation that first considers racial impact before considering public safety? Haven't minority neighborhoods suffered from enough crime?
- Race and gender speech codes? Not for students who fought back against the very codes designed to "protect" minorities on the University of Wisconsin's flagship campus in the 1990s.
As Professor Donald Downs recalled, "That included an African-American student named Lee Hawkins who was considered to be a beneficiary of the codes but came to consider the codes demeaning to minorities because they inherently underestimated minorities' capacity to handle the rough and tumble of public discourse." [Donald Downs, "Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus," 2005, Cambridge University Press]
Because he is part Native American, millionaire NBC news anchorman Tom Brokaw once qualified for a low-cost federal loan.
Another B-Blog reader asserted that "It's hard to be anything-ist (e.g. racist, sexist, classist) when you don't have any privilege to lord over anyone. So it's a little tough for, say, the NAACP or any black person to be racist towards white folks."
U.S. Sen. James Webb, D-Virginia, begs to differ. Writing in the July 23 Wall Street Journal, Webb argues that white southerners were equally disadvantaged by the slavery system; only 5% of whites in 1860 owned slaves. The Civil War ravaged the South, black and white alike. During the 1930s, 71 percent of all sharecroppers were white. Those disadvantages have come down to the present day. Only 18% of white Baptists and 22% of Irish protestants -- "the principal ethnic group that settled the South" had college degrees, compared to the national average of 30%. Webb writes:
Many programs allow recently arrived immigrants to move ahead of similarly situated whites whose families have been in the country for generations. These programs have damaged racial harmony. And the more they have grown, the less they have actually helped African-Americans, the intended beneficiaries of affirmative action as it was originally conceived. ...
... Beyond our continuing obligation to assist those African-Americans still in need, government-directed diversity programs should end. Non-discrimination laws should be applied equally among all citizens, including those who happen to be white. ... Our government should be in the business of enabling opportunity for all, not in picking winners. It can do so by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes." [James Webb in the Wall Street Journal: Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege]
'They could be black, they could be white'
The great Peggy Noonan writes powerfully and poetically about the journey Shirley Sherrod has taken. It is the "Power of Redemption," the title of Noonan's essay in Saturday's Wall Street Journal.
Her own father murdered by vengeful whites, a grand jury in 1965 rural Georgia that would not convict despite three eyewitnesses, Shirley Sherrod learned to put aside race-based hate. After first palming off the poor white farmers' plight on "one of their own kind," an unfeeling white attorney ...
Indignant, she set herself to save the Spooners' farm. "That's when it was revealed to me that it's about poor versus those who have," not white versus black. "It opened my eyes." She worked the phones, reached out to those who could help, talked to more lawyers, called officials.
And she saved that farm.
"Working with him," said Ms. Sherrod, "made me see . . . that it's really about those who have versus those who don't." It's helping the frightened and powerless. "And they could be black, they could be white, they could be Hispanic."
... (Sherrod) quoted Toni Morrison: We have to get to a point where "race exists but it doesn't matter."
A good first step would be to encourage Uncle Sam to quit the label-making business and drop all references to race in its census forms, which would have a ripple effect throughout government.
Real journalism, with a bite
I'll allow new State Journal columnist Chris Rickert a chance to get his sea legs. But I am encouraged that the State Journal realizes it needs a little more cayenne pepper in its mix, a little more bite, which it has not had since it drove Sunny Schubert off the plantation in its bid for a no-offense, pardon-my-shadow editorial page.
Rickert acquits himself well in Thursday's Journal by taking on the University of Wisconsin System's non-compete hiring of Michael Morgan to a $245,000 a year job -- a $108,000 raise. [WSJ: Questions a-plenty but Morgan's not talking]
The on-line version has some bonus material not contained in the print edition, namely, "Questions Michael Morgan should answer," the first of which:
Describe how you heard about the job? Did you contact the UW System about it or did someone with the System contact you? Who was involved in these discussions?
Bravo! Now, didn't you think it a mite suspicious that UW System President Kevin Reilly would claim well after the controversy first erupted that -- "oh, did I forget to tell you? -- its only a three-year interim appointment, so I get to do that"? "Only" three years?
Leave it to another hard-hitting news reporter (one of the few remaining); Tony Galli of WKOW-TV 27 News reports a memo from UW System staffer Andy Richards to Reilly on the Morgan hire: "You have the flexibility to extend the appointment beyond 3 years if you like, as you did with Don Mash." Mash is a past System executive vice president.
Contrast the hard-nosed journalism of AP reporter Ryan Foley, Rickert and Galli with the blatant race baiting of the Capital Times, which reserves its greatest ire for Assembly Higher Education Committee member Steve Nass (a known Republican) for asking similarly tough questions. Instead, the CT wields the tar brush of racism in a hit piece headlined "Only some hiring irks Nass." Of course, we get exactly what that "some" hiring is referring to (wink, wink). But in case we don't, the point is driven home:
"Because Michael Morgan happens to be a black man, Reilly won't be getting any embarrassing F's from groups that promote diversity."
Gee, I guess that makes everything hunky dory. (Snark alert.)
BTW: George Hesselberg tried out for the Rickert column, among others. His punishment continues.
Nice work if you can avoid it
Celia Jackson was the chair of the Dane County Task Force on Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. Now she chairs the effort to implement its misguided recommendations. Those recommendations posit that injustice is being done solely because more blacks are arrested and incarcerated relative to their total population than is the case with whites. The study says nothing about whether a greater incidence of crime may be causal. [See my "Do we really want a racial quota system for crime?"]
In her day job, Celia Jackson is secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing. As state employees well know, the day-to-day operation of a state agency is placed in the hands of the deputy secretary, with the secretary reserving broad oversight, the confidence of the governor, and extensive outreach to the public. In Reg & Licensing's case, the deputy is one Barbara Wyatt-Sibley.
Yet, Celia Jackson allowed her deputy to spend two days of every work week operating from her home in Milwaukee, even though Reg & Licensing has no Milwaukee office, supposedly for medical reasons. A WTMJ TV-4 investigative news team followed Ms. Wyatt-Sibley. In three of their four days of stakeout, they found the state official ensconced at "the ritzy Western Racquet Club in Elm Grove," shopping at Macy's for shoes, lingering over a two-hour restaurant lunch, and getting her hair done at a salon. All between 8 to 5 on weekdays. And that's presuming she does any work when at home.
Wyatt-Sibley's timecards show she billed taxpayers for a full day on all three of those days with no personal time. ... Remember, this is one of the state's most senior managers with a six-figure salary. Her boss, Reg & Licensing Secretary Celia Jackson, refused to answer our questions, too. [WTMJ TV-4: Play Time on Your Dime]
As usual, the Doyle administration stonewalled the news media (those that ask questions instead of providing cover, anyway). At least Jackson won't be getting any embarrassing F's from groups that promote diversity. (Those F's are so embarrassing.)
Race to the bathroom?
Sure enough, Ed Garvey and The Capital Times are cheering Wisconsin's stumble in President Obama's "Race to the Top," that encourages results-based education reform. Nineteen more states are in the running but not this once-innovative state.
"Race to the bathroom," Ed Garvey, D-Teachers Union, calls it. Yeah, they'd rather forego $200 million in grant money than sign on to educational accountability, pay for performance, charter and virtual schools, and other education reforms.
Thursday, the national Urban League, once an opponent, cheered Obama's initiative, one of the few good things he's done.
"What's not working for black kids, Hispanic kids and Native American kids across this country is the status quo," the President said. [CNN: 7-29-10]
Really, is there a more reactionary special interest group than the teachers union?
Here's New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie [thanks to Sykes Writes]:
Gov. Chris Christie on "Morning Joe":
This teacher complaining, they're getting four-to-five percent salary increases a year in a zero percent inflation world; they get free health benefits from the day they're hired -- for their entire family -- until the day they die. They believe they're entitled to this shelter from the recession when the people who are paying for that shelter are the people who have been laid off, who have lost their homes, had their hours cut back, and all we asked them to do was freeze their salary for one year and pay one-and-a-half percent of their salary for their health benefits. For the average teacher in New Jersey, you're talking about $750 a year for full-family health coverage.
Now, I don't think that's a lot to ask, and I don't think we can continue anymore to be having the good people of New Jersey who have been laid off and all the rest -- as much as I love teachers -- you know, everyone's got to be part of the sacrifice.