It’s become abundantly clear that the people most loudly accusing America of being a bastion of “systemic racism” are either economic ignoramuses, or self-serving cowards. In the case of Jon Stewart, it’s a bit of both.
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 and the other guests’ assertions that America today is a hotbed of “systemic racism.” Stewart displayed ignorance regarding America’s complicated history with race, as well as the role current economic policies play in destroying the lives of individual Americans of all races. He displayed cowardice by defaulting to the virtue-signaling, mob-appeasing accusation of “racist.” I don’t want to spend too much more time discussing Stewart. That said, there is much to learn from Sullivan’s must-read summary of the episode.
The fact is that the obsession with “systemic racism,” driven by Critical Race Theory (CRT), is pervasive throughout all American institutions, from “woke” corporate America, to the federal government’s alphabet bureaucracies, to academia and public education. Everything driven by CRT only serves to agitate more social conflict, while distracting from the anti-liberty economic policies which demonstrably harm individuals of all races. This problem is arguably most evident at the intersection of CRT and America’s public (government) education system.
This brings us to a meeting I had last summer with the superintendent of my local school district on the Space Coast of Florida, Brevard Public Schools, (BPS). Like many districts across the country, BPS is skirting responsibility for racial disparities in educational outcomes, by blaming “systemic racism.” In BPS’ case, blacks and Hispanics lag behind whites (though it’s interesting to point out BPS’ apparent lack of concern that all races, including whites, lag behind Asians.)
The leadership of BPS suffers the same shortcomings as Jon Stewart. But BPS is a public bureaucracy. All public bureaucracies extend a unilateral power relationship to the people they ostensibly exist to serve, at the people’s expense. Bureaucracies are inherently geared toward self-preservation. Criticize or seek to change the bureaucracy, and the bureaucracy will defend itself by any means it can.
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” and 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 they must be held to different educational and disciplinary standards (a form of soft bigotry). The effect on society is destruction of goodwill and greater conflict in communities.
“Systemic racism” is also being used to expand the BPS 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 US over the summer and fall of 2020, were used to Trojan Horse-in BPS’ CRT-informed Diversity and Equity (DE) Program. [Sadly, the BPS school board’s conservative members, including the co-founder of the national, conservative, parental rights organization Moms For Liberty, supported “overcoming racism” trainings (school board agenda minutes, page 4) and the creation of the DE program. Yes, there’s many lessons to be learned here, beyond the scope of this article.]
BPS’ new 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 (sic).”
She continued, to refer to Floyd’s death as a catalyst for similar DE programs across the country, even though there was zero evidence Floyd’s death was due to “racism.”
The DE director then declared her dedication to “Antiracism,” which is anything but “anti-racist” (and more just another way to attack capitalism), before expressing her grand-plan to root-out “unconscious bias” in teachers and administrators:
“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…(sic)”
Beyond the tossed word-salad, the director offered zero evidence to back her claim that disparities are due to “systemic racism.” Nor did she attempt to prove the existence of “unconscious bias” in teachers and administrators.
As to the latter, outside of explicit word or deed, how can anyone truly divine if racism is in another’s heart and head? They can’t, unless they’re a mind-reader.
As to the former, “systemic racism,” those obsessed with it never do provide current evidence of its existence. The simple truth, is disparities do not necessarily prove “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. (Of course, this is hardly to say that “systemic racism” never existed in the US, or that America’s unfortunate and complicated history regarding race, should not be discussed and analyzed.)
As for how my meeting with BPS’ superintendent came about, 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.
For the record, I advocate for freeing the children, and ending compulsory, government education altogether. At the least, full school choice would be a great step in the right direction. So, even though my perspective on education amounts to an existential threat to BPS and the superintendent’s livelihood, I looked forward to the opportunity to meet him on his home field, so to speak, firsthand, to try and wrap my head around his logic (or lack thereof) regarding why he’s comfortable with racist, CRT-based material in BPS.
The meeting unfolded as I thought it would. I provided evidence CRT was in the district. I informed the superintendent that he was presiding over the destruction of children in BPS, and the district itself. Parents of students in BPS were already at war over CRT, the DE program, LGBTQ+ issues, and the effects of covid lockdowns, and mask mandates, for example. Sides were forming. I told the superintendent he had chosen a side against many children and families he’s supposed to work and advocate for. I added that CRT was doing exactly what its proponents designed it do: create conflict to divide, destroy, and ultimately 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 of himself. This confirmed firsthand, 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 liked it to a virus, designed to destroy Western Civilization, starting with the nuclear family. 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 to say, if liberty doesn’t win – liberty, the rising tide which lifts all boats – every American loses, sooner than later.
To whit, the superintendent asked me what I would do to address the disparities. I first replied what I would not do, which is scapegoat “systemic racism.” I then informed him that there is no perfect “solution,” but only trade-offs, and that beyond disparities, the best way to foster and facilitate better opportunities for all individuals of all colors, is to at least start addressing the anti-liberty public policies destroying culture and economy. Ending these policies will at least help to restore liberty-based culture which will necessarily foster and facilitate better opportunities for all individuals, to pursue meaningful, productive lives.
Take the nuclear family. I pointed out that since the explosion of the US welfare state in the 1960’s (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%. For starters, 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 this issue for decades. As Williams once succinctly noted: “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn’t do…. And that is to destroy the black family.”
I also mentioned the minimum wage, which keeps poor, un-skilled, and under-educated young people out of work, barring them from taking that crucial first-step up the economic ladder. I continued by pointing out the disastrous effects of inflation, which destroys the purchasing power of the dollar, which most hurts poor and middle families, single-parent homes, and retirees on fixed incomes. I explained that inflation also causes boom-bust economic bubbles and recessions. People are lured into buying things they cannot truly afford during the booms (like houses, leading up to 2008). Also, municipalities over-spend during booms, and when the inevitable recession hits, they resort to policing-for-profit and civil asset forfeiture to recover lost revenue, further destroying culture and community. I also mentioned onerous, economy-strangling regulations and licensing laws and fees. Then there’s the absolutely catastrophic War on Drugs, the destruction from which knows neither bounds nor borders.
I also stressed that it’s important to note that all of the policies mentioned above, which destroy culture and community, and hence, help drive disparities, are supported by the political left and Democrats – in other words, those with most control over school districts across America, who are screaming most loudly about “systemic racism.” Feel free to draw your own inferences, from this fact. (Republicans are not much better, they just don’t scream “systemic racism!” as loudly).
I wrapped up the discussion by again stressing that, short of ending government education altogether, or at the very least shifting into full school choice, the aforementioned policies could serve as starting points to address, as part of a strategy to resolve conflict, strengthen culture and community, and generally, help individuals of all races. 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 scapegoat.
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 and community.
Yet to this day, true to his own bureaucratic tendencies, he has failed to lead publicly to address these disastrous policies, or act in any effective way to resolve the growing conflict in his school district and community.
In this, the problem with the BPS superintendent is the same problem with Jon Stewart, but with the additional, lethal yoke of bureaucracy pulling down the entire district and community.