Ian Rowe, CEO of Public Prep Charter Schools
“The narrative that white people ‘hold the power’ conveys a wrongheaded notion of white superiority and creates an illusion of black dependency on white largess. This false assignment of responsibility, while coming from an authentic desire to produce change, can create a new kind of mental enslavement… For the past decade, I have run a network of public charter schools in the South Bronx and the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Our mission has been to empower the students we educate, most of whom are black or Hispanic and from low-income homes, to become whatever they want to be, regardless of the actions of any ‘oppressive majority…”Ian Rowe goes on to say:
“When helping young people of all races to envision what is possible, we have to counter what Tyrone Howard of the University of California, Los Angeles calls the ‘pathological depiction of and belief in the inferiority of black people, culture, and history.’ Instead, we must ‘identify and speak about black excellence.’ Especially now, when the prevailing notion seems to be that black people’s efforts are futile in the face of white supremacy, we must accentuate the positive stories of millions of black men and women who are living the American dream—or are on their way to doing so, despite structural barriers.”In other words, rather than listen to the real concerns of minorities or try to understand members of minorities as individuals, many white liberals prefer to tell minorities, patronizingly, that their white progressive patrons will protect them. By displaying their anti-racism, which we now call virtue signaling, these white liberals restore moral authority to themselves, especially over other whites without actually doing anything to remedy racial inequality. That only 1 in 6 of the protestors out on the streets is black and nearly half are white, mostly middle class and college educated.
Black EmpowermentThe riots that are taking place in inner cities today are both a distraction from real efforts to address racial inequalities and actually result in only reinforcing those inequalities. It is no accident that in the recent crime spree in Democrat controlled inner cities largely black-owned businesses were looted and burned, black homes destroyed, and black communities devastated. What better way to justify the need for white liberals to ride in as saviors to “rebuild” and “restructure” these communities—not to meet the very intense needs of the black residents, but to assuage the guilty consciences of white liberals? In this way, the havoc wreaked upon these poor neighborhoods and the incompetent public policies that follow, serve only to reinforce racial inequalities. As Ben Shapiro noted in a recent podcast: Hollywood elites can happily tweet out messages calling to “defund the police.” They will not be affected by the lack of law and order; rather it is residents of these minority communities who will suffer. But these white liberal elites will know that they have properly virtue signaled and they are safe from any claim that they are racist. (Click here to learn more about many causes of racial inequalities that do not result from racial bigotry). In a recent incident in Atlanta, an 8 year-old girl was killed by BLM protestors who took over a Wendy’s parking lot and set up an illegal “autonomous zone.” Law enforcement took no action on the orders of Atlanta’s incompetent mayor, leading to this tragedy. There has been no light shined by the left on the terrible inner-city crime in black communities. In fact, New York Mayor De Blasio’s decision to disband the plain clothes police division has led to an increase in crime and a higher number of deaths of African-Americans in New York. Across the country, violent crime is on the rise as the left calls to “defund the police;” announcing an open season for violent criminals. Abortion clinics too, continue to destroy black children at disproportionate numbers relative to other racial categories. Apparently, only some black lives matter to white liberals and the so called “Black Lives Matter” movement.
Secoriea Turner (8) was murdered by BLM protestors in Atlanta.
Who is Empowering Blacks?While the left seeks to patronize African-Americans by claiming that white liberals must first surrender their privilege in order to remake black communities, the right has a different approach. How can blacks be empowered to correct for the very real inequalities of opportunity in their communities? In a recent campaign rally President Trump claimed that he has done more for African-Americans than any president in recent memory. Let us contemplate the veracity of the claim: black civil rights leaders have been calling for criminal justice reform for decades. It was Donald Trump who answered their call signing into law the First Step Act that will begin the long and difficult process of reforming our criminal justice system. It is a small step, but as the name of the legislation implies, it is only the first step in reform. In the criminal justice system today African-Americans are more likely to be convicted and serve longer sentences than the accused of other racial groups. However, it is also true that poor people of all colors suffer terribly in the current justice system, while middle and upper middle class people often receive a slap on the wrist for similar crimes. President Trump’s economic policies led to historic low African-American unemployment. There was a 400% increase in black business ownership in just the last three years. The President has also been promoting school choice to provide alternatives to failing inner city schools. This is a popular reform among blacks but goes against powerful teachers unions to whom the Democratic Party is beholden. A recent poll released by Rasmussen showed that among black likely voters (those who vote in every election) some 41% support President Trump, with 25% very enthusiastic. This should not be surprising since President Trump’s approach is to try to remove the political and economic barriers to prosperity and allow African-Americans to take charge of their own future. He promotes black excellence by highlighting men like Dr. Ben Carson, who rose from the “hood” to become a leading neurosurgeon and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) a respected and accomplished Republican lawmaker. Although the president is far from the most eloquent political speaker of our time, he does not patronize minorities or speak down to them.
The Need for ReformIf white Americans can abandon their white guilt which enables racial inequalities, stop being blind to the needs of minorities, and embrace a culture of reform and change, there will be hope for real progress. This requires a willingness to let go of the idea of white power and supremacy. It is not white people who must act first to obviate racist structures before minorities can succeed, it is all of us standing together in unison listening to each other with love and mutual respect that will overcome the challenges of inequality of opportunity. Will white liberals abandon their patronizing white guilt and open their minds to real reforms on behalf of minorities, even if it means surrendering some of their political power or going against their own interest groups? As the old saying goes: don’t hold your breath. This series continues with Part 3.
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