John is a middle-school business teacher, happily married since 1989 and grateful to have been given the gift of life.
Here’s the real essence of the narrative of “institutional racism.” It is not about the elimination of socially-accepted prejudicial stereotypes or the correction of national policies which favor whites over blacks or browns due to skin color, or the banishing of ingrained treatment of minorities as inferior. Rather, it is a social engineering “leveling the field” movement created to eliminate the income inequality of our Free Market Meritocracy. The “authors” of institutional racism hold that private property, intelligence, perseverance, the accumulation of wealth, etc. cause income disparities and are therefore racist. The social justice experts believe that anything “unequal” is a violation of human rights no matter what the context. In their attempts to correct this disparity, they are creating cultural divisiveness without a clear path to “improvement.” Even further, equality of opportunity is not enough; the “authors” claim that resources must be redistributed until outcomes are equal for all! Only then, they claim, will we be a non-racist nation. Sadly, many of the progressives’ social engineering schemes end up at the same ugly place: money diverted by force to people who did not earn it. Therefore, the hidden agenda being disguised by the campaign to promote "institutional racism" as a problem that needs a solution, is simply about a push for socialism.
Think about a lively game of poker; everything is running fine until the social engineers smash through the door and grab up all the chips, redistributing them equally among the players. Of course the engineers take some for themselves because they are providing a service. Then, because some players receive poor hands, the engineers institute new poker rules such that each player must always have the same value of cards as the other players during play. So the engineers prance around the table, snatching cards from some players, giving them to others. Further, the “poker face” has been deemed a violation of human rights; the new rule is that the expression on any player’s face must be in accordance with the value of their cards. Players with good hands must smile; players with poor hands must pout and even make speeches about their oppression. That way the engineers will know best how to distribute the cards. I can’t imagine anyone enjoying that poker game and if one extrapolates this scenario to the country at large, it is easy to imagine the horror that life would be. Therefore, we need to be very careful about embracing any social justice movements; by design, they always take away our freedoms. The only result achievable with the “installation” of the “institutional-racism-level-the-playing-field-plan” is totalitarian disaster.
If our society truly suffers from institutionalized racism, then it must also suffer from “institutionalized crime.” No, not the mafia. Rather, it would be like claiming that all the burglars across the country have created a secret “thieves’ manifesto,” denied its existence and act collectively yet unknowingly upon its tenets in separating all citizens from their belongings! Of course there are racists and criminals among us but that does not mean that racism or criminality are unconsciously or surreptitiously sanctioned by the larger society! But the “authors” of institutional racism continue to cite the same tired, erroneous statistical claim that because blacks maintain a much higher percentage of the total prison population when compared to the percentage of blacks in society, our whole society is racist. While the aforementioned is a troubling statistic, their “systemic” claim can only be made correctly by a close examination of same-crime nationwide conviction statistics. If more blacks and hispanics than whites are being consistently convicted for the same crime, or if they are receiving more severe sentences for the same crime, then there is an institutional racism problem in the justice system. However, even this finding would not support the claim that our whole society is uncontrollably racist!
The puzzling aspect of the “inequality” produced by the free market meritocracy is that the factors that can make a person prosperous in it do not have race boundaries. Any person in western society can improve themselves and thrive, not just the hyper-intelligent go-getter “white” types. The other confounding aspect of the push to deal with institutional racism is the idea that FMM is what has improved much of the Earth’s population’s standard of living rather drastically in recent decades. The social justice “screamers” love to cite America’s growing income disparity as a portent of our downfall. However, the evidence does not support that prediction; the poor today are better off than the poor of the past. Way better. Just look it up. Capitalism, through its creation of value via the profit motive, will continue to raise the standard of living for everyone, not just rich people. So, while the income inequality of the meritocracy exists and the rich get richer, this does not mean the poor are getting poorer! Just the opposite! Further, our larger society is equal in terms of opportunity. All races and genders are encouraged to become educated and take advantage of our free-market meritocracy.
“Institutional racism” therefore, is simply another tool of the proponents of socialism. It promotes the narrative of victimhood in minority populations and the growth of the giant edifice of guilt among the majority. It is therefore a very powerful manipulative tool for the progressive engineers. The big catastrophe will happen when the engineers finish up their “designs” and the incentives of private ownership and wealth accumulation are removed from the workings of our society and replaced with a “divide the spoils equally” mentality. The population will lose its foundation of meritocracy and our society will become a culture of predators and scavengers instead of creators and producers. We are human and incentives give us the ropes to get to new highs. Producers make stuff we all want. If there are no incentives, no stuff gets made unless we change over to Stalin’s “wonderful” gulag system. And everyone surely wants that back, right? So, the only conclusion I can reach, after having tried to understand this apparition called “institutional racism” is that it is a ploy to achieve “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.” More darkly, it is a method to help “woke” social justice screamers take control and form their ruling class. I believe Ayn Rand would refer to them as “looters.”
The problem with socialism is that it does not provide for the total “picture” of the human condition. It leaves out the sugar and chocolate chips in the baking of chocolate chip cookies. Humans are a fabulous species, capable of much more than being told what to do by ignorant naysayers, told what to believe by sociopathic intellectuals and having their stuff taken by the anti-victim police. Socialism does not provide “places” for the gifted people among us to thrive; these are the fascinating folks who can think and theorize, create and invent, produce and distribute, and motivate and mobilize the rest of us to join them in making the world a better place. Yes, some of them get super rich. So what? Some socialists see the world as a stagnant, depressing place, a bunch of savages hovering over a rotting pile of stuff to be divvied up equally by government control. Other socialists seem to think that the goods and services demanded by people will result from some kind of “mandated altruism,” production by those of “ability” and happily distributed to those of “need.” A similar kind of economic system was abolished in 1865 for good reason! Socialists clearly do not understand the nature of humanity! Capitalists view the world as a place of potential greatness; they understand that people need freedom, fairness and incentives to flourish. People don’t prosper under moral intimidation or command collectivism. So, even if we were able to “solve” the phony problem of institutionalized racism, we would end up with socialism. How dumb do the social engineers think we are?
The genesis of institutional racism was slavery, the most appalling aspect of American history. Slavery was a racist institution but it is gone now. Our society has been corrected. But the “experts” believe it caused irreparable damage and they call it “institutionalized racism.” Yet even they and authors of recent books can’t really explain what it is. All they seem to do is cite indefensible statistics and craft cryptic, esoteric media. They slam us with paroxysms of words, numbers and images which pirouette beautifully but provide no tangible explanations of what institutional racism is or how we can solve it. And that is where they leave us, hanging painfully off a cliff-edge grasping desperately at exposed roots and wind-beaten shrubbery, trying to attach meaning to their message. Not necessary, the social engineers retort, because our society has already been “convicted of racism” and we must “own up to it.” But when the life experience of a faction of a population does not allow for the acceptance of this systemic racist claim, it is not peoples’ life experiences that are the problem! Go to your favorite hang and try to convince people that a circle is really a sphere. See how that works.
The final piece of this puzzle is something just as insidious and related to the bogus concept of institutional racism. This is where the big damage is taking place. It is about public education and its use to achieve progressive political ends: the modern child is being denied the super-big, lifetime lesson called the “perseverance to thrive.” They’ve been denied it by the public education system riding the social change wave called “inclusion.” The idea of inclusion is obviously a good one but we have hobbled our young in our ridiculous attempts to achieve it. The public education system’s standards movement with its required evidence (state testing) of students being at grade level, as well as the relentless push for eliminating achievement gaps among races, have become the inviolate benchmarks of a successful education system. This “outcome-based” education system, which treats each student as though humanity is a parking lot of robots, attempts to create a pretty picture of public education, instead of actually being concerned about truly educating young people. Consequently, because of the high-stakes testing and social demands of inclusion, public education has had to create a phony balancing system to account for low student effort and ability in achieving these standards. It’s merely a stage performance to woo the masses; the public education system must present well to the outside world. Real-failing grades are much worse for the public image than fake-passing grades. The elimination of the teacher as the “sage on the stage,” the push to make attending school convenient and even fun, the abolishment of student misbehavior consequences, the “special needs” accommodations, the support programs, the “leveling the playing field” indoctrination training for teachers, etc. are all part of the balancing system. Our school system coddles and excuses students instead of really pushing them to excel. Students are not learning that life is a gift that works well if trained and taken care of. It refuses to hold students accountable as precipitators of the events of their own lives.
All teachers hear about are the “pressing needs” and “diverse learning styles” and “horrible home lives” and “pedagogical misbehavior triggers” and “emotional stresses” and “cognitive challenges” of students and are frantically trying to deal with it like a crash team in an emergency room. The teaching profession, damaged by this social justice tsunami, has so focused on “bringing up” the underachiever that the public education system has become more of a social justice equity policing system than one imbued with the responsibility of teaching young people that true struggles with mindful goals are essential to lifetime prospering. We have students doing the minimum to get by, cheating like getting fries with the burger and teachers giving out grades not as a report of learning but as a way to avoid administrative and parental sanctions for failing grades. So you end up with graduates believing that the world is a passive system of “working” the handouts programs to the “qualifying needy” instead of a place to develop and put skills to use and be respected for it.
Students do not need a handicap-based education in a forced system of narrow course offerings. Much of the victimhood-support mentality that practically defines public education today has only served to send all students a message that “laziness is okay because the teachers will let me know when my grades are bad so I can then say to the teacher it is too hard and then I will get dumbed down makeup work so I don’t fail.” They think school should be entertainment instead of a meaningful struggle and if it’s not fun then it is okay to fail because it is the teacher’s fault. This mentality is also shared by administrators and parents, putting teachers in precarious positions. Yes, I am a teacher. The school system has removed the whole concept of students being causal agents in their own lives and replaced it with the lowest form of “educational” existence possible: a “needs” focus instead of an “accomplishment” focus. We have young people growing up to be welfare-ready, not career or life-ready. Thanks to the creators of institutionalized racism for perpetuating the victimhood mentality so that it can “serve” what public education has cooked up.
Students need more choices and more accountability and more incentives. Just like adults have. Students need to discover that the best teachers they will ever have are themselves! Students should be encouraged along traditional paths of education but given viable learning alternatives if the traditional core subject offerings are too confining. Students should not be repeatedly forced into traditional subjects when they clearly cannot thrive in them. Special needs students should be more discriminately placed in regular education classrooms so as not to overburden the already challenged teacher and slowing down the academic wave, but also to avoid overwhelming the special needs student. We don’t need standards-based testing and social justice “lightning strikes” invading public education. The focus of public education should be students, not the politics of its “incumbent” party.
We need to reinvent the public school system because it is subject to the crazy winds of progressives’ dysfunction; their hearts are in the right place but they are hurting instead of helping, too ideologically blinded to realize it. There should still be traditional classroom education but it should stop for all students after a certain, to be determined, age/grade level of literacy, numeracy and citizenship. Students should then get to choose between private-business schools, that is, companies who make tax deals with the government to educate students with skills needed in their businesses, and “professional-training” high schools, replacing the traditional high school, which would be more like getting a college education with a major. There would be a variety of these business-internships in many industries. There would be employee teachers and laws about the roles of students in business settings. Normal colleges of today would be for advanced or graduate work. So, in any given day, some students would be at high schools working on professional degrees while others would be doing internship-like work at local businesses. Students would be free to explore both of these arenas, but also held accountable in discovering themselves as productive citizens. Then, they will be equipped to see phenomena like “institutional racism” for the farces that they are and forge productive lives.
The politics calling for an end to the fictional problem of “institutional racism” are the same politics advancing programs and teaching methodology in the name of social justice. It is hurting our students. Instead of being given the message of life as a “meaningful struggle,” in which achievement is life-affirming, the message to them is to focus, not on accomplishing goals because that has racist overtones, but rather on their “needs” because life is rooted in unfairness. One must “scavenge” and “steal” for what one can get whether it’s grades or degrees or money or whatever else for which there is a redistribution program. The “picture” our society is heading straight towards is the decaying carcass of an animal, chewed on by vicious scavengers, yipping and darting around, growling and snapping at each other. This is normal in the animal world, but probably should not be in ours.