American Elephants


The Solutions Often Aren’t Quite What You Expected! by The Elephant's Child

ows_147520558415635_mediumA column at The Daily Signal, from the Heritage Foundation, by Walter E. Williams, a professor of economics at George Mason University draws our attention to a lawsuit filed by Detroit school students against the state of Michigan. The suit claims a legal right to literacy based on the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

Ninety-three percent of Detroit’s predominantly black public school eighth-graders are not proficient in reading, and 96 percent are not proficient in mathematics. According to the lawsuit, “decades of state disinvestment in and deliberate indifference to Detroit schools have denied plaintiff schoolchildren access to the most basic building block of education: literacy.”

In terms of per-pupil expenditures, the state does not treat Detroit public school students any differently than it does other students. According to the Michigan Department of Education, the Detroit school district ranks 50th in state spending, at $13,743 per pupil. This is out of 841 total districts. That puts Detroit schools in the top 6 percent of per-pupil expenditures in the state.

The answer from the bureaucracy is usually the same. Pay the teachers more and reduce class size, which works out well for the teachers’ unions.

It appears that according to a 2011 survey by the American Psychological Association, 80% of teachers had been victimized at school at least once during that school year or the prior year. Detroit schools have the same problems of violence as are faced by other predominately black schools in other cities.

In Baltimore, each school day in 2010, an average of four teachers and staff were assaulted. In February 2014, The Baltimore Sun reported that more than 300 Baltimore school staff members had filed workers’ compensation claims during the previous fiscal year because of injuries received through assaults or altercations on the job.

A January 2015 post at American Thinker documents the problems of racial violence in schools by the author of two books on racial violence in schools—toward teachers. The videos linked are no longer available, except for one, which was captured on a student’s phone, and is startling.

The most popular manual to train teachers how to eliminate racial disparity in grades and discipline is by Glenn Singleton, which is based on Critical Race Theory and insists that teachers must know 3 things to do their jobs: 1. White racism is everywhere. 2. White racism is permanent. 3. White racism explains everything.  Clearly that is not apt to improve much of anything.

The American people invested a lot of hope that the first black president  would improve race relations in the country. Instead we have Black Lives Matter raising animus on campuses and encouraging riots and violence against police. In the assumption that most black men in prison have been convicted because of racism rather than crime, Obama is releasing and/or pardoning hundreds. He has suggested that Trayvon Martin might have been his son, and that police shootings of young black men were unjustified even before the facts were all in, or the grand jury had convened.  The general opinion is that race relations have not only not improved, but have become much worse.

In Minnesota ‘s Cooper High School, “football coach Willie Howard looked at his team and decided there was still something missing. The former Vikings defensive lineman has changed the football culture at Cooper, compiling a more-than-respectable .596 winning percentage compared to the .361 percentage Cooper had in its five previous seasons.”

But, like any football program, there is always more to be done. Black students comprise nearly 37 percent of the student body at Cooper, the school’s largest racial demographic group. Looking to improve their self-esteem and bolster perceptions of them in the community, Howard hit on an idea that has long been a staple in the business world: Two days a week, the Cooper football players dress for success.

“I’d had enough of people thinking negatively,” Howard said. “The only way you can change the way people think about you is by changing things you can control. If you don’t want people thinking you’re a thug, don’t dress like a thug. It you don’t want people thinking you’re unintelligent, show them how intelligent you are.”

Senior wide receiver Emmanuel Ogboru, dressed impressively in a checked shirt, vest and gold tie, said “When you look good, you act good, you do your work good and you play good.”

On Mindset Mondays and We Will Succeed Wednesdays, the entire Cooper football team puts away the hoodies and sweats and dons a more professional-looking attire. If they don’t own such clothes, the school has amassed a large wardrobe with hundreds of shirts and ties, as well as sport coats, vests, slacks and even shoes. Most of the clothes were donated or acquired through the crowdfunding website GoFundMe, which raised $5,000.

“They come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays to get the clothes they need for the next [Dress For Success] day,” Howard said. “When they come to school dressed like that, it says they took the time and energy to prepare. When they’re sitting in that classroom, they feel differently about that class. It reminds them why we’re in this building.

The kids don’t have to do it every day. Howard says some days kids just need to be kids, but dressing for success seems to be catching on. The basketball coach wants to continue it, and kids not in the sports programs are asking if they can take part.

*photo by Jerry Holt, jerryholt@startribune.com



Another National Conversation About Race or Another Attempt to Increase Racial Division? by The Elephant's Child

Economist Walter Williams wrote an important piece Tuesday titled “Challenges for Black People: The frank conversation needed in the black community,” at Frontpage magazine.

President Barack Obama and his first attorney general, Eric Holder, called for an honest conversation about race. Holder even called us “a nation of cowards” because we were unwilling to have a “national conversation” about race. The truth of the matter is there’s been more than a half-century of conversations about race. We do not need more. Instead, black people need to have frank conversations among ourselves, no matter how uncomfortable and embarrassing the topics may be.

Among the nation’s most dangerous cities are Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, Memphis, Milwaukee, Birmingham, Newark, Cleveland and Philadelphia. These once-thriving cities are in steep decline. What these cities have in common is that they have large black populations. Also, they have been run by Democrats for nearly a half-century, with blacks having significant political power. Other characteristics these cities share are poorly performing and unsafe schools, poor-quality city services, and declining populations.

Each year, more than 7,000 blacks are murdered. That’s a number greater than white and Hispanic murder victims combined. Blacks of all ages are killed at six times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined. According to the FBI, the police kill about 400 people a year; blacks are roughly one-third of that number. In Chicago alone, so far this year, over 2,000 people have been shot, leaving over 320 dead. It’s a similar tale of mayhem in other predominantly black cities.

Meanwhile, economist Roland G. Fryer, a tenured professor at Harvard University, who is black, has conducted a study of more than a thousand shootings in ten major police jurisdictions: Houston, Austin, Dallas, Los Angeles, Orlando and Jacksonville, were among the cities included in the study.

When the law enforcement data from Houston was isolated, Fryer was able to conclude that law enforcement officers were significantly less likely to shoot black suspects. As Fryer expected, police are more likely to use force towards a black suspect, but his research concluded that based on the statistics, African-American suspects are less likely to be shot in an altercation with law enforcement than suspects of other racial backgrounds. Fryer called it “the most surprising result of my career.”

Meanwhile, President Obama conducted a meeting, which he had called in the wake of the Dallas attack, of his Task Force on  21th Century Policing, which he appointed in December 2014. The task force has now released its one year progress report.

The assignment seems to be keeping the Black Lives Matter story-line going  Here’s how Obama summarized the status of his efforts:

The bad news is, as we saw so painfully this week, that this is really a hard job. We’re not there yet. We’re not even close to being there yet, where we want to be. We’re not at a point yet where communities of color feel confident that their police departments are serving them with dignity and respect and equality. And we’re not at the point yet where police departments feel adequately supported at all levels. (Read his whole statement)

According to observers, Dallas has a very well-run police department. The Chief is black. The officers responded quickly to shots fired, and rushed to protect the Black Lives Matter protesters, unaware that they were the targets, not the protesters.

President Obama has consistently attempted keep black Americans convinced that police are biased, that any failings of the black community can be blamed on racial prejudice, and that blacks are imprisoned unjustly because of bias, not crime. That’s why he is releasing so many from prison, why he wants their voting rights returned, and why he wants to integrate the black community into the suburbs.  Obama has already blamed racism for the two police shootings this week in Louisiana and Minnesota, though racism has not been cited as a cause by any officials.

President Obama met with representatives of several police groups on Monday, just one day before he made a speech in which he mentioned himself more than 40 times, at the memorial the police officers killed in Dallas. When the police representatives told him that he has not done enough to support America’s police forces, Obama rejected their criticism. Joe Biden told CNN that Obama talked about his support, gave a list of statements he had made, but then told the “police groups that they, their members and their police forces are part of a racist law enforcement system.

Progressives say ‘institutional racism’ exists when groups and organizations treat members of one racial group differently from another group, because any average differences between groups — in real-estate ownership, hiring rates or criminality, for example — is supposedly caused by racism.

President Obama said:

“I want to start moving on constructive actions that are actually going to make a difference,” he said during his evening press conference in Poland when he was asked about the Dallas attack.  …

The report urges the federal government to federalize police training and practices, via the use of federal lawsuits, grants and threats to cut federal aid. So far, Obama’s deputies have cajoled and sued more than 30 police jurisdictions to adopt federal rules in a slow-motion creation of a national police system, similar to the slow-motion creation of a federal-run health-sector via Obamacare.

Obama also used the press conference to insulate his federalized police program — and his allies in the Black Live Matter movement — from popular rejection after the five police were murdered by the anti-cop African-American in Dallas.

“The danger is that we somehow think the act of a troubled person speaks to some larger political statement across the country — it doesn’t,” Obama insisted. 

The Left Coast City of Seattle is responding to the “problem” that has been created by the federal government by creating a well-paid job to “fix” the problem. Zero Hedge is reporting that Seattle is hiring a “Race and Social Justice Manager to Achieve Racial Equality. The job will pay between $90,000 and $115,000. Clearly geared at millennial candidates, the posting seeks “any combination of education, experience and measurable performance that demonstrates the capability to perform the duties of this position.”




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