Liberal black elites, who claim to speak on behalf of everyday blacks, in reality just are speaking for themselves, writes Jason Riley in the WSJ, citing school choice and crime control as two obvious examples.
Blacks favor charter schools and putting more police in their neighborhoods, while civil-rights leaders call for charter-school moratoriums and reduced funding for law enforcement. Nor is this divide a new phenomenon.
School Choice and Crime Control
From 1993 Gallup poll of black respondents:
- 75% wanted more cops on the street.
- 82% said that the criminal-justice system didn’t treat offenders harshly enough.
- 68% favored building more prisons so that longer sentences could be handed out.
Systemic racism is a blanket explanation for racial disparities. It a parlor game for better-off blacks who can afford to play games, offers Mr. Riley.
It helps activists raise money and intellectuals secure cushy posts in the academy, but it does nothing to help the black underclass, which is more interested in safer neighborhoods and better schools than in making white people feel guilty.
What is Critical race theory and what does it advance? By attributing social inequality to racial power structures it “posits that problems within the black community are entirely the fault of whites and the responsibility of whites to solve,” explains Mr. Riley.
This thinking has grown in popularity over the past decade through the writings of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Alexander, Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi. Its jargon—“white privilege,” “systemic racism,” “unconscious bias”—has entered the vernacular. It has moved beyond college campuses and into our elementary schools via Nikole Hannah-Jones and the New York Times’s “1619 Project.” It has entered workplaces through “diversity” and “racial sensitivity” training.
Many people are learning for the first time that the government has been paying “diversity consultants” to teach employees that the U.S. is inherently racist. But what’s also been revealed is the dwindling number of Stanley Crouches on the political left who are willing to call out today’s Derrick Bells.
Progressives have succeeded in bringing into the mainstream a school of thought once relegated to the fringes of the academy. There is no shortage of conservatives willing to push back against this pernicious nonsense, but where have the honest liberals gone?