You may be skeptical of “systemic racism,” as Francis Menton thought he was. But the Manhattan Contrarian, on further consideration, realized the systemic conduct that clearly disadvantages blacks.
Sacred Cows of the Left
The conduct that differentially disadvantages blacks, continues Mr. Menton, is a “sacred cow of the left promoted for the benefit of some other progressive interest group.” Here are Mr. Menton’s four examples:
- Opposition to School Choice
The National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers have made headlines for their advocacy to keep schools closed and kids at home. It is hoped this will end soon, which will then allow the teachers unions will to to their previous and perennial priority number one: opposition to school choice — otherwise known as keeping minority kids trapped in failing urban public schools.
Under NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (2002-2013), charter schools expanded greatly, writes Mr. Menton.
But current Mayor de Blasio, who was backed by the teachers union, has done everything in his power to stall and halt the expansion of the charters, and thereby keep as many kids as possible trapped in the failing unionized schools. Moreover, the state legislature, also at the behest of the union, has imposed a cap on the number of charters.
That cap has been reached in New York City, meaning that no more charters can open; and the legislature has failed to raise the cap. A charter school advocacy group called the New York City Charter School Center lists 6 new charters ready to open but unable to do so due to the cap. Meanwhile, applications by students to attend the charters exceed available slots by factors of 2:1 in Manhattan and Brooklyn, 3:1 in the Bronx, and 4:1 in Queens.
Data on school performance overwhelming show that the charters wildly outpace the unionized public alternatives. In a post back in 2017 I quoted this statistic from 2016 comparing the regular public schools to Success Academies, one of the top charters:
In Thomas Sowell’s Charter Schools and Their Enemies, he lists recent data showing impressive outperformance of the charters over the unionized public alternatives.
For example, in a 2019 test, Success Academies claims a 99% proficiency rate for its students in math, and 90% in ELA.
As Mr. Menton laments, the NYC teachers union does not quit. The union called on friends at the Board of Regents to prevent the approval of opening a new charter school. The union declared “victory,” after applauding the Regents for upholding the charter school cap and rejecting a new charter high school in NYC.
So, here we are in another year with a few hundred thousand young black kids failing to achieve “proficiency” in math and English, and the teachers union bosses celebrating their “success” in keeping the competition out and the dues flowing.
- Vaccination Mandates
Brand new on the Left’s insensitivity table is the “systemic negative effects on blacks as soon as one of their competing interest groups gets involved, “ Mr. Menton reminds readers.
In this case the competing interest group is politicians and bureaucrats looking to increase their power.
Only a few days ago we thought we had dodged a bullet when Mayor de Blasio announced that he was not — at least for now — going to go back to having a mandate for wearing masks in public.
But then de Blasio immediately turned around and announced that the city will shortly begin requiring that people show proof of vaccination in order to participate in many indoor activities. From the AP, August 6:
Not one in de Blasio’s super-progressive administration bothered to check that vaccination rates among blacks are significantly lower than the rates among other ethnic groups, observes Mr. Menton, citing vaccination data from NYC for people aged 18 to 44:
- Blacks 32%
- Whites/Hispanics 55%
- Asians 86%
I (Francis Menton) can’t speak to why the vaccination rate for blacks is so much lower than for other ethnic groups. As far as I know, at this point, the vaccines are widely available and free. Maybe blacks are suspicious about the negative side effects of the vaccines. But whatever the reason for their hesitancy to get vaccinated, it is clear that de Blasio’s new order is going to have a significant differential adverse impact on them.
- Decreasing Police Presence in Minority Neighborhoods
Leaving black residents increasingly subject to violent criminal behavior.
- Raising Electricity/Gas Prices
In an attempt to change the world temperature by raising energy costs, progressives would allow this economic impact to fall “most heavily on low-income people.”
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