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Sunday, February 22, 2015

America's Most Influential Thinker on Race

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s insights are reshaping law and policy for the better.

By Juan Williams

 

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Photo: Getty Images


In his office hangs a copy of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in America. When his critics, and he has many, call him names, he likes to point to it and shout out, “I’m a free man!” This black history month is an opportunity to celebrate the most influential thinker on racial issues in America today—Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas .

Justice Thomas, who has been on the court nearly a quarter-century, remains a polarizing figure—loved by conservatives and loathed by liberals. But his “free”-thinking legal opinions are opening new roads for the American political debate on racial justice.

His opinions are rooted in the premise that the 14th Amendment—guaranteeing equal rights for all—cannot mean different things for different people. As he wrote in Fisher v. University of Texas (2013), he is opposed to “perpetual racial tinkering” by judges to fix racial imbalance and inequality at schools and the workplace. Yet he never contends racism has gone away. The fact that a 2001 article in Time magazine about him was headlined “Uncle Tom Justice” reminds us that racism stubbornly persists.

His only current rival in the race debate is President Obama. At moments of racial controversy the nation’s first black president has used his national pulpit to give voice to black fear that racial stereotyping led to tragedy. But that is as far as he is willing to go. His attorney general, Eric Holder , has gone further by calling Americans “cowards” when it comes to discussing race. And some critics have chastised him even for that.

Justice Thomas, meanwhile, is reshaping the law and government policy on race by virtue of the power of his opinions from the bench. Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American on the Supreme Court, stood up as a voice insisting on rights for black people. Justice Thomas, the second black man on the court, takes a different tack. He stands up for individual rights as a sure blanket of legal protection for everyone, including minorities.

In his dissent in Grutter v. Bollinger, a case that preserved the affirmative-action policies of the University of Michigan Law School, he quoted an 1865 speech by Frederick Douglass : “‘What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice.’ . . . Like Douglass, I believe blacks can achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators.”

The principal point Justice Thomas has made in a variety of cases is that black people deserve to be treated as independent, competent, self-sufficient citizens. He rejects the idea that 21st-century government and the courts should continue to view blacks as victims of a history of slavery and racism.

Instead, in an era with a rising number of blacks, Hispanics, Asians and immigrants, he cheers personal responsibility as the basis of equal rights. In his concurring opinion in Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena (1995), he made the case against government set-asides for minority businesses by arguing that “racial paternalism and its unintended consequences can be as poisonous and pernicious as any other form of discrimination.” The Constitution, he said, bans discrimination by “those who wish to oppress a race or by those who have a sincere desire to help.”

In the same vein he contends that people who insist on racial diversity as a worthy principle are hiding assumptions of black inferiority. “After all, if separation itself is a harm, and if integration therefore is the only way that blacks can receive a proper education, then there must be something inferior about blacks,” he wrote in his concurring opinion in Missouri v. Jenkins (1995). “Under this theory, segregation injures blacks because blacks, when left on their own, cannot achieve. To my way of thinking that conclusion is the result of a jurisprudence based upon a theory of black inferiority.”

Justice Thomas holds that quality education should be the focus of educators for children of all races and argues there is no proof that integration necessarily improves education. Black leaders, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Thurgood Marshall, he has noted, were educated at black schools.

He also makes the case that diversity in school admissions has never been proven to raise black achievement to the level of people admitted with no special consideration. “Racial imbalance is not segregation,” he wrote in a 2007 case ending Seattle and Louisville plans to reverse racial segregation in schools, “and the mere incantation of terms like re-segregation and remediation cannot make up the difference.” Federal judges, he said, are “not social engineers” charged with creating plans to achieve racial equality.

As he wrote in his concurring opinion in Fisher, even if schools have the best intentions and justify lower standards for blacks seeking college admission in the name of reparations for past injury, “racial discrimination is never benign. . . . There can be no doubt that the University’s discrimination injures white and Asian applicants who are denied admission because of their race.”

This line of thinking has helped to rein in ambitious diversity and desegregation plans in K-12 schools as well as at universities. It has also made Justice Thomas the target of liberal derision. Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson once said he simply “doesn’t like black people” or “being black.” Nevada Sen. Harry Reid once dismissed him as one of “five white men” on the high court. Paradoxically, these bitter attacks are still more evidence that Clarence Thomas is now leading the national debate on race.

Mr. Williams is a political analyst for Fox News and a columnist for the Hill. He is the author of “Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary” (Times Books, Random House, 1998).

http://www.wsj.com/articles/juan-williams-americas-most-influential-thinker-on-race-1424476527

 

 

 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Still Right on the Black Family After All These Years

The warnings that Daniel Patrick Moynihan sounded 50 years ago have come true. Will liberals ever forgive him?

By Jason L. Riley

Will liberals ever forgive Daniel Patrick Moynihan for being right?

Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the future senator’s report on the black family, the controversial document issued while he served as an assistant secretary in President Lyndon Johnson’s Labor Department. Moynihan highlighted troubling cultural trends among inner-city blacks, with a special focus on the increasing number of fatherless homes.

“The fundamental problem is that of family structure,” wrote Moynihan, who had a doctorate in sociology. “The evidence—not final but powerfully persuasive—is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling.”

For his troubles, Moynihan was denounced as a victim-blaming racist bent on undermining the civil-rights movement. Even worse, writes Harvard’s Paul Peterson in the current issue of the journal Education Next, Moynihan’s “findings were totally ignored by those who designed public policies at the time.” The Great Society architects would go on to expand old programs or formulate new ones that exacerbated the problems Moynihan identified. Marriage was penalized and single parenting was subsidized. In effect, the government paid mothers to keep fathers out of the home—and paid them well.

“Economists and policy analysts of the day worried about the negative incentives that had been created,” writes Mr. Peterson. “Analysts estimated that in 1975 a household head would have to earn $20,000”—or an inflation-adjusted $88,000 today—“to have more resources than what could be obtained from Great Society programs.”

History has proved that Moynihan was onto something. When the report was released, about 25% of black children and 5% of white children lived in a household headed by a single mother. During the next 20 years the black percentage would double and the racial gap would widen. Today more than 70% of all black births are to unmarried women, twice the white percentage.

For decades research has shown that the likelihood of teen pregnancy, drug abuse, dropping out of school and many other social problems grew dramatically when fathers were absent. One of the most comprehensive studies ever done on juvenile delinquency—by William Comanor and Llad Phillips of the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2002—concluded that “the most critical factor affecting the prospect that a male youth will encounter the criminal justice system is the presence of his father in the home.”

Ultimately, the Moynihan report was an attempt to have an honest conversation about family breakdown and black pathology, one that most liberals still refuse to join. Faulting ghetto culture for ghetto outcomes remains largely taboo among those who have turned bad behavior into a symbol of racial authenticity. Moynihan noted that his goal was to better define a problem that many thought—mistakenly, in his view—was no big deal and would solve itself in the wake of civil-rights gains. The author’s skepticism was warranted.

Later this year the nation also will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which some consider the most significant achievement of the modern-day civil-rights movement. With a twice-elected black man now occupying the White House, it might be difficult for younger Americans to appreciate this milestone. However, in 1964, three years after Barack Obama was born, black voter registration in Mississippi was less than 7%, the lowest in the South. By 1966 it had grown to 60%, the highest in the South.

Today black voter-registration rates in the South, where most blacks still live, are higher than in other regions of the country, and for the first time on record the black voter-turnout rate in 2012 exceeded white turnout.

Rarely does a government action achieve its objective with such speed and precision. Racial restrictions to ballot access were removed and black political power increased dramatically. Since 1970 the number of black elected officials in the U.S. has grown to more than 9,000 from fewer than 1,500 and has included big-city mayors, governors, senators and of course a president.

But even as we note this progress, the political gains have not redounded to the black underclass, which by several important measures—including income, academic achievement and employment—has stagnated or lost ground over the past half-century. And while the civil-rights establishment and black political leaders continue to deny it, family structure offers a much more plausible explanation of these outcomes than does residual white racism.

In 2012 the poverty rate for all blacks was more than 28%, but for married black couples it was 8.4% and has been in the single digits for two decades. Just 8% of children raised by married couples live in poverty, compared with 40% of children raised by single mothers.

One important lesson of the past half-century is that counterproductive cultural traits can hurt a group more than political clout can help it. Moynihan was right about that, too.

Mr. Riley, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and Journal contributor, is the author of “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” (Encounter Books, 2014).

http://www.wsj.com/articles/jason-l-riley-still-right-on-the-black-family-after-all-these-years-1423613625

 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Black GOP Lawmakers Stress Self-Reliance at Trailblazer Luncheon

By Clyde McGrady

(Clyde McGrady/CQ Roll Call)

The Republican National Committee on Wednesday hosted its 3rd Annual Republican Trailblazer Awards Luncheon at the historic Howard Theatre — a venue graced by legendary black luminaries and performers such as Booker T. Washington, Duke Ellington and Drake.

The RNC calls the luncheon “an event that celebrates Black History Month by honoring black Republicans who have blazed a path for future leaders.” This year’s honorees were Utah Rep. Mia Love, Texas Rep. Will Hurd, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and posthumously, former Republican Sen. Edward Brooke III of Massachusetts who died earlier this year at the age of 95.

The atmosphere was loose and jovial after Patrick Lundy and the Ministry of Music led the audience in a stirring rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing (The Black National Anthem)” — all three verses, even the two that no one can ever seem to remember. Roland Martin, host and managing editor of TVOne’s daily morning show, “NewsOne Now,” co-hosted the event along with CNN political commentator and Blaze TV contributor Tara Setmayer Love.

The two emcees displayed an easy rapport but it was Martin who clearly seemed to thrive on playing to the crowd, telling Rev. Ralph Gilliam before the minister led the room in prayer, “Look, we all know God, we all know Jesus, so I need you to make this quick.”

“It’s good to know Roland goes to church once in a while to know how long preachers can talk,” Gilliam shot back.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus used the occasion to boast about inroads the Republican Party has made to the black community during his time as chair and reiterate his pledge of growing the party.

“Not only is our delegation to Congress more diverse, but we also saw increased support nationally among black voters,” Priebus said during his prepared remarks. “My commitment to you as chairman is to continue building a bigger, stronger, more inclusive Republican Party. Not because it’s good for our party, but because it’s good for our country.”

Hurd was the first honoree to take the stage, teasing Martin — his fellow Texas A&M alum — and telling the crowd why he’s proud to be a Republican.

“A lot of people don’t know we went to the same alma mater. I want to know, did you wear that ascot when you were in College Station?” Hurd asked Martin before turning more serious. “The Republican Party is willing to help people no matter where they live or what they’re doing. It’s about the Republican Party creating opportunity for all. It’s exciting for me to be here in Washington, D.C., fighting on behalf of those principles.”

Love evoked the Civil Rights movement during her speech, thanking people who marched and were thrown in jail to make her success possible. She also preached a need for self-reliance by evoking slavery. “We need to remove ourselves from a different kind of slavery,” Love said. “And what I’m talking about is the slavery that comes from being dependent on people in power.”

Brad Thomas, a black 33-year-old former Republican operative from Norfolk, Va., said he was glad to be at the luncheon and was most looking forward to hearing Sen. Tim Scott, the first African-American senator elected from the South since Reconstruction.

“If you look at his history, it’s the American Dream,” Thomas said. “Mr. Scott will tell you he had it rough growing up. He came from less fortunate circumstances but he had a mom who cared. He had some difficulties and he overcame them and he’s a United States senator. And no matter your party, being an African-American senator is a big deal. There are only two of them.”

Scott started his remarks by marveling at the unlikelihood of his success given his inauspicious beginnings as a young man. He told the audience he believes he is the only congressman to ever flunk high school civics. But Scott credited the diligence of his grandfather and conservatives principles for turning his life around.

Scott closed by encouraging Republicans to reach out to people with more diverse backgrounds. “We win the battle of ideas when we are willing to leave our comfort zones, entering the places where we rarely have been and spend some quality time understanding the potential of neighborhoods like [the one] I grew up in.”

It’s one thing to reach out to black voters with an uplifting message of freedom, hard work and self-reliance, but it becomes much more difficult when part of that messaging involves drawing sharp contrasts with the Democratic Party — a party led by a black president who enjoys 9-to-1 support within the black community.

“It’s our duty to point out problems when they persist but also offer solutions,” said Orlando Watson, RNC communications director for black media. “What you’re seeing from the Republican Party is exactly that. That’s why we were successful in the midterm elections. We have work to do and we’re going to keep at it. We stand for advancing and pushing policies that keep more money in people’s pockets, put food on the table for them and expand access to quality education for children.”

 

 

http://blogs.rollcall.com/hill-blotter/black-gop-lawmakers-stress-self-reliance-at-trailblazer-luncheon/?dcz=

 

 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

To Head Off Another Republican Speaking Scandal, I'm Confessing Now that I Spoke to This Group

By Scott Ott

In the wake of the embarrassing revelation that Rep. Steve Scalise, the new House majority whip, has apologized because he very nearly spoke with a racist group 12 years ago, I feel that it’s time for me to confess a similar transgression — although, perhaps more serious, since I actually spoke with the group in question and I knew what I was doing at the time.

The group I addressed has devoted decades to advancing discriminatory policies that treat blacks and other minority groups as substandard, inferior and virtually handicapped compared with whites. What’s more they’re unrepentant, even proud of it.

Worse, the group has been responsible for racially segregating schools and neighborhoods, by literally funneling taxpayer dollars into substandard housing zones that become generational poverty traps for poor racial minorities.

In addition, the group has coordinated money, manpower and strategy with kindred organizations to block minority children from receiving a decent education, and to box out independent minority entrepreneurs from lucrative contracts that could lift them and their neighborhoods up from the bottom.

Worst of all, the group before which I spoke has successfully promoted and funded race-selective “medical procedures” which have resulted in the deaths of millions of black infants.

Yes, that’s right: I, Scott Ott, confess that some years ago, I spoke before a group of Democrats.

 

http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2015/01/01/to-head-off-another-republican-speaking-scandal-im-confessing-now-that-i-spoke-to-this-group/

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Liberals' use of black people

By Walter Williams  

Back in the day, when hunting was the major source of food, hunters often used stalking horses as a means of sneaking up on their quarry. They would walk on the opposite side of the horse until they were close enough to place a good shot on whatever they were hunting. A stalking horse not only concealed them but also, if their target was an armed man and they were discovered, would take the first shot. That’s what blacks are to liberals and progressives in their efforts to transform America — stalking horses.

Let’s look at some of the ways white liberals use black people. One of the more obvious ways is for liberals to equate any kind of injustices suffered by homosexuals and women to the black struggle for civil rights. But it is just plain nonsense to suggest any kind of equivalency between the problems of homosexuals and women and the centuries of slavery followed by Jim Crow, lynching, systematic racial discrimination and the blood, sweat and tears of the black civil rights movement.

The largest and most powerful labor union in the country is the National Education Association, with well over 3 million members. Teachers benefit enormously from their education monopoly. It yields higher pay and lower accountability. It’s a different story for a large percentage of black people who receive fraudulent education. The NEA’s white liberals — aided by black teachers, politicians and so-called black leaders — cooperate to ensure that black parents who want their children to have a better education have few viable choices.

Whenever there has been a serious push for school choice, educational vouchers, tuition tax credits or even charter schools, the NEA has fought against it. One of the more callous examples of that disregard for black education was New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s cutback on funding for charter schools where black youngsters were succeeding in getting a better education. That was de Blasio’s way of paying back New York’s teachers union for the political support it gave him in his quest for the mayor’s office.

White liberals in the media and academia, along with many blacks, have been major supporters of the recent marches protesting police conduct. A man from Mars, knowing nothing about homicide facts, would conclude that the major problem black Americans have with murder and brutality results from the behavior of racist policemen. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are about 200 police arrest-related deaths of blacks each year (between 300 and 400 for whites). That number pales in comparison with the roughly 7,000 annual murders of blacks, 94 percent of which are committed by blacks. The number of blacks being murdered by other blacks is of little concern to liberals. Their agenda is to use arrest-related deaths of blacks to undermine established authority.

Liberals often have demeaning attitudes toward blacks. When Secretary of State John Kerry was a U.S. senator, in a statement about so many blacks being in prison, he said, “That’s unacceptable, but it’s not their fault.” Would Kerry also say that white prison inmates are also faultless? Johns Hopkins University sociologist Andrew Cherlin told us: “It has yet to be shown that the absence of a father was directly responsible for any of the supposed deficiencies of broken homes. … (The problem) is not the lack of male presence but the lack of male income.” The liberal vision is that fathers and husbands can be replaced by a welfare check.

Liberals desperately need blacks. If the Democratic Party lost just 30 percent of the black vote, it would mean the end of the liberal agenda. That means blacks must be kept in a perpetual state of grievance in order to keep them as a one-party people in a two-party system. When black Americans finally realize how much liberals have used them, I’m betting they will be the nation’s most conservative people. Who else has been harmed as much by liberalism’s vision and agenda?

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

http://humanevents.com/2014/12/31/liberals-use-of-black-people/

 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Year of Liberal Double Standards

What seems like staggering hypocrisy is actually remarkably consistent from liberals’ perspective.

By Jonah Goldberg

Many conservatives finished the year angry about the same thing they were angry about at the beginning of the year: liberal double standards.

As I write this, GOP House whip Steve Scalise is in hot water over reports that he spoke to a group of racist poltroons in Louisiana twelve years ago. Whether it was an honest mistake, as Scalise plausibly claims, or a sign of something more nefarious, as his detractors hope, remains to be seen.

But one common response on social media is instructive. Countless conservatives want to know: Why the double standard? Barack Obama was friends with a domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers. His spiritual mentor was a vitriolic racist, Jeremiah Wright. One of his administration’s closest advisers and allies is Al Sharpton, a man who has inspired enough racial violence to make a grand dragon’s white sheets turn green with envy.

Meanwhile, the Democratic party venerated the late senator Robert Byrd, a former Klansmen himself. He was one of 19 senators (all Democrats) to sign the Southern Manifesto opposing integration. One of his co-signers was William Fulbright, Bill Clinton’s mentor.

When Republicans are in power, “dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” When Democrats are in power, dissent is the racist fuming of “angry white men.”

Peaceful, law-abiding tea-party groups who cleaned up after their protests — and got legal permits for them — were signs of nascent fascism lurking in the American soul. Violent, anarchic, and illegal protests by Occupy Wall Street a few years ago or, more recently, in Ferguson, Mo., were proof that a new idealistic generation was renewing its commitment to idealism.

When rich conservatives give money to Republicans, it is a sign that the whole system has been corrupted by fat cats. When it is revealed that liberal billionaires and left-wing super PACs outspent conservative groups in 2014: crickets.

When Republicans invoke God or religious faith as an inspiration for their political views, it’s threatening and creepy. When Democrats do it, it’s a sign they believe in social justice.

One can do this all day long. But while examples are easy, explanations are hard.

I don’t know who first said, “Behind every apparent double standard lies an unconfessed single standard” (and as far as I can tell, neither does the Internet), but whoever did was onto something.

What looks like inexplicably staggering hypocrisy from the conservative perspective is actually remarkably consistent from the liberal perspective.

Well, “perspective” is probably the wrong word because it implies a conscious, deliberate, philosophical point of view. What is really at work is better understood as bias, even bigotry.

If you work from the dogmatic assumption that liberalism is morally infallible and that liberals are, by definition, pitted against sinister and — more importantly — powerful forces, then it’s easy to explain away what seem like double standards. Any lapse, error, or transgression by conservatives is evidence of their real nature, while similar lapses, errors, and transgressions by liberals are trivial when balanced against the fact that their hearts are in the right place.

Despite controlling the commanding heights of the culture — journalism, Hollywood, the arts, academia, and vast swaths of the corporate America they denounce — liberals have convinced themselves they are pitted against deeply entrenched powerful forces and that being a liberal is somehow brave. Obama, the twice-elected president of the United States, to this day speaks as if he’s some kind of underdog.

Frank Rich, the former New York Times columnist and theater critic, recently interviewed Chris Rock for New York magazine. He wanted to know why right-leaning comedian Dennis Miller isn’t as funny (at least according to Rich) as Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. He asked Rock, “Do you think that identifying with those in power is an impediment to laughter?”

It was a hilarious and revealing moment. Stewart — who recently had to turn down a pleading request from NBC to take over Meet the Press — has long identified with liberals in power. Moreover, he’s easily one of America’s most powerful liberals, routinely creating and enforcing liberal conventional wisdom (much as Rich had done from his perch at the Times). Miller, meanwhile, has nowhere near the same cultural clout precisely because he doesn’t affirm the single standard at the heart of liberalism: “We’re the good guys.”

— Jonah Goldberg is a senior editor of National Review and a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. You can write to him by e-mail at goldbergcolumn@gmail.com or via Twitter @JonahNRO. © 2014 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

 

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/395526/year-liberal-double-standards-jonah-goldberg

 

 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

NBRA Chairman Frances Rice

About Me

Lieutenant Colonel Frances Rice, United States Army, Retired is a native of Atlanta, Georgia and retired from the Army in 1984 after 20 years of active service. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from Drury College in 1973, a Masters of Business Administration from Golden Gate University in 1976, and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 1977. In 2005, she became a co-founder and Chairman of the National Black Republican Association, an organization that is committed to returning African Americans to their Republican Party roots.