Wednesday, March 16, 2005

So What Does It Mean If I Flunk "White History"?

New Jersey is home to smokestacks, nuclear waste dumps, and a disturbingly left-wing government. To wit, this report courtesy of Drudge. Apparently the New Jersey Secretary of State Regina Thomas, a McGreevey appointee, accused students of not being up on their black history and implied that they were racists for same.

As a result, students and teachers walked out of the speech, and then refused to attend class in protest.

Of course, every crowd has its morons, as various black students were greeted by cowardly and anonymous racist threats. The walk out and protest were appropriate responses to this government official's unprofessional and antisocial behavior. Intimidation of others who look different was not. And I hope that those who sent those messages to black students will have the guts to put their own names and faces to the beliefs they hold in order to defend them in the marketplace of ideas. Because while such viewpoints are repugnant, they are entirely legal. Unless of course, the proponents of same are just too gutless to let their names be known for fear of the justified social ostracism that awaits them.

But the bigger point is similar to the one I raised in the post below regarding the academic environment at Harvard. Thomas attacked students for not having the same knowledge as she did about the roles of blacks in American History. And the implication that a lack of fact knowledge translates to racism reflects a particular level of arrogance on the part of the Secretary, given her willingness to use social intimidation on children to reach her political ends.

And so I wonder what it says about a person who is unable to name the U.S. Presidents in order, or to describe the Great Compromise or the Monroe Doctrine and the thought underpinning it and how it related to the Manifest Destiny? Is it racism against white Americans? Or is it a sign that it wouldn't kill the person to pick up a school book?

But this is the very thing to expect of the Secretary. Her biography lays out her history of service to corrupt New Jersey politicians such as Bob Torricelli and the aforementioned Jim McGreevey. But it also includes service to one of the greatest race-baiters of all times; the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Coalition.

So she's simply following in the creepy footsteps of those who went before her. Consider her admonitions to the students in that context.

And finally, we come to the touchy topic of black history. And I wonder if that term is reflective of one of the biggest racial problems in our society. Because I thought that black history is included in American history, and I don't believe that the term "American" means "white". So to argue that one needs to treat one component of history with a different degree of respect than any other implies that the component is somehow severable from, independent of, and perhaps even supercessory to another. And there is no reason to do that, unless the people proposing that it be done that way have some political axe to grind.

Now perhaps this is naive of me, but once we begin to treat ourselves as one society made up of all sorts of different people united together, rather than eternally bitter and aggrieved groups looking to one-up each other, we might actually come to a point where we can move forward in race relations, and indeed, do away with the very concept of relations needing to exist between races.

But it won't happen until we can move past the grievances of generations ago to actually make forward progress.

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