Sunday, July 25, 2010

A game with only one card: the race card

The Sunday New York Times is awash with lamentations about the Shirley Sherrod affair. For those of you who have been sojourning in Antarctica, this is about a black bureaucrat who was wrongly fired from her job by the Obama administration. Once again the Great White Guilt Machine has been cranked up full force. Suitably awed by its deployment, we are all supposed to don, once again, sackcloth and ashes, knowing all the while that in a few more weeks we will be asked to wear this unseemly costume once again.

Whatever any white person says about race, it is wrong. Yet we are supposed to have a “conversation” about the matter. How can one have any sort of conversation if meaningful exchange is barred?

Quite a few years ago I concluded that this exercise is useless. I do not feel guilty about race and I am disgusted with others who say that I must. Screw them all.

Moreover, every day gay and lesbian service people are discharged from the armed forces under the malign influence of DADT. Obama and his operatives promised to do something about this evil--but so far they haven’t. It has been left to the Log Cabin Republicans, of all people, to bring suit about the matter.

And of course in the real world people get fired for all sorts of reasons. When I was a young scholar I was discharged from an Ivy League university. This was not just. But instead of grieving I went out and found a better job.

Right now there is a case of just firing. For some time now, Michelle Rhee, the courageous DC Superintendent of Schools, has been seeking to take control of that disastrously underperforming school system. On Friday Rhee announced that she has fired 241 teachers, including 165 who received poor appraisals under a new evaluation system that for the first time holds some educators accountable for students’ standardized test scores.

“Every child in a District of Columbia public school has a right to a highly effective teacher — in every classroom, of every school, of every neighborhood, of every ward, in this City,” Rhee said in a statement, announcing the first year of results from the revamped evaluation, known as IMPACT. as “That is our commitment. Today . . . we take another step toward making that commitment a reality.”

As the story in the Washington Post indicates, dismissals for performance are exceedingly rare in D.C. schools — and in school systems nationwide. Friday’s firings mark the beginning of Rhee’s bid to make student achievement a high-stakes proposition for teachers, establishing job loss as a possible consequence of poor classroom results.

The Washington Teachers’ Union said Friday that it will contest the terminations. Of course. The union is doing everything it can to keep these drones from being fired. Countless numbers of children, most of them African American, are harmed by the poor performance of these teachers. If one wants to make a meaningful change it would be to pass legislation abolishing the teachers' unions. That will not happen because teachers are a bulwark of the Democratic Party.

Which case, the Shirley Sherrod one or the DC teachers one, is more important for our country? The answer is obvious. But our “quality” media, headed by the New York Times, doesn’t think so. It is too busy reenacting the endlessly satisfying (to itself) Passion Play of black grievances and “insensitive” whites.



Blogger Burk said...


I think you are factually incorrect on DADT. Obama has gotten the Secretary of Defense and the Chair of the Joint chiefs to testify that DADT should end and to begin the process of scuttling it. This may have happened under your radar, but it has happened, and will inexorably head towards ending the policy, I assume before the end of Obama's first term. As we learned in the Clinton administration, this needs to be done with a bit of finesse, not with a hammer. Sure, it should have been done years ago and is shameful all around. But the goal is definitely in sight.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Dyneslines said...

I stand by my comment: "so far they haven't." This pussy footing is unconscionable. It speaks for itself.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Burk said...

You set a low bar with "something about". They have done something, just not what you want.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Thomas Kraemer said...

Shirley Sherrod was fired so quickly, without bothering to look at the truth, because Obama's political strategy has been to reduce the number of "news cycles" that embarrassing accusations are talked about by instantly firing the political appointee involved. Obama's political team considers political appointees to be more expendable than Obama's precious "political capital." However, the strategy backfired, in this case, because it made Obama look like a nervous Nelly instead of a brave and compassionate leader.

Concerning the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue policy" -- the "Don't Pursue" was part of Clinton's original compromise and law, but it has been regularly ignored by recent leaders, including Obama. Furthermore, when Obama first became Commander-in-Chief of the military, he could have immediately signed an emergency stop-loss executive order postponing all military discharges under DADT until Congress could act because all military personnel were critical to the wars we are fighting. Instead, Obama was too nervous to order it because he feared political backlash.

Worse than doing nothing on DADT, Obama has chosen to allow the Justice Department to write viciously anti-gay legal briefs in defense of DADT under the guise that he is a victim of "being required to defend Federal laws." While this is technically true, previous Presidents have ordered their political appointees in the Justice Department to write legal briefs in a manner that is consistent with the President's goals of nondiscrimination and equal treatment under the law. On the contrary, the Obama administration's legal briefs supporting DADT go way beyond what they are required to do by law.

Obama's fear of standing up for gay rights (other than in political speeches) is why he has lost the support of most major gay donors. Rich gay Democrats have diverted all of their money to helping specific candidates around the country who promise to actually help pass gay rights legislation rather than just talk about it.

3:09 PM  

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