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Jim Crow's New Face
by La Shawn Barber
4 June 2003

Under the guise of “affirmative action,” white liberals have somehow convinced blacks that as victims of the old Jim Crow, they now deserve special treatment and separate standards under the new Jim Crow.

Legal segregation of the races is an embarrassing part of America’s history. Also known as Jim Crow--so-called after a black character in a minstrel show from the 1840s--the laws prescribed separate facilities for blacks and whites from around 1865 to the 1960s. “Separate but equal” proved to be separate and unequal for black Americans. Considered lesser humans, blacks were judged by a lower standard. The object was to keep them subjugated, subordinate, and “in their place.”

You don’t have to watch PBS specials or read books to know what Jim Crow was like. Just look around. It still exists. In the post-Civil Rights era, a subtle form has taken its place. Under the guise of “affirmative action,” white liberals have somehow convinced blacks that as victims of the old Jim Crow, they now deserve special treatment and separate standards under the new Jim Crow. Same scourge, different face.

So ingrained are these new “laws” that blacks openly and shamelessly assert their right to lower standards. For example, black liberals in Florida threatened to boycott the state’s industries beginning May 22 if Governor Jeb Bush didn’t cave to demands to allow minority students who failed the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) to receive special treatment by throwing out the results so they could graduate. I’m sad to report that Governor Bush caved.

On May 23, he endorsed last-minute legislation that will allow failing students to earn a diploma by substituting low SAT and ACT scores (780 out of 1600 on the SAT corresponds to a passing FCAT score). Starting in 10th grade, high school seniors had six chances to get a passing score of at least 40% on the FCAT. Students who failed on the sixth try still could’ve earned diplomas through adult education courses and an accelerated GED program. Thanks to Governor Bush, they get to step over the lowered bar.

Black race preference proponents seem blind to the irony of their position. Some of their forebears may have fought--and died--to dismantle such racist practices. For whites, one could almost excuse it. Misguided guilt, wrong-headed compassion, embarrassment by lagging minority students who’ve already been given so many advantages--take your pick. But for blacks, it’s inexcusable. Children are being taught that appealing to white guilt can take them far in life. With Republican “enemies” like Governor Bush, who needs liberal “friends?”

Two weeks ago he said the threat to boycott Florida’s major industries would not undermine his support for requiring that students pass the FCAT. “To suggest that we have a lower standard, a lower expectation for one group of kids…just doesn’t make sense,” he said to Sen. Larcenia Bullard, a black Democrat and vice chairwoman of the Senate education committee. “It would be heartbreaking for us to have a system where we give up on kids.”

What’s heartbreaking for minority students is Bush’s easy surrender to the lunacy. If 12th graders can’t pass a 10th grade-level exam after the sixth try, what does it say about their public school education? By what criteria are colleges making admissions decisions? Grade point averages? Skin color? Black parents have a right to be angry, but at the right people.

Public schools need to be accountable for promoting students who aren’t qualified for the next grade level, but proponents of special treatment like Senator Bullard turn their venom toward Governor Bush and the state of Florida. Their time would be better spent lobbying for school vouchers. Instead of embracing school choice in light of students’ failure to pass a basic skills test, black Democrats viciously oppose it.

Once recognizing the faulty reasoning behind the boycott scheme, Governor Bush said, “The underlying premise of this boycott seems to be flawed…if you have high expectations for every child, irrespective of race or nationality, you can achieve results that become the envy of other places in the country.” Such noble words; such pitiable actions.

Jim Crow created a caste system in America that lasted for generations. In 2003, power-driven, pandering bureaucrats want to make sure it remains in place. As long as blacks refuse to hold themselves accountable for failure and continue to perceive themselves as victims entitled to special categories, black liberal politicians will always have a constituency to keep them in office. And blacks will forever remain “in their place.” Shame on you, Governor Bush, for helping them stay there.

La Shawn Barber's bi-weekly column also appears on TheRightReport.com.  A frequent contributor to the Washington Times, her work has been published in the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Jewish World Review, The Black World Today, Grace-Centered Magazine and other publications. A freelance writer and former liberal, La Shawn is now a renegade supporter of conservative ideals."

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