December 15, 2005

Passage of the Day: Walter Williams on Rosa Parks, Black Progress, Those Left Behind, and Why

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:44 pm

From Townhall.com (“Betrayal of the struggle”; bolds mine):

Last month, when Rosa Parks was laid to rest in Detroit, her eulogy contained well-deserved praise for her brave defiance of segregation laws that led to the 1955 Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott and later the 1956 Supreme Court ruling that banned public transportation segregation. The passing and remembrance of her generation of blacks, who made sacrifices to deliver today’s opportunities, might also be an occasion for condemnation of what’s no less than a gross betrayal of that generation’s struggle.

….. While not every vestige of racial discrimination has been eliminated, it is nowhere near the barrier it was yesteryear, but you’d think discrimination is everywhere listening to some of today’s black politicians and civil rights leaders. One wonders what those blacks, who lived during the era of gross discrimination and are now deceased, would think about so much of today’s behavior, rhetoric and excuses.

What would they think about black neighborhoods, once thriving economic centers that have been turned into economic wastelands by a level of criminal activity previously unknown? During my youth, walking through some of Philadelphia’s predominantly white neighborhoods, one felt a sense of relief as we approached a black neighborhood. Today, it might be the other way around. What would they think about predominantly black schools where violence and intimidation are the order of the day, with police cars outside and metal detectors inside? What would they think about black students who seek academic excellence being mocked, intimidated and assaulted by their peers for “acting white”?

By any assessment, black Americans have made the greatest progress, over some of the highest hurdles and in the shortest span of time than any other racial group in the history of mankind. If one added the earnings of black Americans and thought of us as a nation, we’d be the 14th richest nation.

….. For a large segment of the black community, these gains remain elusive. The gains will remain elusive so long as black civil rights and political leadership blame and focus their energies on discrimination. While discrimination exists, the relevant question is how much of what we see can be explained by it. A 70 percent illegitimacy rate, 60 percent of black children raised in female-headed households, high crime and poor school performance have devastating consequences. This level of pathology cannot be attributed to discrimination, considering that much of it was absent in earlier times when there was far more discrimination, greater poverty and fewer opportunities.

It’s time that black people hold fellow blacks accountable for squandering opportunities won at a high cost by our ancestors. Failing to do so makes all blacks complicit in the betrayal.

The Klan could not have done more damage to the black underclass than so-called civil rights leaders and their welfare-state enablers have.
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Dec. 15: Outside the Beltway Jammer.

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