One of the more startling aspects to our current political situation is how conservatives have come to accept Soviet levels of support for Democrats as normal and natural for various minorities. What other group votes 99% for one political party no matter what they do? Yet Republicans don't even seriously make the case that changing sides would be in the personal best interests of individual black voters.
Thus far, we've seen how conservative policies regarding illegal immigration - that is, ending it and sending the illegals home - would directly benefit black workers whose jobs have been taken by illegals willing to work "off the books" for unAmerican low wages. In this article, we'll see how Democratic educational "policies" have crippled the best hope of advancement for black Americans, and indeed anyone who's not a child of privilege.
The importance of education is nothing new, and was once widely honored in the community of American blacks. Booker T. Washington was once cited in every American history textbook, and his story ought to be an inspiration to all Americans regardless of color.
Born into slavery, Mr. Washington was freed by the Civil War at an early age, but that constituted little more than freedom to starve. He was provided with no education, no assistance, no governmental help in any way.
That didn't stop him; his autobiography Up from Slavery details how his mother pushed him to learn to read, and then how he managed to obtain something resembling an education by his own efforts and hard work. Eventually, he founded Tuskeegee Institute in Alabama as a black teachers college - that is, a college with the primary purpose of training black people how to teach other blacks. Today, it's Tuskeegee University.
Washington was so dedicated to the pursuit of education that he started his school with next to nothing, in an abandoned church and shack. He grew the college's facilities by having the students work on the building; nothing like learning construction by doing construction! His emphasis on academics in no way minimized the dignity of manual labor:
No race can prosper till it learns there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.
Today, there are quite a few black Americans in high and well-paid positions; but what about the vast majority of every race who will never go to Harvard or star on TV? Washington felt that the education and success of ordinary people was even more valuable than having a few marquee names:
The Negro has the right to study law, but success will come to the race sooner if it produces intelligent, thrifty farmers and mechanics, to support the lawyers.
Privileged blacks are welcomed in our elite institutions, but all too many others are trapped in worthless public schools where they're lucky if they learn to read. Booker T. Washington would be horrified.
And he wouldn't blame the white man, either, much less Republicans. The past few years have shown an extremely sordid side to the longstanding Democrat alliance with teachers' unions - or would have done, if the media had felt it worthwhile to report.
One of the unsung successes of the Bush administration was a school voucher program that allowed poor black children in Washington, DC the opportunity to attend decent private schools alongside their wealthier white peers. The Democrats and unions fought this tooth and nail, but for a few years the program was under way - long enough to become a proven success despite the efforts of the Obama administration the hide the truth.
Washington, DC is majority black, and its local governance is both mostly black and exclusively Democrat. There aren't any conservatives or Republicans around to be bogeymen. The failing public school system is entirely the fault of Democrats; the destruction of the successful voucher system is entirely the responsibility of Democrats.
So why can't Republicans make this argument? The black residents of Washington, DC care about their children, at least some of them do; a fair few of them angrily protested the Obama administration's nefarious actions. Shouldn't this be an opportunity to make common cause with black people in an issue that goes right to the heart of their own lives and those of their kids?
It doesn't have to be limited to Washington, DC either. All across America, inner-city schools are famed for incompetence, violence, and vastly wasteful expense; they're also largely occupied by minorities. Why can't conservatives strongly and powerfully offer the conservative solution of school vouchers, now proven to work specifically with the poorest and least privileged black children?
You might say, "Vouchers have been part of the Republican platform for years, for all the good it did with minority voters" True - but has anyone ever bothered to tell black voters why school voucher systems matters to them, in practical languge they can understand? As Roland Martin pointed out in the first article in this series, Republicans hardly ever appear in black media or even try to make the case for their solutions, thus leaving black opinions to be formed exclusively by the hard-left mainstream media.
There is a powerful story to be told about how Republican policies can provably help black children's lives. The media will never tell it, so those policies will never see the light of day unless Republicans make sure that they do.
Education is perhaps the most fundamental way conservatism can help inner-city minorities, but it's not even the most obvious one. That would be in crime and law enforcement - and there again, Republican policies are the greatest story never told. We'll take a look in the next article in this series.