Racial healer Barack Obama has now weighed in on the subject in a rather odd and topsy-turvy way. He has determined that minorities (mostly black) are unfairly over-represented in one area—school discipline. According to The One, “African Americans lack equal access to highly effective teachers and principals, safe schools, and challenging college-preparatory classes, and they disproportionately experience school discipline.” Because blacks are over-represented in disciplinary matters, it couldn't possibly be because they over-perform in the area of bad behavior. It's the same old liberal nostrum voiced by one of the hoods in West Side Story: “We're depraved on accounta we're deprived.”
I will ignore for the moment that one of the biggest reasons blacks are denied those benefits is the lack of school choice, something liberals mightily oppose. Another reason is the breakdown of the black family which tends to produce single mothers, no responsible fathers around to help, high illegitimacy rates, gang membership to replace the non-existent family unit and a plethora of other social pathologies. Problems in the schools tend to reflect the same problems outside the schools. That leads to high crime rates among black young people, both outside of and inside the schools. It's not a “black thing.” Urban whites are rapidly catching up, but in the middle-class or affluent suburbs, black misbehavior with the resulting discipline is almost indistinguishable from white.
The simple fact remains. Blacks in urban schools are disciplined in far larger numbers and percentages of the total school population. There is a disparate impact. But concurrence is not causation, and courts have increasingly held that disparate impact can no longer stand as the sole reason for imposing quotas or other leveling processes. In order to satisfy the current legal test, disparate impact must be the result of genuinely unfair and discriminatory practices either intentionally or grossly negligently put in place by the institutions where the disparate impact occurs. That was the case years or decades ago. Today multiple factors result in the disparate impact, but institutional discrimination is not among them.
None of this has stopped Barack Obama from issuing another one of his infamous executive orders. To establish equality of outcome rather than equal treatment, he has ordered that a government panel be created to promote “a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools.” Simply put, that means until the number of whites and Asians disciplined is mathematically proportional to the number of blacks and Hispanics disciplined, either discipline of the former groups must be reduced or those of the latter increased, regardless of the facts in each individual case.
Hans Bader, a counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, had this to say about the executive order: “What this means is that whites and Asians will get suspended for things that blacks don’t get suspended for, because school officials will try to level punishments despite groups’ different infraction rates.” Bader previously held multiple positions in the Education Department's Civil Rights office.
As if this weren't bad enough, the executive order also includes the creation of a President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. That would be a noble goal if it included doing all the things actually necessary to raise the levels of black educational accomplishment and good behavior in school. But it's just a cover for more affirmative action-like bureaucracy. It won't solve any of the problems I mentioned above. But it will ensure the perpetuation of black students as a favored “victim group.” The Commission will simply be another home for government employees to suck up taxpayer money and throw more taxpayer money at useless and unrealistic projects.
Attorney General Eric Holder claimed that “we’ve often seen that students of color, students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and students with special needs are disproportionately likely to be suspended or expelled.” So the rules and methods must be changed to “help” black students. Holder claims to be a lawyer, but he cites no evidence or precedent to support his conclusions. Except, of course, the “disparate impact” which we have already said exists. Why it exists is the bone of contention. And when all is said and done, the “why” for Obama and Holder is, as always, racism.