The costs of misdiagnosing the source of troubles for blacks, however, are often quite high for everyone involved. Theden has reported on an example of this phenomenon previously. Powerful voices in American media and politics insist that the problem in inner cities like Baltimore is white racism in the form of hyper-policing. And thus they prescribe a treatment based on that misdiagnosis: police less aggressively. But the real threat facing black inner cities is the violence and criminality within them, not the tactics that law enforcement officers use in an attempt to curb that violence and criminality. Any treatment predicated on the former etiology of inner city turmoil rather than the latter, though, will inevitably fail. Because it seeks to cure a disease that doesn’t exist and leaves the actual disease to spread uninhibited. And the kindler-gentler-police treatment certainly is failing, as the crime spikes in Baltimore and elsewhere attest.
But law enforcement is not the only arena in which the Left’s misdiagnosis is made, nor the only one in which their misdiagnosis comes with a hefty price tag.
As conservative bloggers such as Steve Sailer have been pointing out for years, institutions such as the New York Times and the Department of Justice have gone to war against school systems all over the nation. These paragons of liberal anti-racism correctly note that, across the board and at every level of education, blacks students receive more disciplinary actions than their counterparts of other races. The reason for this, of course, is that black students commit more infractions—from the trivial to the serious—of school rules and policies than their counterparts of other races. But progressive elites reject such realities out of hand. Instead, they push the same, tired old misdiagnosis that, once again, that dastardly white racism is punishing black students simply because of the color of their skin.
The St. Paul Public Schools system in Minnesota has been ground zero for one such misguided reform effort. In those schools, as in practically any multiracial school system in the country, administrators noted that black students were punished at disproportionately high rates. And there, as is so often the case, they took the problem to be “racism” rather than an inability of black students to conduct themselves appropriately.
Under the Strong Schools, Strong Communities program, then, the SPPS decided to combat the “problem” of disciplining so many black students simply by refusing to discipline them so often. Students in specialized behavioral classes were mainlined into normal classrooms. Offenses that previously would have gotten a slap on the wrist were overlooked. Offenses that previously would have been punished with suspension now got a slap on the wrist.
The results, of course, are chaos and disorder:
At John A. Johnson Elementary on the East Side, several teachers, who asked to remain anonymous, describe anything but a learning environment. Students run up and down the hallways, slamming lockers and tearing posters off the walls. They hit and swear at each other, upend garbage cans under teachers’ noses.
“We have students who will spend an hour in the hallway just running and hiding from people, like it’s a game for them,” says one despondent teacher. “A lot of them know no one is going to stop them, so they just continue.”
Nine teachers at Ramsey Middle School have quit since the beginning of this school year. Some left for other districts. Others couldn’t withstand the escalating anarchy.
For a full report of the carnage, read here.
Just as in Baltimore, the problem in St. Paul is not white racism. The problem is black attitudes and behaviors. And so, just as in Baltimore, a solution that attacked this phantom of “white racism” did absolutely nothing to solve black dysfunction. In fact it only intensified it. As long as the Left is allowed to keep propagating this misdiagnosis, sadly, the real disorder will remain untreated—worsening, metastasizing, and threatening the very fabric of schools and cities nationwide.