The past two weeks saw a convergence of observances and news stories that, for me, encapsulates the horrific toll of two fundamental policies of modern liberalism on the black community.
National School Choice Week provided an ironic backdrop for a news story out of Akron, Ohio, where Kelley Williams-Bolar, a mother of two girls, was convicted of a felony for falsifying her residence of record so her girls could attend a better and safer public school than the one in their poor, crime-ridden neighborhood.
Similarly, pro-life advocates gathered to commemorate the legally and morally misguided U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade to legalize the infanticide of abortion, while authorities in Philadelphia were coming to grips with the butchery of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. Dr. Gosnell stands accused of conducting illegal late-term abortions, murdering babies aborted alive by severing their spinal cords with scissors, and leaving “a trail of injured and dead female patients in his wake over several decades”, according to the grand jury report.
In each of these cases, black women were among the victims, and their plights highlight two of the most significant problems facing the black community in America today – the lack of quality education for all our children, and the disproportionate number of black babies murdered in abortuaries across the nation.
While lack of educational opportunities and abortion are not “black” issues exclusively, their effects on the black community are particularly acute, as I point out in my book, SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Tom’s Porch:
Only 47% of black males are graduating from high schools nationwide compared to 75% for white males. In the state of Michigan, the black male graduation rate is an abysmal 33%. …Our inner cities provide the most egregious examples of how we’re failing our young black men. The high school graduation rates in Detroit, Indianapolis and Cleveland are 24.9%, 30.5% and 34.1%, respectively.
…The failure of more than half of young black males to earn a high school diploma has predictable and tragic consequences. These young men are more likely to be jobless, poor, engaged in criminal activity or incarcerated than their peers with diplomas.
…Then there is decriminalized abortion—that great moral stain on the American legacy which has resulted in the slaughter of some 50 million innocent and helpless children in the name of convenience. Black women make up 13% of the female population but account for 36% of all abortions. One out of every two black babies is aborted.
Therefore, Reverend Clenard H. Childress, Jr. declared, “The most dangerous place for an African American to be is in the womb of their African American mother.” More blacks have been killed by abortion since Roe v. Wade than all other causes of death combined. Every three days in America, the number of black babies killed by abortionists exceeds the number of blacks lynched between 1882 and 1968.
What is particularly maddening about these problems is that they are entirely preventable.
Evidence abounds of the success of alternatives to public education, such as charter schools, homeschooling, and voucher programs for private education, in raising test scores and graduation rates among black students in some of the poorest urban communities.
Virginia Walden Ford, a black parent who heads DC Parents for School Choice, recounts how her son’s life was changed dramatically and practically overnight because a neighbor offered to pay his tuition to attend a parochial school:
I had this sullen, angry kid who turned into someone totally different. We used to fight every morning about going to school. Once he was at Carroll, he’d get up on his own, put on his uniform, and began to really enjoy the learning process. This change didn’t take years. It took months, and it was dramatic.
Her child graduated from high school as class valedictorian, served in the Marines, including a tour of duty in Iraq, and is now employed selling real estate. He became a success rather than a statistic.
Ford led the way for the establishment of the DC Opportunities Scholarship Program, which provided scholarships to poor families in DC to send their children to private schools. She wanted other children to have the same opportunity as her son, and children participating in the program showed gains in academic performance and graduation rates.
Parents were extremely satisfied with the program, not only because of the educational gains they saw in their children, but also because they were safe. Note that Ms. Williams-Bolar’s decision to send her girls to a better school under false pretenses was motivated by the high crime rate in their neighborhood. Likewise, DC schools are among the most violent in the nation.
Is it so hard to understand that children trapped in these schools can’t concentrate on learning when they are fearful for their lives? Can you see why parents want better and safer choices for their children, not tomorrow or whenever the public school system gets it together, but right now?
Inexplicably, however, the liberal establishment, which largely controls the education bureaucracy and the teachers unions, willfully resists all efforts to give parents control over where and how their children are educated.
For example, it was a Democrat-controlled Congress, lead by President Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, that killed the DC voucher program. As of this writing, the new Congress, now under Republican control, is proposing legislation to revive it.
Their insistence on protecting the status quo is, in effect, issuing a life sentence to millions of black children, who fall behind without a proper education and end up trapped in poverty and hopelessness, all too often leading to crime, prison or untimely death.
Dr. Gosnell’s gruesome exploitation of the law’s disregard for unborn life is in fact a mere window into the daily slaughter of unborn persons, far too many of them in black neighborhoods. Underlying the disproportionate number of black babies aborted since Roe vs. Wade is the history of the eugenics movement in America, which sought to control the population of “undesirable people” by preventing them from breeding.
This goal was embraced not only by Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America, but also by W.E.B DuBois, a black intellectual, civil rights leader and the co-founder of the NAACP.
It was Sanger who led the now-infamous Negro Project and recruited black ministers to persuade their congregations that its intent was not “to exterminate the Negro population” should that thought ever occur “to any of their more rebellious members.”
It was DuBois who complained that most of the black population growth in America was occurring in “that part of the population least intelligent and fit, and least able to rear their children properly.”
This unholy alliance between white and black liberal elites continues to the present day and, on this issue and many others, the preeminent civil rights organization in America stands against the moral values of the very people they claim to defend. They have been assimilated.
Lest you think that eugenics is a thing of the past, note that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explicitly stated in 2009 that the underlying intent of Roe vs. Wade was to limit the growth of “populations we don’t want too many of.”
Steven D. Leavitt, the author of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, and John J. Donohue wrote in a 1999 economics journal about the “selection effect” where abortions by “teenagers, unmarried women and African-Americans…may reduce subsequent criminality.” As I point out in my book:
Examination of these categories suggests that the predominant demographic group, whose termination purportedly contributed to a drop in the crime rate, is blacks. Black women have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation, and since two-thirds of black children are born to single mothers, they tend to dominate in that category as well. We already know that black women account for a disproportionate number of all abortions.
The “selection effect” of which Levitt and Donohue so blithely speak is nothing more than eugenics, preventing the reproduction of “undesirables” by another name.
Many liberals argue that the aborted children were spared hard lives and their mothers more misery. The presumptiveness and arrogance of these people, presuming to be God by declaring who is or isn’t worthy of life, is breathtaking.
In the 485 years since Spanish explorers brought the first African slaves to American shores, brutal and untimely death has found a home in the black community. Untold thousands of black people died hard under the cruelty of slavery and lynching by white mobs.
Now we are being killed softly, by policies that deprive us of educational opportunities and place us on the path to poverty and lower life expectancy due to poor health, or death by murder – the leading cause of death among young black males.
Moreover, despite the occasional emergence of a butcher like Dr. Gosnell, black people for the most part are dying silently behind closed doors in aborturaries, 80 percent of which litter black neighborhoods. Abortion kills more black people than all other causes of death in the black community combined.
And our liberal defenders, the ones who claim to be for the poor and oppressed, remain mute in the midst of the slaughter of our innocents, of our opportunities, of our hope. For shame.