May 14, 2006
Dreams Of Happy Apartheid
Segregation in American education is worse than it's been at any time since 1968. Fewer black kids are attending integrated schools at any time since MLK was assassinated. A typical inner city school class looks exactly like a class of black kids in Mississippi 50 years ago.
Ironically it seems these days that if you want to see the worst school in any city you simply visit one name after MLK, Rosa Parks, or Thurgood Marshall. They will all be the most underfunded, most segregated, most overcrowded, and most academically failed schools in the area.
The legacy of Rosa Parks and MLK have been ripped apart and the media does all it can to avoid mentioning this. This is the same media that helped sell us Iraq and now Iran. They will pay lip service and deplore segregation on a national level but will never face up to it on their local level where an observable reality glaringly resides. At best they will call schools with many minorities diverse instead of calling them what they are - segregated.
With far too few exceptions, the responsible and influential media who orchestrate acceptable opinion on most issues of broad national interest refuse to name this reality and lack the guts to confront it. Apartheid is not acceptable lingo in the sensitive parlors of commercial media.
This Administration does indeed hate blacks and minorities. They will however employ them whenever and wherever they need an eagerly subservient fall guy to bullwark their racist and criminal activities from insight, oversight, and critique. As clever as this divisive tactic is cynical and old, this Administration knows that the racial card can be practically exploited to deflect and duck criticism per way of aggressive insinuation that any critique of a destructive policy and its chief functionary is not substantive but rather racist in origin. Unfortunately there appears to be no short supply of these Quislingesque sellouts to front for the war against America and its noble ideals.
As long as there are individuals that have defied leading dystopic trends and managed therein to carve out their own little contrarian success stories, there will be among them a trembling few that are willing to appease their visceral fears of the fragility of their own success by resorting to a zealotrous propensity to do everything and anything to avoid rocking the boat. They will even go as far as working for the very people who are doing everything comfortably possible to exasperate the very injustices that gave rise to their deforming fears.
Some will even work for the current Administration with the contorted hope that living with the jackal and doing much of its dirty work will save them from being shredded alive by it. Some lesser fortunate wannabe collaborationists will have to make do with cheering on this Administration from the sidelines of the blogosphere hoping to hold on to the scraps of comfort they've managed to amass. Fear certainly has a way of deforming many a man but such is the strangely poetic nature of fear. And such are some of its more bitter fruits.
Some media outlets flush out a conservative black journalist to sweeten the story of apartheid in today's education system. They find an apologist who will per talking point say that we don't need to talk about things like apartheid, total racial isolation, gross inequality in funding. Instead we need to concentrate on a couple of boutique schools in a particular city that suddenly are able to pump up their test scores. We need to replicate that on a larger scale (so we in effect can have happy apartheid).
If a score suddenly goes up in a segregated school it will be a major front page story. If we only follow the Bush agenda and test kids incessantly, drill them all year for these tests, and hire private companies to prep them then all will be well. But the story of scores falling back down a few years later are seldom reported but in the most obscure corners of the same media. All these success stories are false promises endlessly recycled by the media to avoid the main truth: segregated schooling is the longest lasting failed experiment in U.S. social history.
Segregated schools have never been equal to the schools that serve the mainstream of America but such is the state of education in the nation today. Federal education policy and Bush's no child left behind seems to enjoy support from a big media constituency that appear spastically eager to tout the latest uptick in standardized test scores, particularly when they show a narrowing between white and non-white students, ie the achievement gap - while the broader the reality goes missing from their coverage. These headlines are the results of testing games and not learning games.
As is the case with Iraq, individual journalists are pressured to cover success stories within the box of a dismal failure. The President's delusional testing bill NCLB (No Child Left Behind or No Child Left Untested) is based on the psychotic belief that testing kids like hell is a nice substitue for equal opportunity and the blatant unfairness of apartheid.
Bush says his testing helps teachers learn where their students' weaknesses lie all the while the test results don't come back until the kids have moved on to the next grade. Bush's NCLB also forces teachers to teach to the tests.
Bush's solutions always seem to be akin to weighing hungry children instead of feeding them.
It all sounds a lot like the pretext of spreading democracy to Iraq while bringing security to America all the while this chronic failure of a man has actually done little more than endanger and traumatize America as never before while killing countless Iraqi civilians and embedding their living remains in an undisputed State of terror, chaos, and disease over which we have sole dictatorial reign under the cover of a dysfuntional local government of dubiously elected misfits.
And finally a question begs to be asked relevant to both Iraq, the apartheid of the U.S. education system, the synthetic crisis of Iran, and the industrial scale espionage on all of Americas citizens - why the hell do journalists and their outlets exist if not to afflict the comfortable and give comfort to the afflicted and provide the citizenry with the information it needs to make informed choices when attempting to elect their representatives?
Obviously the media knows that it can influence the preferences and opinions of its readers and they accordingly often make decisions not to enter areas that might antagonize its most privileged readers and the powers that be. Obviously these most privileged readers and power brokers are not synonomous with or representative of the majorities around and about them.
Too seldom do we get a chance to read about just that.
Rolled by M1 at 2:32 PM