When America Sentenced Discrimination to Death
Discriminate: To mark or perceive the best choice for the purpose of achieving the most excellent possible result.
I am only nineteen years of age, and should, by all that is natural, love my family, my friends and my country.
Sadly, only the first two of these commend themselves to my heart.
Based on my life experience, I am embarrassed to say that my country has treated me, and those I love, so shabbily, for so long, so as to transform the affection I should harbor for the land of my birth into a certain quiet despair, a despair rooted in the realization that fairness, and equal opportunity in America has been crushed, misshapen by ruinous social policies to such an extent, that our once great nation is now incapable of rewarding excellence in the grand, routine way the world once recognized as its signature.
Significantly before my lifetime, Discrimination, one of the most important characteristics of enlightened, evolving man, was sentenced to death in America.
Who could have imagined that the word itself would take on a negative meaning, to be followed by the Nation's plunge to the bottom of the developed world in virtually all important academic disciplines, and, with that plunge, the drying up of opportunities for advancement, as other populations by the dozens outdistanced, and continue to outdistance, our young, making them by comparison far less skilled and knowledgeable, and far too expensive to be paid for their meager accomplishments.
This tragic situation is not entirely the fault of the people. It is, rather, the fault of so-called intellectuals, leading those who didn't think, but who had the power to impose "feel good" policies on America's middle class.
They have done so for so long that we have lost our heritage. Our heritage, that fragile essence that was wisely set in place by the founders to encourage prosperity, provide creative freedom, and offer an open field for the pursuit of happiness.
One hundred eighty three years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the assault began. After that, it was only a matter of waiting for the corrosion to complete its work before America was no longer the shining city on the hill. On the contrary, the United States dimmed its lights, then dipped its flag to powers that had been awaiting its doom for nigh on to two centuries.
My story is frighteningly ordinary, and I will tell it as it happened, at the risk of losing you, the reader, because it is so commonplace, so lacking in the exceptional or the sensational, that, out of sheer boredom, you may leave before it becomes obvious that American social policies of the past several decades have violated every rule of fairness, and have literally destroyed tens of millions of capable lives.
President Lyndon Baines Johnson
And, it was all so avoidable. All we needed to do was maintain decent standards in our classrooms, and on our streets. All we had to do is refuse to allow the shouts of the less capable to drown out the voice of excellence.
However, we didn't do that. And now, America's population tests at the bottom of the developed world. We are nearing, at least in any educational institution sponsored by the US government, the results that one would expect from so-called third world countries.
The reasons for my dismay should be obvious. That is, unless you believe America's young people today really are that much less talented than the youth of 1963, when America's public schools were the envy of the world. Or you believe, as US rulers now insist, that America's teachers, contrary to the evidence, really are much worse than those teachers who were serving the Nation's public schools prior to the administration of Lyndon Baines Johnson.
If you amazingly do believe that America's talent pool no longer exists, or that our youth really are the dumbest anywhere; or, if you do believe our public school teachers really are the least capable on the planet, then you are part of the problem.
The only others cheering America on, hoping that our self inflicted implosion continues, are the hundreds of millions of individuals outside the United States who are delighted to see our once great Nation throw herself away.
Just to reassure you, in case you were worried, the people who choreographed the US plunge still live on their estates and ranches, on their Georgia farms, and New England compounds. And their children still have their trust funds. So, have no fear. That 3% of the population was and is exempt from the policies of which I speak.
Said differently, it is only America's middle class that has been clawed to death since 1963, along with Discrimination, of course, as the title of this essay asserts.
The same protections were put in place for the comfortable public university intellectuals whose writings and break room meanderings were taken seriously by those who had the power to change America, to transform her into the bedraggled bag lady she now is, and who remain in those tax supported positions, stronger than ever, presently offering courses at the undergraduate level that one can find in any Netherlands or Belgian high school.
Frankly, were I a teacher in the Netherlands or Belgium who had for decades been forced to quietly seethe, as America's public schools outshone mine every year, and suddenly, in 1963, from the American liberal university press, and guilt ridden estate barons came my salvation, I would have been speechless. That ideas so obviously ruinous to America could have been enacted into law was, and is, so sadly laughable, I would have been tempted to give myself over to a certain giddiness at my rival's self destruction, to a certain schadenfreude.
Were I to imagine the internal monologue of such a teacher, it might sound something like this:
Hoera voor mij!, (Hooray for me in the predominant language of the Netherlands), without my improving an iota, I, a modest Netherlands school teacher, am going to be admired, as my former nemesis, the American teacher, not only drops below me in terms of perceived competence, but, glory be, drops below everyone in the profession on our planet in terms of respect. In Colorado and Washington DC local governments are even righteously and happily crucifying their teachers as the extended result of the Johnson mandates. Well, so long as they don't look at the obvious problem, good for me. Let those proud Americans get a taste of their own medicine for a change. Nice to see them on the bottom.
It's not like those cowboys didn't have it coming. The best feature of America's fall is that Netherlands' children aren't going to have any further difficulty competing with American students for jobs. American public school graduates are being taught virtually nothing.
And, if American students do manage to graduate from their public high schools and go on to public universities, 30% of the students there will be taught material that we in the Netherlands cover in elementary school. And, the other 70% will rarely rise above materials more difficult than I teach to our seventeen year olds.
Hoorays and hurrahs sound a bit different in other lands, but the meanings are the same. In the Netherlands, it is Hoera voor mij (Hooray for me). Belgium may chime in with the French Hourra pour moi (Hooray for me). In Sweden, we may hear Hurra for mig (Hooray for me). Denmark offers Hoera voor mij (Hooray for me). Germany, Hooray für mich (Hooray for me). Switzerland, Hooray für mich (Hooray for me). Canada (Hooray for me, hey). New Zealand (Hurrah for me). Australia, Hooray for me, mate. Austria, Hooray für mich, (Hooray for me). The Czech Republic, Hurá pro mě (Hooray for me). Russia, Ура для меня (Hooray for me). Korea, (아이슬란드어에 만세) (Hooray for me). Hong Kong, 在冰岛万岁 (Hooray for me). Singapore, 在冰岛万岁 (Hooray for me). Italy, Hooray per me (Hooray for me), and dozens of others.
All of those nations could not hold a candle to our pubic school teachers and students prior to Lyndon Baines Johnson. Now, compared to these nations, we truly are back in the dark ages, candles and all.
And, so, for nearly five decades now, other nations' governments, teachers, and parents have celebrated America's foolishness with "hoorays" and "hurrahs" as we continue to allow ignorant public education administrators to force lethal educational norms on our young. And, when they cause the disaster they must, we just, in a cowardly manner, blame the easiest target, the teachers, while the enforcers continue to collect enormous public salaries.
Of course, on the bright side, the US is not at the actual bottom yet. There is still Somalia, the Congo, and possibly Botswana (well, maybe not Botswana).
However, we are gaining on these, if negative direction counts. One never knows from year to year just how far down the academic ladder America will travel, as Ice T replaces Debussy, and Eminem replaces Chopin.
Before I tell my own ordinary story, it is probably appropriate for me, as an American, disgruntled, disillusioned and angry though I may be, to follow our liberal celebrities and adopt a theme song. You know, a tune for background ambiance, to establish a certain elan as my story unfolds. All good TV and big screen stories have these.
Since we have already mentioned his name, let's use Eminem's Kim. Kim is a perfect example of the kind of music our public school students may be listening to on those ubiquitous earphones. Away with Keats, Browning and Thoreau. They are all dead white men, after all.
Eminem is our hero now, white though he may be, since he is one who looks down rather than up. He is certainly an appropriate symbol of how far we have come, since Pat Boone, Perry Como, and their loathsome family values were abandoned.
Enjoy (note: Not safe for work): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JklC61iuIN4
MY ALL TOO ORDINARY STORY
As a child, like so many millions of others in the United States, I watched some of the great athletes of our day perform on our family's one television set, and dreamed of having my image on one of those athletic posters. You know, the ones with the handsome fellow dropping back, searching for an open receiver, and throwing a pin point pass for the winning touchdown.
In such a daydream, the worshiping crowd then provides accolades in the form of popularity and cash.
Bring it on. I was ready.
What I failed to appreciate is that both my father and mother are under 5 feet 6 inches in height.
In addition, they are not particularly coordinated in the sense of having superior ability to hit a tennis ball, or, frankly, to do much of anything that requires a flying object to be caught, thrown or hit in a timely fashion on a court or field.
However, I am happy to say, I inherited most of my father's and mother's other talents, including an above average ability in mathematics.
Even so, dreaming of a miracle, I "went out" for the quarterback position at our public high school.
There were five of us who put our names on the dotted line (the insurance forms) as aspiring for the quarterback position.
I remember the names to this day. There was Deshon, Mike, Sheldon (that's me), Daryl and Shawn.
Deshon was six feet two inches in height, fast like the wind, had great instincts as to what and what not to do in an open field, and, in general, was a brilliant candidate for quarterback. That was also true of Daryl and Shawn.
Mike and me, though, were lacking in the prerequisites for the glories of football. We were short and clumsy.
So what happened? Well, after a week or so, the coach simply put the names of those who had "made" the team and those who had not "made" the team on the bulletin board for all to see.
Needless to say, my name was not in the thumbs up column. There was a "thank you for trying out," next to my name.
Was this a happy moment when I saw my name in the negative column? Definitely not!
Did I understand that the coach had to Discriminate for the benefit of Daryl, Deshon and Shawn and the team? Of course.
If the coach had been burdened with having to spend his time making up for my natural inability, the entire team would have suffered.
We would not have come anywhere near the Sectionals, EVER, if the coaches had been forced to teach everyone, treat everyone, work with everyone as if everyone were the same.
Instead, the coaches were able to Discriminate, sending the lame and infirm, relatively speaking, to PE. And, there I was, in PE, doing the very best I could in the physical arena, my dreams of being starting quarterback definitely at an end.
Now, let's shift the scene just a little, and turn to our mathematics class. Now, here, I was in my element, and Deshon, sorry to say, was not.
The school board, however, had not, as with athletics, compensated for Deshon's lack of ability in mathematics. On the contrary, in mathematics, the teacher was given a text book and told to teach us all the same way, with the same material, at the same time.
And, there I was, being able to master mathematical concepts quickly, and ready for the next problem, and having to sit in those terrible classes day after day, week after week, squandering my potential, so that Deshon and several others with the same lack of ability could say over and over and over again, "I don't get it."
After a couple weeks of that, Deshon and the others who weren't "getting it," were not only not trying any more, but were doing everything they possibly could to distract the teacher, so that their painful experience would at least not be so torturous for them. For me, I just went to sleep.
The mathematics teacher could not Discriminate. He had been given the book by a school board who didn't know any of the students; didn't know our capabilities as individuals, and had adopted the attitude that to Discriminate was un-American, never mind that I had been cut from the football team to advantage Deshon and Daryl. Never mind that our mathematics scores were pathetic in every way on any international test.
Never mind that, as seniors, at that pace, we would have been fortunate to finish second year Algebra, while I was struggling by myself to learn multivariable calculus, a course that was definitely not on the horizon at my public high school.
Such a course was not available anywhere in the public district. Oh, one high school had a simple calculus class, and they thought they were doing Einstein level work from the comments I heard from the chess club members of that school, when we played them.
So, as a high school sophomore, my parents decided to enroll me in Linda Christas Academy, and thank heavens they did.
It is true my parents had to pay, were forced to pay, for the public schools in our area that continued to allow Discrimination only for the athletic programs. And, believe me when I say our family couldn't afford to support that public school. However, if my parents had refused to pay, the Sheriff would have eventually shown up and arrested them.
My mother took another job to be able to afford to pay for both the public school and something better for me.
And, the sad thing was, the teachers we had at the public school were great, if only they had been allowed to Discriminate without being threatened with unemployment and community vilification.
Two of our teachers did attempt to suggest the very same procedure for mathematics that was in fact practiced every day on the sport fields. The result was predictable. They were accused of being racist, a term I began to understand had nothing to do with fairness, but with power.
Then, of course, once I had finished high school, I had to decide if I was going to attend a regular American public college (the destination of 80% of all US college students), or enroll with Linda Christas College.
The decision was made for me really.
Deshon went to a local public college, and is doing well.
The undergraduate level at that college is very poor. 30% of its students are taking remedial courses which are really just grammar school and repeat high school courses.
As a result, what used to be a great undergraduate experience at the local college is now just a glorified high school.
Because, any attempt at excellence is met with words like "racist," and, very angry radicals are willing to expose to public ridicule anyone who dares suggest that, just like every other people, each individual has strengths and weaknesses. It's OK to tell Sheldon Tam that he is a third rater in football. But, tell Deshon that with relation to mathematics, and a teacher is risking his or her job.
America was once great. However, so long as successful people in New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC get to dictate what the US does relative to Discrimination, we will continue to be at the bottom of the developed world in science and mathematics.
I practice Discrimination every single day. It's impossible to excel in mathematics without doing so.
As I said at the beginning, my story is very ordinary.
As America's youth end their formal education with little usable knowledge, millions and millions of qualified professionals are graduating from universities in places like India. If America's kids don't want the jobs, heck, Indians do. (350,000 additional engineers fully qualified to work in America graduate from India's colleges annually.)
Only courage and the return to equal opportunity, instead of a philosophy of equal result, will put America back on top. Everything else violates what we know as discriminating beings is fair and smart. And, if we don't want to be smart, at least could we make a run at just being decent.
Remember, Benjamin Banneker, a black man, was a competent mathematician. However, he wasn't educated in an American public school.