The Last 40 Years Have Happened

Published in The Denver Post on March 9, 1995

I write regarding Chet Whye's diatribes against efforts to reform welfare and end affirmative action. Week after week, he accuses conservatives of wanting to take American back to the days of Jim Crow. I have to wonder if Whye harbors a certain nostalgia for those days himself. He writes as if the last 40 years have not happened.

In case Whye has not noticed, we have more government aid for minorities now than at any time in history. We have the world's most generous welfare state, more aggressive affirmative-action programs than ever, mor aid to education than ever, and a revolving-door criminal justice system. And yet, Whye persists in blaming conservatism and traditional white racism for the problems facing minorities.

The vile racism confronting minorities today can be found in the rhetoric of the civil rights establishment and of white liberals. It is the racism which says that blacks are mere passive victims of 400 years of oppression and are not capable of helping themselves. It implies that blacks cannot work their way out of poverty, cannot compete in school, cannot be held accountable for the crimes they commit and cannot be responsible for the children they procreate. To imply that black cannot help themselves is to imply that they are, in fact, inferior to whites.

The rapid growth of the black middle class proves that black are perfectly capable of accepting responsibility and overcoming adversity. When the traditional barriers to black opportunity came down in the 1960s, millions of blacks set about getting good educations, building good careers, and raising strong families. This is a tribute both to these blacks and to America, which has done more than any other country on Earth to assimilate racial minorities.

Because we live in a country of more than a quarter billion people, we are bound to have a few scumbag white racists. However, far more damage is being done to the black community by blacks who subscribe to modern liberal attitudes. Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich are not forcibly impregnating 15-year-old black girls -- these girls are voluntarily having sex with young unmarried men. It is the Crips and Bloods, not the Ku Klux Klan, who are turning our cities into killing fields.

Thirty years ago, liberals had their finest hour when they knocked down traditional state-imposed barriers to black opportunity. Today they need to disabuse themselves of their fantasies about the new programs they have erected which have yielded such disastrous results.

Douglas F. Newman

Freely Speaking: Speeches and Essays by Doug Newman

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