Thursday, February 28, 2008

Afrocentric Schools in Toronto (Part 2) - The White Media Condescends to the Poor Black Folk

For a collective group (white media and white politicians) that has done all it can to pretend that there is no black/white issue in Toronto over the last several years, it was quite amusing to see them falling over each other in an attempt to clarify, explain away or condemn the issue of Afrocentric schools. After all, it's another chance for the "big, white brother" to show his love and care for the "po' black folk" whose hands need to be held at every turn. Let's examine a cross-section of responses from the 3 largest dailies in Toronto - the Star, the Sun and the infamous Globe and Mail.

Toronto Star
Find a link to a commentary by of all people, the Ontario National Democratic Party (NDP) Leader, Howard Hampton -

As my name suggests, I am a social conservative, so hopefully I can be forgiven for what may be perceived as a biased point of view about (against, really) the left-wing, "support every liberal, but black issue" NDP.
Old Howard starts off with a very gratuitous statement about how hard black parents work and what the impact on family and school life is. I can just imagine the Chinese immigrant father who works two jobs, and his wife who works another 2 or 3, and yet both have kids who come home with A's and B's, while our kids are coming home with D's and F's - or do the Chinese have 2 heads?
Then Howard, whose party hasn't done a single meaningful thing for blacks in Ontario that I can remember - either while they were in power or in the opposition - tries to inform his educated readers that segregation claims are unfounded. That sounds just like the KKK or Aryan Nation telling us that they don't segregate per se, rather they want to keep their race separate to avoid pollution. Howard, please look up the meaning of the word segregation before using it, and don't think that because the left-wing NDP says something isn't segregation, it will be universally accepted.
The compounding of his crime however, is when he compares the opening of an Afrocentric school to a gay-friendly one recently opened. I think it's quite sick and despicable to introduce such gay themes (which I don't approve of, it must be said) into the lives of young kids who don't even know what sex is, all in the name of being inclusive (I digress), and NO ONE should compare blacks and gays, not today and not tomorrow. We were born black, they chose to go the way they did (and yes, most scientific evidence points to that fact, even sociology agrees with that).
Read the full article and marvel at the condescension and half-wit of a man who wants to be Premier someday.

Toronto Sun
Article by Sid Ryan, a Sun columnist -

Sid Ryan chooses to play the role of the sympathetic white man, who isn't really as bad as the black folk think, and who knows his black history. His points are well taken, except when he doesn't explore the reason why black parents are crying out for help. They are doing so because they are looking for a cop out. It's the simple age-old tactic that post-civil rights black folks use - if they can't navigate the system, then the system must be wrong.
Affirmative action in the US didn't increase the number of blacks that graduate from high school - all it ended up doing was increasing the number of white women in the labor force, and increasing the number of blacks who could get into university with a C+, where before a B- or B would have been the minimum. If anything, reports out of the US suggest that the percentage of blacks who fail high school hasn't really changed. Why? Because their failing school has very little to do with lack of opportunities, and more to do with some of the social factors I mentioned yesterday.
It is the same thing here. The Afrocentric school might motivate students who would otherwise have performed at an average level due to lack of motivation or "role models", but it won't make someone who has no interest in learning do well.
Then again, good white boy Sid wouldn't want to say that - he might risk getting black people angry at him, and we wouldn't want that, would we?

Globe and Mail
The Globe took two approaches to this - an article tailored to their black readers (a facetious, yet interesting critique of Afrocentric schools linked below), and a cartoon tailored to their non-black (read: majority) audience - both saying the same thing, however. It was a classic case of two-faced, yet similar, journalism at its best.

I won't bother linking the cartoon, except to say that most black people found it insulting, while other black people, like myself, could care less one way or another. If image has suddenly become a problem with black people, then maybe we should be more active in declaring war against street gangs, eschewing violence among our youth and stop bad parenting habits, as these all do a million times more damage than that cartoon. Besides, if our kids step onto the buses or streetcars, and all people hear them saying is "s'up dawg", etc, why do we complain about other people associating such so-called ebonic terms with us?? Let us stop the hypocrisy, which may have worked for old Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, but is becoming redundant in this day and age.

Back to this article, the Globe makes sense, except for the underlining theme of "let's ignore the issue and make it go away". In this blog, I've tried to outline what I think is at the root of the problem, not just my criticism of the proposed idea, and I would much rather have a flawed solution like the Afrocentric schools than none at all. Sadly, that's all the article offers us no such relief, so to the Globe and Mail editor, please note - critique without a remedy is the last thing the problem of underachieving black youth needs.

Tomorrow, this space will examine why black leaders constantly look for handouts and affirmations of silly ideas, and why they are not interested in the real solutions.

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