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TinotopiaLog → News Flash: People Responsible For Own Lives (16 Dec 2002)
Monday 16 December 2002

News Flash: People Responsible For Own Lives

William Raspberry’s column in today’s Washington Post is rare in that it talks about race, and specifically about the problem of the black-white education gap in America, without blinders on:

We’ve been ready enough with our indictment of society and the schools. But we have been loath to shoulder any blame ourselves. […]

Yes — one gets tired of repeating the obvious — racism still exists in America. Maybe it always will, but I don’t know what black Americans can do about it. Nor do I think we can wait until the environment in which our children grow up is cleansed of racism and unfairness. All I know is that if we see the problem as entirely outside ourselves, we are likely to see the solution as out of our hands.

This echoes something I’ve long said about Marion Berry. While Berry was mayor of Washington, DC, he was constantly and correctly criticized by just about everyone for his incredible mismanagement. Berry saw this criticism not as a justified critique of his incompetence, but rather as disguised racism. People weren’t criticizing him because he was an idiot, he believed: they were criticizing him because he was black. And if you truly believe that, why bother changing anything? If he’d made Washington run like a Swiss watch, Berry believed, people would still complain about him because of the color of his skin.

Raspberry, being black himself, has a bit more moral weight on these issues than I do, though, and having the Washington Post print up hundreds of thousands of copies of his column every week doesn’t hurt, either.

Posted by tino at 17:49 16.12.02
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