Okay, I’ll admit it. Not every Teabagger is racist. Some of them honestly just want a balanced budget during economic hard times. So did Herbert Hoover, but I digress.
But then there is the majority that always seems to back the racist bullshit like we see in Wake County, North Carolina.
The sprawling Wake County School District has long been a rarity. Some of its best, most diverse schools are in the poorest sections of this capital city. And its suburban schools, rather than being exclusive enclaves, include children whose parents cannot afford a house in the neighborhood.
But over the past year, a new majority-Republican school board backed by national Tea Party movement conservatives has set the district on a strikingly different course. Pledging to “say no to the social engineers!’’ it has abolished the policy behind one of the nation’s most celebrated integration efforts.
As the board moves toward a system in which students attend neighborhood schools, some members are embracing the provocative idea that concentrating poor children, who are usually minorities, in a few schools could have merits — logic that critics are blasting as a 21st-century case for segregation.
Ah, the ol’ “social engineering” refrain. We’ve always known it was racist, but now we really get to see it in a blatantly racist context. “Send black children to black schools and white children to white schools…and have them all run by whites! It’s the only way to be fair! Uh, uh. We mean, uh, no social engineering…? Yeah, that last one is what we meant.”
I don’t pretend to be a Malcolm X expert, but I do know one of his biggest points was that institutions run by a group that has less than a full interest in the well being of another group will not be the best of possible institutions. Laws and government policies have corrected that in some places, Wake County being one of the best examples. Still in other places, we’re churning out kids with awful educations, kids who are destined to fail. So when we get schools that feature both poor kids and wealthy kids – and come on, we all know that largely is just code for minority kids and white kids – it isn’t surprising that we start to see some pretty great results. We’re taking all sorts of bright kids from all sorts of places and giving them all sorts of opportunities. This is an excellent example of government doing its job. It is this sort of policy which has forced the wealthy group to interact with the poorer group, thereby raising the standards for education on a broad basis. Or to put it another way, we have no one group running an institution for another group in which it has less than a full interest.
But I don’t think anyone ever thought the Tea Party was a pragmatic organization. Actual results aren’t what matter for that racist endeavor. It’s all about an agenda that is very loosely defined by libertarianism, but is driven by division and bigotry and, probably above it all, outright and unashamed greed.