by John Conlin
The Rittenhouse verdict has unleashed a torrent of stupidity and racist rhetoric from commentators across the country. The usual race peddlers seem to have kicked into high gear—even though everyone involved was a person of pallor.
But for me it only got my blood boiling. Let me explain.
In the course of my management consulting, I’ve been to some of the roughest neighborhoods in the country.
If you do business in these areas, you know to always visit them relatively early in the morning—before the animals who prowl these areas wake up. Thus, in my travels I’d see four and five-year old kids playing outside like all four and five-year olds do.
But, as they got older, they developed an increasingly hard look in their eyes. And, by only nine or 10, many had a look in their eyes no child in America should have.
Even at that age, they had put up with more crap than one can imagine. The neighborhoods they were born into have astonishing crime rates—often matching or exceeding war-torn countries. The few terrorize the many and, unlike the police, they don’t leave.
In many of these places, a culture has taken root where the very keys to success are viewed as being somehow foreign and something to reject, not embrace. These realities are true regardless of one’s heritage but it has fallen disproportionally on black Americans.
Even for those children with supporting, dedicated parents a chance for a better life does not come easy. A hand up is not an easy thing to find in these neighborhoods.
Yet, do we hear from the race-baiters and the usual subjects about the profound injustices done to these children whose only sin is being born poor? Nope.
Rather than ranting about the latest performative injustice of the day, perhaps they should raise their voices to actually do something to change the trajectory of these poor, young lives.
The inner-city schools these children are forced to attend are a national disgrace—and have been for decades. Education has been called the civil rights issue of our time by political leaders across the political spectrum. I disagree. It is the moral issue of our time.
These children are often pretty much screwed from the womb with their only hope being a chance for a decent education. Without that they are lost. Without that they have little hope. In the face of this desperate need, the schools that are forced upon these children are an obscenity.
Yet where have the race peddlers been for the past few decades as hundreds of thousands of young black lives have been destroyed by the public schools they are forced to attend?
The NAACP says the Rittenhouse trial was worse than Emmett Till! They spend their time suing over January 6 yet where is their righteous anger over this decades-long destruction of the poor, black family?
Where have they been all this time?
As for others, it is quite easy for someone who has never witnessed these realities to talk about hard work and pulling oneself up by the bootstraps. It is much easier said than done. What future truly awaits a 14-year-old with very poor reading and writing skills, little to no math skills, and no command of the English language? Is he supposed to happily pursue jobs pushing a broom or flipping burgers?
Far too many of these inner-city schools are simply a stop on the assembly line from school to prison or the cemetery.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”
But the public education system is doing neither for those forced to attend these soul-destroying institutions.
How many of the problems of the inner-cities in general and of black Americans in particular find their roots in generations of failed education? We will never address the issues of race, crime, poverty and the pathologies they unleash until we at least provide an opportunity for every child in America to attend a quality school where his or her intelligence and character are developed so as to develop their unrealized potential.
Will every parent and child take advantage of this? Of course not. But until everyone who wants it is given a true opportunity to send their kids to quality schools, this country will fail in its basic commitment to the poorest among us.
For the richest country the world has ever seen to allow this state of affairs is simply wrong. Not every parent is “parent-of-the-month” material but at least let’s give those who cry out for help a chance by offering them a school that has the potential to save the lives of their children rather than guarantee their destruction.
And I loudly say STFU to all the others who seem to be ok with the present state of a poor child’s K-12 public education yet are outraged by the latest social media story of the day
Your words and actions are hollow—and in many cases they have been for decades. Until you step to the plate to demand this obscenity end, and end today, no one should give a damn what you think about any other subject.
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John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change. He holds a BS in Earth Sciences and an MBA, and is the founder and President of E.I.C. Enterprises, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education. He has been published in American Greatness, The Federalist, The Daily Caller, American Thinker, Houston Chronicle, Denver Post, and Public Square Magazine among others.