Like most parents, my wife and I teach our daughters that they are responsible for their actions and that hard work pays off. So you can understand why I am upset to learn a state taxpayer-funded entity may be spreading a message telling minority children like my daughters to think otherwise.
According to recent news accounts, the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE), a function of the University of Oklahoma’s Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies, will host an event in New York City in May that includes a session led by Heather Hackman of the Hackman Consulting Group.
There’s good reason to be disturbed by that news. Hackman may be best known for declaring in 2016 that focusing on students’ grades and attendance was forcing minority children to conform to the “racial narrative of White.” As an African-American, I can assure you the challenges minorities face are not the result of being encouraged to work hard in school or show up on time for a job. And anyone who teaches minority children otherwise today is not doing them a favor, but setting them up for failure.
Across this country, for generations, minorities have succeeded through hard work, perseverance and ingenuity, even when facing organized opposition to their progress. But in some parts of academia, it’s now fashionable to dismiss those successes and instead place traits like honesty, diligence, and integrity into a “whites only” category.
I reject that viewpoint, and an appalled my tax dollars are being used, at least indirectly, to fund such nonsense.
Doing your homework until you’ve mastered a subject doesn’t make you someone who subscribes to the “racial narrative of White.” It makes you someone who has a better chance to obtain a high-paying job when you finish school, no matter what your skin color. And showing up on time not only means you are likely to stay employed, it’s a way of showing others you respect their time and deserve an equal amount of respect in return.
During the most brutal years of the Jim Crow era, groups like the Ku Klux Klan used lynching, beatings and threats to hold minorities back. It didn’t work, and it’s a source of resilience today among African-Americans like me that minorities have achieved so much despite such extreme opposition.
I’m glad my children live at a time when the Klan is significantly weakened, but that doesn’t mean there are not people working to hold them back. Unfortunately, now one of the biggest threats to my children may be the “help” of liberals who would destroy my children’s work ethic and internal fortitude in the name of a mirror-funhouse version of “racial justice.”
Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (www.ocpathink.org).