Americaâ€™s most wildly successful Black intellectual, Ibram X. Kendi, has declared that â€œthe only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.â€ Kendi champions a two-tier system in which expectations for Black Americans are permanently lowered and test scores are abolished. If Kendi gets his way, the false, racist notion that African Americans canâ€™t possibly match the achievement of other Americans will be set in stoneâ€”if they could, why would you need to hire based on skin color rather than talent?
The new moral order that supports this far-reaching program of state and institutionally sanctioned racism is based on a presumed Orwellian control over language. If you oppose the new racism, Kendi proclaims, then youâ€™re a racist. Better sign on to the new â€œBlackâ€ math, designed by people who think African Americans deserve shoddy educationâ€”a revival of the old separate and unequal setupâ€”or else face permanent consignment to the camp of Bull Connor.
For the polar opposite of Kendi, look to Thomas Sowell, who, at the age of 90, is the elder statesman of a wildly heterogeneous group of iconoclastic Black intellectuals, not all of them conservatives, including Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, Shelby Steele, Orlando Patterson, Walter Williams, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Anne Wortham, Gerald Early, Jason Riley, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and, on the socialist left, Adolph Reed, who couldnâ€™t differ more with Sowell and Thomas on economics but finds common ground in the area of human equality. Riley has just written a biography of Sowell called Maverick, and the title fits. Sowell was born into poverty in North Carolina, grew up in Harlem, and after military service, he attended Columbia, Harvard, and the University of Chicago in the era before affirmative action.
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