Michael Schein

Words like stones tumbling in icy surf, polished by faith in our better selves.

Diversity & Racism

My daughter just lost her job due to the color of her skin.
She has worked hard all her life. She studied hard in college, earning high marks in history. She lived in a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn, commuting on the subway to Manhattan to attend one of the finest urban graduate schools, known for its teaching program. She worked for free, volunteering at several schools. She went deeply into debt to graduate at the top of her class with a Masters in Education in history and social studies. As part of her rigorous training, she student taught at an inner-city school, where the kids loved “Mizz A.” In her final evaluation, the supervising teacher praised her compassion and enthusiasm. Streetwise kids of all colors and religions cried when she left.
Like all but a handful of new graduates in her department, my daughter was unable to find steady work her first year out of school. It was hard on us all. She substitute taught. She tended bar. She moved back in with us. All she wanted to do was to teach middle or high school kids. Don’t we need teachers? Isn’t education the key to economic recovery and global competitiveness? But the investment banks and insurers had vacuumed all the money out of our economy, and school districts around the country were forced to lay off teachers, creating a pool of experienced applicants who would always beat out the new graduates for the scarce job openings.
I told her, “Stick with it. You’re good at what you do; you’re passionate; we need teachers. You’ll get your chance.”
The only openings were in the private schools. After hundreds of rejections and dead ends, my daughter was among the few fortunate recent graduates to land a real teaching job. Sure, it was an 80% time job replacing a teacher on sabbatical, but it was a foot in the door at a good Eastside private school. I was naïve enough to tell her she was on her way. “Do the great job I know you can do, and they’ll find a place for you in the future.”
For you see, as a father, I had the same dream for my daughters that Martin Luther King had for his: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
I am proud to say that my daughter did the kind of job you see in those exhilarating movies like Mr. Holland’s Opus or To Sir with Love. She inspired! Many of her students will remember her as the teacher who changed their lives. Not only were her evaluations stellar, but parents spontaneously wrote and called to commend her work with their middle-school kids.
As a bonus, my daughter is a trained musician and singer. When the school suddenly needed someone to conduct the orchestra, she was able to step in and do a great job. That’s what special teachers can do.
A job opened up at the school. A real, full-time spot in the middle school social studies program. The administration opened the position to competitive application. My daughter’s supervisor was appalled; letters of support for her poured in from her teaching colleagues. But you already know the end of this story. The one thing my daughter had no control over – the color of her skin – determined that no matter what she had done or what she could do in the future, she would not be re-hired.
Did I mention that she is Caucasian? The school calls it diversity. I would call it racism. I do not make that charge lightly. I am a liberal; I understand that affirmative action was a reasonable remedy for past wrongs. But it was necessarily a temporary remedy, because it punishes new generations for the sins of those who came before. It institutionalizes racism, and “group guilt.”
I call “diversity” racism for two reasons. First, it is an excuse for judging applicants based on the color of their skin. This is contrary to the fundamental American principle that “all men are created equal,” deserving to be judged on their own merits. Second, it is based on the assumption that children cannot learn as well from persons of other races. This is false. Children are filled with love, not prejudice – until we teach them that it all comes down to race. Sadly, that’s what “diversity” hiring does.
Racism is no less poisonous when turned against a white person. Don’t tell me that my daughter has had the greater opportunities. She got into UW on her own merits. She worked for everything. We aren’t wealthy.
So long as we judge people on the color of their skin, nobody is safe. Today, racial minorities benefit. Tomorrow, the tables may turn. The only real protection against discrimination for all races is discrimination against none. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King.
Who suffers from this form of racism? Obviously, great teachers like my daughter. If not for the accident of race she would have her pick of jobs, even in this economy. But the reality is, we all suffer. The children suffer, because they are deprived of a proven teacher who has shown she can inspire them. The school suffers from needless controversy and the disillusionment of faculty. Society suffers because racial strife is exacerbated. Once again, we confront the hard truth that all are not of equal worth.
What are the lessons for our children? That no matter how hard you work, no matter how good you are, it all comes down to the color of your skin. For shame.

Posted in Family and Passing scene by mschein on February 22nd, 2012 at 3:24 am.


11 Replies

  1. Theresa Feb 22nd 2012

    This situation is appalling and you are right, Michael, it is racism. I sat on hiring teams at several Seattle Public Schools and found that “diversity” was a true impediment to hiring the best teacher for the job on several occasions. Not only skin color, but sexual orientation and other “minority” characteristics sometimes kept the best, most qualified candidate on the outside. Kids deserve the kind of teacher your daughter is. Public or private, schools have a responsibility to put the best teachers on their staff. I hope that she realizes her value and harvests as many stellar letters of recommendation as she can get from her former colleagues and the families who love her. There will be a better day ahead, and a better workplace.

  2. R. Right Feb 22nd 2012

    “I am a liberal”

    Well then, you have no business complaining about the world you have helped create. Affirmative Action is a system designed to right past injustices by inflicting present injustices. It gives people unfair rewards and punishes those who deserve no punishment. Those blacks who don’t need special preferences have their accomplishments questioned when in fact their success is merited. Those blacks who are put in situations they haven’t earned often fail. Many poor white kids never go to college or wind up abandoning professions they love. It stalls or misdirects the careers of millions and costs society hundreds of billions in opportunity costs every year. It promotes equality of outcome as a ‘right’ when in reality only equality of opportunity should be guaranteed. It is fundamentally opposed to professed American ideals of non-discrimination and equality before the law. But it makes liberals feel good, at least as long as other people are doing the paying.

    For shame indeed, on anyone who ever thought this was justice.

  3. Sure I do. To quote the bumper sticker, if you can’t change your mind, are you sure you still have one? Besides, liberalism is not a lock-step mode of thinking; rather, it is a supple worldview. Not all liberals agree on every issue!
    Anyway, thanks for your comment.

  4. B. Herder Feb 23rd 2012

    Hey there Micheal ….

    Well, being on the down-hill side of my 50′s, and pretty much a ‘conservative’ leaning type of person …
    I’m a bit tempted to ‘twist the knife’ a tad, but I’ll spare ya..
    I can see that your eyes are opening, so you don’t need anyone throwing an “I-told-ya-so” in your face, and I truly feel sorry for your daughters situation..

    What hits home for me with your tale is, my oldest son just graduated last May from WSU with his BS in Psychology (Which, as I tried to tell him is a worthless degree … And is now why he’s getting his degree to be an RN … Something that will actually earn him an actual living)..
    Anyway, I told him throughout his four years there “Son… You’ve GOT to be BETTER than THE BEST”
    You see, he has the distinct disadvantage of being a white hetero male.
    And he did … But I think it took him up till he was a junior to realize what I meant by that.

    Perhaps your daughter could apply her skills over here on the east side? (I live north of Spokane next to Idaho)
    I know you west-siders pretend we don’t exist, but remember that 3/4 of the state is east of the Cascades ;^)
    AA is not *nearly* as prevalent here as it is elsewhere. My wife happens to be a teacher at a local public school and she *constantly* laments about the lack of qualified, enthusiastic teachers.
    A word of warning however … Should she happen to lean that way…She would be best served leaving any kind of west-side liberalism back on the other side of the Cascades.

    But hey, employment is employment, right?

    Good luck to her!

  5. Tough luck bro. Karma is a beotch!

  6. You had no problems with Affirmative Action until it personally affected you or your family. You’re merely weeping what you’ve sown and have no right complaining.

  7. Stephen Feb 23rd 2012

    I will be civil, but I want you to understand that it requires an effort. I am filled with hatred for hypocritical leftists who preach diversity and leave to to others to live it. I am a 59 year old White workingman. I worked a series of crappy jobs while learning the welding trade. That’s the norm, the big employers want you to have experience, not just in years, but in dealing with unexpected or otherwise fucked up situations. You get a lot of that in little back alley shops.
    So when I was ready, I took the welders’ test for the City of Los Angeles. I was ranked 7th. That means that I had missed at least six questions, since, in theory whoever is ranked #1 might have missed zero, and whoever was ranked 2nd had to have missed at least one. It then follows that people ranked 3rd had to have missed one more than those ranked 2nd, and so forth. Usually when I was called to an interview, I would be the only one there, but once, the other two candidates were there, a SE Asian man who’s English was unintelligible, and a Black fellow who was ranked 70th. That is, he missed at least 63 more answers than I did, out of 130. Furthermore, during the interview, it turned out that I had specialized knowledge applicable to the job, knowledge that neither the non-English speaker or the low scoring Black guy had. Of course, I didn’t get the job. I’d guess it went to the dumb Black guy, since you really can’t have somebody who cannot communicate. OTOH, maybe there was an Oriental quota to be filled. I can give you chapter and verse on a few others, but you get the idea. Leftists think that a hard dirty job paying $33,700 per year is too good for a White man. You have shit all over us for decades. You hate us, though you’d never admit it. You always use a synonym, the Racist, the Sexist, the Homophobe, the Xenophobe, the Fundamentalist. We are the villain of a thousand masks. You see, I’m as smart as you are and I know your kind. I have always loved reading as much as I love working with my hands, and I have passed the California Secondary Education Test in math. My wife has two Masters’ degrees, and I have spent far more of my social hours among educated bigots than I ever cared to.
    If you would make the world a better place, ask your daughter to throw away all the books and ideas she picked up at school (Columbia Teachers’ College?) and re-educate herself in politically incorrect knowledge. Then get a job teaching White working class kids, the throwaways of the multi-cult state.

  8. Leaving aside the anger, I think Stephen makes some excellent points for we liberals to consider. I also think that conservatives have been guilty of screwing the working class, by electing Republicans who only care about the rich.
    It was not Columbia – we couldn’t afford it – it was Hunter College. My daughter has been ostracized since middle school days for speaking out against affirmative action during MLK day debates. We are not, and never have been, “politically correct.” I care too much for truth for that. We are a family of independent thinkers.
    Liberals DO NOT “hate you.” We are always trying to get the rich to pay their fair share for the benefit of the middle class, and to get health insurance and other social safety net benefits we all need. (I know – you’ll say it raises taxes – but all this would not be too great a burden to pay for if the rich & corporations paid their fair share and the bloated defense budget was trimmed).
    I do not know “your kind” and do not like pigeon-holing people that way. We are all alike in that we are human; we are all different as individuals. As Americans and as citizens of earth, we are all one, and must try to get along.
    I do not espouse racism. I espouse equality.

  9. fisher Feb 23rd 2012

    This is why homogenous societies that consist of one and only one race are the way to go.

  10. I really couldn’t disagree more strongly with this remark. Naziism proves that this is the road to genocide and untold suffering. We need to treat one another as individuals. There are assholes of all races and great folks of all races.

  11. Skot German Feb 24th 2012

    You said that you understand that affirmative action was a reasonable remedy for past wrongs. I don’t understand why you would say that in an essay on the unfairness of you daughter being a victim of AA. Was it reasonable that other whites were passed over for less qualified blacks? Its like Ryan said in the comment above.

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