Observers say that by the beginning of the school year that starts in August of 2011, white students in Maryland’s Howard County will be a minority in public schools.
According to news reports, white public school students are minorities in Baltimore County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Somerset County. Baltimore City has been majority-black for decades. The most startling revelation is this: Statewide, white students have been a minority in Maryland’s public schools since the 2004-05 school year.
What’s a curmudgeonly black conservative like myself to make of such data? Oh, I intend to have fun with it. At least two observations come to mind.
Some media outlets have greeted the news of minority white enrollment in Maryland public schools with glee, as a triumph of diversity. Demographic changes — immigrants from Asia and Latin America — are driving down white enrollment, but we can’t rule out this factor:
Maybe fewer whites are sending their children to public schools and enrolling them in private schools. If that’s the case, how come no one’s asking why?
If it transpired that black parents were yanking their children out of public schools in droves and sending them to private schools, that would be a major news story. And the thrust of that story is that black parents deserting public schools for private schools would indicate some problem — or problems — with public schools.
Commissions would be formed to look into the problem. Studies — expensive ones with taxpayers footing the bill — would be done to get to the bottom of the “crisis.”
But white parents opting out of public schools in droves is, what, cause for celebration, maybe?
OK, let’s assume I’m all wet about my first observation. (I’m not, but this is only for the sake of argument.) The fact is that I’m spot-on with my second observation.
All these demographic changes that have led to declining white enrollment in Maryland’s public schools are clearly driven by immigration of Asians and Latinos. And if Asians and Latinos continue to flood the country in droves, isn’t it time we dropped the mantra of how unredeemably racist America is?
Our friends on the left side of the political spectrum will have none of this talk about how America is less racist than it has been in the past. They get absolutely livid when someone suggests that President Barack Obama’s election indicates that the nation is headed toward a “post-racial” era.
The fact is these folks don’t want America in a “post-racial” era, because, for some, race hustling has been downright good to them. But the facts speak for themselves. America is a much less racist country than it was 50 years ago, 40 years ago and even 10 years ago.
And it’s the liberalization of our country’s immigration laws that have allowed the flood of non-white immigrants to choose America as their new home. In my last column I wrote about Henry Cejudo, America’s sole Olympic freestyle wrestling champion in 2008 who’s the son of illegal immigrants. In his autobiography, Cejudo dismissed those who criticized his mother for entering the country illegally as “bigots.”
And yet, wave after wave of people pour into racist, bigoted America from the racially tolerant, non-bigoted land of Cejudo’s ancestors. I wonder if he’s asked himself why that is. (And if Mexicans insist that their government enforce that nation’s immigration laws, does that make them “bigots” too?)
It’s time we ratchet down the “America is a bigoted, racist nation” talk. That perfectly described us at one point in our history; it’s much less the case today.
Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.