First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after 2020).  Each entry assumes the Revenge Revolution has occurred.  For more about the anticipated 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution — and more about the author, Entry #1.  Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments. 

Scene: Conversation about education starts Entry #153. Jordan and JC, a long-time friend (and frequent character) are having dinner. Time of year – just about when school starts.  Conversation from Entry #160 continues.

Jordan: “Over the break, I’ve been thinking.”

010414_1635_16TeachingS1.jpgJC: “You, thinking? Seriously? That’s dangerous. Thinking about what?”

Jordan: “Seems to me that we…again the collective we…need to face a simple, but difficult issue.”

JC: “An issue about education, I assume.”

Jordan: “The issue affects education, yes. And no matter how we try to improve education…and many other issues…we are not going to make progress until…”

JC: “Let me back up. You believe there is a simple, overriding issue affecting progress in education?”

BarrierJordan: “Maybe I should characterize it as a ‘barrier’ rather than an issue.”

JC: “OK, you think there is a simple barrier preventing progress.”

Jordan: “Yes, there is a barrier. But we can ignore it.”

JC: “Jordan, you have me thoroughly confused. What are you talking about? What’s the barrier?”

Jordan: “Racism.”

JC: “You’re saying racism is a major barrier to education…and other issues…but we should ignore it? How are we going to ignore racism? Maybe more important is why should we ignore racism?”

TurtleneckJordan: “Because, no matter what we do, racism is not going to go away. So just ignore it.”

JC: “Ignoring racism seems counter-intuitive. Racism is a big problem.”

Jordan: “Yes, racism is a big problems for those who let it become a barrier.”

JC: “Shouldn’t we try to eliminate racism?”

Jordan: “Good luck. Racism has existed for thousands of years. Why do you think we can eliminate it now?”

JC: “What about legislation? You know, like anti-Jim Crow laws?”

Jordan: “Why do you think such laws are going to reduce racism? Notice I did not say eliminate racism?”

JC: “I don’t know how. Give me a hint.”

Aretha-aretha-franklin-27121751-1280-1024Jordan: “Aretha Franklin.”

JC: “You mean Aretha as in ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’. That Aretha?”

Jordan: “Exactly. Respect. And how does someone in a group gain respect? Through legislation?”

JC: “No, they earn it.”

Jordan: “Reminds me of the tag line from an old commercial for a brokerage firm – ‘…They earned it.'”

JC: “Was the brokerage firm EF Hutton or something?”

Jordan: “I think it was Smith Barney. Anyway, it was a great tag line.”

JC: “So you have this theory that racism should be ignored and we should just plow ahead fixing education. How’s that going to work?”

Jordan: “The big change in thinking is you and I…and most other people in society…are not going to do anything.”

JC:  “Not do anything?  If we don’t, then who will?”

Jordan:  “The groups that think they are being held back by racism need to change.”

ignoreJC: “Whoa, Bubba. You want blacks to ignore racism but lead the charge for making change? You been smoking something?”

Jordan: “Recognize that racism has always existed and will always exist to some degree. So rather than focusing on racism, start building a community others can respect.”

JC: “That is a tall order. You think it can work?”

Jordan: “You name one ethnic group in this country that has not faced blatant discrimination at some point. Just one.”

JC: “I can’t think of any.”

Jordan: “And you won’t. So now ask yourself, how many of those ethnic groups still face blatant discrimination today? Emphasis on ‘blatant.'”

JC: “Blacks and I guess Muslims, but mostly blacks.”

Jordan: “What about the Irish? The Italians? The Polish, the Germans, the Jews? The Japanese, Chinese, the Indians – Asian Indians?”

JC: “Those groups seemed to have gained respect of most people.”

Jordan: “Right. And how did they gain respect?”

JC: “Like the Smith Barney commercial, they earned it.”

Jordan: “And how did they earn it?”

earn-learnJC: “They supported one another socially, in business, financially…and encouraged the kids to get an education.”

Jordan: “Right. Some groups have become more successful than others but the formula is basically the same.”

JC: “So you’re saying to blacks…actually sounds like preaching…that there is a model for gaining respect. Every other ethnic group has used the model and gained respect. So what’s your problem? Have I got it right?”

Jordan: “Yes. Forget about racism as a barrier. That’s a negative. Focus on the positive and follow the model that has worked over and over and over.”

JC: “That model takes several generations to really work.”

Emancimation ProclamationJordan: “So? It’s been 150+ years since the Emancipation Proclamation. By my count that is six generations, going on seven. Tell me, where are blacks today versus 6-7 generations ago?”

JC: “Not officially slaves but still at the bottom rung of the economic ladder. And, in that same period almost every other ethnic groups immigrated, faced discrimination, and then established themselves.”

Jordan: “In statistics we call that a trend. My question to black society is the model to gain respect has been proved repeatedly. Why aren’t you following the model?”

JC: “What if blacks follow the model? What does that mean for education?”

stop-sign-216600Jordan: “What I think it means is stop busing, stop worrying about quotas, quit blaming others and stop making excuses. Start supporting your children and their education. Yes, it might take another 50 years before there is real progress. But one thing is for certain. The current approach is not working.”

JC: “Jordan, all this seems so basic. What’s stopping progress?”

Jordan: “The artificial mental barrier called racism.”