I noticed the activists behind the Black Liberation Collective (BLC) have issued a set of three national-level demands, demands they want our various colleges and universities to comply with in the near future. Given the publicity associated with these demands, I thought it might be a good idea for those of us who would be harmed by these extraordinary demands to provide our response and our own set of counter demands.
Reviewing my own counter demands, I think it is fair to say that I believe we have a right to demand more from the black community to address its own grievous failings before we bend over backwards to meet the protester's demands. In particular, I think we need to demand immediate changes in dysfunctional black culture, including its fascination with the so-called Knockout Game as described in the YouTube video below.
Reviewing the actual demands of the BLC, I see they have included the wish list generated by the Oxy United protesters at Occidental College. I will ignore the Occidental College specific demands since I have already dealt with them in an earlier post. Instead, I will list the national-level demands below, provide my own response, along with counter demand that should provoke an opportunity for self-reflection and legitimate debate.
1) WE DEMAND at the minimum, Black students and Black faculty to be reflected by the national percentage of Black folk in the country.
As a political scientist, I have thought about this issue for a long time and frankly it never made sense to me that black students or black faculty should be represented according to the national percentage of black folk in the country. Ultimately, this demand is unrealistic and unfair for everyone else because it fails to take into account the ways in which black under performance in the academic world is caused by dysfunctional black culture. For example, I think that it is more reasonable that we should expect the proportion of black students and black faculty to represent the percentage of black folks who grow up in strong, stable, two-parent families. As long as the black community accepts dysfunctional lifestyles, it is unrealistic to expect black achievement to come any where near to the levels seen in Asian or white communities.
Reasonable Counter Demand #1: Black folk must work harder and achieve the same standards set for the rest of us. It is not that hard to obey the police, abstain from drugs/alcohol, and avoid having children while you are still a teen or single. It is not too much to expect greater personal responsibility from black folk including a strong commitment to marriage, parenting and family. In the meantime, we should not punish the children of people who are living saner and healthier lives.
2) WE DEMAND free tuition for Black and indigenous students.
This demand seems like a total waste of time and money to me. After all, it is easy to get a free education on the Internet. In my experience, you can pick up just about any skill you want by watching YouTube videos. Moreover, we have free public libraries which provide even the poorest among us with virtually unlimited resources including free access to computers. I don't see the big deal about making education free. If you want to learn about American Government, I will give you a free syllabus and my own lecture notes. Since black and indigenous students already have access to free education, I am not in the mood to give of my money fund some leftist professor to give a way a wasteful, more expensive version of education.
Reasonable Counter Demand #2: Pay reparations to all the white and Asian students who have been harmed by affirmative action. Due to the injustice of affirmative action, white and Asian students have gone to lower quality schools, absorbed unfair debt levels, and received instruction from inferior faculty members. We need to address the profound injustice of affirmative action by demanding that those who have benefited from it the most devote a significant portion of their incomes to make amends for the damage they have done to poor white and poor Asian students who have been the true victims of institutional discrimination.
3) WE DEMAND a divestment from prisons and an investment in communities.
All these prisons are saving us money by keeping dangerous, unsafe people off the streets. It makes more sense to me to dramatically increase the penalties for crime. If the penalties are high enough, then we would see less crime -- as is the case in places like Singapore.
In an ideal world, those who cause the most crime should be required to pay the most to suppress it. In particular, we should make life miserable for unwed, single mothers. We should make an example of them so that no one would even consider becoming a single mother in the first place. It is not that hard to use birth control or to abstain from sex until you can handle the responsibilities of being a parent. We need to ask black folk to invest in their own communities by not making the birth control mistakes that cause poverty, criminal behavior, or child abuse and neglect. As the victims of the Knockout Game will tell you, it is no fun to be the victim of black criminals who lack empathy for the people they harm.
Reasonable Counter Demand #3: We demand that the black community exercise greater self-control, discipline and responsibility. Accordingly, we demand that the black community refocus its efforts on self-improvement and changing its own violent, insensitive and dysfunctional culture.
When the Knockout Game ceases to be cool in black neighborhoods, then maybe I will be willing to think about the rest of the BLC's demands with a little more sympathy.
John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.