Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dear Mr. Stanford

Dear Mr. Stanford;

I just finished reading your column entitled "Reflections on reality of racism" and I would like to offer a few thoughts on the subject.

If I have absorbed the basic jist of your commentary, it is that there are racist structures in place in society that may not be the result of individual racial intent.

Perhaps so. If so, then the collective "we" are not evil racists, just bumbling idiots.

And indeed I think this is the case. I will offer a few examples.

Public schools are failing in urban areas, with black students harmed the most. One way to counter this problem is to increase the options available to black students, and others, through school vouchers. This common sense approach to education reform is vigorously opposed by the teachers unions throughout our country.

Many suburban areas restrict residential development to large homes on large lots. These restrictions are often praised as environmentally responsible developments that preserve green space. Perhaps they do, but they also limit the property rights of individuals while also ensuring that no low income housing is developed in those areas. This keeps many blacks locked in the urban ghettoes.

If there is a sure fire way to impede the progress of blacks in this country, it is to herd them into ghettoes and force them into failing schools. The common thread of these public policies is that they are applauded by liberals. Whether these liberals are overtly racist or bumbling idiots matters not to the blacks, and others, harmed by their policies.

I will be posting my response to you on my blog, Feel free to respond to my e-mail, if you wish, on my site. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Where can we find the original article written by Mr. Stanford?

Denis Navratil said...

Oops, sorry anon. Greg Stanford is a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal. Go to, scroll down to Journal Sentinel columnists and click on Stanford. His column appeared in today's Milwaukee Journal. If I had the technical competence, I would add the link.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about it, I don't have any kind of technical competence either. Thanks.

Denis Navratil said...

FYI, I recieved the following message from Journal Sentinel columnist Greg Stanford:

Thanks for your message, with which I have some agreement. As it happens, I’ve written in favor of school vouchers for needy families and against snob zoning.

eric said...

Denis, I read the original column and e-mailed Mr. Stanford, he replied the next day.

You’re right. White indifference to the black plight has been the rule throughout American history. The notable exceptions were the 1860s and the 1960s. The trouble, however, is that the indifference weakens America because it hurts solving such problems as crime and poverty and racial tension and it helps keep a significant segment of America underdeveloped. Fortunately, there are many whites who are not indifferent. That column was aimed specifically at them and people of other races in the hope that a correct analysis of what’s happening might shorten the 100-year interval in this nation’s tackling of the race issue.

Gregory Stanford
Editorial Writer/Columnist
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Subject: Mar 17 Column Reflections on reality of racism

Mr. Stanford/Greg,
Institutional racism exists. But every time it’s mentioned the historical context seems to be overlooked. The civil rights movement and affirmative action have finally given African-Americans a playing field similar to what other groups came up against when they arrived in America. It’s terrible that it took 200+ years to get this point, but some recognition of the gains of the past 40 years is warranted. The recognition of institutional bias is hardly a new phenomenon, here in the US or abroad, and pits the established groups against the rest no matter where you go in the world. My sense is that there are plenty of people who will listen to discussions on the reality of racism, but at the end of the day they know they’re not consciously racist, that’s the best they can personally do on the issue, and it’s up to the minority to make the best of the challenge – as it always has been. Another thing I sense is that the majority of the population just wants to move on (I know that’s awfully big of them) and that shifting demographics will likely quell this discussion. I don’t question the accuracy of your message, I just don’t think it resonates today.

Eric Simpson