Elizabeth Warren delivered the commencement address at Morgan State University last week. It strikes me that the graduates would have preferred a younger, more “with it” speaker to Warren — a 69 year-old politician trying to restore her “intersectional” credentials after the embarrassment of her DNA test. But I’m just guessing.
In any event, Warren used the occasion to pander. She stated:
Under the rules of commencement speakers I am required to say, “Work hard.” And you should. But I’m here with a bolder message: It’s time to change the rules. Let me say that again for those in the back. Change. The. Rules.
The rules need to be changed, Warren insisted, because they are stacked against African-Americans, among others. In effect, Warren was telling black undergraduates that hard work won’t properly be rewarded absent radical change.
Are undergraduates more or less likely to work hard if they believe their hard work may not properly be rewarded? Less. If they believe Warren, are they more or less likely to devote the bulk of their efforts to meeting and exceeding the standards associated with success, as opposed to being political activists? Less.
These questions naively focus on the graduates’ interests. Warren was focused on her own. They include (1) saying things that will help her with the Democratic base if she runs for president and (2) causing young African-Americans to become the shock troops for Warren’s leftist agenda.
But that’s not the main problem with Warren’s speech. The main problem is she’s spouting nonsense.
Warren was right when she blared: “Two sets of rules: one for white families, and one for everybody else.” But in realms where there are two sets of rules, the discrepancy favors African-Americans.
The best example is higher education. At most colleges and universities, and at all elite ones, there are two sets of admissions standards. The standards for kids from white families is far more exacting than the standards for kids from black ones.
Warren has complained about housing discrimination. America certainly has a history of discriminating against blacks in this realm.
However, these days, to the extent there is discrimination it favors black families. And if the left has its way, this discrimination will become more pronounced.
Eastern Iowa provides a good example. In Dubuque, the federal government has forced the city to build low-income housing for residents of Chicago, Illinois. Dubuque has plenty of citizens who could use low-income housing. However, they suffer from this “defect” — they are (generally speaking) white.
Accordingly, the federal government contrived to force Dubuque to offer low-income housing units in Dubuque to residents of Chicago, 200 miles away, where the low income population is predominantly black. It deemed Dubuque’s preferences for citizens of its own city, county, and state to be racist.
It didn’t matter that unlike, say, an elderly Dubuque resident, the folks from Chicago have never paid a dime of taxes in Dubuque. The Chicagoan’s only claim on Dubuque’s resources was their low-income status and, of course, their race. In other words, they had no legitimate claim.
Yet, they received priority over low-income white residents of Dubuque.
The only sense in which the rules are “stacked” against blacks is that, in some cases, blacks struggle as a group to comply with them. Criminal law rules and classroom discipline standards are examples.
Any graduation speaker worth her salt will exhort grads to meet and exceed existing standards — in other words, to excel. This is how Warren claims she moved up in the academic world (she denies relying on her bogus claim to be an Indian). But such an exhortation wouldn’t have promoted Warren’s political ambition and agenda. So she declined to exhort and chose to pander.