Taranto (he uses the Royal “we”):
We don’t doubt Madison’s good intentions, nor do we think it was a “wasted venture.” It seems to us an excellent idea to expose black youngsters to accomplished black adults, for just the reasons he states.
But why only black youngsters? We are forever hearing that white Americans continue to harbor “racial resentment,” derogatory stereotypes, even flatly racist attitudes toward blacks. In this column’s opinion, that problem is overstated. But it certainly couldn’t hurt to show pupils of pallor that rocket scientists don’t necessarily “look like them.”
Further, who’s to say an accomplished black adult can’t be a role model for a white child, or vice versa? The multicultural mindset is impoverished inasmuch as it sees people primarily as members of a subpopulation, rather than as Americans or human beings.
During our childhood, we once read a book about Harriet Tubman, the escaped slave who made a career of rescuing other slaves. It never occurred to us that because Tubman was black, her story was “black history” and therefore not of interest to us. We were inspired by her heroism in the cause of freedom–universal human themes.
Similarly, the laws of physics do not discriminate. Anyone with the aptitude and the interest can become a rocket scientist. That’s a worthy lesson to teach children of any color–and that ain’t rocket science.
The field trip reminds me of the blacks-only graduation ceremonies at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan (and others, see here and here). The people organizing such things would be shocked, shocked, that their “reaching out” is actually teaching that blacks and whites being together necessarily denigrates one race or the other. Or both at once. Mike Madison is training them to it.
Taranto did miss the question of what this field trip causes these students to think about each other, and the direct, if subtle, contribution it therefore made to turning out future racists of all pigmentation. So sad that young people are in the hands of idiots whose intentions are good.
When society’s preponderant meme, like Madison’s, is that people are perfectable if we just shelter them from competition, force them to have the right experiences, make them obey the proper regulations and shovel enough money at their personal problems – this racial profiling is what results. Accomplishing it means you have to be in charge of their lives. Unfortunately, society has decided to put such people as Mike Madison in charge of our most impressionable members. We should be ashamed.
The other obvious question, of course, is what firestorm would have been visited upon Mr. Madison if it had been a whites only field trip. He never even thought about that, because he was too busy condescending to the black children mistakenly placed in his care.