Diversity for thee but not for me, seems to be the leftist message. At least that’s the takeaway from a little incident in Brooklyn, NYC, which a writer is calling “the Capitol of Liberal Hypocrisy.”
It’s a tale of two Brooklyn schools and two Brooklyn worlds. One world is, as National Review writer Reihan Salam put it, “a relatively new neighborhood that is essentially a forest of condominiums catering to financiers, techies, and ‘creative professionals’” and that is quite appropriately named “Dumbo” (shown). The other comprises Farragut Houses, a sprawling public-housing complex abutting the Brooklyn Navy Yard that constitutes “the other side of the tracks.” The schools are predominantly white P.S. 8 and mostly black P.S. 307.
The problem? P.S. 8 is overcrowded, with 50 families placed on a waiting list for kindergarten last spring, while P.S. 307 has room. So the city decided it made sense to move Dumbo and another neighborhood, Vinegar Hill, into P.S. 307’s zone so that their residents’ children could attend the school. But whether or not it made sense, it certainly didn’t make friends among Dumbo parents.
Now, since these parents are “committed progressives,” as Salam describes them, a credulous sort might figure they’d welcome the rezoning. After all, liberals insist that “our strength lies in our diversity” and frequently point to studies showing that black children perform better academically when intermingled with white students. And merging the two populations certainly would increase diversity. As the New York Times’ Kate Taylor informs:
P.S. 307’s population is 90 percent black and Hispanic, and 90 percent of the students’ families receive some form of public assistance. Its state test scores, while below the citywide averages, are closer to average for black and Hispanic students, with 20 percent of its students passing the math tests and 12 percent passing the reading tests this past year. At P.S. 8, whose population is 59 percent white, with only 15 percent receiving assistance, scores are considerably above the city averages. Almost two-thirds of its students passed each test.
Yet Dumbo parents aren’t happy at all, not one bit. As Taylor writes, some “said they were anxious about their children’s being part of a racial minority in the school, while others worried that their children would not be sufficiently challenged” (oh, they will be — in the schoolyard). One Dumbo father, who refused to give his name, said he was concerned because P.S. 307 was “severely underperforming.”
And “underperforming” was just one of the euphemistic explanations. Taylor quoted a mother who said, “I need answers, and it’s not because I want to be in P.S. 8.” “They explain,” Salam writes, “that what they really want is a better world in which we spend far more on our public schools, not mentioning, or perhaps not knowing, that New York city [sic] spends $20,331 per pupil, almost twice as much as the national average of $10,700, and that much of this money is spent very inefficiently.”
Then there’s Gary Orfield, the co-director of the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was quick to defend his opposite-coast fellow travelers. As Taylor also tells us, “He said the residents who opposed the rezoning ‘aren’t racists.’ ‘They aren’t people who don’t want to be with other races and other cultures,’ he said. ‘They just don’t want to be in a ghetto. They don’t want to be in a school where everybody’s poor and their kid is the only white kid or the only Asian kid.’” Salam, however, has a different take. He writes, “Of course they want integration, they’ll tell you, but only if it entails no sacrifice on their part.” He quotes one Dumbo parent who actually said, “It’s more complicated when it’s about your own children.”
Really, though, it isn’t.
It just seems so when you stop being feelings-oriented and actually start to think.
It’s easy to operate emotionally and embrace feel-good ideology — which polishes up leftist credentials and guarantees invitations to the right cocktail parties — when someone else’s ox is being gored. It’s easy to be idealistic when you don’t have to live with your ideals. As learned, however, by the lad who’d dreamt of being an astronaut but then balked upon embarking upon the process and coming to understand the difficulty involved, fantasy can be simple. Reality, though, is often complicated. And actually living your policies brings their reality home to you.
And living in a fantasy-world leads to fantastical accusations. As Salam opined remarking on leftist hypocrisy, “It’s easy to imagine how these Dumbo progressives might have reacted had this story unfolded in Atlanta or Birmingham — they’d surely chalk up resistance to the rezoning to racism.”
It certainly is easy, as hypocrisy is the norm among leftists, who, being relativists, don’t have principles but provisional values. Just consider Hillary Clinton. Her current scandal involving illegal use of a private e-mail server didn’t stop her from tweeting about Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who has refused to sign faux-marriage licenses, “Officials should be held to their duty to uphold the law — end of story.” Even more outrageously, she recently said that sexual-assault accusations “should be believed” because “that is what starts the process” of achieving justice. Yet this is the same proud feminist who quite reflexively participated in the character assassination of the women who accused her husband of sexual assault in the 1990s.
Then there’s Massachusetts senator and hardcore leftist Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren. She claimed American Indian ancestry while rising through the ranks of academia, thus advantaging herself via affirmative-action standards that liberals such as her claim should be reserved for minorities.
None of this would surprise Peter Schweizer, who in 2008 wrote a piece on leftist hypocrisy entitled “Don't listen to the liberals — Right-wingers really are nicer people, latest research shows.” The studies he cited indicated that liberals relative to conservatives are:
• Less likely to care for an ill parent.
• Less likely to say they derive happiness from putting others’ happiness before their own.
• Less interested in getting married (they sure like manipulating marriage, though).
• Less likely to have children.
• Less likely to believe they should place their children’s well-being before their own.
• Less likely to hug their children (Schweizer says that his wife “thinks they're too busy hugging trees”).
• More money-oriented and greedy. As Schweizer wrote, studies “reveal Left-wingers are more likely to rate ‘high income’ as an important factor in choosing a job, more likely to say 'after good health, money is the most important thing', and agree with the statement 'there are no right or wrong ways to make money'.”
• Less likely to donate to charity and help the poor.
And it also appears that while leftists love to preach about integration, diversity, and the brotherhood of all people — and call political opponents racists — they’re not too keen on minorities sitting next to their one bubble-wrapped child. Dumbo parents, indeed.
Photo of DUMBO: I.M. Rich