Skip to comments.Black Caucus Urges Bush to Combat Race Gap
Posted on 01/26/2005 9:38:37 PM PST by Former Military Chick
WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 - Black members of Congress presented President Bush on Wednesday with proposals for closing the gap between white and black Americans in health care, employment and education and said they would judge his response by weighing the State of the Union address and federal budget.
Meeting with Mr. Bush at the White House for only the third time, about 40 members of the Congressional Black Caucus pressed the president for more attention to what they see as striking disparities in opportunity between blacks and whites across a broad range of areas.
Leaders of the group said Mr. Bush had said he would review the group's policy agenda but had made no commitments. Acknowledging what has been a difficult relationship, they welcomed his willingness to sit down with them on Wednesday. Caucus members have contended that they had been frozen out since a session early in Mr. Bush's first term.
"A trip of 1,000 miles begins with a first step," said Representative Melvin Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, the chairman of the caucus.
The president's meeting came a day after he held a separate White House session with 22 black business and religious leaders who supported him. He encouraged them to back his plan to allow workers to divert part of their Social Security tax to individual investment accounts. White House officials say the idea should appeal to blacks because they have a shorter average life span than whites and end up putting more money into the retirement system than they take out.
The Congressional Black Caucus members are all Democrats.
Lawmakers at Wednesday's meeting said there was pointed discussion of Social Security. Representative Charles B. Rangel of New York, the senior Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, said he had told Mr. Bush the caucus could not support any proposal that would cut into a guaranteed entitlement relied on by so many older black Americans.
Mr. Rangel also said he quoted to the president from a 1978 magazine article in which Mr. Bush, then running for Congress, was warning of an imminent collapse of Social Security unless it was privatized. "And he said, 'I lost,' " said Mr. Rangel, referring to Mr. Bush's defeat for Congress that year. "And I said the Lord works in mysterious ways."
Mr. Watt said Mr. Bush seemed surprised by some of the statistics he was given on how black Americans were lagging in income, employment and health insurance coverage.
Mr. Bush was joined at the meeting by Condoleezza Rice after her confirmation by the Senate as secretary of state. Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, said Ms. Rice, who is the first African-American woman to hold the post, was congratulated by many of the caucus members.
I applaud her but I am not much for the rhetoric.
First, it's Dr. Rice or Secretary of State Rice, not "Ms. Rice."
Second, one presumes that the CBC is now going to *support* President Bush's school choice vouchers for inner city minority children, yes?!
Attn: Black Caucus
Please note that the civil rights movement ended a long time ago. Secondly, take a real hard look at DR. RICE and learn from it. Thirdly, we don't need your racist crap anymore. The victim strategy is well understood and not representative of respectable Black Americans.
Last but not least, get a real job.
The gimmee_crats are at it again
This is the cart before the horse now!
Bush ought to Urge the Black Caucus to Combat the Race Gap!
I guess they missed his black appointments to high offices and meetings he's had with members of the black community huh?
Get a clue black caucus. Many of your supposed constituents are leaving you in the dust.
The CBC needs to talk to those 13 senators who voted against Sec. Rice, not to the man who hired her.
Personally, I don't think there ought to be any caucuses of any sort in either house. Imagine the hue and cry if a CWC were formed.
Join conservatives in condemning inner city rap culture and that includes Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction.
Join conservatives in demanding higher moral values for the US society.
Join conservatives in promoting the ownership society for all americans, black and white.
Join conservatives in education reform through school choice and vouchers
Just "Americn" would do fine. The attempt to demand special treatment ticks off people who have the power to say "OK, if that's the way you're going to be..." The r word is losing its effectiveness to intimidate and extort...
Excellent analysis from WSJ a few weeks ago about the limits of what the government can do and how the victim must heal himself:
Some Truth About Black Disadvantage
By Amy L. Wax
January 3, 2005
Bill Cosby's repeated suggestion that the behavior of some American blacks impedes group progress has transgressed the long-standing taboo against "blaming the victim." Defined by sociologist William Ryan in 1971 as an attempt to explain inequality "by finding defects in the victims of inequality," victim-blaming is virtually banned from polite discourse. The time has come for that to change.
The disdain for anything that smacks of blaming the victim is based on a fundamental confusion. No one can deny that black Americans have endured a history of sustained and grievous mistreatment. Those wrongs have wreaked immeasurable harm. The key question confronting society is not how the harms occurred. Rather, the crucial issue is how to reverse them.
A central tenet of the law of remedies is that someone who harms another person -- the wrongdoer -- must undo that harm. Justice requires that the culprit right the wrong by restoring the victim to his rightful position -- the state he would have enjoyed had he never been wronged. In distinguishing between liability and remedy -- between causing harm and undoing harm -- the law also recognizes that reality can fall short of the ideal. The wrongdoer may quite literally lack the power to make the victim whole. The assailant cannot replace the eye he has destroyed. The murderer cannot bring the dead to life. Full justice for the victim may simply be out of reach.
There is a special case in which the victim's injuries can be healed -- but not, unfortunately, by the culpable party. Rather, in a cruel twist of fate, the victim is the only one who can wholly undo the harm he has suffered from others' wrongful actions. The victim must restore himself to the rightful position.
Consider the parable of the paraplegic. A reckless driver runs over a pedestrian, leaving him unable to walk. The driver pays for the pedestrian's treatment and physical therapy, but recovery will require a long, exhausting, and painful effort. The victim is angry. It's not his fault, so why must he face an overwhelming, uphill struggle? But there is no help for it. Although the driver can and must pay, he cannot guarantee success. He cannot make his victim walk again.
The parable illuminates the present dilemma of black disadvantage. There is no question that the social problems blacks face today are the outgrowth of slavery and gross oppression. Unfortunately, centuries of bias have distorted the victims' behavior and values. Bad habits take on a life of their own, impeding the ability to grasp widening opportunities as society progresses, discrimination abates, and old obstacles fall away. The victim himself has changed in ways that place him beyond the reach of outside help alone.
Enduring injuries to human capital are now the most destructive legacy of racism. Evidence suggests that soft behavioral factors, including low educational attainment, poor socialization and work habits, paternal abandonment, family disarray, and non-marital childbearing, now loom larger than overt exclusion as barriers to racial equality. But society's power to address these patterns is severely limited. Short of outright coercion, it is literally impossible for the government or outsiders to change dysfunctional behavior or make good choices for individuals. No one can force a person to obey the law, study hard, develop useful skills, be well-mannered, speak and write well, work steadily, marry and stay married, be a devoted husband and father, and refrain from bearing children he cannot or will not support. These decisions belong to individuals and families.
The quest for justice blinds us to these hard truths, fueling the demand that those who created the problem solve it. Because the ideal is that society should fix what's broken, everyone wants to believe society can. Indeed, it is often assumed that everything can be made right just by reversing course. If discrimination is the culprit, then eliminating it is the cure. If racism is to blame, purging racism will do the trick. This is the myth of reverse causation.
* * *
The law recognizes that reverse causation doesn't always work. Liability may diverge from remedy. The one who caused the problem cannot necessarily solve it. That something is fair does not mean that it is possible. Others can help, but there are some things people can only do for themselves. What do these insights mean for thinking about racial inequality?
First, accepting a key role for victims does not really "blame the victim" because it implies no exoneration of the wrongdoer. Slavery and discrimination, not blacks themselves, brought us to the current predicament. That means that the government must do what it can to eliminate racial disadvantage. Given the nature of the problem, however, its role is necessarily modest. The key reforms must come from within individuals and communities.
True racial justice may not be achievable. Is it fair to charge blacks with the weighty task of self-improvement when others' wrongs have made their burden so great? The answer must be no. But that doesn't change reality. Just as the careless driver can bankroll recovery but cannot make the paraplegic walk again, the government and society can supply resources and create opportunities but cannot return blacks to their rightful place. Try as they might, they cannot fully restore the victims' capacities. Only the victim can heal himself.
Third, rehearsing the history of racial oppression, although important for moral clarity, is of little use in addressing current inequalities. In seeking solutions, we must look forward rather than dwell on the past because the way out of the present dilemma may not resemble the path in. Trial and error, aided by an open mind and a willingness to do what works, should be the order of the day. Above all, the road to true equality begins at home.
Finally, the persistence of racial disadvantage does not mean that society has failed to do enough. The greatest need at present may not be more government spending and new programs but a conversion experience. The victim must see that, although others have wronged him, his fate lies in his own hands. Justice may be forever elusive, but success is the best revenge.
Ms. Wax is Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Try paying attention more .. he has been meeting with the working class community
Apparently you need to learn and pay attention to her life story also
Wow see what happens when your forget to use spell check and you paste it on FR!
I wonder if anyone else out there felt uncomfortable when they introduced her not only as a female (female served before) but pointing out she is African American.
I applaud her but I am not much for the rhetoric.
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