Why the Obama administration sees racism everywhere
By Paul Sperry
August 17, 2014 | 12:02am
The Obama administration has done little to calm racial tensions as they spread from Manhattan to St. Louis to Los Angeles.
Quite the opposite, some top officials have fueled African-American fears of racism with false accusations of anti-black discrimination.
Attorney General Eric Holder’s race-baiting is no secret. Justice Department documents show the nation’s top cop gave thousands of dollars to help the Rev. Al Sharpton organize marches protesting the death of Trayvon Martin.
Now he’s sent the civil-rights unit to St. Louis to do the same thing in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.
Less known, however, is the role of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, who’s made incendiary — and shamefully disingenuous — statements about race relations in America.
Last month, for instance, Perez told hundreds of black students in Washington, DC, that school authorities in the South recently had black high-schoolers arrested for infractions as innocuous as fashion faux pas and farting.
He made the shocking allegation during a July 15 speech he delivered at Howard University.
Perez recounted a recent visit to Mississippi, claiming: “I was looking at their feet and every one of them had an ankle bracelet — they were 14 years old — and that’s because they were all in the school-to-prison pipeline.
And I asked them: ‘What are you in for?’ One was, uh, wrong color tie. One was the wrong color socks. One was flatulence.
“I’m not making this up,” Perez insisted. “This is Meridian, Miss., where we still see separate and unequal,” adding, “We thought we had made progress [but] this is America” today.
Only, he was making it up. Meridian Public School District students have never been jailed simply for breaking school dress code, as he implied. That would be false imprisonment.
They have, however, been mildly disciplined for wearing the wrong uniform to school. Meridian, which is mostly black, has a strict dress code to prevent gang violence.
And some students do wear ankle bracelets to school — but only because they broke actual laws and were convicted of crimes by a juvenile judge.
Perez conflated the circumstances, even though he knew better.
Two years earlier, in a speech to the National School Boards Association in Boston, Perez described it much differently.
“I had an opportunity to visit Meridian and listen first-hand to students,” he said. “They told me of serving time in in-school suspension for wearing the wrong color socks. I listened to a panel of eight students, roughly half of whom were wearing ankle bracelets…Regrettably, students of color are receiving different and harsher disciplinary punishments.”
At Howard, Perez made it sound as if Meridian were run by a bunch of white, racist Bull Connors.
What he failed to mention is that the Meridian school superintendent, Dr. Alvin Taylor, and four of the five Meridian school board members are all black. So is the judge running the juvenile court.
Why would this Cabinet official say one thing to an audience of administrators and another to an audience of black students?
There’s only one explanation: To rile young African-Americans up about the specter of a still-racist America. (Requests to Perez’s office for comment went unanswered.)
School administrators aren’t the only people Perez has framed as racists. He’s also railroaded dozens of banks, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, for alleged lending discrimination.
From 2009-2013, he used a discredited civil-rights theory known as “disparate impact,” which relies on statistics to prove racism, to extort huge settlements from bankers and mortgage lenders, whom he’s compared to Klansmen.
He claims they discriminate “with a smile” and “fine print,” a kind of racism that though more subtle is “every bit as destructive as the cross burned in a neighborhood.”
Meanwhile, EEOC Chairwoman Jacqueline Berrien, a former NAACP activist, has framed several major employers as racists.
For example, she recently sued Freeman Companies and Kaplan Higher Education Corp. for allegedly running discriminatory background checks on black job applicants.
The charges were so egregiously groundless that both judges hearing the cases scolded her department for ever bringing them, before summarily tossing them out.
One judge slammed her prosecutors for using “cherry-picked” data and hiring expert witnesses who engaged in “scientific dishonesty.”
In court documents, he also said they attempted to “pump up” statistics to make it look like employers were biased.
Both cases charged employers were racist simply for conducting criminal background checks and credit checks for all their job applicants, whites and blacks equally.
Even though, as the court pointed out, that’s exactly what Berrien and every other Cabinet official does before they hire their own workers for government jobs.
With all the trumped-up charges of racism leveled by this administration, you’d think Rev. Sharpton and the rest of the racial arsonists running the Grievance Industry were in control of the government.
Exaggerating civil-rights abuses does the minority community no favors. When real racism does rear its ugly head, few will believe it and tragically little may be done about it.
Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “The Great American Bank Robbery,” which exposes the racial politics behind the mortgage crisis.