The Not-So-Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

“Some say it is unfair to hold disadvantaged children to rigorous standards. I say it is discrimination to require anything less–-the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

George W Bush in his campaign speech to the NAACP (2000)

The Left loves to think that they hold the moral high ground on who is the most forward thinking, open minded and non-discriminatory entity in the country, no, the entire planet. With their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives pushed in schools, higher ed, the work place etc., they label themselves “culturally competent”, “anti-racist”, “inclusive”, “celebrating diversity”, and “progressive”. In contrast, they label values such as color-blindness, hard work, resilience, breaking the cycles of poverty and dysfunction and even punctuality as “privileged” and “discriminatory”.

In order to be “woke”, another term they throw around frequently, you must believe that everyone has the capacity to succeed regardless of color, and yet fight against color-blind, merit based admissions and hiring practices. You have to think that people of color are “slaves” to their past history and are still chained down by inequalities outlawed decades if not over a century ago. This must be the reason so many communities are plagued by domestic violence, crime, poverty and abuse of its most vulnerable. This is the reason so many children fail in school and go into the “school to prison pipeline”: “systemic racism”, not unsupportive families who don’t value education, a culture that values street cred over a professional credential, and school administrators who feel the only way to prevent dropping out is to lower the bar for academic and behavioral expectations. You have to believe that a strong work ethic, dedication, resilience, punctuality, etc. are all “white values”, and expecting your students or employees of color to embrace them is not “culturally competent”.

Now, it’s one thing to try to force everyone into one narrow mold, as success can come in may different ways. However, there are common values and ambitions that lead to all types of successful outcomes. Among them are hard work, a strong work ethic, determination, resilience in the face of adversity, showing up on time and keeping your commitments, and valuing the opportunity to advance yourself through education, vocational training, etc. The Left counterargues “It isn’t fair to hold marginalized groups to a white privileged standard that is inaccessible to them.”, yet I’d argue that reveals their own form of bigotry: the (not-so-soft) bigotry of low expectations.

After all, who said those values were white values?

If punctuality is a white cultural value then is lateness a Black value? If “pulling oneself up by their bootstraps” is too white, conversely victimhood and dependency must be the established norm for the less pale among us. If earning one’s good fortune through one’s own merits is white privilege, then of course any non-white person could never hope to attain success and must be given handouts since they’re incapable of anything else. In short, the only conclusion then is the white race OWNS success! Yeah, totally not racist….

While we’re at it, here are some more “inclusive”, “culturally competent” things I’ve heard:

Slavery made it impossible for black families to have a traditional nuclear family structure and is the cause of rampant familial instability.

It’s the weight of historical oppression by the white race that’s the true cause of substance abuse, domestic violence and broken homes in communities of color, not an individual’s choice to terrorize their family.

We have to hire someone because of their race, not their credentials, as a white person would get the job otherwise.

A lifestyle of crime is a legitimate way communities of color can get out of poverty so we can’t judge and prosecute those crimes.

Traditional academic grading and expecting punctuality are incongruent with non-white cultural norms.

Common courtesies and appropriate behavior in the workplace or the classroom is a white norm that ought to be deconstructed.

Meritocracy is a “myth”, the idea that hard work yields success is a white idea.

Welfare programs are a staple for communities of color since of course, “systemic racism”.

It’s racist to ask for voter ID’s as people of color don’t have access to identification papers such as a passport, drivers license, social security card etc. nor can they access the internet.

Professionalism is a white norm that excludes minorities.

And what does all this teach minority youth? You’re incapable. You’re incapable of having a stable family. You’re incapable of building a safe community. You’re incapable of reaching your dreams through your own hard work. You’re incapable of developing values like dependability, integrity, resiliency, honesty, etc. You can’t get those grades unless they’re scaled down to “your level”. You can’t take accountability for how your choices affect you and others. The only reason you got the job was because they need a minority quota. You can’t imagine a lifestyle that doesn’t involve government handouts. The only way to succeed is if others lower the bar for you. Why? Because you aren’t white.

I ask you, what could be more bigoted than that?

“To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by society.”

Thomas Sowell


  1. That GWB quote has always struck me as so simple yet so true. Any time you set the bar so low for expectations, you’ll get sub par results. That we’ve allowed this to happen to generations of black people in the name of “social justice” has been a slow motion disaster for the black community at large.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As usual, I fully agree with the Lady of Reason. The burden is on those who decry “White Values” such as punctuality, education, hard work, test scores and other means of measuring performance to show where a society has flourished without those values. On the other hand, where those values prevail, they bring prosperity regardless of race or ethnicity.

    Those who rely on handouts, be they welfare, affirmative action, aka “diversity” or some other preference, make themselves dependent on those who govern those handouts. In the Antebellum South, it was illegal to teach a slave or even a free black person to read because that would threaten the dependence that kept them subordinate.

    Many so called “black leaders” ignore the need to educate black youth because it could threaten the dependence that is the source of their power. I don’t know why the descendants of those who braved Bull Conner’s dogs and firehoses to integrate schools follow modern leaders who preach welfare and “diversity” at the expense of quality education. It is an insult to the black parents who fought so hard to get their children a good education to tell say that their race is incapable of punctuality or education.

    Preferences in school admissions just cover up the abject failure of schools that service urban minorities. I recently saw a video in which economist and black education advocate Roland Fryer pointed out that there is no major city in America where more than 25% of the students test “proficient.: He names several where the rate is around 3%. Unlike so many on the left, Fryer proposes solutions rather than excuses and damaging preferences.

    Admission preferences for students who are unqualified because of a failed school system just covers up the problem at the expense of society overall and especially of those whom the program is intended to benefit. Today it’s “sure, vote for me and I’ll get you welfare and preferences, but don’t expect your children to learn to read and acquire the skills they need to make it on their own.” Beneficium accipere est libertatem vendere.

    Here’s a link to a youtube video about Fryer. Now that Walter Williams has passed on and Thomas Sowell is at an advanced age, it is good to know that there is an economist carrying on with the tradition of speaking truth and using empirical evidence to debunk popular shibboleths.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One of the “minor” conundrums in any great national political and social divide is that in spite of the participants of each side using “absolutes” in citing the collective and generalized faults of the other side, it’s usually the case that the vast majority of either side does, in fact, not hold to all the negative absolutes of their side. “The Conservatives are are like this.” “The Liberals are all like that.” Well, no.. they ALL are not like that. This is not a time for moderates on either side because compromise is not in vogue and the “lines in the sand” being drawn require loyalty to one side or the other. The Right is full of grievance because they don’t have what “elites” have, and the Left is full of moral pomposity. Why do I make this point no one gives a damn about? Because it’s been twice this week that IB and I have agreed on something. Now, before we get too carried away here… I have agreed with her.. she’s yet to agree with me. But hope springs eternal.
    As all this gibberish relates to her post here… I do agree essentially with most of her observations here. But then again.. I’m a natural born moderate… a member of that endangered species.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Something I’ve said for years – there are none more intolerant than those who demand tolerance. In the same vein, the most racist people I’ve seen are the ones who claim to be “anti-racist”, etc. A lot of what I see from those who accuse others over such things is confession through projection.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have laughed at videos where the minority actually called out “the liberal white savior”.

    Treating people like children is stupid. I hate it when people do it to veterans and I hate it for other people that someone else determined needed help.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. As an educator of 45 years, working with populations of all ages and ethnicities, you are dead on correct with your post. When black leaders continue to espouse that minority youth cannot achieve success without the bar being considerably lowered, government aid being provided, what we see is a group of young people growing without embracing what is needed to be truly successful. That being the ability to work very hard over a long period of time toward a goal and making wise lifestyle choices along the way. The worst thing you can do to a person is take away the need for them to achieve. I finish with the sad reality that far too many Black so-called leaders are in it for the power and the money that systems such as welfare or scaling of grades and lessening of the bar in education provide.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s