Psuedo-Social Justice Has Harmed the People It Intended to Help

“There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.”  –Frédéric Bastiat

Bad Behavior, Plain & Simple 

I have worked for twenty-five years in schools, and I remember a time when a six-foot, 17-year-old student picked up a metal chair and threw it at me!  Long story short, I sent the student to the security office under police escort.

The student was African-American, which does not matter to me, but it obviously mattered to the school.  The school told me later I had crossed a line, since I was now guilty of referring too many African-American students for behavior problems!

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I countered by saying that my criterion for a behavior referral was behavior, not ethnicity!  In fact, all my students were minority students.  Also, I do not keep tabs on how many referrals are for Blacks, Latinos, or Asians.  Each referral, I explained, occurs because it crosses a line which is established on day-one of a given school year and which all the students accept.  Students do have input into the rule-writing.  And not applying the rules equally will mean having to explain to them why unequal treatment is required, when what they want is “equal protection” under the rules of the classroom.

None of this matters, according to the administration.  The “child” would not be suspended, because the school had already allowed “too many suspensions of African-American students.”  I asked how that could be, and I was told that we were to refer minorities only according to the percentages they represent in the school population.  Anything else was deemed discrimination.

Quotas Are Not Fair

justiceI begged to differ.  Fair, in my classroom, means that everyone is held to the same standards and receives the same consequences based on those standards, regardless of ethnic or minority status.  Forcing teachers to equalize outcomes, according to some system of quotas, means cheating those misbehaving students out of the discipline they require to succeed like everyone else in civil society.

Another problem deriving from this quota-driven mindset is when the school district tells a teacher to pass more of the failing kids, because too many of the fails are minorities.  When school districts do this, teachers will generally follow directions, in order not to be insubordinate.  But these students end up getting shortchanged.  They think they know just as much as the other students who actually studied.  Then, later in their academic careers, they cry “racism” when their grades are not as good as they think they should be.

These students will become poor college applicants, instead of acceptable ones.  Some will make it into college anyway, due to affirmative action “social justice” programs.  But many of these weak students will fail in the end.  Many who do not go to college, and even some who do, will be less likely to have the literacy skills needed to hold many jobs in today’s workplace, due to this game of pretending they have learned enough, when they really have not.  A great number of these students will suffer higher rates of job loss and unemployment.  Behavioral permissiveness will mean that many students will be deprived of learning what it takes to avoid incarceration.  And this is a horrible societal social outcome.

This idea of quotas, in order to equalize outcomes, is a false solution that only puts the problems off until those victimized by it end up with much bigger and with much worse consequences later in life.  The courts cannot so easily equalize sentencing consequences when crimes are committed by the same adults who were permitted to get away with transgressions as children and adolescents.  Guilt must, in the end, be determined by actions, not by social quotas.

This failure to address the learning and behavior problems in school, due to cries for “social justice,” means that the political correctness being espoused is what is responsible for having literally sold entire generations into slavery by incarceration.  The problem lies not with our justice system.  Nor can the problem properly be laid at the feet of school teachers, since they are only responding like good soldiers to orders they are issued by Democrat-controlled school-district administration.

social justiceColorblindness Is the Solution

Indeed, the problem lies with a government that has enabled quota-based calls for “social justice” at all levels of society.  It is equal access to the same educational and disciplinary standards that is needed, and their carrying out based upon a policy of equal protection for all, not what some government bureaucrat thinks is fair, according to notions of “social justice.”  If people felt free to treat everyone equally, in a colorblind civil society, outcomes would improve of their own accord and without the need for government force in so many areas of our lives.

Government Is the Problem 

Government intrusion always hurts, because it disrupts the natural working out of issues among people.  Then good people never get credit for being good.  The victims of old continue to withhold credit from these good people and continue to blame many, unfairly, for harboring ill will towards them.  They credit government, rather than people, for their good treatment, and human relationships suffer.  Government power becomes strengthened, as a result, and people power becomes weakened.  Trust among groups suffers.  And the misplaced trust of government force grows.  This is bad for freedom, since the more government force grows, the less freedom there is.

In the end, it is government that is the problem.  Friedrich Hayek noted the following reality to be an important truth: the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.  It was true during his lifetime, and it remains true to this day.  It is an enduring principle that will always prove true, and Americans must learn this, lest American freedom be lost utterly or, at a minimum, be hopelessly diminished.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

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