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March 17, 2005

More Conservative Hysteria Over HB 3

By Byron LaMasters

This one, in the form of an editorial certainly crosses the line regarding appropriate discussion regarding race in the 21st century. Calling this editorial blatantly racist would be a reasonable characterization. Here are excerpts from this week's Park Cities People editorial (emphasis mine):

A Government of Pygmies

The stature of the Texas Legislature shrinks with every session

John Adams warned long ago that there never was a democracy that didn’t commit suicide. This week the state House put the gun to…Texas’ head. Whether the Texas Senate will pull the trigger is still an open question.

The finance bill passed by the House shuffles the array of taxes available to the state like a deck of cards. It adds a few dollars to public education, but then promptly adds mandates on how school districts are required to spend it. In all, it is “revenue neutral.” That is another way of saying it provides no new money.

For a moment, let’s pass over what this means to the Highland Park schools. (And it means nothing good.) Let’s see what it means to the state of Texas.

First, a few unpleasant facts. In just 10 years, Anglos will be a minority in North Texas. In North Texas. We already have the highest rate of teens giving birth in the nation. We rank second among states for child abuse, 43rd for children born into poverty, and 45th in the number of kids who graduate from high school.

If those social problems correlate to poverty, they can do nothing but get worse. Median household income — which has risen every decade since Texas was a republic — is expected to drop two percentage points a decade for the next 40 years.

At the same time, Dallas-Fort Worth will grow 55 percent, from 5.3 million to 8 million over the next 10 years.

What kind of picture does this paint?

What about this picture — huge growth, a less educated workforce, declining household income — does the Legislature not understand? [...]

The real problem is not money. Money is a tool. The real problem is mediocrity.

Robin Hood — take from the “rich” and give to the “poor” — was the liberals’ answer to school finance, and like the socialism it emulates, its end result was to discourage excellence and to flatten education to a level aimed at the lowest common denominator.

Now conservatives are in charge. The House has already shown what a difference this makes — none. Now the Texas Senate says it will do better. Its solution — apparently a majority have already signed on to it — is a statewide property tax to replace local taxes. And what will the end result of that be? To discourage excellence and flatten education to the lowest common denominator. [...]

Any pygmy can become a giant by standing on the nearest rock. What we need in Texas is a Republican leader willing to look around for one.

I'll start by agreeing with one aspect of the editorial. The real problem is mediocrity. Texas must not settle for mediocrity, and Democrats refused to settle for mediocrity by voting against HB 3. I applaud them for that.

Having said that, parts of this editorial step way over the line. The term "pygmy" broadly refers to an exceptionally short individual, although the term more specifically refers to members of various tribes in equatorial Africa and Southeast Asia. By itself, "pygmy" doesn't necessarily have a racial context, but the editorial goes on to make a blatantly racist statement: "First, a few unpleasant facts. In just 10 years, Anglos will be a minority in North Texas".

Excuse me? Poverty, high teen birth rates and child abuse are unpleasant facts, but the fact that Anglos are declining as a portion of the regional population? Why is that an unpleasant fact? I guess that the Park Cities People are looking for an unreconstructed George Wallace or Lester Maddox to lead the Texas GOP to victory in 2006.

Update: More at The Frontburner.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at March 17, 2005 07:06 PM | TrackBack


Shocking. Ack! We're going to be a minority? Ack! I already am a minority in my own house since my husband is Salvadoran. Sound the alarmists!

Posted by: Pink Lady at March 18, 2005 06:59 AM

I have a solution that would satisfy everyone, and by everyone, I mean me: offer the editorial writer (and anyone else who wants it) $8 Greyhound tickets to Ardmore in Anglo-rich Oklahoma.

God, I hate Dallas.

Posted by: norbizness at March 18, 2005 08:54 AM

I think that the real story here is that the Texas Constitution, with its mandate of equal funding for public schools, is apparently a socialist document.

But then, in Texas these days, apparently anything that doesn't cut taxes and provide benefits to one's own special interests can be called socialism.

Posted by: Jeb at March 18, 2005 09:10 AM

Norbizness, Don't equate what comes out of the Park Cities to be the consensus opinion of Dallasites.

Posted by: pc at March 18, 2005 10:55 AM

Stong words from a weak paper.

Posted by: Count Blah at March 18, 2005 01:36 PM

Yes, providing equal education for children no matter where they live is a horrible socialist idea. And heavens, soon the white folk won't be able to avoid looking at someone with brown or black skin! What's this world coming to? Where's mah smellin' salts?!?!

On the other hand, it's fun to watch the GOP twitch by doing outrageously stupid things, isn't it? :)

Posted by: Jason Cecil at March 18, 2005 02:07 PM

Isn't this the same town that handcuffed and booked a 95 year old woman for a 10 year old traffic citation?

Posted by: Dude at March 18, 2005 02:40 PM

The Texas Constitution does not say anything about equal funding for schools. That was an invention of the Texas Supreme Court. Now, equal funding of schools may be a good idea but "equity" was just made up.

Posted by: snrub at March 18, 2005 03:42 PM

I believe you are wrong about the 'equal' part. Long before the state of Texas integrated its school systems, the official state policy towards schools was 'separate, but equal'. Of course it was used as a method of segregation, but still the concept of equal schools was still there. I don't have a copy of the Texas Constitution handy, but I am pretty sure that phase was put in some time in the 1920's and was implemented into the '60's.

As a further note, it was not until fears of de-segregation in the 50's that Highland Park/University Park became an elite places to live. With deed restrictions, minorities were not permitted to purchase property and by having an independent school district with schools that fully represented the racial make-up of the town, desegregation was a non-issue.

Posted by: hemphead at March 18, 2005 04:22 PM
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