CLEVELAND, OH – Had Kamala Harris not been so eager to be bussed away from American Negro students as “that little girl,” she might have learned something about the academic standards that elevated our people from zero percent literacy at the end of the Civil War in 1865 to 98.4 percent 105 years later in 1970. In American Negro schools, during “segregation,” to achieve an “A” a student had to score between 95 and 100. No curve. “Anything less demeaned the race.”
That’s the mantra I learned from my 8 American Negro teachers from the 1st through the 8th grade in segregated and 75 percent American Negro populated East Saint Louis, Illinois beginning in 1959. Our principal was a Russian American. Richard Goldsmith.
The school board was majority white and wanted our children graded on the curve. Clyde Jordan owned the East Saint Louis Monitor newspaper and served on the school board. My father was one of the city’s activists and a bus driver. My 8th grade math teacher, Mr. Chandler, born around the time of my grandparents in the 1890’s, was relentless about not accepting that shit.
They met with parents and students and told us our “ways.” Our parents agreed with them said “no” to the school board’s desire. 75 percent means majority rule. There’s a “no one tells us what to do” attitude that comes with being an American Negro in a community where your people are 75 percent of the population and act like it.
Had she exhibited the studious characteristics of the people with whom she loosely associates, Harris would have passed the bar the first time out with the highest test score among her peers. I’m an American Negro “A” student. Harris missed out. A story in USA Today confirms what was said about her in contrast to U.S. District Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett. The natural born American judge graduated at the top of her class. The curve-graded child of immigrants required additional testing to pass. I wonder if this is a pattern throughout her academic career in curve-graded public schools and universities?
Harris can call herself Black, African American, a Minority or a Person of Color. I’ll give her all that. What she can’t call herself is an American Negro. She is not in any way one of us. Her ancestors did not contribute anything to this nation. Not even her curve-graded legal intellect as news of her law school failure reinforces a stereotype that is not associated with us.
The majority of the nation’s schools grade on the “curve.” The net effect of curve grading is the student with the highest test score sets the standard even if it’s a 70. My 12th grade English teacher at Shaw High in East Cleveland told me in 1972 I’d get the grade I received on my final as I’d missed lots of days working full-time as unit secretary at Lakeside Hospital. Good. I scored a 94. One point off between my normal “A” range.
I got my A, but she told me it could not stand. The next grade below me was a 70 and they’d been in class. I got an A and so did the student who got the 70 so the rest of the class would not fail.
In East Saint Louis our teachers re-tested and re-tested until everyone’s score improved. Those of us who got A’s sat with the failing students.
I scored a 99 in my basic military training class as the number one graduate in 1972. That got me a stripe and extra money out of basic training. Before I left I earned the rank of staff sergeant but I did not have enough time in grade. To get that extra stripe I had to re-enlist. I was good.
My goal was to beat Chief Master Sergeant Harold Barnes’ record of earning 8 stripes in under 10. I intended to do it in 8 and I’d told him. He laughed. His daughter and I were around the same age. Harold was Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force and the first American Negro to achieve that title. We were stationed in Texas. I was stationed in Thailand with General Chappie James’ son … junior. General James was the first American Negro to earn the rank of 4-Star general. Friendly, competitive exceptionalism is an American Negro thing. Harris would have learned it if she’d have connected to us. Achievement is engrained in the American Negro culture.
The problem with curve grading is when the highest scores are in the 70’s and even lower. The students then work towards the highest of the low scores and an entire class ends up dimished. From the American Negro perspective … demeaned. Important knowledge and the skills associated with its acquisition is left on the table. No student is improved.
Paul Robeson as a Columbia law school graduate spoke 22 languages. Dr. George Washington Carver dissected a peanut to learn 326 ways to use it when all anyone else did all over the world was eat it. I’m a trumpet player from the city that birthed Miles Davis. There is nothing inferior or minority about American Negroes.
With curve-grading now inculcated into the academic fabric everywhere, the best minds coming out of schools today are reflected in the skills so-called “professionals” don’t have and the resulting chaos that comes from their not learning and being fully taught. Journalists who graduate from journalism schools who cover government with no knowledge of the governing documents associated with the duties of the public officials they’re covering. Criminal defense attorneys who don’t know the nuances of the laws that causes interactions with their clients to be legal or not. They don’t know to check for oaths and training certifications for police officers to even learn if their credentials were expired when their clients were arrested. This includes the highest and best paid legal minds.
Imagine U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Karen Nelson Moore ripping her colleagues in 2006 for not ever having read the laws Congress enacted that governs the National Crime Information Center criminal records history databases; and who don’t know their “no reasonable expectation of privacy because license plates are publicly displayed” rulings are wrong. Had they read the FBI’s NCIC 2000 Manual under the heading “Data and Probable Cause,” Section 1.1, they would have learned that cops across the nation violate instructions that “an NCIC hit alone is not probable cause to arrest.”
The information behind the license plates is privacy protected under the 1974 Privacy Act the judges haven’t read. They have no right to stop or pursue. So manyy lives could have been saved from these reckless warrantless pursuits had the “high speed chase” been properly identifed as a violation of laws by curve-graded, non-reading prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys and judges.
Thanks to “the curve” we’ve got a candidate for vice president in the U.S. Senate who failed her bar association exam. That explains why she chose politics instead of practicing real law. Politics is the only place where a district attorney can be a known violator of the U.S. Constitution, federal and state laws, and the rights of citizens, and ask for a higher office on the promise they’ll perform better in the new office than the one they left in a mess. Harris should be facing criminal charges for violating rights under the color of law, dereliction of duty, theft in office and obstruction of official business for the way she served San Francisco residents.
American Negro Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas is on record as being anti-busing. Me … too. I hated that shit and I campaigned against it for a school board seat in Cleveland in 1983. Me and Carl Stokes had words over it at the Carter Manor during a candidate debate that year. He was running for a municipal court judgeship against Phil Parisi. I’d ripped the NAACP for promoting that racially-demeaning thinking that equality for American Negroes meant sitting next to Caucasian children.
What we’d learned in East Saint Louis is that Caucasians were unable to compete with us. The curve benefited them. It didn’t benefit us. When our lesser students left our schools they were A students elsewhere. We improved students we interacted with in other schools by lifting their scores. From our perspective Caucasian teachers were sent to American Negro schools to weaken us. Imagine all four of my American Negro male teachers from the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grades standing in front of the class in suits and ties teaching. These are out standards that don’t exist anywhere in education today.
So when Thomas writes Supreme Court opinions reflecting the “true” culture of the American Negro it’s understood to those of us who know that we are not “improved” simply because Amerian Negro students sit next to Caucasians. To know the pride American Negroes feel for our brother one had to watch his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing and how he handled that punk azz JOe Biden.
Thomas’ words were also reflected in President Warren G. Harding’s Birmingham Address on October 21, 1921. I’ve shared a link. Read all his words. This fellow Ohio journalist and “passing for Caucasian” American Negro was a beautiful thinker and writer. The words below reflect the tip of the iceberg of the care he had for the American Negro.
Coming as Americans do from many origins of race, tradition, language, color, institutions, heredity; engaged as we are in the huge effort to work an honorable national destiny from so many different elements; the one thing we must sedulously avoid is the development of group and class organizations in this country. There has been time when we heard too much about the labor vote, the business vote, the Irish vote, the Scandinavian vote, the Italian vote, and so on. But the demagogues who would array class against class and group against group have fortunately found little to reward their efforts. That is because, despite the demagogues, the idea of our oneness as Americans has risen superior to every appeal to mere class and group. And so I would wish it might be in this matter of our national problem of races. I would accent that a black man can not be a white man, and that he does not need and should not aspire to be as much like a white man as possible in order to accomplish the best that is possible for him. He should seek to be, and he should be encouraged to be, the best possible black man, and not the best possible imitation of a white man.
Had Harris known more of our history she would also see no “first” in Barack Obama’s election to the presidency. Yes. Harding was a “passing for white” American Negro. So was John Edgar Hoover, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson and Calvin Coolidge. Obama is not an American Negro unless his mother, Ann Dunham, is a “one dropper.” He’s Negro on his father’s side, but not American.
There is storyline immigrants and illegal aliens are promoting to justify their presence that they’re here for the jobs natural born Americans “don’t want.” That now, according to the Democratic National Committee, includes the vice presidency and presidency of the United States of America; and all the federal jobs and appointments that go along with the positions. Judgeships, banking and commerce … all. From their perspective we’re too dumb and lazy to run the nation our ancestors built; and that their progeny has maintained and built upon.
The stereotype is a lie. So is the lie that somehow the children of immigrants are smarter than natural born Americans. Harris didn’t pass the California bar examination on her first try with the highest test score.
I’m reminded of the first American Negro superstar comedian. Lincoln Perry known by the stage name of Stepin’ Fetchit. He lived in Los Angeles in a mansion during his star years of earning more than $10 million between 1920 and 1941. His housekeepers and drivers were Chinese and Indian immigrants.
U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge is my Congresswoman. I backed her for the job after Stephanie Tubbs Jones died. We were at Huron Hospital with her family. She’s never disappointed me until now. I very firmly believe she was a vastly superior selection for the job than Harris; and one that was not considered.
As American Negroes we have to elevate “our” best and brightest; and not let others select who they like to “represent” us. The only person I see Harris elevating is herself. It won’t be at my expense. She can’t represent me or any proud American Negro I know. She represents Indians and Jamaicans whose ancestors did not build this nation; and barely built their own. I’m good.