Instead, lessons about civil rights are combined with lessons about contemporary “social justice.” Students are told that living conditions were so bad that the rioting and other acts of violence that came with the public demonstrations were justified. (Schuyler’s recital of rising living standards among blacks during the 1960s go ignored, as does the fact that rioting increased after passage of civil rights bills and increased funding for government assistance.) Radical groups like the Black Panthers, SNCC, SDS, and CORE that caused controversy and strife among their contemporaries are unambiguously presented in a favorable light. Almost universally, students attribute rioting of the 1960s to the deplorable living conditions of an unfair (capitalist) economic system. The federal government in these lessons is presented as the savior. Federal troops had to desegregate schools, protect black children from ruthless white Southern police, and provide assistance to starving minorities. President Johnson’s massive federal anti-poverty program is presented as an unmitigated good; not mentioned are its failures and break-up of families and communities.
Blacks and Hispanics are told they need the assistance of the federal government as they are courted by activists with socialist agendas.
Contrary to Bookman’s assertion, one does not need personal experience to have historical knowledge. Today’s young adult has been inundated with lessons about the civil rights movement that took place decades before he was born. To him, the civil rights movement is very real. Conversely, he will learn almost nothing in school about how his grandparents saw starvation and executions in the Soviet bloc countries.
Republican outreach to minorities and young people will likely be met with suspicion. Given their lessons in school, they will likely view rich white men as insincere (though not rich black men, like Obama and Jesse Jackson). They will see those like Allen West as pawns of rich white men, and paranoid about communism to boot.
Conversely, they will see those like Bill Ayers and members of SNCC, SDS, and even the Black Panthers as heroes from the civil rights era. They will see Van Jones as taking up the mantle.
Republicans will never win this contest. They may play the game and grant amnesty to illegal aliens. But progressives will always give such groups more goodies while they indoctrinate them in anti-Americanism and anti-conservatism in the schools. Republicans may initiate entrepreneurship programs for black youth, especially for those with criminal records, but government programs never do as well as the free market in creating permanent jobs. Republicans may try to put out a message of hipness, as Marco Rubio did with his discussion of his favorite rap artist Eminem, but their opponents will always have something more hip and radical. And as Rubio is already discovering, being a Hispanic candidate does not protect one from being trapped by leading questions on creationism (or abortion, or even reading material).
It has been only weeks since the election. What Republicans and conservatives need to do is to shake off the false guilt and false reality that they have been imprisoned by. They need to begin educating now about a proud history of opportunity, freedom, and respect for the law, tradition, and culture. That transcends all demographic categories.