May 13, 2010

Hating Whitey for $61K a Year

Flipping through yesterday’s Buffalo News, we were more than a little irked to read that an Assistant U.S. Attorney General came to Byron Brown’s Buffalo to detail a litany of why white people are bad.
For one thing, we’re white people. For another, we pay this clown’s salary. Seeing a picture of him klatsching with Byron Brown after telling folks in Buffalo to hate whitey, well, it kind of irks us. We’re not defending racism—it’s real and it’s a horrible sin. But this assistant AG, Thomas E. Perez, sees a white devil’s conspiracy in every seeming disparity. Consider one of Perez’s major talking points:
“Two high schools in a South Carolina community were a study of racial inequality: One school that was 100 percent black offered five Advanced Placement courses, while the other with a more-even mix of black and white students and offered about 10 Advanced Placement classes.
We’re trying to understand Perez’s complaint. Is the message that blacks who mix with whites are treated preferentially? Because unless you have an overwhelmingly white student body treated better than an overwhelmingly black one, you’re going to have a hard time proving racism.
Perez also complains that “On the same night Obama won the presidential race, a group of white racists on Staten Island attacked a group of black people for no other reason than a black president was elected.” Well, if that occurred, that’s unfortunate, but one incident is hardly proof of widespread racism—particularly against the backdrop of a majority of Americans electing a minority president at the exact same moment. (On a side note, Mr. Perez was strangely silent about the Black Panther militants who seized a Philadelphia polling station the same day—which, we might add, strikes us as a far greater threat to race relations than an isolated fight in Staten Island.)
Still, we could brush this off as little more than a collective whine about what an unfair society we live in, that a black man can’t get elected mayor of Buff—uh, a black man can’t be gov—er, um, a black man can’t become pres—dammit. We’re having a hard time validating Perez’s notion of what a terrible racist place America is. But as we were saying, we could brush all this off, except for this line in the story:
The conference was hosted by the City of Buffalo’s Commission on Citizens Rights and Community Relations, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary of service. The theme was the Unfinished Business of Civil Rights.
We briefly hoped this was one of those “commissions” that doesn’t cost anyone anything, and exists just to shut up a noisy group.
Nope! Turns out that someone named Crystal J. Rodriguez is the commission’s executive director. And in the state fiscal year ending March 31, 2009, she brought down $61,298 in salary, plus an executive assistant (and, presumably, benefits). Buffalo’s taxpayers are really getting their money’s worth there!
$61,000 to bash whitey. Nice work if you can find it.

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