Does Black Success Matter?

By Thomas Sowell

Does Black Success Matter?
Does Black Success Matter?
Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell

USA –  -( We keep hearing that “black lives matter,” but they seem to matter only when that helps politicians to get votes, or when that slogan helps demagogues demonize the police.

The other 99 percent of black lives destroyed by people who are not police do not seem to attract nearly as much attention in the media.

What about black success? Does that matter? Apparently not so much.

We have heard a lot about black students failing to meet academic standards. So you might think that it would be front-page news when some whole ghetto schools not only meet, but exceed, the academic standards of schools in more upscale communities.

There are in fact whole chains of charter schools where black and Hispanic youngsters score well above the national average on tests. There are the KIPP (Knowledge IS Power Program) schools and the Success Academy schools, for example.

Only 39 percent of all students in New York state schools who were tested recently scored at the “proficient” level in math,,

,,but 100 percent of the students at the Crown Heights Success Academy school scored at that level in math. Blacks and Hispanics are 90 percent of the students in the Crown Heights Success Academy.

The Success Academy schools in general ranked in the top 2 percent in English and in the top 1 percent in math. Hispanic students in these schools reached the “proficient” level in math nearly twice as often as Hispanic students in the regular public schools. Black students in these Success Academy schools reached the “proficient” level more than twice as often as black students in the regular public schools.

What makes this all the more amazing is that these charter schools are typically located in the same ghettos or barrios where other blacks or Hispanics are failing miserably on the same tests. More than that, successful charter schools are often physically housed in the very same buildings as the unsuccessful public schools.

In other words, minority kids from the same neighborhood, going to school in classes across the hall from each other, or on different floors, are scoring far above average and far below average on the same tests.

If black success was considered half as newsworthy as black failures, such facts would be headline news — and people who have the real interests of black and other minority students at heart would be asking, “Wow! How can we get more kids into these charter schools?”

Many minority parents have already taken notice. More than 43,000 families are on waiting lists to get their children into charter schools. But admission is by lottery, and far more have to be turned away than can be admitted.

Why? Because the teachers' unions are opposed to charter schools — and they give big bucks to politicians, who in turn put obstacles and restrictions on the expansion of charter schools. These include politicians like New York's “progressive” mayor Bill de Blasio, who poses as a friend of blacks by denigrating the police, standing alongside Al Sharpton.

The net result is that 90 percent of New York City's students are taught in the regular public schools that have nothing like the success of charter schools run by KIPP and Success Academy.

That makes sense only politically, because it gains the money and the votes of the teachers' unions, for whom schools exist to provide jobs for their members, rather than to provide education for children.

If you want to understand this crazy and unconscionable situation, just follow the money and follow the votes.

Black success is a threat to political empires and to a whole social vision behind those empires. That social vision has politicians like Bill de Blasio and Hillary Clinton cast in the role of rescuers and protectors of blacks from enemies threatening on all sides. If politicians can promote paranoia, that means bigger voter turnout, which is what really matters to them.

That same social vision allows the intelligentsia, whether in the media or in academia, to be on the side of the angels against the forces of evil. That's heady stuff. And a bunch of kids taking tests doesn't look nearly as exciting on TV as a mob marching through the streets, chanting that they want “dead cops.” Black success has very little to offer politicians or the intelligentsia. But black children's lives and futures ought to matter — and would, if politicians and the intelligentsia were for real.

About Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, as well as a prolific author including Black Rednecks And White Liberals. His website is To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read his articles visit his website above.

  • 25 thoughts on “Does Black Success Matter?

    1. OK, I know this is a quibble, but, for the sake of accuracy, here’s the history behind Tomcat’s erroneous simile about the Xmas Turkey. The correct simile goes, “You are as full of sh#t as the Xmas GOOSE.” It comes from an 18th and 19th century British/American tradition which involved nailing the foot of a GOOSE destined to be Xmas dinner, to the floor and force feeding it (usually with a funnel) for a period of time, in order to fatten it up before cooking it. It was a goose, because that was the traditional Xmas bird in England (remember the story “A Christmas Carol?). The feeding schedule inevitably led to a goose that was not only fat, but also “full of it.” as was the surrounding area, for that matter.

      1. Mpr,I’m sure you also think that racism and hate crimes are only reserved for Whites too don’t you ? In can vote for the bull dyke scumbag !

      1. @Orrin,truth hurts don’t it ? You can check it out if you like. He’s is speaking the truth fool. ‘Nuff said !

    2. The countries with the lowest crime rates in the world are the ones that DONT allow negroes permanent resident status but only a very highly monitored temporary visitation status. Hmmmm,.. I wonder why that is ? ‘Nuff said !

    3. The one really amusing thing about the Milwaukee riots is the knuckle draggers continue to torch their own hoods when they chimp out. Them dumba*ss boneheads do this every time they play with matches. The city of Milwaukee needs to leave it in ruins ! The bones want to burn down they stows,liquor stows,gas stations,etc fine !

    4. Well;
      It looks like the paid dimocrap trolls have invaded to spew their hate and ignorance;
      Thanks loads :
      End the hate
      I have read that they were doing this and now I see the PROOF of it.

    5. It matters because the left would rather this information not be widely known. Anything that puts a crack their agenda affects the entire agenda. If their agenda portrays black Americans as poor, downtrodden, and needful of the democrats for their survival and instead it is pointed out that black Americans are making good use of their educations, hard working, and successful, it makes everything else in that agenda suspect…including their attacks on the 2nd Amendment. It is interesting that the founding fathers placed the 2nd where they did…right between our rights and what in the 1770’s was government overreach and oppression…exactly where it belonged.

    6. You have to admit that a very large portion of the black community has fallen into the dem. trap of allowing the govt. to provide for them lock stock and barrel. They are slaves to the govt. by collecting their medicade, free rent and food stamps. What else do they have to do than to cause mischief because they do not have to plan for their day, their job or their livelihood. They are slaves to the domocrats that do it for their votes. If they don’t agree with what is happening they will burn the city down. Many examples of that and even as recent as this week in Milwaukee. They have to save their selves from this cruel position the govt. has put them into. Yes, we white people are bitter and Obama made us even more so. We are bitter because who do you think pays the taxes that provide for the freebees to use to burn us down. Burning is something they like to do, remember the race wars of the 60’s? Personally, I am proud to have served in the military and worked my whole life to be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I never burned a city down and have no intention to do so. I have lived as a law abiding citizen and paid more than my fair share. enough said.

    7. A shame that some of the readers can’t see the forest for the trees. LBJ started this whole train moving, and now we have the results. Mr Sowell hit this one out of the park. I’ve had the pleasure of GOOD black friends, and experience with GOOD charter schools. The lib plantation and unions don’t want educated blacks, they want welfare voters. Thank you Mr Sowell.

    8. Do you mean the Black ‘community’s success at subverting ‘law enforcement’ nationwide ever since Ferguson, Missouri?

    9. Mr. Sewell’s article has everything to do with our gun rights. The same socialist opportunists that promote infringements on our 2nd amendment are propping up and giving legitimacy to the BLM lie. And those of you who call blacks “the failed race” are ignorant and don’t do the cause of justice any favors. There is no such thing as a failed race but only failed ideologies that can infect any race. Case in point, the bigotry and blind stupidity that condemns any race en masse. So, stop being part of the problem and start being part of the real solution…you backwoods redneck race bater. You’re no better than Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson

    10. It points out another place where Liberals and Dem. Pols are out of touch with reality or want to keep their form of slaves!

      1. Is it “BS” because you can show the cited statistics are wrong?

        Or does it simply challenge your uninformed view of the world?

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