Pat Buchanan Blames Blacks and Hispanics For America’s Education Woes

In a 2009 study of students in developing and developed countries, the United States ranked lower than most countries in educational performance regardless that we spend more per pupil than any other country except Luxembourg. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, “This is an absolute wake-up call for America,” and that, “We have to face the brutal truth. We have to get much more serious about investment in education.” It is true that America invests heavily in education, but there are factors that are not directly related to funding, and certainly not related to race.

However, without doing any research, Pat Buchanan cited a racist who claims that the statistics of the Paris-based OECDs Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests in reading, math and science skills of 15-year-olds in over 30 countries suggest that America’s low standing is because of the diminished learning ability of Hispanic and Black students. In other words, Buchanan believes that Black and Hispanic students have lower IQs than white and Asian students and are responsible for the decline in performance on standardized tests.

American students ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in math; China ranked highest in the PISA tests. Buchanan cited Robert Weissberg’s assessment that the reason America ranks so low is because Hispanic and Black students do not have the intelligence to learn and are a drag on the educational system.

Weissberg’s claims are unfounded and nothing more than racist views that without Hispanic and Black students, America’s white students would score on par with any other country in the world. Weissberg writes:

America’s educational woes reflect our demographic mix of students. Today’s schools are filled with millions of youngsters, many of whom are Hispanic immigrants struggling with English plus millions of others of mediocre intellectual ability disdaining academic achievement.” He continues his racist rhetoric when he says, “To be grossly politically incorrect, most of America’s educational woes vanish if these indifferent, troublesome students left when they had absorbed as much as they were going to learn and were replaced by learning-hungry students.”

Weissberg’s comments may sound convincing to white Americans who are looking for reasons to disparage minorities *and immigrants, but he is speaking from a point of view that contradicts studies that say school success depends on one factor unrelated to race or any other demographic. Interestingly, Weissberg’s contention that 80% of a school’s success is dependent on two factors: the cognitive ability of the student and the disposition they bring to the classroom – is partially correct according to the Harvard Family Research Project.

The 2005 Harvard study cites family involvement as the overriding factor in a student’s success, and their continuing research has confirmed their findings in a 2009 study. The Harvard study’s results say that if families value education and reinforce the importance of learning at home, students excel in school and standardized tests. The results show that success is assured across all demographics regardless of low-performing schools or inadequately trained teachers. In short, performance has nothing to do with a student’s race or contrived cognitive ability.

Buchanan’s reference to VDARE, a White Nationalist group that bemoans the “darkening of America” shows his overtly racist bent, and is meant to play to the anti-immigrant crowd looking for any reason to rail against Hispanics and Blacks. In citing VDARE and Weissberg, Buchanan’s commentary points out that African and Latin American countries are the lowest scoring nations on the PISA tests and that immigrants from those countries continue to be cognitively challenged in the American educational system. Buchanan cites Weissberg’s claims that white students in America score as well as their counterparts in Europe, and that there is a serious disparity between white students and students of color.

It is nothing new that many people in America still cling to the notion that racial minorities are cognitively challenged and inferior to the white race. Racism is a vile disease that reared its ugly head with the election of Barack Obama, and one just needs to look at the makeup and rise of militia groups and the Tea Party to understand that America is filled with racists and there seems no end in sight.

As America becomes more homogenized into a racially diverse population, the white supremacist mindset that devalues people of color is desperately clinging to the idea that god has anointed white America as his chosen people. The fact that there are still people who believe minorities are inferior and damaging America’s standing in the world is disgraceful, and remains a divisive force that can only end badly.

After President Obama’s election, gun sales skyrocketed and have continued unabated with no end in sight, and racist politicians in the South are contributing to the problem on a daily basis. Buchanan’s commentary on education is nothing more than an overt attack on racial equality and his citing racist organizations as legitimate sources shows his true beliefs. There are numerous credible institutions and studies that contradict Weissberg and VDARE’s assertions that students of color are inferior, but Buchanan conveniently ignores them because they do not go along with his white supremacist rhetoric.

America is at the tipping point where there is not a racial majority and it frightens many Americans. Buchanan’s commentary on the education system serves no useful purpose except to stir up animosity toward people of color, and accusing them of hurting the education system in America is a ploy to engender more hatred for immigrants leading up to the incoming Congress that is bent on eliminating birthright citizenship guaranteed in the 14th Amendment.

Fortunately, the Hispanic voting bloc will remember the slights from people like Buchanan, and like they did in California and Nevada, will reject the racial hatred and vitriol that is rampant in the Republican Party at the ballot box. It may take another election cycle, but Buchanan and his Republican cohorts will find that as America becomes less white, their anti-immigrant, anti-minority mindset will be swept away like the garbage it is, and they will learn that Hispanics and Blacks are intelligent enough to see white supremacists and wipe them off the political landscape for generations to come, and America will be the better for it.

Image: MyHumbleOpinion.org

20 Replies to “Pat Buchanan Blames Blacks and Hispanics For America’s Education Woes”

  1. Another great article, Rmuse. As usual, the GOP identifies an actual problem and turns to fear and xenophobia as the solution rather than looking at actual evidence.

    Goodness knows, illiteracy hasn’t existed in this country up till now /s

    P.S. I wonder how Pat explains Palin’s illiteracy issues?

  2. This is the same Pat Buchanan that drools over Sarah Palin in all her staggering stupidity. I watched him on the Rachel Maddow show once, and he actually said that only whites built this country. True to form, Ms. Maddow corrected him, but he is 72 years old and has had this same mindset all his life. There is a problem concerning education in this country, and it is partly due to the celebration of anti-intellectualism.
    Palin is the personification of the very thing Buchanan claims to deplore. In addition, demagogues like her, Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, and others thrive on uneducated and fearful people to keep making them rich.

    Like you say, RMuse, a big problem is that this country does not invest in education sufficiently for all of its citizens. As a black woman whose daughter did just fine, and whose grandson is in an advanced English class, I find his remarks both patronizing and ignorant. I know exactly what you mean when you say that students with parents who value education and reinforce that value do well, regardless of race. This man is an outstanding example of those who see the country changing in leaps and bounds and can’t deal with it. Instead of accepting an America in all its diverse beauty and potential, he and others long for a mythical America that has never truly existed. But I find it extremely encouraging and uplifting to come on this site and read the comments of intelligent, well-informed people who show positive pride in their own heritage without diminishing others. Positive pride also enables people to accept and even embrace people who are different from them. People like Buchanan are incapable of doing these things, and they have a difficult time dealing with reality.

  3. The author screams racism while at the same time being a racist. LOL

    I am a Latino man. I live in Chicago where the Democrats have controlled the city for decades! The last thing Democrats care about is Latinos AND blacks. All the Democratic party cares about is making sure that we vote for them. They can careless about our plight, about our struggles, about our community.

    Buchanan is a wacko, who has strange and dangerous ideas about WWII and immigration. The man comes across as a real racist.

    However, the author of this article is no different than Buchanan, both racist.

    1) Using the “logic” of the author, MSNBC is racist since the make-up of MSNBC is 99% what? WHITE!

    2) Using the “logic” of the author, Jon Stewart’s rally before the Nov. elections was made up of racist and it was a racist rally because the crowd was made up of mostly….WHITES!

    3) Using the “logic” of the author, John Kerry is a racist because the make up of his 2004 Presidential run staff was made up mostly of….WHITES!

    I can go on and on, using the “logic” of this author, proving the Left, the Democratic party is full of racist.

    The author makes as many assumptions based on race as much as Pat Buchanan, both are racist, but on the opposite side of the same coin of racism.

    The Democratic party does not care about us Latinos. Anyone that believes this demagoguery is beyond help.

  4. I think education depends on two major issues. First would be the education of the parents and how they are involved in their children’s education. Secondly would be the ability and desire of the child themselves.

    The last people I blame are the teachers and the teachers union. The people who commonly use that as the root of the problem are the ones who fail my first note above.

    If a child has low cognitive ability, but they not going to be college-level potential. Anyone who thinks all children are equal in this way is wrong. I believe our educational system fails because of the process of pushing all kids through the same exact study courses. It is a simple matter to test children and determine which way their skills may lie. At that point students should go into technical areas, math and science or whatever areas the testing may determine to give them the fullest experience. I believe there are many people who graduate in the lower edge of their class who could’ve been at the top of their class had they not been forced to study the same exact things that others studied.

    I think that by doing this the US could once again reign up towards the top in global learning, and prove the Buchananites wrong as they always are.

  5. You question VDARE’s racial breakdown of test scores, that’s fine but do you have another breakdown that suggests that their numbers are not accurate? VDARE’s numbers are not hard to believe given that the same racial differences in almost all standardized test scores are very common.

  6. You are so right, but a lot of the low-skill, well-paying jobs have left this country. There’s no denying that kids don’t all have equal abilities, but training kids and educating them according to their abilities can produce useful, productive citizens regardless of intellectual gifts or deficits.

  7. As a teacher, I can tell you that VDARE’s racial breakdown of test scores is largely accurate, although their interpretation of that data is markedly less so.

    Race is inextricably linked to socio-economic status and educational opportunity in this country, largely due to institutionalized racism and “white flight” from our urban cores. It’s a bit specious, at best, to extract ONE thread—ethnicity—from a complex web of causality and blame it for the whole garment.

    From Welfare’s war on black family structure to tests reqwuired to be given in a language some testers barely speak, the issues are far more complex than just “dark skinned children can’t cut it.”

  8. Did you – or any of these commenters – actually READ Buchanan’s article. I wont defend the MAN – he’s a rightwing wacko. But you’ve TOTALLY misconstrued the point of this column.

    Nowhere does Buchanan claim whites have higher IQ’s than anyone. He doesn’t even mention IQ’s. At all. And he doesn’t compare whites to anyone in terms of ABILITY. Nor does he “blame” minorities for failing schools. No wonder your blog lacks direct quotes to support your claim; they don’t exist, because he isn’t saying what you say he is saying.

    He does point out the obvious – in American schools, white students test higher than minorities on the whole. He also repeats what any good progressive (ie: me, probably most of you) would conclude: WE (society, the school system, the govt) are FAILING minority children, not the other way around.

    Again, his actual words: “What American schools are failing at, despite the trillions poured into schools since the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is closing the racial divide.

    We do not know how to close the gap in reading, science and math between …Anglo and Asian students and black and Hispanic students.

    And from the PISA tests, neither does any other country on earth.”

    Who can dispute this truth?

    To summarize: Buchanan argues not that minorites are failing the schools, but that the schools are failing minorities.

    Anyone disagree?

    Please take the time to read what Buchanan actually wrote, rather than just accepting the interpretation of this half-baked blog

  9. This article is nothing more than a hit piece. Did the author actually bother to READ the article?

    Unlike the numerous countries that were tested, America is a sampling of the whole world in one big melting pot. Even after breaking down the ethnic and racial results, the fact remains that all populations in American schools fared better than their countries of origin.

    The bottom line is that we have many barriers before we’re on equal footing academically, and the primary obstacle is the language barrier, which reflects on the overall scores of every “American.”

  10. I thought Republicans were the ones that didn’t want sex education or science taught in schools due to religious hang-ups.

  11. For the record, I did read Buchanan’s article 4 times. I also did extensive study of the Harvard study. I suggest reading it by following the link provided.

  12. Great work as usual and it looks like you hit another nerve. Lots of people comment without reading or fail to comprehend what they read or they’re pretending to not understand what they read because it’s accurate.

    If people don’t agree, they need to discuss the issue at hand, not feign ignorance or attack the author as not having read something he linked to (and something I fear most of them never bothered to read; i.e., the Harvard study).

    Some people’s ignorance is not equal to other’s expertise when it comes to opinions.

  13. As you note, the biggest problem in schools is a one-size-fits-all mindset and it is retarding a majority of the student population. As an educator, I’ve seen all the creative aspects of education removed. No music, art, industrial arts etc.

    Students are kids who need and relish creative outlets as an addendum to the core subjects. Until we let our kids go where their skills and passions take them, we’ll continue building a populace that will worship Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Fox News as the provocateurs of knowledge and guidance.

  14. You’re right! Not every student will be a Physician or Astrophysicist. Just a well-rounded education for all students. The big problem is the media and politicians point at low test scores and blame teachers. Parents have no clue how to deal with their kids and the importance of education and that mindset becomes the student’s. A vicious cycle that by the 6th or 7th grade, they’re lost and it may take 2 years to get their heads back in the game.

    School districts won’t help because telling parents they’re wrong means school board and administrators are voted out or recalled. It’s much easier to say the teachers are bad. Standard procedure with a few well-placed slights at the union for good measure. Worse part of teaching.

  15. So true that socio-economics plays a giant role. It is a major factor in parent’s ability to impress on children the value of education. Just walking in and telling the kid to “do your homework” and going to school functions won’t cut it. It’s not just reading to your kids either. It is a mindset that starts at home and the kid picks up on it the same way they mimic their parent’s mannerisms and personalities. It is difficult for parents who don’t know how they’ll pay the rent next month to focus on education. Republicans have consistently blocked social programmes to help parents. It is a well-planned scheme that is working and the GOP is exchanging high-fives all around.

  16. Candy, you are right that the test scores of black and hispanic students in the US are lower on average than whites, but this is not because of genetics – it’s about economics. It’s a fact that the black and hispanic communities in American today are extremely impoverished and family breakdown has become widespread. This is a complex phenomenon, and no one is exactly sure how it all happened. Racism certainly played a role, and now it’s like an endless cycle of poverty and violence and more poverty.

    The point though is basically that the plight of black and hispanic students today has nothing to do with the color of their skin – other than that their skin color got them into the socioeconomic situation that they are in today. And that is certainly because of racism in the past – segregation and whatnot. Even if racism is cured in many places today, the poverty is not.

    Finally, I’m sure that if you went to an extremely white but impoverished state like West Virginia, you’d find similar if not worse math and reading scores.

  17. I think he’s saying it’s cultural not racial. Jews and asians value education highly while hispanics and blacks and their families don’t or not as much or in as great a percentage.

    So it’s not saying they ARE inferior but their performance IS inferior which it obviously is.

    “For the record, I did read Buchanan’s article 4 times” lol

  18. Saying that while anglo and asian children perform at a higher level in the same schools and then saying its because of schools the other minorities are failing is self defeating. Why then are the asian children not failing? They must be subject to the same racial hatred that is the only plausible cause for the minorities low performance… Or is it that … I don’t know if ill be hunted down for this, that they have different abilities not related to environment, i.e. biological differences!
    To say so in today’s political climate is tantamount to committing social suicide, this going in the face of numerous reasons to investigate these biological differences. No scientists are willing to undertake such studies though for the fear they will be called racist, so we continue on blaming america “white people” for the failing of minorities, except for those pesky asians ,why do they have to do so well and put a peg in the politically correct theory.

  19. Well when america was mostly white , we were on top of everything , now look!! You cant blame Asians or whites.

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