Politics

Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams: Public school system a bigger threat to blacks than the Klan

Photo of Jeff Poor
Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

Thursday on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program, fill-in host Walter E. Williams, a professor at George Mason University, and Hoover Institution scholar in residence Thomas Sowell, author of “Intellectuals and Society: Revised and Expanded Edition,” discussed public education and how it impacts the black community.

Sowell said Americans need to honestly answer some tough questions blacks and the public school system. “It’s very hard to take sometimes, but it has to be done,” he said.

“Wherever blacks or anybody else wants to go in life, they can’t only get there from where they are, which means they have to know where they are — not where they wish they were or for other people to think they are, but where they are in fact. The truth is absolutely the key to any hope of advancement.”

Williams likened that public education system to the Ku Klux Klan.

“I’ve said that, Tom, that if I were the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan and I wanted to sabotage any opportunity for black academic excellence, I could not think of a better means for doing so than the public education establishment in most of our cities,” Williams said.

Sowell agreed, adding that at this time their “friends” can do much more harm than their enemies.

“Absolutely true,” Sowell said. “I mean, we’ve reached the point where groups like the Ku Klux Klan can’t do very much to stop us. But our friends can do a lot to stop us.”

Sowell was a product of Stuyvesant High School in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, and went on to study at Howard University, Columbia University and the University of Chicago. But he said the public school education he received in the 1940s isn’t available in 2012.

“People say ‘Isn’t it wonderful’ that I went through the Harlem schools and went on to these big universities,” he explained. “Well, the Harlem schools in those days were different than the Harlem schools today. If you wanted an education, you could get it in the middle of Harlem. That is not true today when we have so much utter nonsense taking up time, and we have so many judicial rulings making it impossible to maintain discipline.”

Follow Jeff on Twitter