By Walter Williams
When hunting was the major source of food, hunters often used stalking horses as a means of sneaking up on their prey. They would synchronize their steps on the side of the horse away from their prey until they were close enough for a good shot. A stalking horse had a double benefit if the prey was an armed person. If the stalkers were discovered, it would be the horse that took the first shot. That’s what blacks are to liberals and progressives in their efforts to transform America — stalking horses. Let’s look at it.
I’ll just list a few pieces of the leftist agenda that would be unachievable without black political support. Black people are the major victims of the grossly rotten education in our big-city schools. The average black 12th-grader can read, write and compute no better than a white seventh- or eighth-grader. Many black parents want better and safer schools for their children. According to a 2015 survey of black parents, 72 percent “favor public charter schools, and 70 percent favor a system that would create vouchers parents could use to cover tuition for those who want to enroll their children in a private or parochial school” (http://tinyurl.com/y7d57cbg). Black politicians and civil rights organizations fight tooth and nail against charter schools and education vouchers. Why? The National Education Association sees charters and vouchers as a threat to its education monopoly. It is able to use black politicians and civil rights organizations as stalking horses in its fight to protect its education monopoly.
The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 was the nation’s first federally mandated minimum wage law. Its explicit intent was to discriminate against black construction workers. During the legislative debate on the Davis-Bacon Act, quite a few congressmen, along with union leaders, expressed their racist intentions. Rep. Miles Allgood, D-Ala., said: “Reference has been made to a contractor from Alabama who went to New York with bootleg labor. This is a fact. That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country.” American Federation of Labor President William Green said, “Colored labor is being sought to demoralize wage rates.”
The Davis-Bacon Act is still law today. Supporters do not use the 1931 racist language to support it. Plus, nearly every black member of Congress supports the Davis-Bacon Act. But that does not change its racially discriminatory effects. In recent decades, the Davis-Bacon Act has been challenged, and it has prevailed. That would not be the case without unions’ political and financial support to black members of Congress to secure their votes.
Crime is a major problem in many black neighborhoods. In 2016, there were close to 8,000 blacks murdered, mostly by other blacks (http://tinyurl.com/y8snbfga). In that year, 233 blacks were killed by police. Which deaths receive the most attention from politicians, civil rights groups and white liberals and bring out marches, demonstrations and political pontification? It’s the blacks killed by police. There’s little protest against the horrible and dangerous conditions under which many poor and law-abiding black people must live. Political hustlers blame their condition on poverty and racism — ignoring the fact that poverty and racism were much greater yesteryear, when there was not nearly the same amount of chaos. Also ignored is the fact that the dangerous living conditions worsened under a black president’s administration.
There are several recommendations that I might make. The first and most important is that black Americans stop being useful tools for the leftist hate-America agenda. As for black politicians and civil rights leaders, if they’re going to sell their people down the river, they should demand a higher price. For example, if black congressmen vote in support of the Davis-Bacon Act, they ought to demand that construction unions give 30 percent of the jobs to black workers. Finally, many black problems are exacerbated by white liberal guilt. White liberals ought to stop feeling guilty so they can be more respectful in their relationships with black Americans.
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.