‘I don’t understand the dumbing down, potentially, of our students. It doesn’t make much sense…’
(Deroy Murdock) Two remarkable press conferences occurred on the steps of New York’s City Hall not long ago. These events addressed two radical proposals from Mayor Bill de Blasio and the “woker than thou” New York City Council.
Journalists gathered at the behest of two black, Democrat City Council members whose districts are more than 90 percent non-white.
Council Member Robert Cornegy, D-Bedford–Stuyvesant, called the first press conference on Sept. 4 to protest a demand from de Blasio and his de-education Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza’s School Diversity Advisory Group (SDAG).
The race-obsessed panel demanded the elimination of all gifted and talented programs. Cornegy said: “I’ve spoken to parents, for over six years now, who have demanded an expansion of the gifted and talented programs. And the idea—the recommendation of this task force, convened by the mayor, would be to disband it because of segregation—is a ridiculous proposition.
Advocates for advanced learning often contend that when smart children are bored, they become discipline problems. Cornegy concurs and takes this argument to the next level. “A lot of the ZIP codes where Gifted and Talented programs are absent are the same ZIP codes that populated the upstate prisons.”
Cornegy added, “I don’t understand the dumbing down, potentially, of our students. It doesn’t make much sense.”
Council Member Andy King, D-Bronx, convened the second press conference on Oct. 16, this time in a desperate bid to halt the closure of Rikers Island, NYC’s largest jail.
De Blasio’s proposal calls for padlocking Rikers Island, which, as its name betrays, is surrounded by water—perfect for storing criminals. Instead, de Blasio and the City Council aim to open smaller, local jails, which the targeted communities detest.
King asks rhetorically, “How does closing Rikers Island cure the problems that we have in the criminal justice system?”
King described his meeting with de Blasio: “When you tell me that an inmate, quote un-quote—You didn’t call him an inmate; you called them residents—that they will have their own rooms, decorated rooms, WiFi, television, kiosks, can order their own food, I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like someone who is being punished for violating the laws of society. It sounds like they’re going to a hotel.”
King then challenged the Leftists behind this fiasco in the making. “If you want to correct the criminal justice system, then let’s fix the criminal justice system. Be honest and true about us correcting that system. Don’t blame the brick and mortar of Rikers Island.”
Interestingly, at both pressers, the vast majority of those standing behind the speakers were of Chinese descent.
The Chinese community has been politically activated by de Blasio and Carranza’s failed attempt to sink the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), which measures students’ preparedness for Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech Stuyvesant, and other selective campuses.
Worries that some Chinese organizations do not represent their community’s views led activists to protest the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families’ annual fundraiser on Nov. 4.
The protesters compared Vanessa Leung—CACF’s left-wing director—to Judas, gave arriving dinner guests gold-foil-wrapped chocolate medallions, and waved signs that read, “Vanessa Leung Sold Out Asians for 30 Gold Coins.”
Protest organizer Phil Wong said, “CACF supports proposals most Asians oppose. Meanwhile, this organization gets six-digit funding each year from the Mayor’s Office of Contracts.”
“Demographics is destiny” is gospel to most Democrats. This credo contends that as black, Hispanic, and Asian populations expand, a permanent Democrat majority will emerge.
This theory requires that minority group voters overwhelmingly back Democrats. Like good Keynesians, they think statically and ignore how incentives influence behavior.
As Gothamites are starting to learn, when Democrats propose far-Left, common-sense-crushing ideas, many of these historically reliable voters rebel. If these Neo-Marxists keep concocting radical planks, their demographic destiny will be to lead a boutique constituency of snotty snowflakes and rapacious rent seekers.
Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and contributing editor with National Review Online. Charles Vavruska is a Queens-based parent activist.