Editorial: Racist allegations are way out of date

Today, in 1865, the states ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in America. The amendment read, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Don’t you think its high time people in St Augustine stop acting as if it was yesterday?

Seven years ago, the Florida State Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights found that the St Johns County school district operated 36 schools and had an enrollment of about 25,000 students.

At that time, whites were almost 90 percent of the school district’s enrollment and African Americans comprised most of the remaining students.

Despite growth in numbers of students and schools, the racial percentage breakdown remain constant today; borne out by 2010 US Census demographics and 2011 St Johns County voter registrations.

In the Committee report to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, Florida State Advisory Committee chair, Dr. Elena M. Flom, said, “the era of de jure segregation has ended”. De jure segregation means racial separation forced by specific laws. All such laws were eliminated by the mid-1960’s in America. Therefore, today in the United States, there is no such thing as “de jure segregation”.

Laurels to Dr. Flom.

On October 10, 2005, Public School Superintendent Dr. Joseph G. Joyner wrote to the Southern Regional Office Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Peter Minarik. Joyner said, “To seek unitary status would require tremendous time and effort of the part of staff and expense on the part of the District in the form of legal and consulting fees.”

Joyner concluded, “Frankly, our time, effort, and the public’s money is better spent on educating the students in our District than in concluding this court proceeding.”

Laurels to Dr. Joyner.

The Advisory Committee unanimously agreed that 1970’s era “one-size fits all” Court Orders, like the one under which St Johns County schools still operate, are obsolete and unnecessary since they “rarely fit, especially in such a complex culture and on a complex issue”.

Yet, this month, we witnessed great theatre before the St Johns County School Board; orchestrated by both local and out-of-town African-American special interests. Their purpose was apparent — use the once-a-decade requirement to apportion school districts in accordance with population changes to the political advantage of black voters by creating enhanced minority voting blocks.

The political grandstanding of a few opportunists, like County Commissioner Ken Bryan, was obnoxious — not just to me, but to members of the School Board who said in last week’s meeting that they felt pressured to make a “politically motivated decision” about redistricting instead of a better plan focused solely on the needs of local schoolchildren.

Darts to Ken Bryan who sees racism in the heart of anyone who disagrees with his agenda. He acts like the stereotypical “angry black man”. He makes it his business to hurl humiliating, racist accusations against innocent victims whose only transgression may be to recognize our local African-American residents as a homogenous racial group with equal opportunities to do well economically, politically, socially, or academically. Period.

Darts to Ed Slavin, as well. I have tried (really, I have) to give him credit for incubating some ideas that could benefit the community and I think that he should be left alone to speak his opinions — even if I don’t agree with his conclusions. Slavin quixotically chases windmills. Unfortunately, whether for himself or his employer, Judith Seraphin, nothing good comes from his threats to the school board. Slavin’s knee-jerk threats of lawsuits are as obnoxious as Bryan’s threats to call in the Justice Department.

I’ve had a belly-full of them both. We managed to survive over 400 years before their arrival, it won’t be the end of the world when they leave.

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