Conclusion—In Baltimore and in Flint: How good are the "chances at life" of the 48,000?
Those kids are numbered among the living, so nobody actually cares! In fairness, it's probably good that nobody cares, since their chances don't seem super-great.
We refer to the 48,000 kids enrolled in Detroit's public schools. We're drawn to remarkable data sets. As we noted yesterday, these numbers qualify:
Average scores, Grade 8 math, 2015 Naep:Those are horrible numbers. In 2015, at the eighth grade level, the average black kids in Detroit was scoring maybe four years below the average American white kid. For white kids who come from professional backgrounds, just look at that number from D.C., whose white students tend to come from homes with double advanced degrees.
Detroit, black students: 242.03
Chicago, black students: 262.09
United States, black students: 259.85
United States, white students: 291.06
Washington, D.C., white students: 315.72
"Chances at life" don't seem super-great for the 48,000! As we noted yesterday, neither do the living conditions inside their rat-infested schools.
On Sunday, December 10, we thought about the 48,000 for the better part of an hour. We thought about them as we watched Professor Miles weep for the 85, or perhaps the 200—for members of the honored dead who lived and died in bondage in way-back early Detroit.
Those people are no longer with us. They can't be helped at this point. The 48,000 are living today—and it's plain that nobody cares.
In particular, no one cares about those kids on our liberal tribe's corporate "cable news" channel. On that entertaining channel, the 48,000 don't exist. Instead, multimillionaire cable stars feed us the porridge which marketing research tells them we very much like.
Apparently, it's been found that we don't like to hear about the 48,000. For that reason, they're never mentioned by cable stars. Instead, we get the type of manifest bullshit we were handed last night.
On CNN and MSNBC, last night was an evening of world-class moral posing. That said, do we the audience have two brain cells to rub together? Our favorite star began her evening of moral posing with roughly seven minutes of quality blather—blather concerning typos.
Below, you see the way she began. This lengthy passage constituted the first seven-plus minutes of last night's show. Later, we'll recall the one lone time, long ago, when she turned to the 48,000:
MADDOW (1/11/18): [We'll post this dreck this afternoon, if the transcript appears]Someone typed "Normay" when they meant to type "Norway!" To watch that consummate bullroar unfold, you can just click here.
Someone typed "Normay" when they meant to type "Norway!" And not only that! Someone typed "peach" when they meant to type "peace!" The piddle continued from there.
Have we in this generation become "inured to the presence" of Donald J. Trump in the White House, as Rachel so thoughtfully said? It's possible! But in this generation, we've also become inured to the presence of people like Maddow as the liberal world's "thought leaders."
Does Maddow feel bad about the current situation "as someone who talks about the news for a living?" Actually, Maddow is someone who talks about herself for a living, as she showed in that passage.
She never discusses the 48,000. In fairness, neither does anyone else on her profit-driven corporate channel. For better or worse, career liberals number the 48,000 among the dead.
Do rank-and-file liberals care about the 48,000? That's a whole different question. But it's abundantly clear that our career players don't.
Consider two other examples:
In July 2015, Ta-Nehisi Coates published a best-selling memoir, Between the World and Me. Liberal thought leaders stood in line to say how brilliant it was. After they had postured this way, the book produced exactly zero discussion.
Let us relate that book to the plight of the 48,000.
We were struck, in reading Coates' book, by its portrait of the travails of growing up in Baltimore in the 1980s. Coates described no circumstance in which he was mistreated by police. But he described endless circumstances in which he had to deal with the bad conduct of other Baltimore kids who had lost their way in the world. Also, for whatever reason, he repeatedly described the ways he was physically punished by his father.
We taught school in Baltimore during that general period. We can think of other kids who had to endure all that unfortunate conduct "in the streets."
No discussion of that burden emerged in the wake of Coates' book. In fairness, there's an obvious reason for that. Nobody cares about the 48,000, or about their counterparts in other locales. Nothing could be more clear.
Now, let's journey to Flint. Remember how our corporate leaders pretended to care about Flint?
This brings us back to the Maddow Show. No one yelled about Flint any more than Maddow did. At the same time, no one developed less information about the actual danger faced by that city's actual kids, peers of the 48,000.
Maddow played it as she typically does—as a chance to get Somebody Bad locked up. For that reason, she kept caterwauling about way those kids had been "poisoned" by Governor Snyder. She never tried, as Kevin Drum did, to explain the actual state of play.
Rachel got everyone good and scared, stroking herself as she did. In January of last year, Drum posted the tragic excerpt shown below, taken fromthis report by Sarah Stillman in The New Yorker.
We'll now admit it! We were the ones who recommended this part of Stillman's report to Drum, who had done yeoman work on the topic of lead exposure. In this passage, Stillman describes the burden people like Maddow had dropped on Flint's parents and kids:
STILLMAN (1/23/17): Key shared a personal story about the son of a family friend [in Flint] who had begun acting out in school. The boy’s mother had come to Key for help. When Key asked the boy what was going on, he replied, “Well, they said I’m not going to be smart anyway.”People like Maddow convinced the world that Flint's kids had been "poisoned." They'd been poisoned by her latest Very Bad Person, who she childishly hoped to lock up.
“These kids are internalizing the messages about how the lead is affecting them,” Key said….It wasn’t immediately clear what had come out of the gathering. But, as she and Tucker-Ray left for their next appointment, Shankar began contemplating aloud the possibilities. She said to Tucker-Ray, “Did you see how my eyes widened when he said that thing about the kids giving up because they think they’re going to be dumb?”
….As their last day in Flint drew to a close, Shankar and Tucker-Ray hurried to a final meeting. They had arranged to talk with a disabled Gulf War veteran and community activist named Art Woodson, who didn’t think much of the federal government. At a local municipal building, where an enlarged photograph of corroded lead pipes adorned one wall, Woodson told Shankar about his worry that local kids would give up when lead’s symptoms surfaced, or even before. “What I see,” he said, “is hopelessness.”
In her standard repellent way, she never shared the reams of information which Drum relentlessly presented. Viewers got a pleasing morality play, but almost no real information.
Meanwhile, the children of Flint got scared within an inch of their lives. According to Stillman, some of them were now feeling that they might just as well give up.
To what extent had Flint's kids actually been "poisoned?" According to Drum's many reports, they were recording levels of lead exposure which were entirely commonplace when hustlers like Maddow were growing up in the suburbs. In that same post, Drum explained it like this:
DRUM (1/26/17): This is yet another tragedy. Children in Flint had mildly elevated levels of lead in their bloodstream for about a year or two. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but the effects of this are fairly modest. To put it in terms most people will recognize, it means that some children in Flint will lose about one IQ point. Maybe two. That’s a tragedy, but it’s an even bigger tragedy if kids and their parents respond to this by thinking their lives are permanently ruined. The truth is that in nearly all children, the effects will be only barely noticeable.Were Drum's analyses perfectly accurate? We don't know, largely because no one but Drum ever cared enough to tackle this technical topic.
As usual, Flint's kids were used as a tool. Maddow persistently used those kids to generate tribal excitement and pleasure. In a decent, slightly intelligent world, she would have been dragged off the air.
In fairness, Maddow discussed the 48,000 at least one time in the past. On this rare occasion, she actually stooped to the level of talking about the nation's good decent kids.
We were struck by the school she chose to discuss. Her brief report started like this:
MADDOW (6/19/12): This is a great best new thing in the world today. This is a high school graduation, typical sight this time of the year. But these young women are graduates of a school set up specifically for girls who are pregnant or who have already had young kids. It`s a school that supports its young moms with day care and with parenting classes, along with the traditional fall academic load. It is not an easy school to run, enrollment is never predictable, the student body obviously needs more support than any traditional school.Maddow discussed a small number of the 48,000; she has never bothered with those rat-infested schools. In fairness, Maddow assured us last night that she doesn't have a racist bone in her body. And that's good, because otherwise people might think that black kids only become real to her when they seem to be transgressive in the familiar old ways.
But at this school, the Catherine Ferguson Academy in Detroit, it is very much needed. And that is a fact that the Detroit school board recognized when they kept it open when it would have been cheaper to shut down Catherine Ferguson. This time last year, the very existence of this school was in doubt, and an emergency financial manager in charge of the Detroit schools decided that Catherine Ferguson Academy was going to be closed.
How are the "chances in life" of the 48,000? Their chances doesn't seem all that great, what with their rat-infested schools, their horrible test scores, and the fact that they don't exist within career liberal thought.
By the way, how did that 2016 lawsuit turn out, the one about the rats in the schools of the 48,000? We don't know and you don't either! That's because topics like that are never discussed in the self-indulgent realm created for us by our cable multimillionaires and their corporate owners. Instead of boring us with that, they entertain us with talk about "Normay."
Last fall, a professor wept for the honored dead. As she did, the 48,000 struggled ahead in their crumbling schools.
They're never discussed on our "cable news" channel. On corporate liberal cable, the living no longer exist.
For the record: Lawrence discusses the plight of deserving kids, but just if they live in Malawi.