“You can’t be a gang-banger and a good parent, no matter how much you love your kids.”
That headlined a Chicago Tribune column by Dahleen Glanton in May, after Jaslyn Adams, 7, was shot dead while sitting in a car with her father at a McDonald’s drive-thru. “A man who puts his child in danger, even for love, is not a good father no matter how much he claims to be,” Glanton wrote. “When a bullet meant for him kills a child, he becomes an unwitting accomplice in the murder.”
Following Jaslyn’s death — and that of another Chicago youth, 13-year-old Adam Toledo, shot by police a split-second after tossing his gun — McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski sent a text message to Mayor Lori Lightfoot about the “tragic shootings”: “With both, the parents failed those kids, which I know is something you can’t say. Even harder to fix.” The text became public recently, calls for Kempczinski’s resignation followed, and the CEO has embarked on an apology tour.
There’s nothing to apologize for. Jaslyn’s father, who was injured but survived, has a long criminal record and acknowledged on social media that he knew he was a target for gang retaliation. Adam Toledo’s encounter with police occurred at 2:30 a.m. He and a 21-year-old accomplice — a repeat gun offender — were captured on video shooting at random moving cars when someone called the cops on them. Gunpowder residue was found on the boy’s hand. When an armed seventh-grader dies while roaming the streets in the middle of the night with a felon, are we not allowed to discuss parental supervision?
Kempczinski was stating a plain truth. The problem, as he also noted, is that stating plain truths has become verboten — especially in regard to the behavior of racial and ethnic minorities like the victims in Chicago. We are supposed to pretend that the high rates of violent crime and other social pathologies among low-income blacks and Hispanics can be blamed entirely on systemic racism and that the individuals themselves are blameless.
How can we address these and other social disparities if we can’t have honest conversations about what’s driving them? And the political left’s attempts to silence truth-tellers will only delay those conversations. Earlier this year, a Georgetown University law professor was terminated for musing aloud that year after year, many of her black students tended to have the lowest grades. Not long ago, a University of Pennsylvania law professor was reprimanded for similar remarks.
In neither case did anyone present evidence showing that what the professors said was untrue or that they harbored any ill will toward black students. They were attacked — as racists, no less — for saying something well-known among academics at elite institutions but impermissible to discuss.
But why wouldn’t black students admitted to highly selective schools with poorer academic credentials struggle? College admissions tests do a fairly good job of predicting how a first-year student will fare.
“A number of studies have shown that blacks at elite colleges have GPAs that place them somewhere between the 15th and 20th percentile of white students,” write Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor Jr. in their 2012 book “Mismatch.” Moreover, “only 5 percent of blacks and less than one-tenth of Hispanics end up in the top fifth of the class, and blacks are four or five times as likely as whites to end up in the bottom tenth.”
If schools knowingly admit applicants with lower test scores than the institution’s average student, it’s no great shock that those students concentrate at the bottom of the class. Racial preferences in college admissions set up smart kids to fail, and school administrators take it out on professors stating the obvious. The student who would do fine at less-selective Michigan State gets shoehorned into the more-selective University of Michigan because affirmative-action advocates care more about racial and ethnic diversity than about graduation rates.
The learning gap in education is no less a concern than the gun violence in our inner cities. There’s a strong case to be made that the two are closely connected, given that our jails and prisons aren’t teeming with college graduates. We ought to be having serious discussions about how best to move forward on both fronts. But that’s less likely to happen if well-intentioned people can’t state simple truths without having their character assassinated and their livelihood threatened.
From The Wall Street Journal