- The Washington Times - Friday, January 11, 2002

Harvard needs a new president. My candidate is Shelby Steele. After only a few weeks in office, Harvard's current president, Larry Summers, has been emasculated by Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the Afro-American Studies department.

Mr. Summers tried to rehabilitate academic standards, but Harvard's Afro-American Studies profs prefer cutting rap CDs, advising Al Sharpton and handing out high grades. They let Mr. Summers know that he could accept their secession from accountability or they would play the race card.

The aptly named Mr. Steele, a scholar at Stanford, has the backbone needed for the Harvard presidency. As he is black himself, race cards won't work on him.

Moreover, Mr. Steele understands the problem. "Whites lack the authority to say what they see," says Mr. Steele. Facts have to be denied if the facts can be accused of "insensitivity" to blacks. Consequently, whites cannot enforce standards and have become silent throughout the educational system as mediocrity destroys excellence.

The outcome is disastrous: "The public schools are all but devastated, universities are stunted by ideology, corporations are more unctuous than churches, the media are more unctuous yet, and American politicians of left and right speak in barren clichés."

"The vacuum in white authority," says Mr. Steele, is "cancerous." Mediocrity rules. Victimology replaces fact-based learning as muted whites fear to prod blacks to serious achievement. The universities and public schools have become extensions of the welfare system where blacks learn to "live off the largess of white guilt."

Think about it. What kind of soldiers would recruits make if sergeants were deferential?

As the case of Larry Summers has proven, no white person can revitalize Harvard scholarship and push black students and faculty to their best performance. But Shelby Steele can. If Harvard led the way, other universities might follow.

On that note, I have black candidates for two more Ivy League universities where academic standards are drowning in white guilt: Thomas Sowell for president of Princeton and Walter Williams for president of Yale.

These three appointments would revitalize learning in America.

With blacks as president, these three universities could dispense with their fraudulent Afro-American Studies departments. These departments teach blacks to hate whites, whites to hate themselves, and spend the remainder of their efforts agitating for slavery reparations.

A case can be made that whites have been paying reparations for decades under the pseudonyms of welfare and Social Security disability. Indeed, many of the whites paying the reparations are taxed as severe as 19th century slaves.

Americans think of slaves as people forced to work in cotton fields. Some did, but others worked in urban environments in homes and factories. Others known as "free agents" entered the labor force and were paid wages. As today, their wages were subjected to withholding, which was remitted to their owners, whereas our withheld wages go to the IRS.

The tax rate was high, but not so burdensome as to prevent slaves from saving enough to purchase their freedom, something we cannot do from the IRS today. In this one respect, a 19th century slave was better off than a 21st century American taxpayer.

There are a lot of victims in a country, and they are not all black. We could do something about the black and white victims of shoddy education. All we need is Shelby Steele as president of Harvard to lead the way.

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