Forget the Shakedown and Look to Rosie and Florence

Charles Payne
Posted: Jul 30, 2014 12:01 AM
Forget the Shakedown and Look to Rosie and Florence

The old poverty pimps and entities with vested interest in stirring the pot and limiting hope are pushing in overdrive these days.

In today’s USA Today, Jesse Jackson is claiming that the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley is a sign of racism and sexism. He is calling on President Obama to do something about it.

“There is no talent shortage. There’s an opportunity shortage.”

Jesse Jackson

What he has done is actually cite the fact that Silicon Valley is hip and put out neat gadgets as the reason it gets a free pass for being one of the most bias industries in the nation. (Of course, he didn’t add that tech giants have been putting a lot of money into politics, including millions to get President Obama re-elected). I have been actively covering this on my show: Making Money with Charles Payne, and think Jackson (and many others) are missing a very important point:

America’s education system, mired in the same mindset of protecting teachers and promoting victimization and hatred of capitalism, is failing our nation.

A big reason schools are failing its students and the nation is beyond putting union interest first is because of a watered-down curriculum that was demanded by people like Jackson, so that all children felt smarter by getting better grades. But in the real world, you either know how to code or you don’t, and a Gentleman’s A throughout high school only makes you underprepared for great Silicon Valley jobs. In fact, it makes you underprepared for life.

Academic success must begin early with serious demands from teachers, parents and students. The so-called achievement gap between black and white students can be traced to long summer vacations where students forget what they’ve learned and don’t bother to feed the brain. White students fade, but do enough during summer break not to recede, whereas black students just aren’t getting any academic reinforcement.

Jackson will find someone to blame for that, too.

Thus far, Jackson has been able to get some big names in tech to reveal diversity (or lack thereof) at their workforce and soon, Pandora and E-bay will join the likes of LinkedIn and Twitter. Each will make for great fodder and headlines, but missed opportunities for an honest assessment of America.

Twitter Diversity

“We” Can do it!

Today’s talk of diversity in Silicon Valley will be focused on race, but there is always the issue of girls being swayed away from STEM education around the time they go to high school. Yet, even when there are efforts to promote strong women, there’s backlash… from women.

Witness the howls when Beyoncé recreated the famous Rosie the Riveter poster.

Designed for Westinghouse, the iconic poster with the caption, “We Can Do it,” was incorporated a year later to promote women coming into the workforce to replace men sent off to fight.

In 1940, women as a percentage of the overall workforce was 27%, by 1945 it climbed to 37%, and from 1% working in aircraft manufacturing it climbed to 65%.

But some say the poster was nothing more than “American war propaganda,” masking the fact that women made 50% less than men and were fired after the war ended.

This is the same kind of silliness that has resulted in the destruction of our educational program. The intolerant left erects barrier after barrier, and each time it looks like one has been cleared, a new compliant emerges.

When I see Rosie the Riveter, I see strength. I also see strength when I look at photos Dorothea Lange. Her ‘Migrant Mother’ photos of Florence Owens Thompson and her children are the ultimate reflection of strength. Real life strength is always fragile, but determined.

These are tough times for too many Americans, but lowering the bar on effort, accountability, and resolve can only make things worse. It’s time to address the issue with a fighting spirit, not looking to take what others have earned, but make sure more Americans are positioned to take charge of their own destiny.

I think role models matter, but the closer they are to being people we actually know, like our mothers and fathers, and friends of the family, the more impactful. As for the next civil rights battle, it’s the fight to ask each person to make themselves better because the sum of our parts is always greater than the whole.