It’s now a familiar phenomenon. Self-styled “conservatives” are so eager to find a Black person who champions their cause that they’ll latch on to anyone—anyone—who can pass the paper-bag test and who has recently uttered something mildly resembling a “traditional” or “free market” principle. Each month, Beltway operatives think they’ve discovered The One who will convince his racial brethren to "leave the plantation" and start voting Republican. The facts about each dark-skinned sage be damned.
The latest cause célèbre conservatives have rallied around is Kelley Williams-Bolar.
According to legend, Williams-Bolar of Akron, Ohio, was just trying to give her two daughters a better education in the Copley-Fairlawn school district, as she feared subjecting them to the utter hopelessness of her home district of Akron. Her effort was thwarted due to her being “economically disadvantaged.” She thus stands a martyr for “school choice.”
A little scratching of the surface, however, reveals quite a different and sordid story.
Williams-Bolar is a single mother who, along with her daughters, lives in a subsidized home courtesy of the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority at the 900 block of Hartford Avenue, and while many of the nearby gummit schoos are certainly abysmal for reasons regular readers of this website can readily surmise, she has stated she wanted them to attend Copley-Fairlawn schools because she was concerned for their safety, and not for academic reasons. The safety issue did not involve any events that occurred at the schools within their district; rather, after her residence was burglarized, she did not want her daughters to be home alone after school, while she was working for Akron Public Schools as a substitute assistant for special-needs children.
Of course, a rational mother would have easily found someone to take care of her children while away at work to rectify the problem, but Williams-Bolar, perplexingly, opted instead to have her kids illegally attend schools in the Copley-Fairlawn district so they would be dropped off after school at the bus stop near her father’s home within the district. In order to pull off this scheme, she falsified a sworn residency statement claiming she and her children lived at her father’s residence, and since she and her father refused to pay tuition, they defrauded the Copley-Fairlawn school district to the tune of $30,500 while her daughters were enrolled there from August 2006 to June 2008 in the process.
Williams-Bolar and her father were subsequently prosecuted, prompting them to write a civil rights complaint to no avail, and while he escaped conviction on grand theft charges, she was convicted of two third-degree-felony counts of tampering with records for deception and sentenced to three years of probation, 80 hours of community service, and nine days in jail, dashing the University of Akron senior’s goal of becoming an educator after graduation.
Despite Williams-Bolar’s flagrant misdeeds, mainstream conservatives had no qualms about glossing over them in their haste to claim her as one of their own. Among her most ardent cheerleaders is Townhall.com columnist Kyle Olson:
When National Public Radio called for my reaction, I compared her to Rosa Parks, the African-American woman who refused to move to the back of the bus when a white passenger needed a seat.
Since Williams-Bolar is also African-American, some seized on this comparison and began making this a story about race. But let me be very clear: this is not about race, this is about injustice.
Needless to say, it is completely disingenuous for Olson to claim his reference to Rosa Parks was not racial. It is also naïve for him to believe his transparent ploy will work in bringing Blacks over to “The Party of Lincoln.” Perhaps if he could come to grips with the facts that this call for school choice from him and his ilk will not garner the GOP more Blacks—and that the GOP does not even need more Blacks to begin with—he would address the demographic dilemma facing the nation’s schools instead of wasting time pretending what happened to Williams-Bolar is some sort of travesty of justice. In fact, Olson should take solace in knowing her conviction bars her from becoming a schoolteacher. Allow Williams-Bolar’s own written words from her civil rights complaint to make the case:
My name is Kelley Williams-Bolar. I am of under two protective class acts. I am Black and age discrimination because I am over 40.