Race relations

Planet of the Apes

The frenzy for equality is motivated by a very primitive urge, so primitive in fact that even monkeys have it. You may have seen this video of an angry monkey on the Internet. Liberals watch this monkey and see him as proof that equality reflects an incontestable principle which is fundamental to human nature. “Even our primitive simian cousins can understand it, but those dumb conservatives can’t!

I can sympathise with our genetic relatives from further down the evolutionary scale, and with the monkeys, too. When my housemate leaves me to clean up his mess, rather than responding like a mature adult human, I grit my teeth, shake my monkey fists, and am overcome by that primitive state of monkey-rage that is aroused in those who sense injustice. I’m not proud of it, but I recognise that this impulse is in me, and it’s in other people, too.

A good manager understands that he should make his staff feel like they are being fairly treated and that this has a lot more to do with feelings than with objective reality. When your people feel like they’re getting the short end of the stick, they can descend into monkey-rage and that’s never productive. But modern politicians very rarely make good managers, a fact that will probably lead to some unfortunate consequences for the American education system.

In 2012, Barack Obama called for race-based discipline filters to be applied as part of his African-American Education Initiative. Such measures have already been enforced in a few districts, including Washington, DC, and will continue to expand. This means that teachers will be expected to enforce different standards of discipline depending on the race of the students. The “thinking” behind such lunacy is rooted in a monkey-rage response to the fact that Black students are statistically more likely to be disciplined by teachers than white students are. Compensatory measures are thus taken to soothe the seething mass monkey-rage of the nation’s liberals.

Even the mainstream media have criticised Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Attorney General Eric Holder and Barack Obama for what are essentially racial quotas in school discipline. It might be argued that this is a new type of unfairness, that African-American students will no longer get their fair share of educational discipline and that this will lead to new levels of inequality. Inequality means monkey-rage and no one wants to see that.

But there is another type of monkey-rage that could be triggered by this unfair treatment. The White students, who are to receive harsher punishments for the same misbehaviour, might not see how this will benefit them in the long run. In their short-sighted adolescent minds, these youngsters will think they’re being picked on and will revert to some backward state of furious, hateful monkeydom.

Is Obama trying to make a monkey out of America? If unfair treatment leads to monkey-rage, then treating unfair outcomes of authoritative discipline (both in and out of schools) with unfair legislation intended to redress the racial balance, will surely lead to more monkey-rage. The monkey in the experiment is sated when he sees that he gets the same piece of fruit as the other monkey. I finally overcame my rage when my housemate agreed to do his share of the chores. But will the metaphorical monkey cage of America ever know such peace? Surely equal treatment under the eyes of the law, from cradle to grave, from school to prison, is as close as we can get to fairness? Any measures taken as compensation for perceived unfairness are rendered valid only by existing perceptions of fairness, but these measures become unfair themselves when perceptions change. This isn’t really fair, it’s just monkey business. Monkeying around with the way teachers exact discipline on students throws a monkey wrench in the works of the educational system. Race is already a divisive issue in the USA, and this will only get worse while young people are made to feel painfully aware of how differently teachers treat them. If teachers can’t treat kids the same regardless of their race, then how can we expect them to treat each other fairly? After all, monkey see, monkey do.