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Q: soft bigotry of lowered expectations ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: soft bigotry of lowered expectations
Category: Reference, Education and News > Homework Help
Asked by: badams83-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 24 Oct 2005 12:58 PDT
Expires: 23 Nov 2005 11:58 PST
Question ID: 584313
What does the soft bigotry of lowered expectations mean? And how does
it relate to race class and gender

Clarification of Question by badams83-ga on 24 Oct 2005 13:01 PDT
i just need a short example of how if effects class race and gender
not to much.  I basically need an idea of what it means
Subject: Re: soft bigotry of lowered expectations
Answered By: czh-ga on 24 Oct 2005 14:42 PDT
Hello badams83-ga,

The phrase, ?soft bigotry of lowered expectations? comes from a speech
that George W. Bush made before the NAACP during the 2000 presidential
campaign. The point he was making is that giving extraordinary
consideration to individuals or groups that are considered lacking in
some way is ?soft bigotry? because it prejudges them as less capable
than the norm and thus unable to perform without special assistance.

I?ve provided a link to the full text of the speech along with several
examples of how the phrase is used in various situations of evaluating
people based on race, class, gender, physical ability or political
position. These should give you the opportunity to review how this
phrase can be used in a variety of situations. Please ask for
clarification if any of this is confusing.

Wishing you well.

~ czh ~
Text: George W. Bush's Speech to the NAACP
Monday, July 10, 2000 

Professionals and entrepreneurs have built a successful and growing
and ever stronger African-American middle class. It must be our goal
to expand this opportunity, to make it as broad and diverse as America
its success--America itself. And this begins by enforcing the civil
rights laws.


Discrimination is still a reality, even when it takes different forms.
Instead of Jim Crow, there's racial redlining and profiling. Instead
of separate but equal, there is separate and forgotten.

Strong civil rights enforcement will be a cornerstone of my administration. 


And I will confront another form of bias: the soft bigotry of low expectations. 

Bush's lowered bars

Throughout his campaigns in 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush talked about
"the soft bigotry of low expectations": the mind-set that tolerates
poor school performance and dead-end careers for minority students on
the presumption that they are incapable of doing better. Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice said recently that this phrase attracted her to
Bush more than anything else.
It was, indeed, a brilliant encapsulation of so much of what is wrong
with American education. But while Bush has been worrying about low
expectations in schools, he's been ratcheting the bar downward himself
on almost everything else.
Great Expectations: From the Hierarchy of Sight to the Hierarchy of Truth

One of the most devastating things that can happen to any human being
is to be trapped in the prison of low expectations, but for the vast
majority of blind people this condition has been the norm rather than
the exception throughout recorded history. President George W. Bush
has referred to the problem of lowered expectations as "soft bigotry,"
and I think he is right. Usually, of course, when we think of bigotry,
we also assume a wrong. In the case of lowered expectations, however,
we are looking at an unintended consequence rather than an intentional
wrong. Perhaps President Bush was alluding to unintended bigotry when
he used the word "soft."

The soft bigotry of low expectations.

When George W. Bush spoke about education in the 2000 campaign, he
described the ?soft bigotry of low expectations,? or the inherent
condescenscion in the assumption that a certain person or group of
them will not live up to the standards of others. Back then, he was
talking about education and slamming the ?reality-based community? for
daring to suggest that underperforming schools underperform for solid
and complicated reasons, rather than a lack of high expectations and
accountability. Bush and his rhetoriticians took the concept to the
Middle East, where doubts about a free and democratic Iraq were
dismissed as a slander against the Iraqi people, not as a sober
accounting of the strength of resistance, the errors of the
occupation, and strong antidemocratic trends in Iraq?s political
history. Indeed, the soft bigotry of low expectations was a
cornerstone of the White House?s dream world, described by Ron
Suskind, where the ?reality-based? just weren?t persistent enough and
the powerful could make destiny through volition alone.

The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

George Bush is fond of the phrase "the soft bigotry of low
expectations," particulary when he goes before an African-American
audience (imagine that!) to talk about the achievement gap in

Bush should know a lot about low expectations.  He's lowered any
expectations that we might come out of the grip of his failed economic
policies any time soon.
For the fourth straight year in a row, the poverty rate has increased.
 There are now 37 million Americans living in poverty, in the richest
nation on this earth.  The number of uninsured Americans also

The Soft Bigotry Of Seattle's "Racial Tiebreaker" 

Neighborhood schools in Seattle? Fuggedaboudit. Put too many minority
students in a Seattle school, and why, they're pretty much doomed to
failure. To succeed academically, minority students need to be around
a healthy percentage of white students. Praise diversity, pass the
WASLs, and uh, lots of "alternatives" to the WASLs.

This reigning crock of not-so-subtly racist condescension received a
boost yesterday. The L.A. Times has more (free reg. may be req.): the
Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court and upheld
Seattle Public Schools' "racial tiebreaker," which opponents now say
they'll appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The tiebreaker holds that if
space is limited in a desired school, assignments are made first on
sibling attendance; then racial balancing; and THEN, residential
proximity of the student to the school. Race-based social engineering
comes before neighborhood ties.

Teach a man to fish...

I know many people who were born into poverty, destined to continue
that cycle, but refused to walk down that same path. I could sit here
and tell you about them all, but I don?t want to overwhelm you. If you
are of a mind where anything and everything is possible then you know
someone who climbed out of the abyss of poverty and the soft bigotry
of low expectations. If you are one of those people out there who
can?t imagine a better life, who doesn?t think that anything and
everything is possible, then I fear that you may be suffering the soft
bigotry of low expectations. A great man once told me, ?Poor people
make poor decisions.? He passed this wisdom to me at a time when I
didn?t have much, when my life seemed to be at its lowest and darkest
point. I guess he could have simply bailed me out by giving me a
handout; instead he gave me the tools to get out on my own. In essence
he taught me to fish. He had high expectations of me; therefore, in
the end the soft bigotry of low expectations did not apply.

We will never be a truly great nation as long as we continue to have
lowered expectations for any of our people. We should promote
education, hard work and discipline. We should expect all the people
to have the highest of expectations for themselves. In life we should
expect a hand up not a handout.

Racial Inequity in Special Education

The data on disproportionate representation is compatible with the
theory that systemic racial discrimination is a contributing factor
where disparities are substantial. Moreover, the trends revealed in
this book are consistent with the theory that different racial groups,
facing different kinds of stereotypes and bias, would experience
racial disparities differently. States with a history of racial
apartheid under de jure segregation, for example, account for five of
the seven states with the highest overrepresentation of African
Americans labeled mentally retarded?Mississippi, South Carolina, North
Carolina, Florida, and Alabama.30 This trend suggests that the ?soft
bigotry of low expectations? may have replaced the undeniable
intentional racial discrimination in education against blacks that
once pervaded the South.31 In contrast, no southern state was among
the top seven states where Hispanic children deemed mentally retarded
were most heavily overrepresented.32

National Down Syndrome Society Position on the No Child Left Behind Policy 

Low Expectations
All of the concerns listed in this statement connect to the major
overarching danger with this policy- the creation of an environment in
which the "soft bigotry of low expectations" can flourish. It is for
this reason that NDSS opposes the use of the term "persistent academic
disabilities." It implies that these students will never achieve
proficiency on grade level standards. There must be safeguards to
prevent low expectations for any child. A new NCLB policy would have
to be fluid and incorporate the expectation that students would move
long a continuum to grade level achievement. Also, there must be
effective monitoring to ensure that the policy is being appropriately

The 11th Bracey Report on The Condition of Public Education

"Missing in action" in all of the contentiousness has been Roderick
Paige, the new secretary of education. The Houston Chronicle noted
that "according to his official schedule, the secretary spends the
bulk of his time meeting with foreign dignitaries, going to dinners
and receptions, or traveling around the country."19 The New Republic
observed, "In any Administration, the blatant marginalization of the
only African American domestic Cabinet secretary would be noteworthy.
In an Administration that loudly trumpets its commitment to Cabinet
government and racial diversity it's stunning. . . . From the
beginning the White House seems to have expected him to be the
education plan's public face -- and nothing more. . . . Ah, the soft
bigotry of low expectations."20 Paige has denied rumors that he is
unhappy with Bush and is planning to resign.21 He has now declared
that he is "at the table" and will seek a higher profile, but Jack
Jennings of the Center on Education Policy still has him filed under
"I" -- for "irrelevant."22

Race-based admissions and true diversity

There are plenty of good articles related to the affirmative action
controversy that don't toe the outraged-liberal, low-expectations line
- Tom Bray of SFGate, John Leo of US News and World Report, Richard
Cohen of the Washington Post, Edward Blum and Michelle Malkin of the
Jewish World Review, Bobby Eberle of FrontPageMagazine, and David Frum
of National Review. Each of these authors make an eloquent case for
removing the "soft bigotry" of lowered expectations, and for judging
college applicants on true ability to both contribute to and benefit
from the college experience, rather than rewarding them for the color
of their skin.

The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations -- The Bush Administration's
Continuing Theme...
Aug. 14th, 2005 | 01:55 pm

Today's front page story in the Washington Post:
"U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq -- Administration
Is Shedding 'Unreality' That Dominated Invasion, Official Says"

or as it was titled on the website... "White House Lowers Expectations for Iraq"

Wasn't lowered expectations one of the things Bush campaigned against?


soft bigotry of lowered expectations
"soft bigotry of lowered expectations"
bush text speech NAACP 91st convention
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