“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!” – Samuel Adams

‘The Blind Side’ should trouble as well as inspire

Star Parker
Star Parker

STAR PARKER
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
COALITION ON URBAN RENEWAL & EDUCATION

“The Blind Side” is a beautiful new film based on a magnificent and heartwarming true story.

But I hope that the many who see it do not simply walk out all aglow. It should also produce concern.

This story about hopelessness transformed into achievement should be a typically American story. We should be concerned that, increasingly, this is not the case. That this is the exception that should be the rule.

Michael Oher’s story has already received much attention. How a homeless black 15-year-old winds up in a Christian private school and how a white Christian couple adopted him and helped him develop to get the grades to stay in school, become a star athlete, an All-American football player and a multimillion-dollar NFL draft pick.

TheBlindSideOur wake-up call should be that the factors that saved and transformed Michael Oher’s life stand in stark contrast to the government solutions we hear from Washington about dealing with our problems relating to poverty and education.

Oher’s story is about private individuals, about personal choices and responsibility, and about Christians.

And it’s not just about white Christians. The decision that started the chain of events that changed Oher’s life came from a black Christian woman.

Oher, fatherless, with a drug-addicted mother, bounced from one foster home to another, and then moved from one private home to another, sleeping on friends’ floors in a Memphis, Tenn., ghetto.

While Oher was sleeping on the floor at “Big Tony” Henderson’s place, Henderson’s mother died. Her dying wish was to get her grandson, Steven, out of the public school where he was enrolled and into a “Christian school.”

The film opens with Tony making his pitch at the Briarcrest Christian School (called Wingate in the film) in Memphis to enroll his son. And, to also admit his son’s friend “Big Mike.”

Steven’s acceptance wasn’t problematic, because he had good grades. But Oher, with a 0.6 GPA, demanded all the Christian grace the admission team could muster. It came through.

Michael Lewis’ book, on which the film is based, discusses Oher’s public-school experience before Briarcrest, which the film skips over.

He’d been in 11 different schools. The public schools were pushing him through to get rid of him, not to educate him.

His records showed that in ninth grade he missed 50 days of school, yet he was passed.

The film also ignores the IQ issue, which in the book is an eye opener.

Shortly after his enrollment at Briarcrest, Oher, struggling to make it, met Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, a self-made couple of means. They took him in and soon adopted him.

By his senior year, making a final push to get his grade-point average to meet NCAA standards for college admission, they took him to psychologists for intelligence testing.

They found, incredibly, that in his few years at Briarcrest, his IQ increased almost 30 points. When he was admitted, his IQ measured 80. Now tests showed him as between 100 and 110. This, according to Lewis, “wasn’t supposed to happen. IQ was meant to be a given, like the size of one’s feet.” The psychologists were dumfounded.

Michael Oher achieved this. But he couldn’t have done it without a Christian school and his caring Christian adopted parents who loved him and respected his uniqueness.

President Barack Obama’s $4.5 billion in new education spending will not fix our education crisis. Government and moral relativism never has been the answer and will not be.

School choice and traditional values are the answers. It’s freedom, not bureaucrats, that produces miracles. Michael Oher may be an exceptional individual, but his story need not be an exceptional story.

Star Parker is president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal & Education and author of the new book White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay. Prior to her involvement in social activism, Star Parker was a single welfare mother in Los Angeles, California. After receiving Christ, Star returned to college, received a BS degree in marketing and launched an urban Christian magazine.


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8 Responses to “‘The Blind Side’ should trouble as well as inspire”

  1. If his IQ increased 30 points, the tests were not just measuring IQ. That statement by no means denigrates his hard work and achievement; it just comments on the quality of the test.

  2. Government bureaucrats administer programs from big office buildings. Call them, and they have multiple strategies to get you off the phone so they can sit back and soak up the AC in peace. The government does print up checks for small stipends that onl;y help people get by and keep people poor. If white Christians ever want to help, they have to go into communities and help people get out of this stultifying box the government traps them in. Even with many commoditized benefits people have no money, no transportation, and no hope.They still have many unmet needs and they are not at all grateful for what they get. So they refuse to vote.
    What to do? The nationalistic idea of the black community all voting for one party also keeps people down. One of the best ideas I ever had was streeet school. In a small alternative school in W#ashington DC I got access to a school bus for a couple of hours and we went on daily fiel;d trips. We saw depression life and hopelessness disapear as kids saw the bigger world with all of its possibilies and opportunities for them. Yes, it was a private school. If not I would still be waiting for bureaucratic approval of the bus.
    Small schools are much easier to handle. Less bureaucratic red tape when principals have decision making power. A low cost solution that would help the city and everyone in it would be to break up hugh school districts into several smaler one. One high school and its feeder schools is big enough. Then, let them compete. The city and its chools will thereby begin to heal. As one district improves, the neighborhoods will be more appealing. The schools get competitive and others will improve, too. Smaller school districts with independant governance can be more responsive to parents and students, too.

  3. Great story with the facts 'behind the scenes.'
    Keep up the good work, Star.

  4. He was always 110. That's how he survived. Before when he couldn't read and probably had no attention span he did badly on the test

  5. If his IQ increased 30 points, the tests were not just measuring IQ. That statement by no means denigrates his hard work and achievement; it just comments on the quality of the test.

  6. Government bureaucrats administer programs from big office buildings. Call them, and they have multiple strategies to get you off the phone so they can sit back and soak up the AC in peace. The government does print up checks for small stipends that onl;y help people get by and keep people poor. If white Christians ever want to help, they have to go into communities and help people get out of this stultifying box the government traps them in. Even with many commoditized benefits people have no money, no transportation, and no hope.They still have many unmet needs and they are not at all grateful for what they get. So they refuse to vote.
    What to do? The nationalistic idea of the black community all voting for one party also keeps people down. One of the best ideas I ever had was streeet school. In a small alternative school in W#ashington DC I got access to a school bus for a couple of hours and we went on daily fiel;d trips. We saw depression life and hopelessness disapear as kids saw the bigger world with all of its possibilies and opportunities for them. Yes, it was a private school. If not I would still be waiting for bureaucratic approval of the bus.
    Small schools are much easier to handle. Less bureaucratic red tape when principals have decision making power. A low cost solution that would help the city and everyone in it would be to break up hugh school districts into several smaler one. One high school and its feeder schools is big enough. Then, let them compete. The city and its chools will thereby begin to heal. As one district improves, the neighborhoods will be more appealing. The schools get competitive and others will improve, too. Smaller school districts with independant governance can be more responsive to parents and students, too.

  7. Great story with the facts 'behind the scenes.'
    Keep up the good work, Star.

  8. He was always 110. That's how he survived. Before when he couldn't read and probably had no attention span he did badly on the test