Calibrate This, Mr. President|
July 31, 2009
Dear Mr. President,
I'm one of those Americans that lives in flyover country. I was treated to your
much publicized 'teaching moment' last night and felt a response was warranted.
I'd like to say, with all respect, that this American resents the patronizing arrogance
you exhibited as you deigned to 'teach America' about race. First off, I don't need
lessons on race from you. I take my teachings from the Bible, not a man who sat
through 20 years of 'hate whitey' sermons. I'd much prefer you bestow your teachable
moments on, oh, say terrorists, or enemies of democracy.
Secondly, if you were genuinely interested in promoting racial healing, you might
have used that teachable moment last night to address the third rail of race relations:
namely, the reluctance of many blacks to look at whites without automatically assuming
they are racists.
Last night, you had the perfect teachable moment, but, alas, you let it slip through
your grasp. You had a wealthy, influential black man who continues to insist he
is still oppressed. Then you had the white police officer who was merely doing his
job in the correct manner. And then, we had you, Mr. President, a prime example
of the problem. Said problem being the automatic assumption of racism without any
facts to back it up.
You might have touched on the fact that many blacks of your generation have been
taught that anything bad that happens in their life is a result of white oppression.
You could have extrapolated or calibrated the fact that attitudes like that are
extremely counterproductive and keep many blacks mired in the false comfort of victimization.
You might have addressed the fact that the only oppression happening these days
is by your buddies Castro, Chavez and all the other third world dictators you seem
to think are misunderstood men of good will.
Hey, you actually could have lectured your buddy Gates on the proper etiquette when
dealing with law enforcement officers. Think of the great message that would have
sent to young Americans. Respect for the law. That would have been a good thing
to teach. But you let the opportunity pass with nary a word.
I'm sorry you didn't get a good soundbite or photo op out of this unrelenting media
saga. I know you were envisioning a hearty three way handshake that could be flashed
around the world, signifying absolutely nothing. But the evening wasn't a total
waste. I actually did learn something.
I learned that you, and Henry Gates and other black men continue to believe that
America is a racist country. I learned that you, Mr. President, will never solve
any problems of race until you acknowledge your own racism against whites. I don't
think that will happen in my lifetime but I will continue to 'hope' for 'change'.
And just out of curiosity, I was wondering what in the world you, the President
of the greatest country in the world, is doing mediating the equivalent of a traffic
ticket when our young men are dying in Afghanistan, our economy is in meltdown and
Iran is on the brink of nuking Israel. Do you really think that was the best use
of your time and political capital?
Nancy Morgan is a columnist and news editor for
She lives in South Carolina
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