Racial Meditation

For me, the very first – although not the most momentous disappointment in the accumulated collection racked up throughout the Obama administration – was the realization that there would be no line drawn under the old bug-bear of racism with regard to those of us – as a friend of mine during my assignment to Greenland in the early 1980s put it – with the year-round dark tan. Yes, said friend was black, Afro-American, a person of color, or whatever the approved term is these days. (You kids, get off my lawn! Oh … I don’t have a lawn.) My friend was a totally middle-class young woman, the daughter of professionals, who like me, had grown up without ever personally observing much in-your-face unmistakable racial antagonism or prejudice. It was merely something that had happened to other people, a fair number of decades ago; at worst howlingly illegal, at best, rude. We were in the habit of walking together every Saturday, around the end of the Sondrestrom AB runway to the Danish side of the base, there to enjoy a cup of tea and a pastry in the SAS air terminal cafeteria.

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What is going on with Ferguson, MO ?

The Grand Jury gas returned a “no bill” in the case of the Policeman Darren Wilson and the riots have erupted as anticipated. We still have silly demonstrations around the country. Even interrupting Christmas tree lighting.Why ?

I have been following this all along, and even see some merit in some of the resentments of the black residents. That does not excuse rioting, of course.

We know a lot more about what happened now and it does still not explain why this continues today. A lot of what is happening just doesn’t make sense.

Here is one possible explanation.

SO WHY ALL THE FERGUSON HOOPLA? Last time the Dems and Sharpton made a big deal of a shooting, it was the Trayvon Martin case, hyped to keep up black turnout for 2012. But now there’s not an election. So why Ferguson, and why now? Polling indicates that most people aren’t all that sympathetic, and protests that tie up Interstates, etc. aren’t going to attract swing voters.

So why now ?

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Teaching in a black majority high school

This essay has been around for a while but I saw it for the first time today. It is powerful but depressing. I wonder how applicable it is to the Chicago school system? I have a nephew who has a step daughter in a public school that is about half black. Her mother has to go to the school about once a week to complain about bullying. Catholic schools’ tuition is far higher than it was when I lived there.

Here it is.

A few excerpts: Until recently I taught at a predominantly black high school in a southeastern state.

The mainstream press gives a hint of what conditions are like in black schools, but only a hint. Expressions journalists use like “chaotic” or “poor learning environment” or “lack of discipline” do not capture what really happens. There is nothing like the day-to-day experience of teaching black children and that is what I will try to convey.

Most whites simply do not know what black people are like in large numbers, and the first encounter can be a shock.

One of the most immediately striking things about my students was that they were loud. They had little conception of ordinary decorum. It was not unusual for five blacks to be screaming at me at once. Instead of calming down and waiting for a lull in the din to make their point — something that occurs to even the dimmest white students — blacks just tried to yell over each other.

This must be an impossible place to try to teach. Are there any kids who want to learn?

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The Race Card

There was a shooting in Florida this week that has now accumulated all the “usual suspects” for a racial extravaganza. The bare details are that a Florida neighborhood had had a high number of burglaries in the previous year. The neighbors had instituted a “neighborhood watch.” The watch member on duty saw a black teenager in a “hoodie” sweatshirt acting in a way that he thought was suspicious. He called 911. The 911 call was recorded but the record may not be clear. A new eyewitness has said that the shooting victim was attacking the shooter and was on top of him as the shooter called for help. The shooter was not arrested and now the local police chief has removed himself from the case. The shooter is in hiding, afraid for his life. Was this a terrible mistake ? Surely the shooting was not done in malice. The shooter is Hispanic and a local resident. Local neighborhood watches are common in Florida, which has a “stand your ground” law. Self defense does not require retreat but this was on a public street, not the shooter’s home. I suspect neighborhood watches are about to be disarmed in Florida.

The usual suspects have all appeared, including Barack Obama, who seems to insert himself into every racial incident. Of course, Al Sharpton (MSNBC commentator) is heavily involved. Hopefully, the body count will not reach previous levels in Sharpton’s activities. Sharpton did manage to convince some suckers (sorry, supporters) to pay his debts in the Tawana Brawley hoax I guess that means he can go back to New York for his MSNBC gig.

This may be the substitute for the failed contraception ploy the Democrats attempted. Maybe there really was a crime committed by an excited neighborhood watch member. If so, the magnitude would be voluntary manslaughter, hardly a reason for the attempted lynching now going on in Florida and Washington. It is ironic that the group, which suffered 100 years ago from lynching, now seems to promote it. I think the Republicans would do well to stay away from this case with the exception of the usual sympathy for the victim. It is getting ugly and the facts are far from established.