Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Teachable Moments On Race
There are two large stories today that have an interesting linkup in my view.
One of them concerns a white student who made the mistake of getting on a bus and being the only white person on it. He took a horrific beating by a gang black teenagers while the rest of the black passengers cheered them on.
The video is here.
The other story is one you're all likely familiar with. It concerns 19-year-old country singer Taylor Swift, who won an MTV video award.In the middle of her acceptance speech, Swift, who's white had the microphone snatched away from her by black rapper Kanye West who proceeded to rant about how black female vocalist Beyonce should have won the award because 'she produced the best video ever'.
Beyonce won an award later in the evening and like the class act she is, called Taylor swift up to the stage to give her a little love during Beyonce's turn at the microphone.
So what's the connection?
Try this on for size. In the above paragraphs, simply switch the words 'black' and 'white' and read them aloud to yourself.
In the first story, the local police chief went on record as saying this was obviously a racially motivated assault and then quickly back off that in an update. In the original story, which the St Louis Post Dispatch has since sent down the memory hole, the paper helpfully provided a history of white on black racial incidents that occurred decades ago..as though that somehow made what happened to a white guy who got on a bus filled with black folks justifiable.
In the second story, no one is even daring to mention any racial angle, even though Kanye West is a notorious race baiter who's father was a Black Panther and who now belongs to the Nation of Islam.If a white country singer snatched a microphone from a teenage black R&B singer at a nationally televised awards show and said her award should by rights go to a white woman, do you think someone might have had something to say about it? Would he be allowed to get by with a lame apology or would his career be ruined?
And where is our post-racial president on this?
Ordinarily, I wouldn't even mention this, since a president ought to have bigger things on his mind. But then, Barack Obama and his staff have frequently taken the opportunity to lecture Americans on race when the colors were white on black.
He saw fit to make a national racial stir about a simple disorderly conduct bust that had no national implications and didn't even result in an arrest when it involved a white policeman and a black professor. And his attorney general Eric Holder, who's black, famously referred to white Americans as 'cowards on race' and is still stonewalling on why the government dropped the charges on voter intimidation by the Black Panther party in a case it had already won.
Since he's that involved and both of these were national stories ( unlike the Gates case, which Obama turned into a national story by calling the policeman involved 'stupid' at a White House press conference) why the silence? why not a call by the White House or at least the Attorney General for an investigation of the St. Louis beating as a hate crime? Why not a few off the cuff public remarks about Kanye West's stupid behavior? Or even something as simple and classy as offering congratulations to Swift on her award with a phone call, or a note on White House stationary?
Apparently the president's catalog of teachable moments on race is segregated and marked 'whites only'.