SEPTEMBER 7, 2009 11:36PM

Where Are The White People With Good Sense?

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"Most little white children come from families powerful enough to shut out reality."

Jonathan Schwarz
"Four People Turned Stupid By Power"
A Tiny Revolution


I don't know if I agree with the modifier "most" that Schwarz uses here, but I can certainly see the point Schwarz is trying to make. And if there ever was a moment in time that this quote summarizes, it is today, Tuesday, September 8th, when a certain frenzied subset of our paler population will withdraw their budding genuises from school so that Little Johnny will not have to be subjected to listening to that bad, bad man, Mr. Barack Obama himself, otherwise known to us real Americans as the president of the United States.


"I am not going to give him unfiltered access to my kids."



I imagine HBO will see a drop in its subscriber base soon. I expect sales of the video game Grand Theft Auto will tail off into nothingness. And Ipod's will litter landfills across the country. These predictions would make sense if these parents were telling the truth - that anything untoward should never come within a hundred yards of little Johnny's pristine ears unless it has been filtered.

What planet are these people raising their kids to live in? Johnny can't stay on the curb of his cul-de-sacs for the rest of his life.

Since our TV producers can't seem to come up with any other creative ways to get you to watch their news product this week, all we will be seeing is these people who will be snarling and howling and shrieking and yes, CRYING, as if Beelzebub himself is going to whisper his evil thoughts - study hard, read more, make goals for yourself - into little Johnny's ears.

So what I want to know is...

...where are all the white people with good sense these days?

Are they still on vacation?

Have they left the country?

Or are they just so ashamed of these people who look like them, who may be their cousins, or their coworkers, or their in-laws, that they don't want to be mentioned in the same sentence with them?

I've been thinking about these irrational parents that have been featured rather prominently on TV lately. You know who I'm talking about. They are wild eyed, or teary eyed, and sanctimonious, and all of them are white, and they swear that if President Barack Obama so much as breathes in Johnny's direction during the school day, he will have their kids calling each other "comrade" by the time they come home.

Which is interesting, because many of these parents don't even know what socialism really is. Couldn't tell you what the tenets of communism are if a years worth of gas for their SUV was at stake.

I've been thinking about these parents quite a bit lately, because some of them are my neighbors. They are the people who will just about have a stroke if their child's teacher assigns their kid homework on the weekend, that sacrosanct time here in LaLa Land that is mandated to be filled with fun, fun, fun - four wheeling and jet skiing and hunting and fishing and SEC football games and soccer matches and birthday celebrations.

But if Johnny doesn't listen to his parents, as any outing to a local restaurant will confirm, then what makes these moist eyed mommies think that their "wittle munchkins" are going to listen to the president while he talks on a TV screen in their classroom?

Another phrase, one that I've heard through the years that may hone in a little closer to what I want to say today is this:

"If you want to see where stupid children come from, follow them home."


That point was driven home last night while I was reading an article by a friend of mine:

"Tom Hui is a self-described video game lover. Michelle Liu calls herself a nerd. Marissa Pan simply likes books, and Tanya Nguyen prefers balance in her life.

What do they have in common? All scored 2400 on the SAT, putting them in the elite company of 297 nationwide and 10 in Georgia earning perfect scores last year."

Gracie Bonds Staples
"Four Area Students Score 2400 On SAT — Perfect"

Atlanta Journal Constitution



After reading a story like the one above, why are the white parents that will be paraded across our airwaves today, prattling on about the president's powers of hypnosis, even relevant?

These four real American children in the excerpt above all attended public schools.

I live less than five hundred yards from a public library, which I frequent several times a week. There are so few white children in there at times, you would think you were in a foreign country instead of an Atlanta northern suburb.

What I want to know is what these people are going to do when this brownskinned president stays on their TV year after year? Even if you only watch FOX News, guess what? They don't have a storyline if it doesn't include Obama. When are they going to do when he stays on the front page of their newspaper week after week?

Are they going to lock Johnny in a closet, like the child abductors in the news this week? Are they going to build ideological bunkers behind their houses, and set off air raid signals whenever the stench of liberalism draws near?

The best protection for your child is an appreciation of knowledge for knowledge's sake. An understanding of the basic tenets of critical thinking. And a facility with the English language that includes mastery of a vocabulary large enough to recognize the nuances that differentiate one word from the next.

But that, as my mother would say, is too easy. Makes too much sense. Instead, these people will do the thing they always do, the way Rick Pitino did when he went into rampage a couple of weeks ago at a news conference while discussing the latest allegations from his adulterous sexual dalliance - claim that the truth is what they are telling you, and that everything else is all lies.

Where are the white people with good sense these days?

Are you out there?

Right about now, if the script was flipped, and these were black people doing this, I would have already been approached by someone white by now who would ask me, point blank, "why are they doing this?"

But if they don't want their Johnny listening to the president of ALL of these United States as he gives out the kind of simple advice - study hard, read more, make goals for yourself - that helped to get Obama where he is today, that's fine.

Put President Obama's speech on for the black kids.

Jamal WILL be listening.

Put it on for the Asian kids.

Jiao WILL be listening.


Put it on for the Hispanic kids.

Javier WILL be listening.


Put it on for the Indian kids.

Jharma WILL be listening.

Put it on for the children of all our immigrants, for their parents who have defied every challenge in the book to get to the real America, the one that has "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses" tattooed to the base of the Statue of Liberty.

The thing about white people with good sense is...

...they are boring.

The same way black people and Asian people and Hispanic people and Indian people with good sense are boring.

Which is why you won't see them in front of any TV cameras today.

They'll be the ones soberly helping their children to master their A-B-C's and 1-2-3's. Demanding that homework get done before play time begins. Adding enrichment programs and activities on their own to bolster what the school teaches. Helping their children learn, one day at a time, how to navigate this thing we call life without having to depend on slogans and jingles and propaganda of any kind to give them their own sense of personal direction.

Training them, in other words, to deal with the world and its realities rather than look for an excuse to opt out.

I really don't know what these people are worried about.

Because if Barack Obama was really the Malcolm X type of political radical they make him out to be...

...he'd schedule a speech to school children every other week to MAKE SURE these people took little Johnny out of class each and every time.

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Well Kris, what a good question - and then you answered it before I could jump in. I've noticed too that whenever anyone spots a UFO, it's always white people with no discernible education who are the witnesses. Hmmmmmmm........
Kris, interesting...I was about to say, "we're here" but then you answered. I'm glad you know that.

I saw the writing on the wall with the policy holdups, but, I have to say, never with this disgusting fervor about the speeches, etc. It is deep-seeded racism at its worst. A friend on here, Lainey, made a good analogy though, if it were Hillary, would they be going for her in some way and would we be calling it sexism?

We, and I mean you and I, Obama supporters, black and white, threaten the existence of their very ideals and they are TERRIFIED. It flies against the moral foundation they view the world through and they can't step outside of it to have any objectivity. It is hard to deal with - I have married into family in, well, I'll just say the "south", and being from the PNW, I had never experienced that type of rigidity in all my life. And, it isn't just towards black people. It's towards any one who is "different", or outside the scope of that narrow lens.

Obviously though, the struggle for civil rights for blacks is much more wide scale than some of the other groups I'm referring to, and, is the current relevant topic.

Please know some of us are trying to do what we can - moving the mountain one small stone at a time (stop on by):

http://www.opensalon.com/blog/kate_bishop/2009/09/07/do_we_want_to_be_right_or_do_we_want_health_care_reform

In all kindness,
Kate

As an aside, isn't the library wonderful? We're library junkies.
Well, I'm here! My mixed-race kids and 6 coffee-colored grandkids will be READING Pres. Obama's speech if their school prevents them from seeing it. I read the speech and am appalled at anyone who might take issue with it (Laura F-in' Bush defended it BTW).

Rated - good rant!
it's a national embarassment, disgrace....etc. it makes them look as small and as antidiluvian as they are.
the one remaining solace of age is the knowledge that the the level of jerkery in the youessovay will be it's own punishment. i do wish they'd keep it at home though- the casual disbursement of flying bombs and seeohtwo is wrecking the place for others.
Well said. The answer, I think, is that there are lots of us around, but we're not obnoxious enough to be worthy of TV news. Something to strive for, perhaps? We sensible ones need to start wearing more polyester, shouting down attempts at polite discourse, and carrying really, REALLY dumb signs. Maybe then we'll be more visible.
Thanks Kris. If I could rate this 50 times I would.
Great Post! Im white, and hopefully have sense. My mixed-race son will sit in his class today in his majority black school and I hope HE pays attention, takes notes, etc when our President speaks to him.
When I was in school, the type of white people who you mentioned were the ones destined to become our future bosses. It is my fervent prayer that my son will take a lesson from our President, study hard and become successful...so one day those same narrow-minded white people will work for HIM.


The blatant racism shown by these folks dosent bother me as much as the fact that they are teaching their children to be scared of something foreign to them. Instead of listening, keeping an open mind and learning how to deal with ALL of the people included in our great society...these kids are learning to actively fight and fear them. The point of school is critical thinking...listening objectively even if you don't agree with the point being taught. Instead these kids are not to never listen to any point of view that dosent agree with their narrow view of the world.
Later on when these kids grow up they are not going to know how to deal with anybody who dosent fit in to the same race or class as them. They are just going to stick their heads in the sand and not care about what happens out of their exclusive neighborhoods. A shame.
I have been asking the same question. No answers, other than "in my chair." My kids' school has been eerily quiet about it, so I looked. They are leaving it to the teachers' discretion, assigning no classroom credit to it. "If they think watching it will benefit their students and/or be relevant to their curriculum they may include it in their classroom activities. Students whose parents prefer that they not watch the speech may inform their teachers and will not be required to watch it."

So much for the kool-aid.
Bravo! This is one of the most intelligent OS pieces I've read on this whole issue (and there's been plenty of competition!).
I don't know what to say here Kris. I somehow find the whites who say these things unbelievable. You have written so many things here and so well about this.
People are so strange to me sometimes, and this issue makes my boat float. I , too, live in the library, and often wonder why there is no one else there. I expect it is the culture in which we live. So many have the idiot box (TV) blaring away in the corner 24/7 and live on another planet.
I can't imagine ever telling my child or anyone's child to NOT watch the president give any speech on any subject. And i can't imagine living somewhere and not visiting every museum, historical site, and library in driving distance.
"The best protection for your child is an appreciation of knowledge for knowledge's sake. An understanding of the basic tenets of critical thinking. And a facility with the English language that includes mastery of a vocabulary large enough to recognize the nuances that differentiate one word from the next."

Well said.

Those crackers you see spouting their racist nonsense have never valued knowledge, critical thinking (what's that?) nor mastery of language - English or otherwise.
I'm here and I'm trying.

http://open.salon.com/blog/ainthatamerica/2009/09/04/a_white_man_in_america

Great article Kris. I'll being sharing it every chance I get.
" . . . Or are they just so ashamed of these people who look like them, who may be their cousins, or their coworkers, or their in-laws, that they don't want to be mentioned in the same sentence with them?"

I think that's pretty much it.

This may sound strange, but I'm not really bothered by the garden-variety racists who don't want their children to have to listen to a speech by a black president. In fact, if some of these people said "I don't want my children to be forced to listen to some negro," that would be kind of refreshing. I could understand that. It's racism; I get it. It's not right, but at least I can comprehend where the person is coming from.

What baffles me is that I think a lot of these people really aren't racist per se. I think they actually believe that Obama is trying to brainwash their children into accepting "socialist ideology." With those people -- I really don't know what planet they are from. I don't know how they think, or how they could possibly come to that conclusion. They are so far out there that I wouldn't even know how to talk to them. Those are the people who worry me.

Given a choice between good-ol'-boy racists and strange creatures from another planet, I'll take the racists any day.
I am an African-American living in the Midwest and I have friends who are white who are "birthers" and others I'm sure would not let their children listen to President Obama today. I am friends with them because they are basically good people who are the victims of the very type of brainwashing of which they are accusing the President

Maybe Newt Gingrich changed a few minds with his condescending and patronizing support of the President's speech to American's children on MSNBC this morning; he said he read the speech and thinks it's a good one. Interesting that a black President has to get "approval" before he can address school children.

Great piece of writing and I'm rating it for clarity and insight.
As a white person with common sense, I read your excellent commentary as a challenge to ask what indeed I can do. It is appropriate to define the vitriol directed at President Obama as being fueled by racial stereotype, because if the roles were switched and Joe Biden were President, we wouldn't hear the same shouts of socialism and other dark motives. As a 'reformed Southerner' I can spot those games pretty quick by now. I'm like the former pickpocket who teaches FBI agents how to spot pickpockets.

When I watch the common folk being stood in front of news cameras to comment on their distrust of this President, I see the result of decades of right-wing success in stirring up petty passions to manipulate public opinion. Ironic that the most gullible are generally the ones with the least education. It doesn't take much to provoke them, which the Republicans have learned through their Karl Rove-style focus groups, a scientific process that accurately identifies what best manipulates public opinion.

The problem is that the news media lap it up and present it as if it were a significant social force--which legitimizes it and actually adds to its influence. Why? To make you watch. Look, we're going to behead a rabbit, look, look! Up go the ratings.

People have to speak up more. Email politicians and media figures, balance those stacks of emails being sent in largely by right-wingers. We have to do this, and be more involved in primary elections and school board elections. If we do nothing, in another generation we may see another Civil War.
At the end of the day, I firmly believe that America is mostly comprised of good people from all backgrounds.

But we have let our politeness and our reserve and our good "home training" be mistaken for complacency for too long.

We must set aside decorum, if only temporarily. We must abandon the subtle, and the understated, just until we get things back to equilibrium - until we begin to rebalance the scales in favor of the middle ground.

Holler if you hear me.
The question I have is, if the speech and the Dept of ED workbook are such a good idea, why is there a federal law against it?
Holla! I think your president heard you, the decorum was put aside and he called it out. I've often said...we need a little more "Scarface" once in awhile (with out the crime, sexist, gun-toating bit - just the tough guy bit).

I cried and laughed and am so, so thankful. We are all in the same sand box. Took the repubs a bit to stand up a few times though, it might take them awhile to figure out what hit them!

Proud to be a DEM tonight!
Quite a few of them are right here at OS, which is why I value this place.
White people? white people? And they call coservatives racist. In my opinion your myopic view of the white race is an insult. That a few extremists could not see the value of a speech by President Obama does not give license to denigrate a whole segment of the American populace. Racism is color blind. A few disaffected souls of all races hold prejudice based on skin color or ethnic heritage. But its not the people that held Johnny from school that you need to worry about. It's the ingratiating white people many on this blog who will bend over backwards to get your approval for the sole purpose of proving to themselves that their own judgements are colorblind. At least you were open about your own prejudices. But what are they trying to hide. Believe it or not most white people are not rich conservative racists. They are as you suggested good people. Do your racial stereotypes reflect your own demons.
You seem like a good man but renenber to paraphrase an upcoming senartorial candidate from Illinois who happened to become the keenest intellect to occupy the oval office since Abraham Lincoln in the end there is no white America or black america there is only the united states of america. The only real solution to racism is dillution. The less we make race a point the less it becomes an issue. If I was to classify any group of African Americans the way you do whites I would, appropriately so, be labelled a racist. Do you deserve anything less? People who held their children from school were afraid of socialism as you astutely point out. By why not look at the parents in another way. Not as nuts or aliens but as misguided people who denied their children the oppurtunity to see a genuinely great american address them directly. When you ask where are the white people with good sense? You assume they are hard to find. I argue they are not any harder to find then African, Chinese or Hispanic americans with good sense. Perhaps racism would not be such a problem if people didn't look so hard to find it. Take off your own blinders. Otherwise you drag all of us down.