Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

When White Is ‘Normal’

Teaching MLK Leads to Paradoxical Consequences

Friday, January 31, 2014
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As I was shuffling through a stack of papers my 6-year-old daughter brought home from 1st grade, I noticed a paper she had worked on as part of this month’s lessons on Martin Luther King Jr. The children were supposed to write a few sentences summarizing what they had learned about the famous leader, and my daughter chose to write this:

“He was sad because he was a different color.”

This sentence would have little impact on most readers; in fact, many people might express a similar sentiment about MLK or at least agree with this one. But when I read this statement my heart sank at the idea that this is what my daughter took away from her study of Dr. King. The problem with her takeaway epitomizes what’s wrong with American culture when it comes to our understanding of race, both in the past and currently. The problem is ever-present, but we shine a spotlight on it during our well-meaning commemoration of the great leader Martin Luther King Jr. In doing so, I believe that we achieve the opposite of what he intended.

Based on my daughter’s sentence, I gleaned that that is what she learned about race: Black is different, white is normal. This is the bottom line in the concept “white privilege,” a term that most white people, ironically, have never even heard of. White privilege is the unspoken, undocumented, subtle, and taken-for-granted paradigm that we live in, in which white people are the “main” group and black people are the “other” group. Nonwhite. The otherness isn’t limited to blacks, of course. Consider the term “ethnic,” which we so often use to describe food or people we can’t place (“She had an ethnic look.”) “Ethnic” means nonwhite; it’s an all-encompassing category for anything that is not the standard.

I witnessed my daughter’s first cognizant experience of white privilege when she was in kindergarten. She stepped off the school bus after her first day of MLK curriculum, put her little hand in mine, looked up at me with giant brown eyes, and said, “Alan said I was a brown girl so he might not want to be my friend.” On the second day, she came home and said, “Jonas called me brown on the bus.” When I asked her whether these kinds of comments had ever occurred before, she assured me that they had not. She seemed confused, stunned by the suddenness with which this “otherness” was brought to her attention. When I asked her if anyone had ever made fun of Jonas for being white, she said “No, of course not.” Her young mind didn’t associate the lessons in school with the new ammunition her schoolmates had against her, but I knew better.

Reader, before you become defensive and suggest that you personally do not think this way (or if you’re a teacher, that you do not teach this way), please realize that it’s not your fault (and also read up on the “third person effect,” which suggests that we erroneously think that our own behavior is different from and better than the behavior of most other people). Whether you are black or white, white privilege is the rhetoric you’ve been raised on if you grew up in the U.S., and it’s a belief system that is often hard to pinpoint and definitely hard to break out of because it’s everywhere.

Television characters provide one small example: There are a disproportionate number of white to black characters on television such that the world represented in television doesn’t even come close to representing the actual racial demographic in the U.S. While a white person doesn’t typically tune in to the BET channel (Black Entertainment Television), black viewers are stuck watching “WET” (that is, White Entertainment Television) because that’s what’s on the major networks. White privilege, or the perception of white as the standard from which all other things differ, is almost like a religion; if you’re raised on it, it’s almost impossible to see that it’s just a socially constructed belief, let alone imagine another way of being.

In our culture of white privilege, we teach our children to associate white with normal and black with different. Perhaps this wouldn’t be a crisis if it weren’t followed by subtle forms of discrimination on every level, from keeping a closer eye on black shop(lift)ers, to convicting more black men than white men for the same crime. See Harvard’s Implicit Association Test for race if you want to get a closer look at your own biased racial perceptions. Or, just answer these true or false questions adapted from an online survey about white privilege:

1. If a traffic cop pulls me over, I am certain that I haven’t been singled out because of my race.

2. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my own race.

3. I can turn on the television or open the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

4. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

5. If my day or week is going badly, it’s not because of situations whether I felt that my race was an issue.

6. I can take a highly competitive job without anyone ever thinking I may have gotten it because of my race.

If you answered true to most of these, you are likely a white person benefiting from white privilege. Again, it’s not your fault, but I think it’s time you became aware of it. I also think it’s time our kids stopped learning it.

I’m not suggesting that what my daughter is learning at school is what her teachers intended for her to learn. But I also want to stop using “intention” as an excuse. This is what she and many other children in the class took away from the lessons, which tells me that the lessons are faulty and need to be revised. If we dedicate time (and money) with school curriculum to address the issue, it should be done right. In the very least it shouldn’t exacerbate the problem we are trying to fix.

Here are the lessons I’d recommend:

Lesson #1: Across history, people have tried to get power by putting others down. For this lesson, it would be so easy to cite examples across the world, using variables in addition to race to point out varying criteria by which others are discriminated (gender, class, eye shape). Discuss Gandhi and the Untouchables in India, César Chávez and migrant workers in the U.S., Asma Jahangir and religious minorities in Pakistan, Leymah Gbowee and the women of Liberia, to name a few. Let it be an interdisciplinary lesson encompassing geography, politics, culture, and human rights.

Lesson #2: When a person seeks power by putting down others, it’s simply wrong, and you should stand up for the person being put down. This lesson has an obvious tie-in with anti-bullying curriculum, but I’ve yet to see MLK lessons align with anti-bullying curriculum in school. Focus on how we want to be, not on vivid and (possibly appealing/empowering) examples of how not to be.

That’s it. Really, that’s all. You don’t even need to talk about race. But if you do, please, I beg you, don’t use the words “black” and “different” in the same sentence, and don’t let race be the only example of the nonsensical variables people use to discriminate. History is important, but a large part of why we teach history is to avoid the mistakes of our past. Our current method of teaching about MLK is flawed because it encourages children to think about race in a potentially divisive way that subconsciously and accidentally continues a cycle of perceiving blacks as “others” and whites as “normal”; that is, we are perpetuating white privilege. To put a spotlight on skin color during MLK appreciation, while well intentioned, is misguided. I don’t think it’s what he would have wanted.

Carrie Hutchinson is a tenured professor of Communication at Santa Barbara City College with a PhD in intergroup communication.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

I took the Survey and due to the area I live in and the work I perform, only Question 26, was a NO (26. I can choose blemish cover or bandages in flesh color and have them more or less match my skin). The rest do apply to me and I am White. I live in an area of DC Metro which is predominantly Black or other race, I work at a Government Facility, in a Department where I am the only White employee and a "look-down on" Contractor. The other questions in your survey apply to me because I reside in, work in and shop in where I am the MINORITY, not the Majority. People use racist terms against me daily and am harassed both in receiving financial mailings, the police responding to my complaints or accusing me of being a criminal, and restricting my Civil Rights. I am one of those very few Whites on the negative side of the racial barrier where because of where I reside and work I am the Minority, so I feel your child's pain but because I'm white; I am the cause, not the effect of racism.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 7:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Normal depends on your perspective. I've been to China quite a few times. Their concept of "normal" differs from ours substantially. It all depends on what people are accustomed to seeing every day. The important thing is to get people to understand that when they see something different, (not normal to them) that it's not worse or better, just different.

Botany (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 8:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe study the story of the Irish:

Hemlockroid (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 8:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This article is outstanding. Just outstanding.

I will save it.

ahem (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 8:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

K-12 scores a home run.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 9:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Martin Luther King, Jr.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 9:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Self-identified Asian-American "Tiger Mom" Amy Chua recently postulates three content of character elements that she concluded make a difference between success and failure in people's lives here in America today; which go well beyond the color of one's skin or one's ethnic or cultural background.

This critical second part of MLK's own words needs more discussion. What are the shared content of character values that bring people into greater common understanding?

Where is the balance between cultural homogenization into generic blandness and coming closer to the spiritual traditions that recognize many mountains reach into the sky; and the hand has five fingers which are all different, but all are necessary.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 10:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

1960's radical Bill Ayers also attacks the "white privilege" concept in his debate with author and filmmaker Dinish D'Souza last night.

Recommended viewing for Ms Hutchinson's communications classes.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 10:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

More on "white privilege" male dominance of Sunday talk shows:

foofighter (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 10:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Of course, the obvious solution to this is:

1. More use of hyphenated names like "African-American" and "Latino-American". These terms make everyone feel included and part of the American dream.

2. More use of questions on forms like "What is your race?", since "race" is not a scientific term and clearly does not make people think about color or country of origin. Using this more will help.

3. Massive expansion of multi-culturalism programs in all our primary, secondary and higher education schools and universities since that entire world-view does not teach or reinforce differences, does not stir up resentments between people or lay blame for past bad behavior, and is all about inclusiveness.

So for lots more of 1, 2 and 3 above, keep voting for the 40 years of liberal democrat solutions to the problem this writer discusses and keep highlighting our differences instead of focusing on all of us being *HUMAN* and having legal protections when we are discriminated against.

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 11:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

foo, keep reading and studying deSouza!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 1:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The real bummer is now that "whites" are a minority in this state as of last month, whites will not get the same minority status affirmative action benefits because they suffer coincidentally from "white privilege".

Could "white privilege" be an affliction found only in the eye of the beholder? Or should we make that Holder.

I also wonder upon later contemplation if Ms Hutchinson is teaching her own child to hate "white people" when she botched this teaching moment with her own hyper-ventilating response. It could have gone so differently, if her heart had been more pure.

I trust she will return to engage in the debate.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 1:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

great letter. You navigated through this explosive topic with thought and care plus a few good ideas. Bravo! Be nice to see comments reflect similar construction. Who am I kidding, I only read the comments for laughs.

spacey (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 1:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, where do I start?

First of all, do you have proof that most white people have never heard of "white privilage"?...or should I assume that because you have a PhD (Something you highlight on your website) that you speak ex cathedra on all social matters?

Yes, most people in the U.S. are white, and if you are of another color, you will notice white people in most situations but guess what, if you go to Africa, you will notice YOU are a minority. Same situation if a Japanese person goes to India, and so forth.

Racism can work both ways, read the following article--especially the part about how a white kid was ostracized in his all Latino classroom.
(Note: I remember the original article, and the header "a liberal sees the light" was not in that article, nor do I neccesarily advocate the views of the Free Republic website)

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 6:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

(Part one of two) Let's look at "white privilage". This term is simply another way of saying that white people in general are racist without actually saying it. It's like "I didn't say you're racist, all I'm saying is"... Yep.

Ask yourself, "what is keeping (fill in the blank with the demographic in mind) down?" and address the issue. "White privilage" is simply an expression that infers hidden racism that only people such as yourself--those with PhD's, are smart enough to decipher. (No, I'm not jealous or resentful of people with college degrees, I simply question why some of you feel that having a college degree makes you more qualified to comment on social issues which are self-evident) When you have specific examples of people being kept down by other individuals, please cite those examples. Too often I hear it said that the legacy of slavery is keeping people down, or that "it's out there" (racism) but that some of us--by the lack of pigment in our skin--lack the depth/empathy to understand it.

The reality is, the U.S. was founded (in the social de facto sense) on the idea that any non-Anglo Saxon Protestant was a lesser human being, and that was the systemic practice for centuries. It wasn't until the 1960's that people outside this power structure were allowed to utilize their potential. Blood was shed, lives were lost, and a LOT of white people left their comfort zones, and at the risk of invoking the obvious, this country of "White privilage" elected a black person president on two occasions, both by big majorities. If white folks are so race-concious, how did this happen?

Americas "Favorite dad" on t.v. was Bill Cosby, again, like the presidential elections, the hidden bigotry of white people would have had an opportunity to show itself if most white people were racist--but where was it?

Here are some questions I have: Why is it that if a white person speaks in double negatives, they are considered "Redneck", "trailer trash", or a "hick", while when a black person does it, it's considered trendy or normal? Why isn't the issue of peer pressure placed on Blacks/Hispanics to conform lest they be accused of "acting white" being addressed in academia? Why isn't the issue of out-of-wedlock births in the black demographic being discussed?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 7:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

(part two of two)
Racism will always exist, as will murder, rape, or any simple act of deceit, but at least today people of color have the opportunity to fight against this whearas in generations past, there was no system of redress. The best way to fight against racism is through obtaining a good education, which in addition to making such education available, can be achieved only if those in historically oppressed demographics hear messages beside those of being told that white people are evil and out to get them so why bother?...or that they are incapable of learning the English language (note in the article the parents who had lived here for years who were still unable to communicate in English and ask yourself why this is) or that if you study hard in school, you are "acting white". Ask yourself how it is that Jews--despite being persecuted in every way imaginable, have managed to succeed in disproportionally high numbers wherever they live. (And who faced more discrimination,...Jewish people 100 years ago, or Blacks/Hispanics today?)

Life isn't perfect, I wish it were, but I think in the big picture, it's a lot better today than even a few decades ago. What MLK fought for was the opportunity to step up to the plate and swing at the ball. That opportunity has been mainly achieved, but as long as people are convinced that Al Sharpton or some self-loathing white person speaks for them, MLK shall have died in vain.

I would advise Ms. Hutchison, PhD, to take heed to the following words posted on her website, and apply them to the situation of the little boy cited in the article I posted. Yours truly, Bill Clausen, HSG. (High School Graduate)

“It is important to remember that virtually all perpetrators of great evil in the world...believed that they were victims of some longstanding prior outrage that justified their militancy.” Kressel 2002

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 7:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

billclausen, I think she gives heed to that quote in her article.

Ohm the irony.

Perhaps the existence of the white supremacist state is formed by the essence of that appeal.

ahem (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 8:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Make that Ms H, PhD, "tenured professor". How classist-elitist is that? There is this pecking order amongst academic titles because…???

Funny how the need to set oneself apart using labels in a general discussion, rather than relying upon the unadorned content of one's character, creeps into our everyday existence.

One more reason to love anonymous blogging. I credit this rag tag collection of merry pranksters here for not hiding behind credentials, but instead engaging directly for the most part in the exchange of ideas often with enlightening candor. I commend Uber-Editor Partridge for allowing this refreshing exchange to continue here.

Clausen, you made excellent points. Agree, "white privilege" is merely a new buzzword in the vocabulary of excuse and blame that exacerbates the present agenda of perpetual victimology.

Access to universal public education is our one great equalizer in the US. While there need to fine tune the delivery system, the commitment to keep doors of opportunity open has long been a hallmark of US public education.

No Obama did not just invent this concept in his last State of the Union, it has been fundamental to the American Dream for generations that moved into new lives using the gifts America already puts on the table. Refusing to take advantage of those gifts is a personal choice; but nothing more.

K-12 Three R's" are not that hard to teach. We built a successful Nation on pretty rudimentary educational course material. However, in the past few decades we have complicated the basics of public education beyond all recognition.

And no, Common Core Curriculum does not foster common values either, as has become obvious. Political propaganda passing for universal education will be destructive to our Nation.

Abusing an ironic quest for equality, we are now instead splintering ourselves into meaningless divisions of sub-hyphenations. This "ethnic pride" social experiment needs to quickly be put to rest.

Equity remains our national duty; but demanding equality will be our national folly.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 11:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ohm the irony.

ahem (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2014 at 8:32 p.m. (

Jai guru deva om, and of course "ॐ".

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2014 at 1:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you Foo, and you make a lot of excellent points. In my haste I failed to mention the irony--one you have well-elucidated--that the author complains about social stratification while practicing it herself with her mentioning her PhD degree, which has no relevance to the subject matter.

In all fairness however, we live in a society where it is assumed that one's credibility is commensurate with their degree of education.

A number of years ago, I submitted an op-ed piece for this publication, and the piece was published. During the process, I went back in forth with a very nice young woman whose name I forget, but what sticks in my memory she kept asking me what my background was and it blew her away that I was not from the academic world. Simply put, she had been conditioned to believe that one could not formulate an opinion nor compose a letter unless one had a formal education. Ironically, this plays right into the subject matter at hand.

Fredrick Douglass--the former slave turned abolitionist, was thought to be a ringer because many could not believe that someone who was so well-versed and well-spoken could have come from such humble beginnings without formal education. Fast forward to Helen Keller: Same deal--how could someone who could neither see nor hear be capable of such complex thought? There are endless examples of people who are self-taught, and moreover, even if one is illiterate, and not intelligent by the standards of society, they still can cut to the core with common sense. I remember a fellow a number of years ago that would be classified as "special needs", but he would make some incredibly trenchant observations about people we knew. In other words, high I.Q.'s don't always=common sense, and vice versa.

While clearly the author is an intelligent person, and I think she means well, she's an example of the "means becoming the end" and has lost sight of the true goal, which is that we are all of equal value. I certainly hope this is the case, and that her line of work is not dependent on her having to perpetuate the very Balkanization she ostensibly condemns.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2014 at 4:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Three random thoughts here. First, Douglass is not the only autodidact to take his/her place in history. I found this out while reading "Alexander Hamilton," by Ron Chernow, professor of history, Yale University. Many during Colonial America took their place among the "well educated" by such a practice. Second, we might come to certain ways of thinking by a simple occurrence as osmosis. Things just filter through. Views on religion, say. Public education once accommodated Bible study if such study took place off school grounds. So as early as the third grade, I was shocked to see the St. James version of the Bible ripped apart by Roman Catholics, littering school grounds as we marched to our separate learning centers for Bible study. Third and lastly, I'm amazed that a social cause, said by someone on the US Supreme Court to be younger than the Internet, has achieved a dynamic acceptance that still eludes the goal of Martin Luther King, Jr! The LGBT movement for example, has literally enjoyed cyclonic acceptance. So I would like to know just what has been the reaction of this professor's offspring when she finds out someone of her gender is "different" in the same way color is "different"?

salsipuedes (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2014 at 9:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Martin Luther King taught, "Judge another by the Content of their Character".

In my opinion everything else is moot.

I does not matter their color, religious, gender, or cultural preference or anything else about them, just their Character.

This message gets pushed aside and devolves quickly back into race, religious, gender and cultural preference, especially in the media and academia.

So what is Character, how do we define it.

Is it treating everyone as we would like to be treated? Is, it your word is your bond?

Is it, say what you do and do what you say? What is Character?

What philosophical enlightenment gleaned over the ages makes up Character? Is character holding open a door for others, stopping so another can cross the street or parking lot, just seconds to do so.

As a survivor of the public educational system, I have been subjected to all kinds of gibberish but not one ever talked about Character and the Moral and Ethical tenents of living one's life.

The question should be, "What is your Character, What do you as an Individual do on a daily basis in your interaction with the World"?

Of course for the miss guided collectivist members of academia the idea of an Sentient Individuals is aberrant.

Is philosophical thought just to close to the R word, religion, that the statists dare not go there?

At some point the R word comes up, whether it be Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, Bahá'í etc, ideas beyond the State.

Remember MLK was a religious man and I am sure Character is his mind revolved around moral and ethical tenants of each Individual.

So education Fails to teach the basic message of Martin Luther King, "What is your Character" and still continues to play the childish game of color.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2014 at 10:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Mom missed an MLK character-building teaching moment, and turned it instead into a skin-color screed. Move on, lady.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2014 at 10:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"White privilege is the unspoken, undocumented, subtle, and taken-for-granted paradigm that we live in, in which white people are the “main” group and black people are the “other” group."
If that's a truth, why am I reading it here?

Honestly... I think you're trying to make an issue out of something a six year old said to further this notion that white people are supremacist in nature.

Why do I think that? Maybe it's when you said;
"I’m not suggesting that what my daughter is learning at school is what her teachers intended for her to learn."
Honestly... I don't think you know what your daughter is being taught!

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2014 at 11:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo, profuse thanks for bringing to my attention, and possibly others, the debate at Darthmouth between Bill Ayers and Dinesh D'Souza. The experience, for me, at least, was a breath of fresh air. As to Ayers, I didn't think he was at his best reading for a prepared text. He was at his best thinking on his two feet. And to my surprise, I found myself admiring D'Souza's incredible ability to stand on his own two feet and rebound quickly from a knock down. Like him or not, D'Souza is refreshing to listen to. I've not been treated to such sparkly fare since a debate long ago between Noam Chomsky and William F. Buckley, Jr. Again, thank you, Foo. Most enjoyable!

salsipuedes (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2014 at 12:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I enjoyed this excellent Voices piece from Hutchinson. Bravo.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2014 at 12:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you, salsipuedes. The older I get, the more I realize we shouldn't make "coming together" our only goal; but rather become comfortable existing in a sturdy crucible where multi-perspectives can exist in non-toxic ferment.

No one is saying progressives are not long on vision; but there also needs to be conservative fiscal soundness for those visions to be realized. The Law of Unintended Consequences needs to also be vetted through vigorous debate before policy is settled too.

May healthy debate be valued, and in time the polarizing name-calling and identity-politics cease.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2014 at 2:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I like what I read: "May healthy debate be valued, and in time the polarizing name-calling and identity-politics cease." Also of value, "...I realize we shouldn't make 'coming together' our only goal; but rather become comfortable existing in a sturdy crucible where multi-perspectives can exist in non-toxic ferment." From you prudent keyboard and fine mind to the ears of God! Indeed! The older I become I, too, suspect the world might be even more beautiful with the co-mingling of diverse points of view. En la variedad hay el gusto, Foo! Isn't the piano scale do, re, me -- another example of differences co-mingling in harmony? Certainly that give and take between two fine minds, albeit different in perspective, is testimony, isn't it? Thank you again and you've certainly added to my day, Foo! My compliments!

salsipuedes (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2014 at 2:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hi all, this is the author, here. Thank you for your passionate responses to this topic! I’m excited that my piece provokes thought and dialogue about this important issue.
I found it curious that my educational degree is provoking such concern from some readers, since it’s a detail that was added by the SB Independent Editor based on information in my email. I suppose I wouldn’t necessarily agree that my background “has no relevance to the subject matter” as suggested by billclausen, since my doctorate is in the topic of prejudice, but I certainly wouldn’t (and didn’t) suggest that it makes my opinion on the matter more important or valuable than any of yours. Criticizing my education, particularly when I didn’t mention it in my article, seems like a red herring to the real issue, and I’m disappointed that folks are so concerned with degrees and credentials that it clouds the main point, which is this: I believe that white Americans enjoy many subtle and not-so-subtle privileges that black Americans do not, and I’m concerned that we run the risk of perpetuating the situation with well-meaning lessons about race. In my article I make a plea to proceed with great care and maybe even rethink the curriculum. That’s my point, and I suspect that we might actually agree on this. What do you think? Only a few people commented on school curriculum surrounding MLK day.
I shared a personal story about the effect it had on my daughter, and I was surprised that from this it was concluded that I had missed a teaching moment with my child. This article was meant for an adult audience, and the sentiments expressed here were certainly not those that I share with my child in our conversations about her experiences at school. This opinion piece was not about the conversations and teaching moments we have in our home, it was about the conversations that concern me at my daughter’s school, where I spend several hours each week assisting in the classroom. I could go on about how I parent and teach character, and how we make teaching moments out of every bizarre comment we get from strangers about her Afro, but that’s another topic and another red herring.
In sum, I’m elated to see that most responders here seem to have an equally passionate concern for issues of equality, inclusion, fairness, and voice. I also hope that you consider the concept of white privilege to be thought provoking, and not an opportunity for an ad hominem, or attack on the messenger. I really like the following article, which discusses student responses to critical race pedagogy in the classroom:
The responses these researchers highlight are similar to those expressed in this forum. I find it all very interesting. Thanks for adding to the discussion!

loveinsb (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2014 at 6:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The issue of "white privilege" in this country has been on the table before even Manifest Destiny.

I hope you retract your assumption few know anything about the concept of "white privilege". In return, are you familiar with the term "self-hating white people"? That is how I would characterize the substance of your article.

You did miss a teaching moment with your children. But I don't think they missed the teaching moment they just had with you. With these misplaced academic skills, should you be teaching adults?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2014 at 7:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think it's good that you you took the time to respond to the comments here.
With regard to the subject at hand, racism, like so many things, often goes in both directions. My own daughter went to a school where most of the students were Hispanic. She was regularly called a "Casper." You can look up the meaning/intent or likely figure it out. Neither she nor I feel, nor presumably many others, feel "privideged" in any way, "subtle" or not. Your implicit academic "authority" doesn't carry the weight you assume that it does. You are, of course, entitled to your opinions or personal feelings.

As for the "red herring" you see in the discussion of your academic creditionals, I can certainly believe that the Indy added these details to your letter, but when _you_ note that you have a doctorate in the "topic (sic) of prejudice," I think you (re)open the door, on several levels, to the very criticisms that "billclausen" et al. are adressing here.

zappa (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2014 at 7:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Obama was not elected by a white majority - the makeup of the electorate is such that he was elected mostly by blacks, hispanics and women.

I am surprised at the reaction to the mention of the author's qualifications. I find it interesting to know more about an author. As I read the article, the motivation in writing the article appeared to the experience of her child - not because she thought that having a degree gave her the authority/credibility/rationale to do so. That is missing the point.

The history of mankind is a story of groups fighting / resenting / ostracizing / having problems with "other" groups. I was stuck by the comment of a Syrian government official in answer to the anguish of a woman whose doctor son was murdered by Syrian troops - "He was not raised properly". In other words his culture of upbringing was considered bad enough that despite being a person who could save others, was considered expendable. Ethnic/other cleansing has occurred throughout history.

I have also noticed that some young children find it hard to accept those who are different from them, and it may not only be because of skin color. Sometimes it is size, or deformity, or just a different culture (Irish, Jewish, etc), or even being poor and disadvantaged. Other children, though, have empathy immediately and overlook "otherness". I do believe it is a matter of brain-wiring and also experience. If at home, "others" are welcomed as equal, that will set an example. However, on some occasions some children are upset when the reverse is true, and buck an example of intolerance.

Getting to white privilege. In this country it is probably a result of the fact that for centuries the dominant culture has been white. In other situations/countries, where the majority are a different ethnicity, then they would be regarded as privileged.

Just some thoughts. By the way, that was a classy reply to the comments posted here.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2014 at 8:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Who missed the point? Anyone thinking Mom is using the kid to make a point as though the point would not exist without the kid.

Kid's just an illustration, a "for instance."


This is a fine article by what appears to be a fine human being who exposed herself to the outrages of smug ignorance and prejudice.

ahem (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2014 at 9:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I watched the Bill Ayers Dinish D'Souza debate, and was embarrassed at how many things D'Souza got factually wrong. As, apparently, were most of the students. I doubt that his film will be any better.

I knew nothing about Ayers, had heard little about him outside of the "terrorist" label during the election. But his comments were for the most part grounded in reality and fact.

The US constitution was not responsible for the wealth creation concept. Creating wealth had been going on for some time in Britain, Europe, and elsewhere in the world prior to that. Also, civilization of any part of the world is highly dependent upon a number of factors, which was described so well in "Guns, Germs and Steel". And as for the US example being copied by other countries, I bet most Chinese wish they were still using bicycles so that they could breathe clean air. Chinese money accumulation has been thanks to the sacrifice of US jobs for far cheaper pay in China, so that fat-cat international corporations could make huge profits, at the expense of the prosperity of the US middle class. Thanks to that money, the Chinese are now building destroyers - we are consuming Chinese-made products and in the process, becoming a mediocre nation.

D'Souza's arguments seemed to be like trying to twist reality according to dogma, resulting in nonsense. D'Souza is naive.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2014 at 10:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bill Ayers ghost-wrote Dreams From My Father for Obama. How did you miss that? Obama typically lied and claimed Ayers was just some guy from his neighborhood, when in fact Bill Ayers actively launched Obama's political career and made many of his early connections.

They served together on the group where Obama got his "community organizing" experience, which by the way failed to get the results they had hoped for. This was all in the news over the past 8 years.

So you as a "fact checker" tabatha, leave a lot to be desired. D'Souza cleaned Ayers clock.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2014 at 11:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"I found it curious that my educational degree is provoking such concern from some readers, since it’s a detail that was added by the SB Independent Editor based on information in my email. I suppose I wouldn’t necessarily agree that my background “has no relevance to the subject matter” as suggested by billclausen, since my doctorate is in the topic of prejudice, but I certainly wouldn’t (and didn’t) suggest that it makes my opinion on the matter more important or valuable than any of yours. "

So which is it? The comments " I suppose I wouldn’t necessarily agree that my background 'has no relevance to the subject matter' as suggested by billclausen, since my doctorate is in the topic of prejudice," and "I certainly wouldn’t (and didn’t) suggest that it makes my opinion on the matter more important or valuable than any of yours." contradict each other.

Would your opinion have less value had you not sat in a classroom, had rote information given to you, and earned a doctorate--which usually means you make your living from the subject matter at hand,. I ask you: Is your income dependent on raising this issue? I have no financial stake in raising the points that I do.

Again, what is specifically holding back black people, and by the way, are Hispanics nonexistant in this equation?

Since you bring up the race of your daughter, I have something to share with you: My mother was brown--very brown--and as a kid born in 1927 and having grown up in a mostly Swedish neighborhood in Chicago, and then spending time in Florida during her childhood--and assumed to be black, she didn't have it real good but her parents (who were Assyrians who emigrated to the U.S.--whose native tongue was Aramaic/Syriac) told her of the realities of life, and what to expect, and to get educated since education was the best weapon against racism, as well as a way to advance socioeconomically,

We don't live in a perfect world, and to that end, I simply don't know what to tell you other than we DO notice each others' differences, but that doesn't make us (all of us) bad people. When people are terrorized, or discriminated against, or are treated rudely, then you deal with it the same way you deal with a bully trying to take your lunch money--with a direct and quick response. Cogitating from the Ivory Tower of Academia won't deal with the matter at hand, and let's face it, there IS the appearence of conflict of interest when those from ethnic studies departments/related fields make their living from promoting division.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2014 at 3:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

With D'Souza and Chua as your references, who needs Tweedle Dee and Dumb?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2014 at 8:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I am beginning to like Foo & Clausen as the new Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Or at least, it makes a good name for a new Santa Rita HIlls winery.

Excellent points, Clausen. There is a race-baiting industrial complex where money is made exacerbating issues, instead of solving them.

Look no further than the education industry today which will systemically never solve this states terrible educational rankings because it would take away the reason-d'etre for continually demanding more money.

For their own self-interests the teaching industry has more to gain continually falling its mission; not succeeding. That is a very sobering recognition and will set of the predictable squeals of protest.

But facts are facts and the teacher industry will always have their hands out for more money, complaining endlessly how can they do any better if they are so poorly paid.

(NB: CA teachers are ranked 3 out of 50 states in pay levels; 46 out of 50 in educational outcomes.)

One can guess PhDs in today's highly politicized educational environment are also granted not for serious academic rigor any longer, but for the same Leftist political correctness that infects the teaching industry from top to bottom.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2014 at 9:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you for this thought-provoking article, Ms. Hutchinson. Normative thinking is an issue in fighting prejudice. I hope my lessons on MLK, Jr., avoid these problems, but they are very real. Nice to ignore foo, etc. Oh, and Ayers annihilated deSouza, a pathetic hack if ever there was one.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2014 at 9:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

All the more reason for " tenured communications prof" Hutchinson to use the Ayers/D'Souza debate tape in her classroom to illustrate how viewers can reach opposite conclusions, reflecting what they bring into the setting as well as what and how they listen during the experience. D'Souza cleaned Ayer's clock.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2014 at 9:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Small correction, the Chinese may be building Destroyers but it is the Aircraft Carriers with their planes that pose the biggest risk as the big three compete for the last of the resources of the planet. This is not unlike the period of time between WWI and WWII, nations looking to take resources by force. As you pointed out this behavior has been going on since the beginning and even takes place in faraway places such as the deep Amazon jungle.

It is also mentioned that Japan and India may have Carriers coming online.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2014 at 9:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This article discusses that White Europeans are genetic hybrids and Africans are not.

I am not skilled in genetics and have no idea if this article has validity.

It is interesting.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2014 at 10:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

green valley said: " as the big three compete for the last of the resources of the planet. "

Who are the big three today and what are they in competition for? Please flesh out this statement. China is contracting fair and square for its resources; we failed to take Iraqi oil by force, and not sure who you are designating as the third great world power? Germany, EU, Japan?

Are they competing to take over Lake Baikal, the larges fresh water resource in the world solidly within the borders of Russia? Please tell us more.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2014 at 10:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Foofighter, as you point out, Baikal is a fresh water lake, and dolphins are salt water creatures, so we don't care about lakes.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
February 4, 2014 at 4:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

" My mother was brown--very brown--and as a kid born in 1927 and having grown up in a mostly Swedish neighborhood in Chicago, and then spending time in Florida during her childhood--and assumed to be black..." My I reflect on that sentence, if I may. At least as early as the 16th century, "black" might have been another way of saying "dark complexioned," not race specific as it became in both the US and South Africa. For example, when Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh both appeared in a tournament in that country some years back, it was interesting to note that South African golfer Gary Player identified not only Tiger Woods as "black" but Vijay well. I also suspect, but am unable to prove, that Shakespeare's "Othello" was more to the point ethnically speaking Moroccan than Ghanaian. Small wonder, then, when Sir Laurence put on "blackface" for the role, he was "ethnically" more to the point than, say, Paul Robeson. So coming back to the beginning statement that a loved one was "very brown" may be meaningless to someone of a culture, west European specifically, wherein anything dark complexioned was "black," meaning color and not "race."

salsipuedes (anonymous profile)
February 4, 2014 at 9:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Dolphinpod, do you not have second cousins who are fresh water dolphins? And (gasp) they are identified as white. Alors!

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 4, 2014 at 10:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Chua is leagues ahead of D'Souza as a thinker and a writer...although she tries to avoid having her two tomes make Asian-Americans into the "model minority" thing -- that's what she has effectively done. There are now plenty of Caucasian and Latina Moms pretending to be Tiger Moms like Ms. Chua. foo, you're repeating yourself about the clock-cleanings, reread your own spewings, eh? foo: 14 of these 46 pieces!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 4, 2014 at 10:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Teaching children to be chess players instead of video game fanatics is the best way to prepare young people for the new global economy, in which they will be competing …. with other children who do play chess.

Chess teaches young minds long-range strategic thinking skills, impulse control, quiet contemplation, resiliency, formal manners and good sportsmanship. All keys to future success.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 4, 2014 at 10:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo, I've heard similar high marks for bridge and geometry!

salsipuedes (anonymous profile)
February 4, 2014 at 12:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

olphinpod, do you not have second cousins who are fresh water dolphins? And (gasp) they are identified as white. Alors!

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 4, 2014 at 10:06 a.m.

I would rather not discuss that side of my family. I am ashamed of them.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 4, 2014 at 2:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

OK salsipuedes....(?)

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 5, 2014 at 1:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Just a thought here. I wonder whether Professor Hutchinson has ever met Gillian Schutte, South African filmmaker and human rights activist?

salsipuedes (anonymous profile)
February 5, 2014 at 8:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'll bet some of the angry, outraged resistance to this article comes from people who live in an echo chamber with no variation in the input.

In other words, they probably listen to and watch angry, outraged media personalities who do all their research for them.

They lack scholarship.

ahem (anonymous profile)
February 6, 2014 at 6:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hi billclausen-
I did not meet Gillian Shutte when I was conducting research in South Africa this summer. I would have liked to. We share many interests - I research and teach perception, language, and prejudice, particularly in countries that are recovering from genocide, or in that case, apartheid. No ivory towers for me, thanks. Funny what we assume about people, isn't it? That's something we all share in common as humans, the perceptual filters that make us assume too much about each other (I guess that's how I would summarize the problem with our current political climate...but that's another topic).
You may or may not like this TED Talk by her, but it's food for thought. I agree with some parts and not others:
On her webpage she recounts the reactions to her message about racism:
"I have been called all sorts of horrible things including self-loathing, masochistic, a black-wannabe, a bitch, witch, man-hating dyke, mad women who should be drowned, shot or burned.."
What a shame. I maintain my comments earlier- I sure hope we can all engage in dialogue without making it personal, mean, or hateful... and without inventing/assuming too much about each other.
Thanks again for your passion- another thing we share!
Carrie Hutchinson

loveinsb (anonymous profile)
February 6, 2014 at 11:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow Dr. Hutchison, you sure are getting defensive and off track! Not to worry however, I'm quite used to the trajectory of the dialectics in this matter and how people on your side react. Cheers!

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 6, 2014 at 2:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

actually, BC, Hutchinson was mellow and not defensive, methinks you do protest too much...all worried about the "trajectory" and "people on your side". Engage in her points.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 6, 2014 at 5:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What it all boils down to is this: I treat all people with whom I come in contact with equal respect and dignity. If that isn't good enough for you )DrDan) or Hutchinson, then there's nothing more I can do.

Moreover, how is all this stopping the horrific black-on-black crime in the ghettos, and the breakdown of the black family?

Nebulous terms such as "White privilage" don't address the core issue, and again, if people are nice to one another, then we can get the ball rolling, but some people have to make the issue very complicated and then lose sight of the true goal.

All else is pointless. "Do onto others" know the drill.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 6, 2014 at 7:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"White privilege": render it nebulous when you don't when you can't hide from it.

Odd that billclausen judges others as defensive when the defensiveness is his own.

Life will be much more joyful when you leave the Fox News & Limbaugh echo chamber of rage.

ahem (anonymous profile)
February 6, 2014 at 9:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

ahem, what do you think about others seeing "Lefties" as full of class envy resentments and the fundamental need to perpetuate victim-hood in order to keep the troop in line?

You think Right-wingers are automotons taking their marching orders from talk radio, but what about conservatives who don't even listen to talk radio.

We see peril in the rapidly expanding Big Government nanny-state because it its ask even fewer to pay for programs and services of little to no value other than permanent self-employment for those running the programs..

And you see the ever-expanding Nanny-state as compassionate, as long as you yourself do not have to pay for it. Where is our middle ground?

We can go head to head with cherry-picked facts and name-calling, but what is really at stake, and how much of it really has to do with money and a sense of scarcity.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 6, 2014 at 10:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am thinking of the "outrage" directed toward the appraisal of a mother and her daughter. Instead of even a slight attempt at understanding everyone wants to be Job's friends.

ahem (anonymous profile)
February 7, 2014 at 3 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I wasn't even thinking of radio when I wrote Fox News, BTW.

ahem (anonymous profile)
February 7, 2014 at 3:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

howgreenwasmyvalley - yep after I typed that, I realized I should have said carriers - but what the heck, they are both capable of destroying. Comments cannot be edited like they can with Disqus, but I am not that fond of Disqus.

And then I got preoccupied with the Nye/Ham debate.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
February 7, 2014 at 3:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Life will be much more joyful when you leave the Fox News & Limbaugh echo chamber of rage.

ahem (anonymous profile)
February 6, 2014 at 9:09 p.m.

Let's see...I can't stand Rush Limbaugh and I despise Fox T.V, but I suppose if you say it, it must be true.

Stirring the pot of racial division pays off quite well for some in academia. No?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 7, 2014 at 3:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Everyone is blogging at 3;30 in the morning, how disturbing.

I have a theory. They say gay bashers are repressed homosexuals so I am thinking that billclausen is secretly a black person but cannot admit it. He is a black person benefitting from white privilige. It is just a theory. Foo? Tabatha? AHem? What do U think?

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
February 7, 2014 at 3:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

billclausen, I know this is stereotyping but i know this is how you feel about yourself. Embrace who u really r.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
February 7, 2014 at 3:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

ah, that paranoid style in politics that most enjoys bashing academia... I think we know the drill, bill. And heck, just like you "I treat all people with whom I come in contact with equal respect and dignity." -- but I'd say that I "try" to do this always, but fail often and have to regroup. and it's after 4 am

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 7, 2014 at 4:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I believe that the author is sincere in her intent, perspective etc. and she writes well. I have nothing against those in academia, people with advanced degrees etc. I have my own connections to those worlds.
However, I think there's no getting around the fact that there's a certain "academic smugness" of tone in her original piece. (This is less evident in her follow-up responses.) I believe that it's this that billclausen and perhaps others may be trying to address here.
I have no doubt that the author is an effective teacher (can't help but wonder if all this, including comments, will make it into one of her classes), but I don't think that _everything_ has to be a "teaching moment" and that she's overreaching, and generalizing, rather badly here.
One example: "I gleaned that that is what she learned about race: Black is different, white is normal. This is the bottom line in the concept “white privilege,” a term that most white people, ironically, have never even heard of." If one looks to make _everything_ about race, then everything will be about, well, race.
Finally, I see no "outrage" here in the comments, unless one were to apply that term to those who view anyone who disagrees with a position on certain issues as a right wing ideologue who takes his/her ideas from FOX News and despicable blowhards like Limbaugh.

zappa (anonymous profile)
February 7, 2014 at 6:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Anyone who dismisses conservative thinking as merely the result of listening to FOX news, talk radio and Rush Limbaugh is mining very shallow depths for their arguments.

I don't listen to or watch any of the above so you have to deal with at least my voice as the voice of experience, insight, education, curiosity and compassion. Like it or not. But you do sell it short, if you think it is just the result of canned, pre-packaged media entertainment viewpoints. It is not, so deal with your own agenda if you don't like the view points presented, not mine.

Nor do I think any other voices here who bring in a more conservative perspective are pandering to pre-packaged "right wing" viewpoints either. We are just bringing in different perspectives that are genuine reflections gleaned from life's observations over time. Which one does not easily find in the pages of the Independent, so this blog is a rich resource for legitimate discourse. Yin and yang. Salt and pepper.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 7, 2014 at 8:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Don't confuse "academic smugness" for being a better writer than most. Why should she dumb down her article?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 7, 2014 at 9:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Let's remember that "liberal" has changed it's meaning. When I was a kid it meant being about social justice and equality in it's purest form where today it's a doctrinaire support of the Democrat party and multiculturalism.

In other words, true liberalism and the conservatism of which Foo speaks are not incompatible.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 7, 2014 at 2:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm not _confusing_ anything and I've acknowledged that she's a good writer in my very first sentence.
I believe I'm quite capable of detecting smugness of various types.
You're, of course, entitled to disagree with my assessment, but not to assume that my observation here is due to my being "confused" in any way.
Maybe it seems like a minor point, but I think nuances matter.

zappa (anonymous profile)
February 7, 2014 at 3:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Too bad you didn't get to meet with your South African counterpart, Gillian Schutte, Professor. Better luck next time. I'm sure you've considered sending a little note to her about a possible meeting the next time you're in the country.

salsipuedes (anonymous profile)
February 7, 2014 at 4:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks for the link to the Gillian Shutte TED talk - it is excellent. I could write a lengthy post about other points, especially the question of "black-on-black" crime. Sometimes race blinds people's judgment, so that lack of success is attributed to race, when poverty and lack of opportunity are more important factors; well illustrated in the TED talk at the link.

Even Rand Paul recognizes that despite approx. equal use by Whites and Blacks, Blacks are treated far worse for drug offenses. And their educational opportunities are worse in this country (and were under apartheid). Colin Powell stated last night in an interview that education is the key to improving the lot of every child. If Black kids are denied that opportunity because of poverty, doing unnecessary jail time, and lack of pre-school education, then the results can be predicted. And it becomes an endless cycle. Another factor that may be overlooked is that Whites and their ancestors are living in a society whose norms they established over many generations, and with which they have been familiar for many generations. Black citizens in this country have not, but are catching up. Hence by that very factor alone, Whites are favored.

Mandela was a champion for the victims of apartheid, as were many other civil rights (undoing victimization) leaders. It could be said that, the bulk of humanity on this planet, do not live in free societies where they are accorded full civil rights, i.e. they are victims of often barbaric customs, especially women. Even in countries that have better rights, due to many historical and social factors, not all members of that society are successful. And all efforts to fix that should be applauded, because it makes for a more prosperous and safe society. And sets an example for the rest of the world.

And despite the overturning of apartheid, the odds still remain stacked in the favor of Whites in Gillian Shutte's country - because once something is owned, even illegally originally, it is very difficult to reverse. Talk about transfer of wealth - in that country it was done by the grabbing of wealth/land and then enslaving a population whose sovereignty was not respected. The original people, by default, owned the land on which they had settled - but they did not employ the concept of "property rights" by paper, law and lawyers. And for that, their cultures were ripped apart, their health and wealth greatly diminished while being unable to vote. Now, to some extent, they are floundering because they have to reestablish, reform and readjust their societies while still being handicapped by the established White norm. And yet they are judged to be wanting, and not the people who inflicted the harm upon them.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
February 7, 2014 at 11:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

ahem (anonymous profile)
February 8, 2014 at 8:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

tabatha, your revisionist history of South Africa is way out of whack. Where do you get your stuff? Migration by both Europeans and neighboring tribal groups into this area took place pretty at the same time.

But your lurid one-size-fits-all historical description does follow your typical spoon-fed party bias that you inflict on your contributions here. All the proper buzz words are well in place. So why should facts matter, when the point is to make your anti-capitalism, anti "white", anti-imperialism case yet again. In contrast, I refer you to the Central African Republic for today's version of what local home rule does for a country.

Ironically in the process though, you do make the point once something gets started, ownership or entitlement ensues. Which is precisely why many right-thinking people do fear the continual expansion of Big Government in this country.

Perhaps we can use this as a common understanding of an underlying principle, even though we will continue to differ on detail and execution?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 9, 2014 at 9:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

lurid? check dictionary, foo, if you have one. And your "Big Government" expanded more under your beloved Geo Bush 43 than under many Demos. Where do you get your stuff, the crud you cut and paste all the time?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 9, 2014 at 11:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

George Bush was a jerk. Taking this country to war over Iraq was the worst event in our living history. No need to deal in shallow type-casting when you make your arguments, DD.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
February 9, 2014 at 12:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

foofighter--can you substantiate your accusation that tabatha's history of RSA is revisionist?

ahem (anonymous profile)
February 9, 2014 at 7:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

OK people, when you "assume", you make an "ass" out of "U" and "Me". Time for a group hug.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 10, 2014 at 1:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Reality check time: Since the issue of the War On Drugs is being raised, (and I agree about how so many Blacks are sent to prison on these charges) who among you has the courage to admit that the mainstream Democrat/Republican rule refuses to acknowledge the abysmal failure of the Drug War? In other words, if you keep voting for mainstream politicians, there's no hope of this--or other things improving.

As the saying goes: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 10, 2014 at 1:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

bill, I assume you are talking about the fact that people keep voting for the same people?

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
February 10, 2014 at 2:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

billclausen,I have to agree with you on this one. I don't know what's harder to shrink--the Military Industrial Complex or the Prison Industrial Complex.

ahem (anonymous profile)
February 10, 2014 at 7:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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