Sunday, March 23, 2008

It's All in the Mindset

Those interested in the racial "discussions" triggered by the video of Jeremiah Wright's angry tirades against white America will find an essay by Ed Kaitz at The American Thinker a very important contribution. It starts with this:

Back in the late 1980s I was on a plane flying out of New Orleans and sitting next to me was a rather interesting and, according to Barack Obama, unusual black man. Friendly, gregarious, and wise beyond his years, we immediately hit it off. I had been working on Vietnamese commercial fishing boats for a few years based in southern Louisiana. The boats were owned by the recent wave of Vietnamese refugees who flooded into the familiar tropical environment after the war. Floating in calm seas out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, I would hear tearful songs and tales from ex-paratroopers about losing brothers, sisters, parents, children, lovers, and beautiful Vietnam itself to the communists.

In Bayou country I lived on boats and in doublewide trailers, and like the rest of the Vietnamese refugees, I shopped at Wal-Mart and ate a lot of rice. When they arrived in Louisiana the refugees had no money (the money that they had was used to bribe their way out of Vietnam and into refugee camps in Thailand), few friends, and a mostly unfriendly and suspicious local population.

They did however have strong families, a strong work ethic, and the "Audacity of Hope." Within a generation, with little or no knowledge of English, the Vietnamese had achieved dominance in the fishing industry there and their children were already achieving the top SAT scores in the state.

While I had been fishing my new black friend had been working as a prison psychologist in Missouri, and he was pursuing a higher degree in psychology. He was interested in my story, and after about an hour getting to know each other I asked him point blank why these Vietnamese refugees, with no money, friends, or knowledge of the language could be, within a generation, so successful. I also asked him why it was so difficult to convince young black men to abandon the streets and take advantage of the same kinds of opportunities that the Vietnamese had recently embraced.

His answer, only a few words, not only floored me but became sort of a razor that has allowed me ever since to slice through all of the rhetoric regarding race relations that Democrats shovel our way during election season ....

Follow the link and read the rest. It's really very good.


Breaching the Wall of Separation

Apparently one California high school teacher thinks that religion has no place in the public school classroom unless it's to serve as an object of criticism and ridicule. One of his students, however, has decided he isn't going to put up with this breach of religious neutrality and is taking the self-appointed de-programmer to court:

Capistrano Valley High School sophomore Chad Farnan sued his Advanced Placement European history teacher, James Corbett in December. Corbet, a San Clemente resident and 35-year educator, is accused of fostering hostility toward Christians and promoted "irreligion over religion," therefore violating the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages and attorney fees, says that Corbett typically spent "a large portion of class time propagating his personal views to a captive audience." He railed against Christianity and traditional Christian viewpoints on topics such as birth control, teenage sex, homosexuality and erectile dysfunction, according to the lawsuit.

Court papers cite statements tape-recorded by Farnan such as "Conservatives don't want women to avoid pregnancies - that's interfering with God's work" and "When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth." The Christian legal group that filed the lawsuit, Murrieta-based Advocates for Faith and Freedom, released additional quotes Monday attributed to Corbett, including "When you pray for divine intervention, you're hoping that the spaghetti monster will help you get what you want."

The complete audiotapes, however, have not been released for independent review. Corbett's attorney said the statements were taken out of context.

I'm sure. Corbett is a 61 year-old who teaches AP European history and AP art history. He's also faculty adviser to the Free Thinking Atheist and Agnostic Kinship student club, whatever that is.


Typical White Person

Barack Obama has taken some heat for referring to his grandmother as "a typical white person" because she felt threatened by a black man in what was in fact a threatening situation. Even so, I think too much is being made of Obama's choice of words, and I urge the Senator's critics to dial back the outrage. It seems to me to be making mountains out of molehills.

Nevertheless, if Barack's Texas grandparents' attitudes are typical of white people in general, I think Obama is handing whites, perhaps unintentionally, a compliment. Consider this excerpt from Obama's book reported by Judith Apter Klinghoffer:

. . At a bank where she worked [in the early '60s], Toot (his grandmother's nickname) made the acquaintance of the janitor, a tall and dignified black World War II vet she remembers only as Mr. Reed. While the two of them chatted in the hallways one day, a secretary in the office stormed up and hissed that Tood should never, ever, "call no nigger 'Mister.'" Not long afterworlds, Toot would find Mr. Reed in a corner of the building weeping quietly to himself. . . .

They (grandparents) decided Toot would keep calling Mr. Reed "Mister," . . . . Gramps began to decline invitations from coworkers to go out for a beer, telling them he had to get home to keep the wife happy.

Klinghoffer writes that Obama goes on in the book to tell a story about his 11 year old mother who played in the front yard with a young Black girl. Neighborhood Children gathered outside the picket fence shouting: "Nigger lover!" and "Dirty Yankee!" The grandmother tried to get them into the house. The grandfather went further:

Gramps was beside himself when he heard what had happened. He interrogated my mother, wrote down names. The next day he took the morning off from work to visit the school principal. He personally called the parents of some of the offending children to give them a piece of his mind.

No, his grandfather did not say that he could no more disown racist whites than disown the white community. The grandmother, he dismisses as a "typical white (racist) person" explained their attitudes thus:

Your grandfather and I just figured we should treat people decently, Bar. That's all."

Obama's grandparents weren't typical of whites in Texas in the early sixties, but I think it something of which whites should be proud to be told by the Senator that the attitudes his grandparents had then are typical of the attitudes most whites have now.