A reminder of the explosiveness of race unfolded in the little Panhandle town of Marianna on Thursday when black residents protested to the all-white school board for stopping short of firing a middle school teacher who wrote on a dry-erase board that Obama’s campaign slogan — change — was really an acronym: ‘Come Help A ‘N’ Get Elected.”
[The teacher, Greg] Howard isn’t a racist and was actually trying to teach the ills of racism after he saw a student bring the ”change” acronym to his attention, said his brother, James. Parents said Thursday that Howard was teaching children in his geography classes that their parents should vote for McCain and that those who backed Obama’s health plan were “idiots.”
One resident, Juan Dixon, told the school board that the incident reminded him of the time a third-grade teacher told him the n-word was OK “because we’ve been calling you that every day. We don’t mean any harm.” Miami Hurled
The “N” isn’t for Nice Guy, by the way. Or “Neophyte.”
While I don’t believe this pedagogic clod is typical of anything or anybody, this incident demonstrates what even a casual observer of American society sees every day: White people are a rather racist bunch. They’re simply uncomfortable around Black people, and they entertain the notion that if and when Blacks achieve power, wealth, and influence, let alone equality, it will spell the end of the world as they know and prefer it. It’s ingrained in their consciousness, creating a prism through which they view the world, affecting their every judgment.
Not every White person, of course. I generously exempt myself, for example, but it took some work. Living in back-asswards Florida doesn’t help matters, either. On a daily basis, people will casually confide their bigotry in me on the assumption that We White People all know and understand these things and can talk about them among ourselves, at least. Wink wink nudge nudge. Barf.
This election is about a lot of things. One of them is race, and I think that in Obama we have the ideal candidate to address it. From his specific remarks and overall demeanor,he reveals his sophisticated grasp on the issues, telling me he’s played every position in the game and is prepared to manage with wisdom and grace.
Meanwhile, we loose the Greg Howards of the world on our neighbors and children to peddle their poison with impunity. There’s no talking to them, so save your breath. Donkeys are trained by beating them with sticks because reason doesn’t work. Having Obama as President will accelerate the learning curve, if not for the knuckle-dragging white Panhandle population, then perhaps in more evolved societies, where people know what “evolved” actually means.
Wonder if he was teaching his geography class that the earth is flat.