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Dear Mr. President,

I'm one of those Americans that lives in flyover country. I was treated to your much publicized 'teaching moment' last night and felt a response was warranted.

I'd like to say, with all respect, that this American resents the patronizing arrogance you exhibited as you deigned to 'teach America' about race. First off, I don't need lessons on race from you. I take my teachings from the Bible, not a man who sat through 20 years of 'hate whitey' sermons. I'd much prefer you bestow your teachable moments on, oh, say terrorists, or enemies of democracy.

Secondly, if you were genuinely interested in promoting racial healing, you might have used that teachable moment last night to address the third rail of race relations: namely, the reluctance of many blacks to look at whites without automatically assuming they are racists.

Last night, you had the perfect teachable moment, but, alas, you let it slip through your grasp. You had a wealthy, influential black man who continues to insist he is still oppressed. Then you had the white police officer who was merely doing his job in the correct manner. And then, we had you, Mr. President, a prime example of the problem. Said problem being the automatic assumption of racism without any facts to back it up.

You might have touched on the fact that many blacks of your generation have been taught that anything bad that happens in their life is a result of white oppression. You could have extrapolated or calibrated the fact that attitudes like that are extremely counterproductive and keep many blacks mired in the false comfort of victimization.

You might have addressed the fact that the only oppression happening these days is by your buddies Castro, Chavez and all the other third world dictators you seem to think are misunderstood men of good will.

Hey, you actually could have lectured your buddy Gates on the proper etiquette when dealing with law enforcement officers. Think of the great message that would have sent to young Americans. Respect for the law. That would have been a good thing to teach. But you let the opportunity pass with nary a word.

I'm sorry you didn't get a good soundbite or photo op out of this unrelenting media saga. I know you were envisioning a hearty three way handshake that could be flashed around the world, signifying absolutely nothing. But the evening wasn't a total waste. I actually did learn something.

I learned that you, and Henry Gates and other black men continue to believe that America is a racist country. I learned that you, Mr. President, will never solve any problems of race until you acknowledge your own racism against whites. I don't think that will happen in my lifetime but I will continue to 'hope' for 'change'.

And just out of curiosity, I was wondering what in the world you, the President of the greatest country in the world, is doing mediating the equivalent of a traffic ticket when our young men are dying in Afghanistan, our economy is in meltdown and Iran is on the brink of nuking Israel. Do you really think that was the best use of your time and political capital?

Tags: Obama, calibrate, racism

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I haven't seen nor read anything since the "beer summit". There weren't any sound bites from it were there? That would have been great. Is everything going to remain TOP SECRET?
It was a disaster - with absolutely nothing accomplished. Since it reflected badly on Obama, it was only reported by the foreign media.
I just read yesterday's paper, haven't been out to get today's, still in my jammies. The AP yesterday quoted Sgt. Crowley "I think what you had today was 2 gentlemen agreeing to disagree on a particular issue. I don't think we spent too much time dwelling on the past. We spent a lot of time discussing the future."

Professor Gates said "It is incumbent upon Sgt. Crowley and me to utilize the great opportunity that fate has given us." He said their task must be to foster sympathy among Americans about "the daily perils of policing on one hand, and for the genuine fears of racial profiling on the other hand."

Gates sounds like a reasonable man here. Looks like he now realizes that a cop's number one job is to ensure his own safety. Do ya think he understands that if a subject acts like a raving lunatic a cop isn't going to take chances on his own safety? I have a very distinct feeling that Gates wasn't being very reasonable the day he got arrested for disorderly conduct.
Golly gee whiz, lily white Brady Bunch white people know all about racism. And I used to think all the evil in the world was caused by dumb ass white people in suits and ties talking to one another in subdued tones within closed rooms.
I dont know if this was ever mentioned anywhere, but I think that when a cop gets to a residence and was told there were 2 people looking like they were trying to break in the cops need to do a couple of things, first explain why they are there, report of possible break in, get the person who answered the door out of the house and check his ID, if it is the owner and was followed into his home (home invasion) by a "bad guy" he needs to be put into safe area.
By saying to the cops that this is my house I don't have to show you an ID etc. I would think that would tend to let the cops believe this isn't the owner and they need to get this person outside so if necessary they can subdue him.

It is somewhat like what the cops do when 911 is accidently dialed, the cops have to come to the house and check to make sure all is OK, and with an alarm, if you accidently set it off the alarm company still notifies the cops and again they check.
Because we were born white (and I noticed that everyone who has answered this question is white) there are things that we will never know about what it means to be black in America. Most white people in America don't understand what having the mask of whiteness entitles them to in terms of social justice. If you are really interested in understanding why people insist that there is still a problem, seeing it from another point of view will take you a long way toward that understanding. There is a wonderful short film that you can find on youtube that can be very helpful as a beginning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAljja0vi2M
Thanks Kate. Some people will never understand because they are drowning in hate for many reasons. I don't know what it is like to live that way any more than I know what it is like to live as a black person in America. Both must be really hard.
Thanks Kainsworth. I guess I'll skip the foaming at the mouth for this morning.
Kainsworth, Pickle and Zen. Please tell me if there's a certain way I'm supposed to feel because I'm white. Maybe I should feel guilty for slavery that was in our country's past. Should I feel responsibility for the white race being more priviledged in this country? Should I go to black neighborhoods in my area and offer my assistance in some way to make their lives better?

I try to be a nice guy, a good American, and help people whenever I can. I believe in giving more than I take. I consciously work to look past the color of one's skin and judge a person on his/her character. When I see a black person should I assume that I have it much better than he or she? It seems to me like you have pity on black people. If I were black, I really don't think I would want your pity. I really can't understand why anyone would pity anyone else because of their ethnicity. Seems to me like you might be feeling a little superior. Are you?

Tell me what you expect from me as an individual.
Larry I understand your point of view. However you are not one of the people we are talking about. There are people filled with hate for President Obama simply because he is black and a Democrat. They are also affraid of black people for some unfounded reason or simply because they are not like them. I do not pity black people but I do try to understand their point of view. Do you really think Dr. Gates would have been arrested if he had been white and done exactly the same thing?

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