Patterico's Pontifications

7/31/2009

That Teachable Moment

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 11:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Lesson #1 in That Teachable Moment is brought to you by Jesse Washington, the AP’s “Race and Ethnicity” reporter (emphasis supplied):

“Mostly, racial conflicts fade out without any consultation, let alone resolution. Imagine the widow of Sean Bell meeting with the New York police officers who shot her husband, or the black teens in Jena, La., talking to the white schoolmate they attacked.

That made the White House meeting even more remarkable — “revolutionary and potentially healing, a peace pipe for modern times,” wrote the right-leaning columnist Kathleen Parker.

“When future archaeologists excavate our history, they will doubtless marvel at the symbolism of that simple gesture,” she wrote.

It probably never would have happened had Obama not criticized Crowley, a mistake that demanded damage control.

To some in the media, even Obama’s mistakes turn to gold. The reporter seems to view Obama bringing people together as the best path to racial healing, but I give more credit to this afterthought:

“Earlier, Crowley and Gates talked after they crossed paths while separately touring the White House with their relatives.

They continued their tour as one large group.”

— DRJ

38 Responses to “That Teachable Moment”

  1. Kathleen Parker’s idiocy is just breathtaking. I wonder just what’s in the peace pipe she’s been smoking.

    Mike LaRoche (28d23b)

  2. The afterthought is good. The rest, just freaking gag me with a spoon.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  3. It probably never would have happened had Obama not criticized Crowley, a mistake that demanded damage control.“

    No. It was a mistake that demanded an apology, not damage control. But then again we are dealing with a man who has yet to exhibit any sort of humility or self-awareness.

    It’s remarkable how easily the apologies to tyrants roll off his tongue but to a blue collar police officer, not so much. How much healing would our president’s example of humility and self-accountability for an offense have brought? Far more, I think, than the artificiality of political theater.

    Dana (57e332)

  4. That made the White House meeting even more remarkable — “revolutionary and potentially healing, a peace pipe for modern times,” wrote the right-leaning columnist Kathleen Parker.

    DRJ – what the worstest thing I can say about this woman and not get in trouble?

    happyfeet (42470c)

  5. I defer to fluffy I think.

    happyfeet (42470c)

  6. Mr. Feet, you do not need to say a thing. Ms. Parker has made herself look, repeatedly, worse than anything you could write.

    The so-called adversarial press at work!

    Eric Blair (204104)

  7. right-leaning columnist Kathleen Parker.

    Says who?

    Dana (57e332)

  8. feets – I would not play Dirty Cowboy with that Ms. Kathleen Parker. That’s for sure.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  9. there wasn’t a “teachable moment” to be had:

    Sgt Crowley is smart enough to know that you never try to teach a pig to sing.

    it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  10. ““Mostly, racial conflicts fade out without any consultation” Except for one thing. This was not a real racial conflict, except to the extent that Gates tried to make it one. This was an elite asshole attempting intimidate one who he perceived as his inferior. The old “don’t you know who I am?” syndrome.

    Gazzer (409de8)

  11. “When future archeologists excavate our history…” they will turn the shovel full of this mess back into the hole and bury it again, where it belongs.

    And Kathleen Parker ought to be made to pick up her column in a little blue baggie and take it with her.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  12. Kathleen Parker is the Post’s version of David Brooks – both write unctious and silly columns, all the while masquerading as what the DC Doyennes deem to be “conservatives.” I’d add Peggy Noonan to this list as well, but that would be redundant.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  13. I thought most of the cops that shot Sean Bell were people of color!

    AJ Lynch (e54992)

  14. An excellent suggested caption for that photo, nk, posted at HotAir.

    “A Cop, a Skip, and a Chump from the Whitehouse.”

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  15. One participant remained untaught.

    yesterday’s so-called “Beer Summit” at the White House seemed to make little sense at all. It wasn’t because the president was wrong in offering up a few cold ones to my father, Henry Louis Gates, and the now infamous Sgt. James Crowley in an attempt to tame the media blitz around my father’s arrest

    The best part was yet to come.

    As our family rounded the corner to the White House library and I first caught sight of Sgt. Crowley’s lovely daughter; she was wearing an appropriately heavy and charmingly untrained amount of green eyeliner on her lower lashes, and I saw my former self in her.

    First, even I know eyeliner is not worn on lashes. That marks the sophistication of this former Vogue intern as suspect. Second note “my former self.”

    The class superiority drips from the phrase.

    It sort of fits well with the information that a large share, perhaps a majority, of Ivy League affirmative action recipients are not American born. But, they are the right color, no matter what shade of eyeliner is worn.

    Mike K (addb13)

  16. It probably never would have happened had Obama not criticized Crowley, a mistake that demanded damage control.

    It probably wouldn’t have happened had Sgt Crowley arrested a working-class black man instead of a black Harvard professor.

    Pam Spaulding of Pandagon wrote:

    Crowley is sitting down with the President of the United States and a superstar scholar from Harvard. Gates and Obama are way above Crowley’s station in their professional and social spheres. However, what the Gates incident has taught us is that if you take Barack Obama, Henry Louis Gates or any prominent black man out of context—they can still easily and quickly drop well beneath Crowley’s station given the right (or more accurately, wrong) circumstances.

    Sgt Crowley simply didn’t know his place in life.

    The realistic Dana (474dfc)

  17. Shelby Steele does it better than the clueless classist Pam Spaulding in today’s Wall Steet Journal:

    “…………But then Skip Gates was tired. What was President Barack Obama’s excuse? Why did he step into the same cultural narrative that Mr. Gates had tried and failed with?

    Where race is concerned, I sometimes think of the president as the Peter Sellers character in “Dr. Strangelove.” Sellers plays a closet Nazi whose left arm—quite involuntarily—keeps springing up into the Heil Hitler salute. We see him in his wheelchair, his right arm—the good and decent arm—struggling to keep the Nazi arm down so that no one will know the truth of his inner life. These wrestling matches between the good and bad arms were hysterically funny.

    When I saw Mr. Obama—with every escape route available to him—wade right into the Gates affair at the end of his health-care news conference, I knew that his demon arm had momentarily won out over his good arm. It broke completely free—into full salute—in the “acted stupidly” comment that he made in reference to the Cambridge police’s handling of the matter. Here was the implication that whites were such clumsy and incorrigible racists that even the most highly achieved blacks lived in constant peril of racial humiliation. This was a cultural narrative, a politics, and in the end it was a bigotry. It let white Americans see a president who doubted them.

    Mr. Obama’s “post-racialism” was a promise to operate outside of tired cultural narratives. But he has a demon arm of reflexive racialism—identity politics, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and now Skip Gates. You can only put a demon like this to death by finding out what you really believe. We should hold Mr. Obama to his post-racialism, and he should get to know himself well enough to tell us what he really means by it. As for the odd triad of Messrs. Gates, Crowley and Obama, only Mr. Crowley seems to have functioned outside his cultural narrative.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204619004574322054186035002.html#mod=rss_opinion_main

    daleyrocks (718861)

  18. “revolutionary and potentially healing, a peace pipe for modern times,” wrote the right-leaning columnist Kathleen Parker.

    “When future archaeologists excavate our history, they will doubtless marvel at the symbolism of that simple gesture,” she wrote.

    I really can’t believe an editor let that get into print. Must be those multiple layers of oversight I keep hearing about.

    Behold the vaunted Fourth Estate.

    Techie (482700)

  19. However, what the Gates incident has taught us is that if you take Barack Obama, Henry Louis Gates or any prominent black man out of context—they can still easily and quickly drop well beneath Crowley’s station given the right (or more accurately, wrong) circumstances.

    I’m confused, is Pam essentially arguing that, even given “the right circumstances”, it’s not ok for a white cop to arrest a black person, because that drops them below the cop’s “station”?

    Techie (482700)

  20. Techie – If you do not understand that gibberish, it proves you are a racist. If you understand it, and see it for the BS gibberish that it is, that also proves you are a racist.

    JD (45c904)

  21. Comment by Techie — 8/1/2009 @ 9:00 am

    No! I think she was positing that The One, and “Skippy”, sunk into the racial morass that they wallow in subconsciously, while Sergeant Crowley demonstrated that he is an authentic person who does his job as the law commands.

    AD - RtR/OS! (486a83)

  22. Comment by Techie — 8/1/2009 @ 9:00 am

    I’ll translate: Crowley acted with class; Gates and Obama were, at best, tacky.

    Short form:
    Who offered a hand to the guy trying to handle those horrible shallow steps, and who strode on ahead?

    (Don’t know if your grandparents were anything like mine, but “tacky” was about the worst thing my grandmother could call someone. Yelling at the cops was not the done thing. Shoot, yelling in public was tacky….)

    Foxfier (db0f51)

  23. ABSOLUTELY nothing changed. This was a NON -EVENT, designed to convince the Obamabots that he was “Healing Race Relations

    Sgt Crowley did nothing wrong or out of policy

    Gates did not change. He will probably verbally attack the next police officer who arrives on his doorstep (IF I werea Cambridge Police Officer, I’d make sure that I never went that address in the future–for anything

    To illustrate my point, this is what his high-fashion, part-time writer daughter wrote:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-a…d=hp:blogunit1

    The Daily Beast’s Elizabeth Gates joined her father, Skip, Sgt. Crowley, and the president to raise a beer and bury the hatchet. An inside report from the peace talks

    Discrimination is the single greatest wound in American history and could never be solved over a beer. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. There are more black men in prison than in college and literally thousands of black men are arrested across this country each day. And while I might agree with the President’s initial statement that the “Cambridge Police Department acted stupidly,” my father is not the first nor will he be the last black man to be arrested for no reason—in his own home or elsewhere—and Sgt. Crowley isn’t the first officer to fudge a police report. They are simply pawns in the rebirth of unfashionable intolerance in a world that likes to think our dashing brown-skinned 44th President has emerged to make nice with the past, present, and future. It’s an impossible task for the President and speaks more to our nation’s vulnerable value system than the unfortunately common situation my father and the Cambridge police found themselves embroiled in. As my father said on the plane yesterday morning on our way to the White House, “there are approximately 800,000 black men in prison and on July 16, 2009, I simply became one of them.”

    Dave Hollenbeck (c90540)

  24. Dave – Does that surprise you?

    JD (072c39)

  25. This was a cultural narrative, a politics, and in the end it was a bigotry. It let white Americans see a president who doubted them.

    I think it’s even more than this. I think it let white Americans see a president who not just doubted them, but even more shocking, assumed the worst of them. That was the reflexive hidden ‘arm’ of our president.

    But at least now everyone (white, black, yellow, brown, red) knows where each stands and where our collective places are.

    Dana (57e332)

  26. Sergeant Crowley has arrested 800,000 black men? He’s been a busy racist cop!

    daleyrocks (718861)

  27. Sgt. Crowley isn’t the first officer to fudge a police report

    Is that bordering on Libel?

    Techie (482700)

  28. Techie – They are accusing him of a felony.

    JD (4c20e2)

  29. That made the White House meeting even more remarkable — “revolutionary and potentially healing, a peace pipe for modern times,” wrote the right-leaning columnist Kathleen Parker.

    Applying that description to the dust-up between Obama, Gates and Crowley is ridiculous, if not idiotic. So Parker either is projecting her own guilty conscience onto the situation — perhaps she’s on occasion said to herself “black people sure are a nuisance, and most of them are criminals!” — or, if she’s truly “right-leaning,” then it’s a very, very squishy type of leaning.

    Whatever the case, yea, there is bigotry involved in this controversy. But it’s the soft kind. It’s the soft bigotry of low expectations. It’s the “oh, those poor dears, those sad, hurting African-Americans. Their egos and self-esteem are so vulnerable towards — so tender and gentle when it comes to — even a hint of racism, that we throughout society must nurture them, must salve every wound they ever suffer.”

    Mark (411533)

  30. I wonder how many of those 800,000 black men in prison are there for disorderly conduct?
    Gates’ stay hardly constitutes “prison” but really, how many of those 800,000 could be released right now into Cambridge and immediately assimilate into a productive private life?

    How many black convicts would Gates be willing to house? Cornel West? Charles Ogletree?
    C’mon guys, step up. Invite them into your home and be their sponsor, mentor.
    Offer to take responsibility for them

    SteveG (97b6b9)

  31. I think it let white Americans see a president who not just doubted them

    Forget the racial angle of the viewer. It really comes down to the ideological slant of a person. IOW, any person in the US, except the ones who are clueless, foolish and “lefty,” should not be surprised in the least by the attitude and mindset of the guy in the White House. By the “I-embrace-Jeremiah-Wright” nature of our current president.

    A person has to be blind and brain-dead to not have known or suspected that Obama, in crucial ways, would pretty much follow the pattern of an ultra-liberal.

    Mark (411533)

  32. Kathleen Parker is becoming nearly as silly as MoDo.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  33. Greetings from the blind and brain-dead. (Rather amazing that I can post, isn’t it?)

    Obama is first and foremost a mainstream politician and the Beerfest was nothing more than piece of political theater. It did nothing but offer the reporters the “pictures” they crave the way vampires lust for blood.

    David Ehrenstein (2550d9)

  34. Kathleen Parker is becoming nearly as silly as MoDo.
    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. — 8/1/2009 @ 11:06 am

    My immediate impression too!

    AD - RtR/OS! (486a83)

  35. I hope Jesse Washington has what must be his life’s dream come true, and The Won takes a massive, steaming dump directly on his face.

    Because he’s obviously convinced that it would be an experience akin to a shower of lilac petals and candy.

    PCachu (e072b7)

  36. And then the racists slandered Prof. Gates by saying he engaged in ghetto-speak to the officer…like a Harvard Professor would need to use slang like “yo mamma..” type insults. Why, the very suggestion that he would stoop to talk that way implies…..(what? he said WHAT?)
    Uh. Um. I am thankful that our president turned this ugly incident into a teachable moment. You may leave now.

    Californio (d36ca8)

  37. I think Obama provided America with a very teachable moment when he gave his frank opinion on the nature of the medical profession and the police.

    Parker continues to be Rose Ann Barr’s assistant in reality.

    Thomas Jackson (8ffd46)


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