Vail Valley Voices: Obama’s teachable moment?
Vail, CO, Colorado
Count me as one of many Republicans offended by President Obama. However, my complaint today is not targeted at health care or economic stimulus. Instead, I’m offended by the idea of a “teachable moment,” as remarked by President Obama.
In the fallout of arguments between Harvard Professor Henry Gates and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley, as well as President Obama’s own mistake of referring to the Cambridge Police as “stupid,” the three parties have now shared beer together and commenced upon what President Obama is referring to as a “teachable moment,” in which, minorities will learn to harbor better relations with law enforcement. In addition, the underlying point here is that Obama clearly thinks that we are a nation of bigots, thus watching two African-American men share a beer with a Caucasian police officer is, somehow, supposed to have a more positive effect upon all of us as racist Americans.
Yes, I’m putting words in the mouth of President Obama, but can you blame me?
What lessons does our good country need, exactly, in terms of better acceptance of race?
Here in Colorado’s House District 56, where I ran for office in 2008 as a brown-skinned, American Muslim man, my campaign enjoyed its highest percentage of votes from areas that are mostly composed of Caucasian voters.
In addition, not only did House District 56 overwhelmingly vote an African-American into our presidential office, but the entire nation also followed our district’s lead in turning Sen. Obama into President Obama.
Again begging the question, what “teachable moment” is needed, exactly?
Having worked as a tyro-teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, I would believe that I am very well-versed in minority tension aimed toward law enforcement. Incidents that have caused minority suspicion would include the beating of Rodney King, the countless acts of crime committed by police officers out of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart Division through the 1990s and, of course, the aggressive use of LAPD armored tanks in Los Angeles ghettos. Yes, these activities are examples of law enforcement agencies abusing their privileges, often to the disadvantage of minorities, acts that go far beyond the arrest of one Harvard professor.
From one’s estimation, relations asdafbetween minorities and law enforcement have improved tremendously, mostly due to our good country’s proaction in investigating corrupt members of law enforcement agencies to the point of keeping all agencies honest.
Regardless, somehow a “beer summit” among Obama, Gates and Crowley is going to soothe the bad feelings of the minorities whose homes were recklessly bulldozed in the 1990s, the gang members who were illegally shot near the Rampart Division or those who yelled “guilty” upon seeing Rodney King beaten only because of the color of his skin?
At the end of the day, this beer summit is offensive because its entire hosting is based on the idea that America is a racist country that needs “teachable moments.”
Note to President Obama:
First, we are not a racist nation. Your election alone is enough to disprove such an idea.
Second, tensions between minorities and law enforcement, as mentioned above, will not be cured with beer summits, and to even think they could be is an insult to anyone who has ever been victimized by law enforcement.
Ali Hasan is a Beaver Creek resident.
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