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I came across a story the other day. It is, in someways a story that I fear is becoming, or going to become, more and more common. I hope, however, that it doesn’t.

The boy raised his hand, eager to answer the question.  “What would you know about it?” exclaimed the teacher dismissively.  “You’re not our race.”

This was not dialogue from a Hollywood movie.  According to a woman named Melissa Coon, it was what a teacher at East High School in Kansas City told her 13-year-old son, Allen, when he attempted to answer a question during Black History Month.  Coon identifies that teacher as Mrs. Karla Dorsey, who is black; Allen is white.

This is the opening of an article in the Canadian Free Press titled:

Was Boy in K.C. Fire Attack Burned by His School’s Racist Teaching?

Of course, were that the end of it, it would be bad enough. But it wasn’t.

As has already been reported, Allen was a victim of a vicious racial attack last week in which two older black teens doused him with gasoline and set him alight, saying “This is what you deserve.  You get what you deserve, white boy.”  Not surprisingly, Coon has pulled her son out of East High and, concerned about further racial violence, intends to leave the K.C. area.

Thankfully, according to the article, the boy only suffered mainly first degree, with a few minor second degree burns. He was smart and lucky, smothering the flames with his shirt. It could have been far worse.

Of course, I haven’t seen anything about this on the national news. I can’t help but feel that had this been a black boy being set on fired, not only would we have had round the clock news, but we’d have had experts talking about why there is so much racism in our country, how horrible this was, and plastering the attackers pictures all over the place.

This, however is not an isolated incident in that boys school. apparently it has all of 20 white students, and all of them report being racially and sometimes sexually harassed. Not just by the students, but by the teachers and administrative staff as well.

Two of these victims were the twin 14-year-old daughters (first names withheld upon request) of Karin Wildeisen.  Ever since their family relocated from Texas they had endured racial animosity in the Kansas City school system and inappropriate behavior by staff, which included teachers laughing while boys humiliatingly manhandled the girls and a teacher slapping one of them on the backside.  But there was far worse to come.

The twins started coming home and talking about the goings-on in an advanced-English class taught by a teacher Wildeisen identifies as Ms. Veda Monday.  Wildeisen said that her daughters told her, “There are four white kids in the class; they are being targeted racially.”  They said that Monday, who is black, was feeding the class racial material, about which Wildeisen notes, “She’s teaching advanced English; she has no reason to be teaching civil rights.”

But then there was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  One day Monday allegedly showed an explicit film involving portrayals of whites lynching blacks and then, reports ex-Texan Wildeisen, “in front of the class attacked my daughters, telling them that ‘everybody from Texas is ignorant rednecks’” and that all white people were ‘responsible for Jasper because [their] skin is white.’”  This reference is to an atrocity in Jasper, TX, in which three white men murdered a black man in 1998.

And there’s more.

And Indifference 101seems to be a course offering at East High, too.  Melissa Coon had been complaining to the school’s administration about her son’s harassment repeatedly – only to be ignored and stonewalled – repeatedly.  At one point an administrator told her that her son could only have a transfer to another district school but said that Allen would have “more problems there” and that he should stay at more “racially diverse” East High (which has no more than 20 white students).  At another, a vice Principal Coon identifies as Ms. Jessica Bassett denied, while shaking and rubbing her hands together nervously, ever having heard about Allen’s problems even though they had been brought to her attention on at least five occasions.
And Coon’s experience with the local police hasn’t been much better.  Listening to her testimony I got the feeling that K.C. law enforcement didn’t want the arrest and prosecution of two black youths on a hate-crime charge, possibly for fear of the “powder keg.”  Perhaps this is a job for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.  Oh, yeah, Eric Holder.

I don’t have to agree with the politics of the writer to see the facts in the article. I have placed these snippets here, but I encourage people to go read the full article, as it has more facts in there. But clearly, something is rotten, and it’s not in Denmark.

This blog is not about politics. Its about faith, philosophy, the Old Ways, and the random shit that comes into my head. But I cannot stand idle in the face of institutionalized hate and violence, no matter who it is against. I’m a Tribalist, and while I do not believe that my kind are in anyway “superior” to anyone else, I will not stand by while they are stepped on either.

I believe in the Dream of Dr. King, where all people can live in brotherhood. I want that. But we have lost that dream. Maybe it was nothing more than a dream. Maybe it never could become a reality. Maybe humans just aren’t capable of it.

After all, when the moment of our greatest step of racial equality, electing Obama as President is marked with this:

It says something about a man when he speaks of equality and brotherhood, but leaves out a group based on race. It says more about the situation, when by all accounts “white has embraced what is right” since “white” freed the slaves, gave everyone equal rights (don’t be fooled, whites were a large part of the civil rights movement. Indeed, if it hadn’t been for the skills of many eager college educated “white” students who volunteered or “white” ministers and politicians, it is doubtful that the civil rights movement would have succeeded due to a lack of enough skilled individuals with the training needed to make it work), has fought hard long and hard to see things without “color,” and who voted in large numbers for a black man to be president (and those that didn’t, did so largely because of politics, not for racial reasons).

I’ve hung out a lot on a website called TVTropes (it will ruin your life). And somewhere, buried in the depths of nerdly wisdom, someone mentioned that while trying to find the “Race” Trope for “white” people, eventually he realized that the Trope was a “meta”* trope that Whites were the Most Racist People.

(* A meta trope is basically something that is not codified, but exists as “above and beyond” as formed by several tropes. Much the same way a solar system is formed of planets, or a galaxy is of stars.)

But we have people out there who teach kids that “whitey” runs the world, that the system is against them and it’s all “whitey’s fault,” and that anything “whitey” says involving race is, well, racist (barring blaming white people for everything wrong in the world). Some teach it more strongly than others, but it’s still taught. And we get situations like the one in the article above.

We had a chance. To put the past behind us and more forwards in brotherhood. I think, however, that chance is passing. We’ve not removed the division between people. If anything, we’ve made it stronger. One of the great benefits of technology is that we can find like minded people easily these days. One of the great woes, is that it allows us to isolate ourselves from those we don’t like, who we don’t agree with, and create situations where we loose touch with the other sides in a discussion. So those who think “whitey” is to blame can find others who agree, and they get together, find “facts” to support their pov, and then sweep others into their world. Eventually, you get enough people to start making things happen. Bad things.

There was an episode of the Boondocks which had MLK be alive in the modern era. It was stunning to see, because it showed how far some people have gone from his vision of brotherhood. If you can, go watch it.

I took a class on the History of the Civil Rights. It was amazing how different our view of it is from some of the things that actually happened, and of the people involved. Malcolm X was killed as he was begining to think that maybe violence wasn’t the answer. MLK was killed just as he was starting to think violence was an answer. White people helped a lot, all over the place, but they are largely ignored, silent and forgotten heroes of an era that couldn’t have happened without them. People we should have been celebrating, but we ignore for the story that it was Blacks who freed themselves against a uniformity of white prejudice. My own experience with fellow students was eye opening as well. My first experience dealing with race, and it wasn’t whites hating blacks. Were it not for the teacher liking me, I might have ended up under a crushing mob of angry black women for some of the things I said in that class (and they weren’t racist things, they were reasonable things, reasonable questions too). Of course, a year later when I ran into this teacher, also a black woman who had seemed to like me, she seemed to want to leave quickly. Was it because she was in a rush, or because she saw the Mjlonir about my neck and assumed I had become something I wasn’t. All I know is she felt tense, and wouldn’t look me in the face much.

(sadly, mine wasn’t nearly as cool as the image above).

We’ve got too much invested in race. No, that’s not exactly right. Some people have too much invested in race, and in the power they get for leading organizations based on race, and from keeping the racial fires burning. It’s been almost fifty years. Half a century. We should have doused these fires.

Not taught our children to light new ones.