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This is what's wrong with America


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I'm sure the list of things that are wrong with America is much longer than one single event, but this paints our society as a bunch of ignorant blustering fools...and of course it is about the education system.

http://news.yahoo.com/mich-teacher-suspended-segregation-lesson-160200195.html

Coming from a generation that remembers what kind of reaction performers in black face got once the civil rights movement convinced most Americans that it was wrong I see the educational value in such a display. The popularity of such performers as Al Jolson (way before my time) still lingered when I was growing up. Black face was a negative look at those of African descent in white theater.

I do recall a school performance I attended in my youth where there were three black face performers in a show. The production was Finnian's Rainbow and the three white performers were supposed to be black minstrels. The explanation for this seeming breach of conduct was that no black students had auditioned and so the director decided to do the parts in black face.

To give him credit, he invited members of the black church community to view rehearsals and they laughed louder than anyone else. If you know the show, the minstrels spend time on stage making fools of the white folk who abuse them, especially a white senator. I could only agree, it was hilarious and not racial at all except in giving the minstrels the upper hand.

This same director cast Guys and Dolls with a black leading lady because she had a voice that could knock down scenery. I think the audience was stunned at first at a black girl playing a romantic lead against a white boy....but they got over it. There are times to be politically correct and other times to make a point about our own ignorance. The rest is just good theater.

I think the history teacher in Michigan did a smart thing in his attempt to teach his students they must remember the past to forge a new future. A real shame the ignorant administration did the wrong thing to him. But they seem to be doing a lot of wrong things in Michigan lately, the only northern state that seems more redneck than most of the south.

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I am of similar age and remember Al Jolson, as well as,

the Britsh BBC Black and White Minstrel Show which ran from 1958 -1978.

From Wiki:

It was a weekly light entertainment and variety show presenting traditional American minstrel and country songs, as well as show and music hall numbers, usually performed in blackface, and with lavish costumes.

However it wasn't just musical numbers and shows that were presented in black face, I suspect the most famous was Shakespeare's Othello with Laurence Olivier. (Film 1965).

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The report of what has happened to the teacher is most disturbing, and without knowing any more than the surface details, it does seem as if the school is trying to avoid the teachers pension.

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Rednecks. Nice word. Can you define it for me? Please do. I'd like to hear an educated, erudite definition of that word as it applies to Michigan specifically. Because it really sounds like you know what the hell YOU'RE talking about.

I had a nice long rant here before, but I'l just sum it up: What you know about Michigan would fit in a condom. A small one. Still in the package. Monroe is not Michigan any more than Detroit is, and not any more than Atlanta is Georgia or Salt Lake City is Utah. There are bad people everywhere, and judging Michgan by what some idiot school board in Monroe does is just, well, baffling to me.

While I really like your writing and your characters and your stories, your broad-stroke judgments about religion/politics/social issues are tiring and insulting. It's clear you like to read the paper and get mad. Good for you. I guess everyone needs a hobby. I just think you really ought to listen to yourself sometimes. Read what you wrote about Michigan out loud to yourself, and then sit and think about whether or not you'd talk to that person at a party.

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As always I can count on ruffling Mr. Hoskins feathers with any statement I make. My commentary about Michigan isn't about Detroit, one of America's truly lost cities, but about attitudes elsewhere. I will admit my statements are colored (no pun intended) by reading the news about LGBT assaults and deaths, the Christianist disparaging of gay people's rights, and the politicians who allow all that to happen.

I am here in Florida, can't get much more redneck than that. But redneck is no longer a pejorative applied to those who work in the fields and get burnt by the sun. It's a mindset of a whole group who feel their assessment of society is better than the majority. Gun toting, tea bagging, discriminatory folks who see nothing wrong with their attitude because God is on their side.

My neighbor hails from Michigan. He retired to Florida after working for the postal service and now his daughter and her son live up the street. The family is from rural Michigan outside of Lansing, but the daughter is here. She moved here a few years ago because her son was assaulted and beaten up for being gay. Well, the boy was ten at the time and really didn't now what his sexual orientation was, but he loved music. He was bullied at school and the authorities did little, about what you might expect these days. But the boy just graduated high school, a music student, definitely gay, and he is going places in life.

So yes, I rant, and this time the target was Michigan. The mindset behind this dismissal of a teacher is wrong, too much an attempt to be politically correct. I would worry that these same people would avoid teaching about the Holocaust because they were afraid of offending Jews. At some point a look at the past and the flaws in our society and around the world is the ultimate teaching tool, but not in Monroe.

Michigan has some fine schools, some major universities, and yet so much disparity in local school systems. Google the analysis of schools and the lack of funding in rural communities, you'd think they were talking about inner city Detroit. I read all the comments about doing away with the federal education standards and wonder if that happens who will teach the right things to the next generation? I certainly think the administrators in Monroe should be off that list.

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Rednecks. Nice word. Can you define it for me? Please do. I'd like to hear an educated, erudite definition of that word as it applies to Michigan specifically. Because it really sounds like you know what the hell YOU'RE talking about.

Well, my goodness, aren't we touchy. But frankly, from your own rant, I'd have to say that you don't really need the term rednecks defined for you. You seem to be doing a fine job of living it.

Anyone reading your response without seeing what Chris wrote would assume that he'd insulted you personally. You have certainly gone out of your way to insult him.

I bet the great state of Michigan can survive a little criticism without getting up in anyone's grill over it. Perhaps your response would hold some water if you had included links to all the stories about how 'Michigan' has responded to this outrage of dismissing a teacher over teaching history. Show all of us ignorant types some of the backlash from the fair-minded citizens of 'Michigan'. Better yet, how about some response from the political and/or judicial sectors?

Chris, at least, gave us a bonifide news release to read so that we could judge his response. All you've given us is a typical knee-jerk, redneck response. Come better prepared when you want to lambast someone, Hoskins. You only make yourself out to be a bigger fool than the person you're accusing of the same.

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Addym, I certainly don't mind anyone who objects to what I have to say. Hoskins and I have a history of trading barbs so let's not call him a redneck, okay? I don't really understand his POV but he is entitled to it and the occasional way he slams what I have to say. We both stand on our First Amendment rights to criticize politicians and pundits. He might be a PBS kind of guy instead of a Faux News junkie, and that would be a good thing.

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As always I can count on ruffling Mr. Hoskins feathers with any statement I make. My commentary about Michigan isn't about Detroit, one of America's truly lost cities, but about attitudes elsewhere. I will admit my statements are colored (no pun intended) by reading the news about LGBT assaults and deaths, the Christianist disparaging of gay people's rights, and the politicians who allow all that to happen.

Chris, you don't ruffle my feathers with every statement you make - far from it. It's only the broad-stroke judgments against institutions, where you disregard the people within them - that I get riled about.

I agree with you about Monroe, and the overly politically correct environment (which is decidedly NOT "redneck" - it's overly progressive, in my opinion) where talking about blackface nearly leads to criminal charges. It's over the top and it's wrong. We do agree about that. What's odd is that Monroe, as a downriver city, is seen by Michiganders as redneck and yet this school board is taking what I'd say are actions that are totally in opposite to that.

But redneck is no longer a pejorative applied to those who work in the fields and get burnt by the sun. It's a mindset of a whole group who feel their assessment of society is better than the majority. Gun toting, tea bagging, discriminatory folks who see nothing wrong with their attitude because God is on their side.

I've never seen your definition of redneck. It's not my definition, which is of uneducated white people living in trailer parks, drinking all the time, sleeping with their cousins and driving around in pickup trucks with gun racks in the back. They've got American flags pasted everywhere and an IMPEACH OBAMA bumper sticker on the back of the fifth wheel. To me, your definition just covers the spectrum of " very right wing Christian Conservative".

You can be a gay Tea Party member. You can be a gay man in a Christian church that's against gay marriage, and still enjoy your time at church. People aren't made up of one thing. Watch this clip of the Newsroom, if you have the time:

What riled me up about your blanket statements about Michigan is that you've decided the entire state is a shitshow, and it's not. It's a beautiful state with a lot of really positive attributes that happen to be overshadowed by it's crappy government. But the people that live here elected that government as a reaction to some really crappy economic conditions, more than anything. The people I talk to (and I talk a lot) roll their eyes at the morons in Lansing just as much as we do the morons in Washington.

And the terrible actions of a rural school district outside Lansing do not mean that all school districts in Michigan beat up on gay kids. I understand your anger about it, and I'm right there with you in seeing the injustices that kid and family have faced. But they don't define the state or the people that live in it. No more than the actions of the Phelps gang define Christianity, no more than Monroe defines Michigan. I think it's a reflection of rural living everywhere, where these anti-gay attitudes are far more prevalent than in non-rural areas. And you'll find those attitudes across the country, not just in Michigan. They're everywhere.

And Addym: Yeah, I got up in Chris' grill. I respect the guy, a lot. You may think I'm a redneck - do with that what you will.

And I'm done with my rant now. Please enjoy your Sunday.

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Well, that's nice. I remember when I first got access and made my first comment in a forum, it was something much like Hoskins did here. I got lambasted from all corners because of it. Sigh.

Perhaps Chris wasn't offended by it, but I was. But obviously I'm not allowed the same consideration, so fine. No one need worry about future inappropriate responses.

MIke, go ahead and remove my login and my story. I'll post my stories elsewhere.

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It wasn't my intention to be offensive. I don't even know what my intention was, in fact, other than I got my panties in a twist about something Chris said, and griped about it.

Addym, I had not intended to offend you. I apologize. And to anyone else too.

And I'll just take away from all of this that I probably should just let Chris be Chris and I'll just hang back.

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