The 'teachable moment' is not instructive

Ethel C. Fenig
So, how did that mid week after work get together work out?  You know, the highly staged one where one white guy was supposed to engage in a "teachable moment" about race with two mixed race guys while downing some cold ones?  One of the mixed race guys, President Barack Obama (D) has a black African (from Kenya) father and a white European origin (living in America for several generations) mother.  The other, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr, also claims  white European (Ireland) ancestry.   

Gates discovered his Irish roots when he found he was descended from an Irish immigrant and a slave girl. He went to Trinity College in Dublin to have his DNA analyzed. There he found that he shared 10 of the 11 DNA matches with offspring of Niall of the Nine Hostages, the fourth century warlord who created one of the dominant strains of Irish genealogy because he had so many offspring. Gates discovered his Irish roots when he found he was descended from an Irish immigrant and a slave girl.

He went to Trinity College in Dublin to have his DNA analyzed. There he found that he shared 10 of the 11 DNA matches with offspring of Niall of the Nine Hostages, the fourth century warlord who created one of the dominant strains of Irish genealogy because he had so many offspring.  (snip)

When it came to the bedroom, it seems that Niall of the Nine Hostages was even more fearless and energetic than he was on the battlefield. (snip)

A team of geneticists at Trinity College led by professor Dan Bradley have discovered that as many as 3 million men worldwide may be descendents of the Irish warlord, who was the Irish "High King" at Tara, the ancient center of Ireland from A.D. 379 to A.D. 405.

Coincidentally, the white guy, Cambridge, Massacusetts police Sargeant Joseph Crowley, is also of European Irish descent and

whose name in Gaelic means "hardy warrior," is also descended from the same line as Gates, having very close links to Niall of the Nine Hostages.

Isn't it a small world?!

Because one of the mixed race guys, Obama, has the biggest house and with the largest lawn and even better security than available to a mere cop, plus other amazing amenities it was decided to conduct the "teachable moment" drinker  in his yard.  However, the other mixed race guy, Gates, has a very nice house too in Cambridge as befits a long time Harvard professor.  So nice that allegedly someone tried to break in few week prior to the latest brouhaha.  Gates also has a summer home on exclusive, affluent Martha's Vineyard.  The white guy's  residence?  While certainly not a slum and very nice,  not so nice as the other two. 

Another white guy (also with Irish ancestors), Vice President Joe Biden, joined them at the last minute.  He didn't seem to mind the last minute invitation.  He lives in a big house too--but not as big as his mixed race boss, Obama, who is also about 15 years younger than him.

So who was the most qualified to lead the "teachable moment" on race?

One of the mixed race guys, Obama, was a community organizer in an all black neighborhood and a law school instructor at a mostly white law school--University of Chicago--before beginning his political career.   Gates, the other mixed race guy, is Professor of  African-American Studies at Harvard. Biden, the last minute invite white guy?  He's a lawyer who has been in politics most of us adult life.   Crowley, the white guy?  According to O'Ryan Johnson of the Boston Herald, Crowley

has taught a racial profiling class at the Lowell Police Academy for five years.

His academy class, which he teaches with a black police officer, instructs about 60 police cadets per year who spend 12 hours in the classroom, said Lowell Police Academy Director Thomas Fleming.

"He's a very professional police officer and he's a good role model," Fleming said. "Former police commissioner Ronny Watson, who is a person of color, hand-picked Sgt. Crowley. ... I presume because he would be the most qualified and most professional. He's a very good instructor. He gets very high reviews by the students."

Because this beer party attracted so much attention it offered better and more "teachable moments" than the underlying reason the guys got together. 

For instance, despite government takeovers of some companies, competition is alive and well in America.  Patrick Gavin of Politico reports. Even in beer.

As Washington - as only Washington can - turns what would otherwise be a gathering over beers among men into a highly scrutinized summit, several beer companies are using the occasion to make the case for their own products and why their beers should be downed this evening.

"Yuengling is proud to be recognized as America's Oldest Brewery," a company spokesman told POLITICO. "Family owned and operated since 1829, we've been a part of conflict resolution for over 180 years!"



A rep for Sierra Nevada said: "We believe that we are the perfect fit for the matter at hand, and a great choice to represent and facilitate the resilience and understanding of the American people. Sierra Nevada [can] reinforce the idea that whether black or white, rich or poor, we are all first and foremost Americans. American citizens should support American beer.

Think global, drink local."

Three different guys.  Three different beers.  Maybe because it was a last minute invitation, Biden, the fourth guy, had a non alcoholic Buckler beer. 

Crowley drank Colorado's Blue Moon. Sam Adams Light was Gates' choice, while Obama, ever mindful of his slim shape, downed a Bud Light, now owned by a Belgian company which bought it from St. Louis' Budweiser. 

Another "teachable moment" for all the world to see, especially Iran, other Muslim countries, Venezuela, China and others if their governments are brave enough to show it, is that in America, protestors are allowed to demonstrate against a mixed race president and his white second in command without retribution.  

 "Citizens Against the Beer Summit at White House", a makeshift gathering spearheaded by Baltimore pastor Dr. Emmett Burns, will picket the White House today between 12 and 3 p.m. "The president's actions are sending the wrong message to our nation's youth who are becoming alcoholics at young ages," reads an announcement for the protest. "This pernicious habit is also the reason for the large number of teen motor vehicle accidents throughout the country."

And of course, everyone in the media, in addition to most of the citizens of the U.S. had an opinion and was not afraid to express it.

As is so often the case, these latter two non governmental aspects are the most vividly positive "teachable moments" of all. 

That summit about race?  Well Crowley thought Gates "was an interesting guy" even though neither he or Obama offered him an apology.  He plans to get together with Gates in the future. 
"The national conversation about my arrest has been rowdy," offered Gates, who was more than rowdy when arrested--and consistently quite loud about it afterwards.  But he too plans to meet with Crowley in the future because he now has a greater appreciation for police and "their daily sacrifices on our behalf."   Obama, the host, who interjected himself in a matter that had nothing to do directly with him, felt they all had a "friendly, thoughtful conversation" and "I am hopeful that all of us are able to draw something from this."    Afterwards, designated drivers whisked away the still sober guests.
So, how did that mid week after work get together work out?  You know, the highly staged one where one white guy was supposed to engage in a "teachable moment" about race with two mixed race guys while downing some cold ones?  One of the mixed race guys, President Barack Obama (D) has a black African (from Kenya) father and a white European origin (living in America for several generations) mother.  The other, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr, also claims  white European (Ireland) ancestry.   

Gates discovered his Irish roots when he found he was descended from an Irish immigrant and a slave girl. He went to Trinity College in Dublin to have his DNA analyzed. There he found that he shared 10 of the 11 DNA matches with offspring of Niall of the Nine Hostages, the fourth century warlord who created one of the dominant strains of Irish genealogy because he had so many offspring. Gates discovered his Irish roots when he found he was descended from an Irish immigrant and a slave girl.

He went to Trinity College in Dublin to have his DNA analyzed. There he found that he shared 10 of the 11 DNA matches with offspring of Niall of the Nine Hostages, the fourth century warlord who created one of the dominant strains of Irish genealogy because he had so many offspring.  (snip)

When it came to the bedroom, it seems that Niall of the Nine Hostages was even more fearless and energetic than he was on the battlefield. (snip)

A team of geneticists at Trinity College led by professor Dan Bradley have discovered that as many as 3 million men worldwide may be descendents of the Irish warlord, who was the Irish "High King" at Tara, the ancient center of Ireland from A.D. 379 to A.D. 405.

Coincidentally, the white guy, Cambridge, Massacusetts police Sargeant Joseph Crowley, is also of European Irish descent and

whose name in Gaelic means "hardy warrior," is also descended from the same line as Gates, having very close links to Niall of the Nine Hostages.

Isn't it a small world?!

Because one of the mixed race guys, Obama, has the biggest house and with the largest lawn and even better security than available to a mere cop, plus other amazing amenities it was decided to conduct the "teachable moment" drinker  in his yard.  However, the other mixed race guy, Gates, has a very nice house too in Cambridge as befits a long time Harvard professor.  So nice that allegedly someone tried to break in few week prior to the latest brouhaha.  Gates also has a summer home on exclusive, affluent Martha's Vineyard.  The white guy's  residence?  While certainly not a slum and very nice,  not so nice as the other two. 

Another white guy (also with Irish ancestors), Vice President Joe Biden, joined them at the last minute.  He didn't seem to mind the last minute invitation.  He lives in a big house too--but not as big as his mixed race boss, Obama, who is also about 15 years younger than him.

So who was the most qualified to lead the "teachable moment" on race?

One of the mixed race guys, Obama, was a community organizer in an all black neighborhood and a law school instructor at a mostly white law school--University of Chicago--before beginning his political career.   Gates, the other mixed race guy, is Professor of  African-American Studies at Harvard. Biden, the last minute invite white guy?  He's a lawyer who has been in politics most of us adult life.   Crowley, the white guy?  According to O'Ryan Johnson of the Boston Herald, Crowley

has taught a racial profiling class at the Lowell Police Academy for five years.

His academy class, which he teaches with a black police officer, instructs about 60 police cadets per year who spend 12 hours in the classroom, said Lowell Police Academy Director Thomas Fleming.

"He's a very professional police officer and he's a good role model," Fleming said. "Former police commissioner Ronny Watson, who is a person of color, hand-picked Sgt. Crowley. ... I presume because he would be the most qualified and most professional. He's a very good instructor. He gets very high reviews by the students."

Because this beer party attracted so much attention it offered better and more "teachable moments" than the underlying reason the guys got together. 

For instance, despite government takeovers of some companies, competition is alive and well in America.  Patrick Gavin of Politico reports. Even in beer.

As Washington - as only Washington can - turns what would otherwise be a gathering over beers among men into a highly scrutinized summit, several beer companies are using the occasion to make the case for their own products and why their beers should be downed this evening.

"Yuengling is proud to be recognized as America's Oldest Brewery," a company spokesman told POLITICO. "Family owned and operated since 1829, we've been a part of conflict resolution for over 180 years!"



A rep for Sierra Nevada said: "We believe that we are the perfect fit for the matter at hand, and a great choice to represent and facilitate the resilience and understanding of the American people. Sierra Nevada [can] reinforce the idea that whether black or white, rich or poor, we are all first and foremost Americans. American citizens should support American beer.

Think global, drink local."

Three different guys.  Three different beers.  Maybe because it was a last minute invitation, Biden, the fourth guy, had a non alcoholic Buckler beer. 

Crowley drank Colorado's Blue Moon. Sam Adams Light was Gates' choice, while Obama, ever mindful of his slim shape, downed a Bud Light, now owned by a Belgian company which bought it from St. Louis' Budweiser. 

Another "teachable moment" for all the world to see, especially Iran, other Muslim countries, Venezuela, China and others if their governments are brave enough to show it, is that in America, protestors are allowed to demonstrate against a mixed race president and his white second in command without retribution.  

 "Citizens Against the Beer Summit at White House", a makeshift gathering spearheaded by Baltimore pastor Dr. Emmett Burns, will picket the White House today between 12 and 3 p.m. "The president's actions are sending the wrong message to our nation's youth who are becoming alcoholics at young ages," reads an announcement for the protest. "This pernicious habit is also the reason for the large number of teen motor vehicle accidents throughout the country."

And of course, everyone in the media, in addition to most of the citizens of the U.S. had an opinion and was not afraid to express it.

As is so often the case, these latter two non governmental aspects are the most vividly positive "teachable moments" of all. 

That summit about race?  Well Crowley thought Gates "was an interesting guy" even though neither he or Obama offered him an apology.  He plans to get together with Gates in the future. 
"The national conversation about my arrest has been rowdy," offered Gates, who was more than rowdy when arrested--and consistently quite loud about it afterwards.  But he too plans to meet with Crowley in the future because he now has a greater appreciation for police and "their daily sacrifices on our behalf."   Obama, the host, who interjected himself in a matter that had nothing to do directly with him, felt they all had a "friendly, thoughtful conversation" and "I am hopeful that all of us are able to draw something from this."    Afterwards, designated drivers whisked away the still sober guests.