Paul R. Lehman, House bill rejected out of fear of Obama

May 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Posted in American Bigotry | 2 Comments
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Many Americans suffer from a fear that dictates their thoughts and actions without them being cognizant of it. Unfortunately, if someone tried to explain to these people what the problem really is about, they would be greatly offended. To be blunt, the problem is ethnic prejudice. Placing a label on someone for no good reason is not fair, so let us examine a case in point. The Oklahoman ran an article on May 26, about House members rejecting an education reform bill. One legislator in particular, Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, was very outspoken about her decision to reject the bill.

                One of the first things we notice about Rep. Kern is her bias against President Barack Obama. Please understand that one does not have to mention Obama’s name to make reference to him. All one has to do is mention the words Federal Government or simply the government and the code comes out Obama. The article, written by Michael McNutt, states that “Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, said she was concerned that some of the standards being proposed to win the federal government’s Race to the Top, were developed by the United Nation.” In other words, Obama is trying to force foreign standards created in part by the United Nations on the American children. So, because the standards are coming from Obama and the foreign countries of the United Nations, they should be rejected. Anything coming from Obama must be rejected. The fear continues concerning the origin of the standards.

                Regarding these standards Kern states, “These are standards that are not American.” Just what might she mean? The Ten Commandments are not American, but many American Christians subscribe to them. Can acceptable standards come only from America? Evidently the fact that the government is offering this plan for education reform is not sufficient for Ms. Kern because, she does not feel safe with Obama as President. McNutt states that “Kern, a former teacher, said she also is leery about the program because it is developed by Democratic President Barack Obama.” Her fears do not end here.

                The prejudice Rep. Kern has for Obama leads her to question all things having to do with him and the government. She states that “Race to the Top is Obama’s baby.” She adds that “with this money will come strings.” McNutt quotes her as stating that “I’m not willing to sell out our children.”Again, because President Obama supports this bill to help reform education for the nation’s children, it must be dangerous, unacceptable, and therefore, rejected. What is it about Obama that creates this fear in Rep. Kern? The only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from her behavior is prejudice. So what is prejudice? The American Heritage  Dictionary of The English Language lists a number of conditions that seem appropriate, but one in particular seems to fit–“3. Irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race, or religion.”

                                Some Americans grew up in a society that shielded them from interaction with an ethnically diverse population, so the only frame of reference those people have of ethnic Americans is based on stereotypes, usually negative. The fear expressed by Rep. Kern, although not stated, seems to come from Obama’s ethnicity. The fact that her precise fear is not stated protects her from being labeled a bigot; it does not protect her from showing a bias towards Obama without stated justification. To many Americans, Obama represents a nightmare becoming a reality—an African American being President of the United States. Because of years of feeling and acting superior towards non European Americans, the elements of fear and a sense of loss of control have taken over their perceptions of reality. One cannot trust someone perceived as having little value in society. America is in great need of some educational reform, not just for the children, but society in general.

                The education reform bill  passed the next day.

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  1. “Many Americans suffer from a fear that dictates their thoughts and actions without them being cognizant of it.” That is why it is so hard to fight this problem — because, as you say, suggesting it brings up huge defenses. Wishing to appear unbiggoted, as is our desire, when we are accused of bigotry we jump to outrage instead consideration of the possibility. Fearing the loss of power and privilege (or in other cultures, honor) drives so much of the world’s acrimony.

  2. Great job!! Sally Kern (R)learned to use ethnically-coded language simply by up growing up in America. Our recent history reveals that in the lanugage of the oppressor, both liberal and conservative, the identification of one’s ethnicity as African-American was synonymous with the term ‘minority.’ Presently, contemporary literature frequently uses the term micro-culture referring to small ethnically diverse groups within the dominant culture. Thank you for listening so very carefully that you were able to decode the prejudicial language expressed in her statement.


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