A Teachable Moment?

Count me as one of many Republicans offended by President Obama – however, my complaint today is not targeted at healthcare 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 Sergeant James Crowley, as well as President Obama’s own mistake of referring to the Cambridge Police as “stupid,” the three parties will now be sharing beer together and commencing 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 Senator Obama into President Obama.

Again, begging the question – what “teachable moment” is needed exactly?

Having worked as a public school tyro-teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, I would believe that I am very well versed in minority tension aimed towards 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 (LAPD) Rampart Division through the 1990’s, 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 between minorities and law enforcement have improved tremendously, mostly due to our good country’s pro-action in investigating corrupt members of law enforcement agencies, to the point of keeping all agencies honest.

Regardless, somehow a Beer Summit between Obama, Gates, and Crowley is going to soothe the bad feelings of the minorities whose homes were recklessly bulldozed in the 1990’s, the gang members who were illegally shot near the Rampart Division, or those who yelled “guilty” at LAPD officers, 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 it’s 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.

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About Muhammad Ali Hasan

Muhammad Ali Hasan is a political commentator/writer, filmmaker, and activist. Hasan is the Co-Founder of Muslims For America, a think-tank organization that specializes in policy proposals that address solutions towards building peace between America and the Muslim World, with the help of a nationwide membership that welcomes Muslims and Non-Muslims. Muslims For America evolved from Muslims For Bush, an organization that Hasan co-founded in 2004. Hasan currently serves as a guest political commentator for Fox News, MSNBC, GEO-TV, and BBC Radio of England, in addition to being a former regular guest on CNBC’s The Dennis Miller Show and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. Hasan’s political writings have been published in BeliefNet and the Washington Review of Middle Eastern Affairs, in addition to writing regularly for Naseeb.com and MuslimWakeup.com. As a filmmaker, Hasan was recognized as an Emerging Filmmaker of 2007 by Panavision for his directing work on short film, Rabia. Hasan was also named a Coca Cola Refreshing Filmmaker Finalist of 2006, part of Coca Cola’s nationwide filmmaking competition. In 2006, Hasan opened his short film production company, Rabia LLC, boasting sponsorships from Eastman-Kodak, Color By Deluxe, and Panavision. Hasan is proud of his work as a political activist, especially in building bridges between American Muslims and the Republican Party. Through filmmaking and writing, Hasan hopes to create greater peace between all, as the War On Terror continues. Past activities for Hasan also include serving as a tyro teacher public school teacher in Los Angeles, where he was a candidate for a Masters in Teaching. Hasan worked extensively as an environmental scientist, in college, under the direction of Dr Jim Sadd, where the group used Geographic Information Systems analysis to study social justice issues within environmental science. Hasan will soon be basing himself in Colorado, where he has opened Sangre De Cristo Capital LLC, a land development company. Hasan is looking to get more involved, politically, from his base in Colorado as he continues his efforts in political commentating and filmmaking.

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