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THOMPSON: A Teachable Moment

Dwb Our guest speaker had written for the Heritage Foundation and was the  editor of our reactionary newspaper. As I recall, the discussion took off when students asked about a news article on "community policing" in their notorious neighborhood, "the Highlands." The speaker replied that "police sweeps" are not racial profiling because they are irregular patrols that do not stop citizens based on ...

"Yeah!" came the replies from all over the classroom, "they’ll stop any Black driver in the Highlands on Tuesdays and Thursdays!"

Undeterred, the editor explained that its not just Black drivers who are detained during irregular police sweeps, it was ... "Yeah!" from across the room, "they’ll stop any of us walking in the hood on Tuesdays and Thursdays!"

Still supremely confident, the education expert said that sweeps aren’t conducted predictably because they would then be ineffective ...

"Yeah! Every Tuesday and Thursday in our neighborhood!"

Now realizing that the students might be the real experts the speaker ventured, "These sweeps would be racial profiling if ..."

"Yeah! We get stopped everywhere, but always on Tuesdays and Thursdays!"

To his credit, this color-blind conservative then settled into a conversation among equals. He was repaid by the class leader’s challenge that Governor George Bush is a "hypocrite." "Bush is against health and welfare spending because the government can’t do anything right." ... "Bush says that every person he’s executed was guilty and there couldn’t have been any mistakes. ..."So which is it? Is the government perfect? Or can’t it do anything right?"

After the guest speaker stopped laughing, and later regaling his buddies in the power structure with the story of our students' intelligence, he became a teacher for a couple of years in a charter alternative school. Now he says that education is not divided between liberals and conservatives, but between the "Clued in," and the "Clueless." - John Thompson

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