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Sometimes Moore is Less
by Aaron Hanscom
24 March 2003

White condescension is just a euphemism for racism, and Michael Moore is the epitome of the condescending white man.

Aaron Hanscom

What we did not expect was to feel so enraged at one point that we almost walked out. It was when Moore went into a rant about how the passengers on the planes on 11 September were scaredy-cats because they were mostly white. If the passengers had included black men, he claimed, those killers, with their puny bodies and unimpressive small knives, would have been crushed by the dudes, who as we all know take no disrespect from anybody.
-- Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

The liberal media did not pay much attention to the comments made by Michael Moore at his recent live show in London. One need not wonder whether or not similar remarks by Charlton Heston (whom Moore so abhorrently attacks in his movie Bowling for Columbine) or Rush Limbaugh would have garnered bigger headlines. Moore has good intentions, you see, so his words do not need to be analyzed. His ideology acts as a protective armor, making him immune from even the slightest criticism. Truth, however, is the strongest weapon -- able to pierce through even the most deceptive covering in the end.

As an elementary teacher in South Los Angeles, I spend a great deal of time in a largely black neighborhood. I still remember my very first drive to work a couple years ago. I seemed to be entering a different country as I left the elegant surroundings of Pacific Palisades and made my way into the dreary locale of Watts. This was not just a physical journey. My emotions were taking an odyssey of their own.

Staring at the decrepit buildings, vagrants users, and many police cars was difficult. I felt guilty. Guilty for having such a blessed life. For never being in need of any material thing. For the legacy of slavery and racism. I felt sad, too. Sad for the people who had to live in such a hopeless and scary environment. For the people who feared being killed in a drive-by shooting. For the children being "raised" by drug addicts. I felt, in large part, how my friends feel today. I believe these emotions come from a good place. Any person that dismisses the effects of slavery and racism or takes his or her fortune for granted is of dubious moral character. To be happy about inner city violence and drug use is plain evil. I am no better than any of my friends. What separates me from them is that I actually got out of my car.

The moment I set foot in the classroom all my initial feelings instantly disappeared. The innocent faces looking up at me didn't want to hear about my guilt and sadness. They wanted what every human being craves and requires: love and respect.

Guilt comes from a sense of culpability. What my ancestors did and the advantage I've had are no faults of my own. Sadness is just grief and grief leads to despair. Hopelessness is the last thing I feel when I am teaching my students. If I entered my class feeling ashamed and pessimistic, I'd be doing my them a huge disservice. My students succeed when they believe they can achieve whatever they set their minds to by just working hard. They fail when they are patronized.

The lesson I learned is not only relevant to the classroom. The current battles over school choice, affirmative action, and welfare reform show white condescension at its finest. White condescension is just an euphemism for racism. Whites should set the same standards for blacks as they would for themselves. Anything less only ensures that the cycle of poor education, violence, and drug abuse will repeat itself endlessly.

Michael Moore is the epitome of the condescending white man. The author of Stupid White Men clearly feels guilty about all the problems plaguing our nation today. He explains that, "as I look back on my life, a strange but unmistakable pattern seems to emerge. Every person who has ever harmed me in my lifetime - the boss who fired me, the teacher who flunked me, the principal who punished me... every one of these individuals has been a white person. Coincidence? I think not." He follows this up with a commendation of every single black person that rings with disingenuousness. "I have never been attacked by a black person, never been evicted by a black person, never had my security deposit ripped off by a black landlord, never had a black landlord, never had a meeting at a Hollywood studio with a black executive in charge. I don't think that I'm the only white guy who can make these claims. Every mean word, every cruel act, every bit of pain and suffering in my life has had a Caucasian face attached to it. So, um, why is it exactly that I should be afraid of black people?"

What a veiled insult to all black Americans! Every thinking person knows that there are good and bad people of every color. September 11 showed us more clearly than ever how insignificant skin color really is. To separate Americans -- all of whom were victims that day -- by color is despicable. That is why the British journalist, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, almost walked out of Moore's show after his comments. In his relentless quest to absolve himself of any guilt, he actually ending up contradicting himself and exposing his empty rhetoric. Let us hope that more people start seeing who the stupid white man really is.

Aaron is a teacher in South Central Los Angeles. He has a degree in economics from UC San Diego. His articles have appeared on,, and

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