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Leading Off (4/3/12)

Breaking News! There is still a Press Club of Dallas. And they’re gonna talk about the Large Marge.

Someone Shot Someone. I can’t make fun of this story, because it’s too sad. But if I could make fun of it, I’d point out all the confusion over the pronouns and wonder how the judge got shot. Like I said, though, I can’t do that. Moving on …

DISD Names Superintendent. Technically he’s just the lone finalist, but I need some help with this Mike Miles chap from Colorado Springs. Is he white? Light-skinned black? Because the last super was Hispanic. Before that, white. Then Hispanic, Hispanic. We all know the agreed-upon pattern. Should be the Eskimos’ turn. Miles? Can’t nail that guy down. All I know is that skin color is important to educating kids. That’s why we monitor it so closely on the school board. And I need to know where Miles stands. Half Chinese?

13 comments on “Leading Off (4/3/12)

  1. The article Krista linked to yesterday lists his ethnic background and seems to give a pretty good picture of the guy. I’m interested to see his influence on the district.

  2. As for his ethnicity/racial makeup, which apparently is a Texas obsession superseding his gravitas as a West Point grad, former Army Ranger and master degree graduate from Columbia University who worked his way up the ladder from high school teacher to his current appointment, I will say the following: If this were 1982 or 1962 for that matter, and you had a non-racially mixed blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter who was dating/marrying Mr. Miles, you (as in the universal ‘you’ with the Texas race obsession) would say he’s a black man (regardless of his racial mix).

    Of course I’m no psychologist so I couldn’t professionally say that the quantifying use of the adjective “black” before stating a phrase like, ‘’my (non-black/Hispanic/Chinese/ or non-white ‘other’) daughter is dating or marrying a FILL-IN-THE RACIAL/ETHNIC BLANK man, is — popular phrase of the day — ‘racially motivated’ in a subconscious kind of way.

    And it would be conjecture of me, a non psychologist, to speculate the tone in which such an adjective would be used. Example: “My (non-racially mixed blonde/blue-eyed) daughter is dating/marrying a black (OH MY GOD, WHAT WILL MY RELATIVES/NEIGHBORS) think?” man vs. “My (non-racially mixed blonde/blue-eyed) daughter is dating/marrying a black (that’s interesting in a progressive, look-how-far-we’ve-come way) man.”

    Sorta like Tiger Woods before the fall and his pre-internationally known successful golf phenom status; he’d be the ‘black guy’ that the universal ‘you’ would most likely be freaked out by (and I’m strictly basing this observation on “your” — as in the universal ‘you’ – commentary about Mr. Miles’ racial makeup). His pre-before-the-fall success makes him less ‘black’ and the more universally acceptable in an exotic, sultry unquantifiable Blasian — black Asian — which, ironically, describes the ethnicity/racial make-up of Mr. Miles.

    A non-racial parallel, though economically based analogy would be perhaps Ross Perot. Crazy, trailer park guy without money, but with money, he’s ‘eccentric.’

  3. JWP can’t say “You can all go to hell.” He can say “You can half go to hell.”

    If Miles were half Korean, half black, he would presumably have to demand of himself that he complete a $5 ATM transaction, angrily refuse himself whilst uttering an ugly racial epithet, and then picket himself for weeks on end, occasionally taking a break to weep with contrition.

  4. I wonder what the litmus test for Mr.Miles was? Maybe, something along the lines of….”do you(Mike Miles) like charter schools?”….he answers, “why yes!”….the hiring board answers back, “good, good!”.

  5. Not Buffy,

    I sort of know what you mean. I mean, I don’t really know what you mean. But I sort of. Know what you mean — in the universal sense (i.e. black/Hispanic/Chinese/white or ‘other’) , although I’m not a pyschologist and am not qualified to say professionally, to use a popular phrase of the day, or even to conjecture what your “motivation” is in a subconscious (OH MY GOD WHAT WILL THE NEIGHBORS/RELATIVES/FILL-IN-THE BLANK) kind of way.

  6. Daniel,

    Lemme do the breakdown: What up with Timmy R.’s got-to-scratch-it itchiness about Super Miles’ race/ethnicity in his post? Why the need to quantify him ethnically/racially, because, well, that’s what Timmy R. was doing. Last I checked, DISD has epic and prolonged woes and challenges in size, educating students, finance, academic perception and past corruption issues. What in the name of the modern era is Mike Miles’ racial/ethnic mix of significance given DISD’s administrative, academic and PR problems.

    Instead of Timmy R. saying praise Jesus, Budda, or whatever other freedom-to-worship deity he wishes to embrace, for DISD’s out-of-the-box selection of a well-rounded and qualified ass-kickin’ military guy/educator like Mike Miles — West Point graduate, former member of the elite U.S. Army Rangers, Columbia University master degree grad in public policy (and Soviet studies), not to mention (which the Dallas Observer did) his studies in Slavic languages at UC Berkeley and the University of Leningrad; his selection as a Mellon Fellow, experience in the U.S. State Department, diplomatic background in Poland and other Eastern Europe countries, and transition into education — he, as in Timmy — skips over that and went all ‘what is he?’

    Because I’m not a psychologist and don’t have a professional answer, I can only conjecture, particularly when Timmy R. points out the race (and the ethnic/racial makeup of past DISD supers) that quantifying someone allows the someone doing the quantifying, to make assumptions about someone else. Why else would you quantify? Is Timmy R. equating race, “Because the last super was Hispanic. Before that, white. Then Hispanic, Hispanic. We all know the agreed-upon pattern. Should be the Eskimos’ turn. Miles?” with leadership of DISD (success/failure)? Throwing in a half-this, half-that racial mix in a leadership role throws off his ability to quantify. Perhaps. And Daniel, I qualified this observation with a “I’m not a psychologist.” But what I do know is DISD seems to be one helluva B (as in behemoth) to manage — regardless of if you’re Hispanic, white, Hispanic, Hispanic or Eskimo.

    My response to Timmy R.’s initial ‘what is he,’ query was an historical time period reference. Is history still taught in public school? Back in the days of slavery, Southern states classified anyone with 1/8 of a drop of blood from a black person, as black. Period. No half this, half that people were recognized. Legally this was the law and socially this was the standard. So, the point of my response was if a Tiger Woods or a Mike Miles was brought home to meet the parents of a Taylor Swift back in the day, particularly in Texas, you wouldn’t ask ‘what is he.’ Mummy and daddy generally speaking, would be none too pleased that fake Taylor was getting cozy with someone who was not like them. One would assume that progressive parents were a rarity back in the day.

  7. I understood you, Not Buffy, discursive syntax and all. Not sure how long you’ve been in Dallas, but the DISD is rife with racial politics. For better or worse, much has been made of previous superintendents’ race. Ridiculous, divisive and counterproductive though that might be, it has not emanated from white folks (it mainly falls along black/Hispanic lines) — although it is, a persuasive argument can be made, the legacy of Dallas’ being one of the most segregated large cities in the country clear up through the ’80s. Taken in this context, Tim’s comment was not out of line.

    Okay, okay, so my syntax is discursive, too.