Boulder Barack Battle

2/20: updated with link to someone who has some experience with Boulder High and race: Alexis Gentry hit this one pretty well on the head.  Read the whole thing.

My issue with this has little to do with Obama and more to do with the blatant hypocrisy exhibited by naming a school where racism, discrimination, and segregation are not only allowed, but enforced by the staff and administration.

To understand why I am so upset about this, you need to know my back story. As a bi-racial student at BHS from 1999-2002, I have first-hand experience with some of Boulder’s infamous hypocritical behavior.

2/12: updated: Students pull plan

9News reports that Boulder High School students say it’s time for a “Barack Obama High School”.

Well, you have to give them props for going right along with the whole “Yes We Can” motif that has swept the country coast to coast and threatens to drown the rest of us in an overdose of Hope and Change.

All right, maybe that was a little snippy, but I’m just going to come out and say it. This Obama worship that seems to be breaking loose from the far and near corners is a more than a little creepy and embarrassing. In the United States it feels like we’ve suddenly given up hope in ourselves and placed it in the hands of one man. People, he’s the President. He’s not the guy who is going to save America single handily. This whole crisis is not just one guys fault. There’s plenty of blame to go around and Former President Bush is not the only one to put on a pike and dance around gleefully.

Although I suspect some would gleefully suggest such a thing.

Which brings me to Boulder High School and the students who’ve decided that after over one hundred years of legacy and history it’s time to jump on that speeding wagon of “Yes We Can” and by golly name the school “Barack Obama High School.”

First of all, High School students are always wide eyed optimists when it comes to most anything they come up with the Utopian world they live in. I know because I lived in and now live vicariously through it via kids at my church. Wildly politically skewing ideas are a trademark of Boulder and the High School is no exception.

Via the always infallible Wikipedia:(I actually even blogged about this event here)

In 1999, Boulder High students founded the Student Worker activist group. Several of the group’s demonstrations have received national attention, including a January 2005 “sleep-in” protesting the war in Iraq and a May 2001 “kiss-in” supporting alternative sexuality.[9][10] In May 2005 Student Worker, in a partnership with Peace Jam, erected 1,650 American flags in memory of soldiers killed in Iraq.[11] In September 2007, the group protested the Pledge of Allegiance, citing an objection to the “one nation, under God” clause, and instead reciting a revised version.[12]

To me this story represents a good teaching lesson to the students. Taking this action ignores everything that has come before. The history, the legacy and the connection that all holds to the school. The adults in Boulder suprised me this time around by agreeing with me and the 9news article makes it seem like this would be a uphill battle for the students. The kids seem to think that “Yes We Can” will get them through this but I have some words of wisdom.

Wait until he’s out of office and the legend of Obama can be confirmed by history and those that will witness it. His success in becoming the first African American President of these United States is a huge accomplishment and he deserves credit for that. However, that does mean we should grant him immediate sainthood via a High School named after him. I believe he should prove himself first over the next four or so years before we start giving him the props such a honor would allow.

This is something the high school students should consider. I understand the palpable excitement I can feel through reading the article but I would suggest a splash of cold reality and a good line of questioning to allow them to see the adult perspective on this one. I would say in four years you might have a good case for such a move, depending on how the future unwritten history plays out through time.


2 Comments so far

  1. Dan Goldstein (dangold59) on February 16th, 2009 @ 6:54 pm

    I think it is great that the Boulder High students are interested enough in politics and government that they came up with this proposal. I am pretty liberal and supported Obama. In fact, my 11th grader interned for Obama for three months prior to the election.

    Even though I support Obama, I agree that it is premature to rename the high school. There will be time enough to do that after he has left a major mark in the history books.

  2. nwilker on February 17th, 2009 @ 11:49 am

    Having toured the mint – i know they won’t put your head on a coin till your dead, just in case you do something stupid and embarrass the country. Now a high school isn’t the nation’s currency but the same sort of thing should apply. At least make it through your 4-8 years, then get something named for you!

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