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Governor Schweitzer on Race: The Watchdog and the Truth

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Dustin Hurst from the Montana Watchdog seems to have gotten himself a little bit of attention for one of his stories, with the National Review’s Corner, a place certainly familiar with racism, picking up his claim that Governor Schweitzer called Montanans racists. From the Watchdog:

Why did Schweitzer shepherd the innovative and groundbreaking program? Well, because Montanans are a bunch of white, racist rednecks – the governor’s words. [EMPHASIS MINE]

“All over Montana, you can walk into a bar, a café or even a school or a courthouse and just listen for a while as people talk to each other,” Schweitzer explained, shortly after noting 93 percent of his state’s population is classified as Caucasian. “And you will hear somebody, before very long, say something outrageously racist about the people who’ve lived in Montana for 10,000 years.”

That’d be one heck of a story if it were true. The governor’s thoroughly entertaining remarks about the state of Montana were recorded by the Ohio Democratic Party and are available here for your review.

 

The remarks in question come at about 8:14 in the video. At no time, did Governor Schweitzer says that Montanans were a bunch of racists, redneck or otherwise.

Instead, what the governor did say was something that’s pretty damn important. There are pockets of racism here in Montana, just like everywhere else. Through the Indian Education for All program, though, Montana has decided to take a critically important step to ensure that our young people see Indians in an accurate light.

Schweitzer’s absolutely right. There is little hope of changing the attitudes of those who, as adults, still espouse racist views, but programs like Indian Education for All will go a long way towards reducing racist beliefs in the future. The truth has a funny way of defeating the lies of stereotypes—and IEFA combats those stereotypes with engaging and effective lessons that address the importance of Indian tribes in our history and our future.

It’s well past the time when we should expect honest reporting from the Montana Watchdog, so that’s not even the real issue of this post. What matters most is that we should be proud of Governor Schweitzer—both for acknowledging and confronting the racism that still persists in Montana and for supporting critical programs like IEFA which combat it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

8 Comments

  • Why smear Schweitzer? I think the answer is simple: someone is terrified that he might run for national office. Perhaps we should consider this the unofficial start of the 2016 campaign…

  • Don, I’m mostly on the opposite end of the political spectrum from you – and normally a fan of MT Watchdog – but what Dustin did was damned inexcusable.

    I called him out on it yesterday, and the reply I received via email was: “Oh. Ok. Thanks for your opinion.”

    I did notice that Watchdog changed the headline after I called them out on it and emailed Phil, but the damage had already been done, with the bogus quote being used as a headline across the ‘sphere.

  • What’s most horrifying is that anyone out of state reading the comments would probably become convinced that Montana is full of racist rednecks, what with their carrying on about Schweitzer being a race traitor and the danger of an imminent white genocide.

  • I had to laugh at watchdog, because they had a poll that asked if their were race problems in Montana when Dustin’s article first came out. The poll results were Yes:68% No: 39%. They took it down almost immediately. Not to mention it was call night from Michael as he serves for all of us, so I was telling him about Dustins Story. while he chatted from his base in Europe, and he looked on the internet with me and saw it.

    He also wrote a comment but they didn’t use it, I am guessing because he stated he was black. ( It wasn’t nasty either. Michael just thought Dustin had more important things to write about, then stirring the race pot).

    Montana Watchdog heavily moderates that site so with the exception of a few of us Progressives that seemed to get through this time, Watchdog seemed to like the bigoted untrue comments about Brian more????

    I generally don’t make the cut at that site for comments…….. which means I am sure there are other lefties whose comments of reason usually don’t make the comment section either.

    Shame, they don’t want to Print the truth, But they are hired Propagandists of the KOCH Brothers and their Heritage Foundation.

    • Then the morons wonder why no one reads their sites. You see, everyone reads the Cowgirl site because everyone is allowed to write, even me! And as a result, it’s a very interesting read. The nazis know that they can never win in a real debate. That is why they attempt to control content. And the lack of real debate is one of the greatest problems in the country today.

  • Dustin Hurst is a hack that has been discredited more than once on multiple issues. That anyone even begins to credit anything that idiot writes as “accurate” astounds me. I pity those people and hope they wake the hell up.

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