We don't know if Don Smith is a racist, even though his remarks on KAKM's "Running" had an air of "Gone With the Wind" longing for whiter days in the Anchorage School District. Better to give him the same benefit of the doubt we all would like. We can't see into his heart.
We can't see him on the Anchorage School Board either.
Smith told Daysha Eaton during his "Running" interview that many of the problems in the district were the result of Anchorage schools becoming mostly minority, with many immigrants from all over the world. He wondered when and why we became "a refugee city," and recalled his school days when, he said, the student body was 98 percent white.
As they say in Dixie, bless his heart.
Don Smith needs to return to one of our mostly minority public schools for a refresher in American history. There, among students of every shade God has made, among the dozens of languages (but mostly English) he'll find the United States.
In a good history class he'll learn that we're a nation of immigrants and refugees, except for the indigenous people, and he might learn how it came to pass that the indigenous people became part of that minority. Perhaps he'll read "The New Colossus," by Emma Lazarus, the sonnet that adorns the Statue of Liberty, the one that reads "I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
Smith's attitude struck a different chord, along the lines of "What the hell are these people doing here?" They're looking for a better life. Sometimes it's a rough passage for all hands. But it's the American story.
Smith seemed more baffled than angry about the change in Anchorage. But it's clear he doesn't understand the school district he's running to serve, and his words echoed past bigotry, when immigrant waves of Irish, Italians, East Europeans and others found a cold welcome.
We ask Don Smith to check out Emma Lazarus. We ask voters to check out the line below.
BOTTOM LINE: Vote Kameron Perez-Verdia for Anchorage School Board Seat D.