A Mat-Su Teen Speaks Out

18 11 2008

Days in Alaska politics tend to focus on things like the Legislative Council, The Ethics Act, the endless and ongoing vote count in Alaska, the corruption and conviction of Alaska politicians and the latest comings and goings of our Governor… So when something like this lands softly in my inbox, it stops me in my tracks. This is part of an essay written by a self-described “Caucasian high school girl” named Waverli Rainey who lives in Palmer, Alaska. Palmer is the little town that sits right next to Wasilla.

Nov. 4 was a momentous moment for me. I went to the Wasilla Sports Complex for what was called a community event. We were told it was non-partisan because it’s a city building. However, once inside, it seemed as if it was a Republican-only event. Despite this, we stayed. Although I am too young to vote, I sat at the Sports Complex to see who would be the new president. I felt joy as I saw Sen. Barack Obama’s electoral points grow and grow. I clapped for and was impressed by Senator McCain’s graceful speech and his call for unity and support for the new president-elect.

I anxiously awaited what Present-elect Obama would say. Between speeches, a live band played music. However, when President-elect Obama began to speak, those running the event had to be asked to have the band stop so we could hear him speak. Eventually, they stopped playing, but we missed the beginning of the speech. Then half way through this historic speech, former Mayor Keller turned down the audio of President-elect Obama and put on a call from Governor Palin. I certainly understand the desire of Valley residents to hear from the governor, but if this was a non-partisan event, I feel that interrupting the next president was disrespectful. I also feel it did not represent the coming together of America that Senator McCain had only moments before asked his supporters to do.

The event was supposed to be for all parties, for all people, but it didn’t feel like it. I was shocked and offended. The event was supposed to be for supporters of Senators Obama and McCain and no one paid respect to President-elect Obama’s historic moment. Finally, another step toward complete equality and it seemed no one cared.

So the next day I borrowed my mother’s Obama shirt and walked into school wearing my pride on my chest. Finally the campaign was over and I was actively supporting our new president, even though I knew I would be vastly out numbered at school. I expected complaints and qualms about the new president, but I was not prepared for the flat-out racist remarks said openly in the halls and classrooms. I was appalled. While I sat at my desk trying to do my work I could hear my fellow classmates:

“I think we should kill Obama,” one said.

“I hope someone comes up and shoots him in the head,” another would say.

“I hate Obama … he’s black.”

On went the racist words for the full 80 minutes of that class. Angered, I began to think of the injustice of it all and the ignorance of the students I was surrounded by. I wondered where they learned to be so hateful, and I wondered why the teacher never stepped in – why no adult, no student, including myself, had the guts to cut in and say it was not OK. Because it’s never OK for intolerance. It is never OK to cut someone down and dehumanize them because they do not look like you, or think like you, or talk like you, or worship the way you do.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

All men are created equal. All men. That does not mean only if you’re the same color as me, think like me, talk like me, or worship who or how I do. It means regardless of age, gender, race, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or religion – we all have the right to life, liberty and happiness. Guilt does not follow race. All Arab-Americans are not Muslim extremists; being Arab-American simply means their family came from a certain part of the world. All Asian-Americans are not all like Kim Il-sung; Asian-Americans come from countries like China, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore and they are not all the same. All African-Americans are not guilty of the genocide seen in places like Rwanda and Kenya.

If we were all guilty of the sins of our race, then what am I — a Caucasian high school sophomore from Palmer, Alaska — guilty of? Am I guilty of stealing land from their Native owners? Am I guilty of enslaving Africans? Am I guilty of the slaughter of entire races of people? Am I guilty of imprisoning Chinese and Japanese in American interment camps?

As a Causation high school girl, it’s easy to forget things like in America you wear a color — often called black, or white, or yellow, or red, or brown. We do not pick our name or race — we’re not chameleons who can change color at will, it’s how we’re born and raised. Being African-American, or Latino, or Asian-American, or Native American, or Alaska Native, or Arab-American is not a crime. Being Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, or agnostic is not a crime. Wearing a burqa on your head, or glasses on your face, or studying all views of the world and seeing the flaws of all governments is not a crime.

Sometimes I think of a place where all of our languages are mashed together, singing of our own multi-heritage pride; the pride of a truly unified America. A place where we can be proud of our accents because this is how American English sounds, too. A place where there is no more White Power! or Black Power! Where it’s American Power! Or better yet, where it’s Human Power! A place that proudly conjures images of colonists throwing tea into a harbor, Martin Luther King Jr. standing on the steps of Lincoln Memorial, and immigrants working hard to achieve their American dream all at the same time. We are the story of our culture and colors and I’d like us all to take pride in it.

If ignorance and intolerance and bigotry is our past, then Waverli Rainey and those young people like her are surely our future. And we’re going to be OK.

To read the entire article in the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, and leave a note of support for Waverli, click HERE.

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108 responses

18 11 2008

This just further proves that Alaska is the most corrupt and backward state in America.

18 11 2008


18 11 2008

Waverli, you are that place, you are the future, please don’t be disheartened, you are not alone.

AKM, thank you so much for posting this.

18 11 2008
Pat, Washingonton state

She is amazing, isn’t she? There is hope for our future when young people who understand our history and culture have the courage to speak out.

18 11 2008
Susan, WA

What an amazing young woman! Her parents must be very proud of
her. Usually the opinions of a teenager reflect the beliefs and opinions
of his/her parents…which makes me wonder about the students who
made racist and violent remarks against Obama. Are their remarks
reflecting what they have heard at home? Is this prejudice common in
Mat-Su Valley? And is that why Sarah Palin felt so comfortable making
those inflammatory speeches on the campaign trail? Is it what she has
heard all her life in the schools and churches of that area?
If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought the incident happened
in a bright red state like Arkansas, or West Virginia.

18 11 2008
Lin Hussein

Waverli Rainey is a very brave person, I don’t have a fraction of the courage it took to wear the tee-shirt in the first place, let alone to compose such a thoughtful letter.

18 11 2008
nswfm CA

Waverli, well stated.

Unfortunately, I think places like that drive the thinking ones out and you are left with the rest like the racists you encountered.

I’ve found that to be true at companies, for example, where the entrepeneuerial ones are driven out by the ones that like to be paper pushers, etc.

18 11 2008

WOW, that is an extremely articulate young woman. I look forward to being able to vote for her for a statewide position some day, should she choose to run. If not, I look forward to hearing about her significant contributions to society.

18 11 2008
Cassie Jeep Pike Palin (Wish I were Trout)

I am inspired by Waverli.

As ever, the future belongs to the young and we saw some of that in this election cycle. Keep asking the questions, Waverli.

Keep asking how intolerance could EVER be portrayed as a virtue.

When no further possible answer can be postulated, then we’ll have achieved equality…with the help of Waverli and so many others like her.

18 11 2008
Proud Community OrganizerWA

Waverli Rainey is my Hero! She stood up for what she believes. Rarely see that from anyone lately.

Impressed by her grasp of America, but also very dismayed by the absolute partisan event that was held in Wasilla. Definately needs to be looked into and someone brought up on charges.

Teachers who let the students get away with comments Waverli was hearing in her school that day should be dismissed. IMHO They are people I would not want teaching my children.

18 11 2008

Thanks AKM – great post. And yes, we are going to be ok. It’s just going to take a great deal of patience.

18 11 2008
Denise sansMSgaAZca

Waverli’s got a Proud Mama and Papa out there. What a thoughtful and insightful and courageous young woman. Go Waverli!!

Can anybody chant with me: WAVERLI FOR MAYOR

18 11 2008
Denise sansMSgaAZca

Hope for Franken in the Minnesota Senate race:

“Franken has two things going for him. First, he received nearly 362,000 fewer votes statewide than did Barack Obama . . . undervote . . . [suggesting] there are still some votes out there for Franken. Second, Minnesota election law is relatively loose when it comes to determining a voter’s preference; that is, as long as it is clear who the voter meant to support, the vote will likely be counted.”


18 11 2008
Jean Recoil Zoo Palin Hussein

As Waverli talked, I had a vision of her one day stepping into the governor’s chair of her state, erasing forever the memory of a certain predecessor that we’d ALL love to forget about (fading away in our memories into Alaska’s 24 hour winter darkeness…..)

18 11 2008

How can we make Waverli essay go viral?

18 11 2008

She’s such a brave and knowledgeable young lady: it’s a shame she has to be surrounded by idiots.

So where were the adults who could have put an end to that hateful talking? Someone needs to lose their job.

18 11 2008
Denise sansMSgaAZca

Justme, like the way you think.

18 11 2008
Democrat G (formerly "G")

That is a fantastic article and a wonderful human. The “others” that she speaks of, they are vile and wretched people.

18 11 2008

As the parent of a child who, like President-elect Obama, is one-half black, I have heard some racist remarks directed at him, and he has repeated some to me. It is wonderful that he has such a role model leading this nation.

My hope is that the Waverli Raineys outnumber the racists. She makes many good points. It is people like this — intelligent, thoughtful people — who we need seeking public office, not those who run (and vote) as if it were a contest for prom queen.

18 11 2008
Bear Woman

How do we make Waverli’s essay go viral? It needs to be put on http://www.change.gov, it needs to be sent to every state’s Democratic AND Republican Party’s as well as the national organization for each party.

Last, it needs to be put out to the news media, including Fox News.

This young woman has the heart, the passion, and the intelligence to be a future leader. She will do well in all that she endeavors in and will lead wherever she works and lives. She is the epitomy of “YES WE CAN”.

Waverli, thank you for giving us all hope!

18 11 2008
Lighthouse (CO)

Wow, this essay gives me hope!

I love to write, but I seem to go all the way around the barn three times before I say what I meant. Waverli said it very well.

“Because it’s never OK for intolerance. It is never OK to cut someone down and dehumanize them because they do not look like you, or think like you, or talk like you, or worship the way you do.”

Our founding fathers said it well also: “We find these truths to be self-evident.” In other words, this should be obvious to us all! Sadly, it’s not.

But as I said, Waverli gives me hope that not everyone is okay with intolerance, even though there are a lot of loudly vocal intolerant people out there.

18 11 2008
Grammy in PA

Sounds like the Wasilla Sports Complex is not what it pretends to me; sounds to me like it’s a shrine for hatred and bigotry. I feel sorry for Waverli and her parents, who are probably in the minority there – I get the feeling that the townsfolk would like to build a wall around their town and teach hate and racism. Wow, I hate to think about what Bible Spice teaches her children.

18 11 2008
Grammy in PA

Bear Woman (10:19:52) :

How do we make Waverli’s essay go viral? It needs to be put on http://www.change.gov, it needs to be sent to every state’s Democratic AND Republican Party’s as well as the national organization for each party.

But, she may not want that kind of attention and remember not all people who contact her will do so to pat her on the back; it leaves her wide open to a lot of wingnut whack jobs . . .

18 11 2008
Blue in Tennessee

This brought tears to my eyes. Not because of President-Elect Obama, but it took me back 45 years ago, this week when I was a ninth grader in Ft. Worth, Tx and President Kennedy was shot in Dallas. When the announcement came over the loud speaker, you could hear cheers thoughout the school. My Spanish teacher, Ms. Ruiz, quickly quieted the class and said, “You may not like him, but JFK is President of the United States and you will respect him in my class”.

It was not until I was an adult that I understood what a great man he was and Johnson behind him. Looking back, I feel as though I was robbed of enjoying a part of a great time in history. I vowed that if Barak Obama was elected president, my grandsons would celebrate this moment and relish their part of history as they became older.

However, I am not sure that they understand any more than a great person was elected the 44th President. As my daughter said, I do not see an African American, I see a good man!

My message to Waverli Rainey is that there are more people like her than the racists or poor sports that she was exposed to. I have made a point to provide a helping hand to all people during my career and it appears that she certainly has her priorities in order to make our country a better place for all.

18 11 2008

How well written and yes, how to make this go viral?


Can you meet me in the forum to discuss something not related to this topic? I am not so good at moving around in the forum but I hope we could find one another there.

18 11 2008

Grammy in PA

But, she may not want that kind of attention and remember not all people who contact her will do so to pat her on the back; it leaves her wide open to a lot of wingnut whack jobs . . .

That is a good point.

18 11 2008
Cynamen Winter

It is indeed a sad commentary when ignorance comes from those who we think would know better… fueling and fanning the flames of racism and bigotry, as witnessed on the campaign trail. No doubt, it will take the courage of millions of others to take “a stand for change” just as boldly as Waverli has done.

I applaud the courage of your convictions Waverli ~ and pray for America, the not-so-beautiful…

18 11 2008

First, what a wonderful article.

Second, threatening to assassinate the President, or openly expressing a wish for others to do so (I’m referring to the kids who wanted to shoot Obama or see him shot), isn’t covered by freedom of speech. What they said constitutes a crime. It was made a crime after Pres. Kennedy was murdered to make remarks like those.

Waverli should report the teens that made these remarks to the Secret Service, immediately. If these remarks were said only in jest then they probably wouldn’t be charged with a crime. However, I think it would do these kids good to have the Secret Service pay them a little visit and explain to them why their “jokes” about murdering the President-elect aren’t funny, and could land their rear-ends in jail if taken seriously. Things like this just make my blood boil.

18 11 2008
Grammy in PA

Blue in Tennessee (10:28:37) :

Wow! I can’t believe the students cheered; I was in 4th grade in Juneau, AK and when they made the announcement about Kennedy, everyone burst into tears – they let us out of school early and people left work – my mother had been a Nixon supporter but I don’t think anyone cried harder than her at the news. I was taught to respect “our president” and always thought everyone else was taught that, too, guess I’m just a dreamer!

18 11 2008
Political Amazon

AKM, if you have the names (and addresses, if convenient) of people involved in organizing the event, I’d really appreciate if you could post them.

I can figure out Mayor Keller’s address.

And Waverli’s teachers who sat silent when this violence was being advocated in their presence…who are they? I would like to report them to the Secret Service.

There needs to be a letter-writing or postcard campaign to let these un-American, president-assassination Alaskans know that their behavior is horribly wrong, and won’t be tolerated.

18 11 2008
Donald from Hawaii

How sad and pathetic, that the so-called leaders of a community gathering would pre-empt the speech from the President-elecct of the United States in order to take a call from the losing vice presidential candidate. I don’t care if she was the former mayor.

Waverli Rainey is right to note that act as one of profound disrespect, and she’s obviously an astute young woman. Waverli and other bright, like-minded youth will act to reject the bigotry and parochialism presently all about them, in large part by choosing to seek their fortunes elsewhere, much to the greater Mat-Su community’s ultimate detriment.

18 11 2008
Lady Rose

to get her letter out there – send it along to Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann, and other news folks.

What a wonderful young woman she definitely needs to know she has a lot of support and appreciation from all of us.

18 11 2008

great story, I am so glad our Mudflats blogger is here to catch these gems for us!!
I will share it. Did anyone put this on DU yet?

18 11 2008
Irishgirl Rosebud.

Wow, I am impressed and I too hope it goes viral.

18 11 2008
Political Amazon

[[[How do we make Waverli’s essay go viral? It needs to be put on http://www.change.gov, it needs to be sent to every state’s Democratic AND Republican Party’s as well as the national organization for each party.]]]

It needs to be sent to the Secret Service. I will send it to our local branch, and I suggest everyone look up the Secret Service number in your phone book (United States Government Listings, usually at the front of the book).

18 11 2008

great story, I am so glad our Mudflats blogger is here to catch these gems for us!!
I will share it. Did anyone put this on DU yet?

18 11 2008

Grammy: You’re not a dreamer. Most decent people were taught that. My mother’ staunchly Republican relatives had the same reaction to Kennedy’s death. Some people, sadly, aren’t all that decent. It sounds like a lot of her classmates are deeply bigoted and, apparently, find the idea of violence amusing. How sad. At least she’s there to give a voice to the better side small town Alaska.

18 11 2008
Denise sansMSgaAZca

Dianna (10:29:40) :


Can you meet me in the forum to discuss something not related to this topic? I am not so good at moving around in the forum but I hope we could find one another there.

Gotta run to a meeting. BUT I will be back to jump on Mudflat around 4pm Pacific Time. I will first come to whatever thread is current at that time, as I am not Forum Savvy either.

18 11 2008

I hope Rachel Maddow/KeithO/ would interview Waverli and refer her viewers to the Frontiersman article…. maybe several of us emailing such a request might help? Not finding them, but here are some:

for all MSNBC/NBC
news programs
Dateline NBC: dateline@nbc.com
Hardball with Chris Matthews: hardball@msnbc.com

MSNBC Reports with Joe Scarborough: joe@msnbc.com

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams: nightly@nbc.com

NBC News Today: today@nbc.com
List of Email addresses
for all Fox News Channel programs
Special Report with Brit Hume: Special@foxnews.com

FOX Report with Shepard Smith: Foxreport@foxnews.com

The O’Reilly Factor: Oreilly@foxnews.com
Hannity & Colmes: Hannity@foxnews.com ,
On the Record with Greta: Ontherecord@foxnews.com

for all
CBS news programs
CBS Evening News: evening@cbsnews.com
The Early Show: earlyshow@cbs.com
60 Minutes II: 60minutes@cbsnews.com
48 Hours: 48hours@cbsnews.com
Face The Nation: ftn@cbsnews.com

18 11 2008
portland orgon native

Hello mudflatters from our off the grid cabin on an island in Canada!
Solar power, batteries, and a wireless modem and I am still in touch!
I was so moved by Waverli’s letter. I have just dashed off a note of support to her. What a great kid, with obviously great parents too!
What is the deal? Is Wasilla the new Selma? Do we from the lower 48 need to come up there and march across a virtual bridge to nowhere? Is the so called bridge to nowhere not just a metephorical phrase but one with meaning way beyond what we first imagined?
AKM…thoughts on this?

18 11 2008
Grammy in PA

Yes, I think the Secret Service should definitely be involved and I hope they take it seriously. I think they should have a little visit w/ Mat-Su school officials and teachers and maybe the state Dept of Education. I think the kids who talked like that and THEIR PARENTS should be included in some VERY serious discussions about what the law is.

Is there a “central” Secret Service office that provides coverage for the president-elect? Is there an office in Alaska?

18 11 2008

Hey everyone! You are supposed to click on the link and support Waverli, the teenager!

18 11 2008

These comments are wide spread in the Mat-Su school district. They reflect the views of the parents. But then again why should they feel out of place. This just reflects the views of Sarah Palin.

18 11 2008

Yes, Grammy, the parents definitely need to be included. Odds are they hold views very similar to their children’s. The kids had to learn to be this hateful somewhere.

18 11 2008

Here is the phone number for the Alaskan field office of the Secret Service.

ANCHORAGE 907-271-5148

18 11 2008

This is a good example of the need for adults and thinking people to stand up to these kinds of racist and hateful speeches. Also, if one of my children had made a remark like that in my school district they would have been expelled after the police had been called. Those are terrorist threats and need to be addressed with the law!!!

18 11 2008
Donald from Hawaii

political amazon: “And Waverli’s teachers who sat silent when this violence was being advocated in their presence…who are they? I would like to report them to the Secret Service. There needs to be a letter-writing or postcard campaign to let these un-American, president-assassination Alaskans know that their behavior is horribly wrong, and won’t be tolerated.”

Please remember, you’re posting on an Alaskan website. Be respectful of the people as a whole, even if you disdain a number of individuals.

And let’s also be real, and not over-react. After all, these were adolescents talking in the boisterous and indiscreet manner that their kind have been wont to do from time immemorial. Further, because very few young people under the age of 19-20 have mastered the fine adult art of situational rationalization, their publicly expressed opinions of the greater world outside Mat-Su are probably reflective of those held by their parents or guardians. Your proposed campaign of orchestrated self-righteous outrage would merely be both misdirected and wasted, baying as it does at the inherent folly of youth.

18 11 2008


A list of all the media outlets if anyone wants to write
them and let them know…

18 11 2008

It makes me hopeful to know there are young people like Waverli. This brought tears to my eyes and hope to my heart. May she feel the courage to speak out next time she hears these things. It will help her heal her own heart to do so. Namaste, Waverli.

18 11 2008

Here’s a great article that gives an interesting insight into the us vs. them mindset of the right-wingers


Most of us can’t relate to where these people are coming from, but this article gives an interesting explanation of how the us vs. them mindset is deliberately exploited by right-wing media. It’s long but worth reading.

18 11 2008

Oh God. I copied the wrong link! The one I copied is hilarious, but the one I meant to copy is this one:


I guess once we educate ourselves about this stuff the next step becomes how to we counter it?

18 11 2008
Bec -Yes We Did - in Illinois

Sadly, these kind of comments undoubtedly were spoken throughout the USA – not just in Alaska. We can be inspired by Waverli and all the other young people who so strongly supported Obama and demostrate a change in attitudes. I think we are trending toward tolerance and respect, but it will never be 100%.

18 11 2008

I would agree that the writing campaign is overkill, but the Secret Service should be informed. I highly doubt most Alaskans are like these children. Every Alaskan I’ve known – Republican or Democrat – was a good and decent soul.

As for those teens, I’m sorry, but adolescents or not, their “boisterous” talk does in fact constitute a crime. I’m not suggesting that they would – or should – be arrested. Or legally punished in any way. What I do think is they should have the law explained to them. Obviously, as you admit, their parents are unlikely to do that. So why not see if the authorities won’t do it for them. Suggesting that the president needs to be shot and killed is no laughing matter. It isn’t a minor thing. Especially given our history.

18 11 2008

To those who want to spread this far and wide – You can click on any of the social networking icons below the post to Digg It, etc. I also cross posted it on Huffington Post.

18 11 2008
the problem child (a jerk, also)

It was disrespectful for the townsfolk to take the call from SWWNBN. But it was even more disrespectful for her to make it. Knowing that cameras and eyes would be on her, she blithely pulled out her blackberry and started making word salad. How vile.

18 11 2008

It is school policy (here in the Anchorage School District) that teachers NOT discuss the Obama v McCain issue in class. My daughter has butted heads with misguided (being nice here!) teachers, calling them out on those issues, and I have complained to the school (teenagers should not be subjected to a teacher’s personal views re: abortion in my opinion).

If a teacher was aware of the comments being made — and that is a big IF — they should be censured in some way.

Kids talk sh!t in school, it’s their favorite pasttime. I know that because I’ve got one of my own, a senior, and she talks about it non-stop. Don in Hawaii is right in that it comes from their parents. I’ve never been angry at the kids that say hateful stuff (as relayed by my daughter), just angry that they are being raised in a household promoting racism, bigotry, etc., and so the children are well on their way to being little republibots. But some of them will grow & change & shed the beliefs pushed on them by their parents. We can only hope that we can be an example for them, an example of empathy, understanding & unity.

Waverlie is doing the right thing by writing this piece, a particularly brave thing given where she lives and the newspaper in which it is published. Now it is up to the adults to carry the conversation forward and effect positive change.

I find living in Alaska frustrating on many levels, I won’t go into those here, but will say that this election has brought out the best & worst in Alaska, and I have been glad to be exposed to the brightest and sad to see how low some are willing to stoop. But that is not specific to Alaska.

We must be the change that we want to see in the world — Ghandi

18 11 2008
Bec -Yes We Did - in Illinois

I agree that it says a lot (negatively) about Palin that she would choose to call Wasilla during Obama’s speech. Shows her continued disrepect for him and her “all about me” attitude.

I read all the comments after the full essay by Waverli. I thought this poster’s comment was interesting:
I want to address the issue related to the Wasilla Sports Center. When I arrived I asked if this was a non-partisan event. I was told yes. The only nonpartisan I saw was the red and blue balloons. I asked what organization the silent auction proceeds would benefit and was told,”Sarah 2012’s campaign.

18 11 2008

Political Amazon: I’m right there with you. I am willing to write letters and postcards. We need addresses where these cretins can be confronted. At the same time we need to be able to let this amazing young woman, Waverli Rainey, know that she has like minded people all across the world who stand behind her 100%.

18 11 2008
Grammy in PA

New Thread!

18 11 2008
SmallSteps in Blue VA

SMR – I too have seen the “best and worst” in this election. We had 4 swim team moms hopping mad after the election – they are such HUGE fans of SP. It blows my mind, and I have to take the time to read what you posted about the “us vs. them” mentality. I would LOVE to learn how to talk to “them” about their mindset in a rational non-emotional way, but every time I even think about SP and the hatred she spews and “they” beleive, I get so spitting angry and tongue-tied that my debating abilities are shot to h&ll. It’s frustrating for me.

I’m so incredibly impressed by the eloquence of Waverli’s writing and her strength of character in wearing that shirt to school. High school can be so cruel, and she is so brave. My hero!!

18 11 2008
carol w

Thank you for publishing this letter. I love this website and have greatly appreciated info and thoughts shared here.
Thank you again

18 11 2008

OMG!!!! What a wonderful, intelligent young woman! My heart swelled and eyes welled as I read her words. There is surely hope when our youngsters can open thier hearts and minds as this one has!!

It saddens me that she would have to experience such hateful ignorance.
It pains my heart to know that people actually raise thier children to be such vipers.

Waverli Rainey instills HOPE for our future, for our children, for our country, for our world.

Thank you AKM for sharing that with us

18 11 2008

What a courageous young lady. I just have one question. I assume she meant caucasion nor causation? Or is there an ethnic sub-culture in Alaska that I never heard about?

18 11 2008

Think that one essay is impressive? You will be completely blown away by Waverli’s life, her mother, and their family’s values! I did some research:

Stormy’s MySpace Page (Stormy is her mother)

Waverli’s MySpace Page

Waverli Goes to Europe
I am a Delegate for People to People
I have been given the honor of being chosen as a Student
Ambassador for the People to People program. This
summer I will travel with other Alaska Delegates to France,
Italy and Greece. As a Student Ambassador I will spend
about 3 weeks observing government procedures,
experiencing cultural events, and representing Alaska &
the United States.


18 11 2008
Mush Recoil Palin

I agree with Aurora — the assassination remarks need to be reported. Such talk is not free speech. Please report those idiots to the Secret Service. It’s no joking matter.

18 11 2008

That brought tears to my eyes. Ever forward slowly and surely towards acceptance and tolerance. Thanks for sharing that AKM.

18 11 2008

I think there should be a nationwide intervention by religious & civil leaders of communities calling upon people to stop the hating!!!!!!!!!!!!

18 11 2008
Inspired Alaskan Teen confronts prejudice after Obama’s victory « the bruce blog

[…] Alaskan Teen confronts prejudice after Obama’s victory Jump to Comments I found this on Mudflats blog. It’s written by a high school sophomore near Wasilla and was printed in the local paper (and […]

18 11 2008
jwa-Cheney Hussein Palin

As a teacher I would say I think the Anchorage school policy of not discussing Obama/McCain issues in class is completely misguided. We are here to teach students and a presidential election is a completely teachable moment.

HOWEVER the teachers must be professional and guide the discusstion without imposing our views on the students. All voices have a right to be heard without being threatened or suppressed. I don’t find it to be a credible statement that hateful things were being said in class without the teacher’s knowledge. The teacher involved should be censured – not for allowing a discussion, but for allowing hateful speech directed at one student or toward a prominent public figure.

Not the kind of message I try to send my students every day.

Hate is not a family value.

18 11 2008

I don’t have kids, so I can’t claim any direct knowledge of the species, beyond having been one myself long ago. On the other hand, I have neighbors whom I am pleased to call my friends, yet I have heard them spout similar such comments — maybe totally in jest, maybe just mostly. And these people are raising kids, many of them teenagers….

I too feel that this kind of behavior needs to be addressed, but not by the police or the secret service. Trying to FORCE someone to be respectful is pushing a string. SCARING them into respect is dipping to the level of despot leaders around the world whose opponents live in fear of their lives.

Over the yearsit seems I’ve heard occasional stories of schools that have really slammed on the brakes in a situation like this, cancelled classes, and done whole-school workshops on what tolerance is and what it means for everyone. I don’t know how effective it is, but it’s got to be better than giving rebellious, unhappy, misguided kids yet another reason to feel they are being mistreated by the local police, or worse yet, the Feds.

18 11 2008

Yes, Waverli is brave and now I’m afraid for her 😦

18 11 2008

If you read Mudflats:

You are correct that the election of Obama was a momentous event in this nation. That “1st” can never be undone. Hopefully 2nds and 3rds for blacks and other races and ethnicities will follow soon so that they become common place. And of course we still wait the first woman VP or President.

But you have also experienced a couple of momentous events in your life by learning that, unfortunately many people enjoy their hate and bigotry, and that it is difficult to speak out against it at the moment it happens. Don’t feel badly about not facing the hatred head on. If you had argued with these people it would not have changed anyone’s mind, and might have lead to more than words being used against you.

Against that you have also learned that the majority of this nation put race aside and cast their votes for an intelligent and apparently gentle man as their leader. And you have learned that your are offended by bigotry and that you are strong enough to not join your peers when they expressed their racial hatred.

So you too have had a couple of momentous days by achieving a maturity and a level of insight that eludes many for their entire life time.

You should be proud in stating and believing in the ideals of equality. But in the real world there are good times to fight your battles and not good times. You chose a correct time to not fight. But then chose a positive avenue to express your concerns. Learning when, where, and how to do battle is part of the growing up process.

For now, be content that you are seeing history being made and are glad that it is happening.

18 11 2008

It is of great hope to see youth speak of the racism that occurs in our schools.

As a product of Alaskan schools and a minority, my memories are filled with horrible racist acts done by what could be termed,the oil pipeline created nouveau riche families. The early 70’s is considered the pipeline boom. I and my sisters consider it the Alley of Indigenous Hate. Really.

Ya know, I do know that, all those 2x4er and hockey stick chasers, driving around in big 4×4 trucks, did effect my life. I’m still a darn good runner. And I can sniff out a ‘native chic’ hater in a heart beat. (Native chics are the ones that get raped and murdered the most in Urban Alaska).

Yeah, I got a chip on my shoulder. It is there. When I take a walk in the woods it appears to glow in the dark. Giving me light, to see if the Native chic haters are going to jump out of the woods. So yeah, as one can tell… it still effects my mental thoughts, and I can honestly say not necessarly my quality of life… but shucks, that chip is still there.

Reading thoughts put into words, such as what Miss Rainey has done sure helps. It is totally up lifting ! Something inside me wants to protect her from the haters.

Yeah, I like the words. Yeah, I like the thoughts that made Miss Rainey express herself. It is all good. Quyana.

ps = Rainey has responded via the comments section of the Frontiersman. Gotta schroll down to read it..

Alaska is changing!!!!!!!

18 11 2008

Political Amazon @ 12:12:45 – The group that sponsored the event was Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. I know because I got a computerized call about this event and at the end of the call they said who sponsored it. I then googled them and determined this event was not going to be Obama friendly and so I didn’t go. Their big thing is predator control (getting rid of wolves). The Alaska chapter even has a big ol’ picture of Sarah on their page.

18 11 2008

@Aero & jwa —

I don’t know the particulars of what teachers were/weren’t told they could/could not discuss, only that they were told not to use their classrooms as a soapbox. I understand that, they are looked up to (or reviled) by their students, and as such can influence them in ways that many parents may find unacceptable. And that is not limited to politics, of course. I find the fact that my daughter was subjected to a discussion about abortion being a sin quite objectionable. We have discussed it ad nauseam in our house, in relation to politics and not, but I don’t think it’s right that a teacher be telling young girls that they’re going to hell if they have an abortion. Maybe now that the election is over the conversations can be more open and there is a much greater opportunity to have meaningful discussions between students & teachers — however, if my daughter is in Biology I want her to be learning about & discussing biology, not Obama vs McCain, we can cover that at home.

When we lived in the UK the 2004 election took place. My daughter attended an international school. Loads of American kids, but as many, or more, international children. At that time my daughter came home with lots of stories about the students talking smack about the American kids, calling them stupid, saying “Americans are so stupid” and things like that. Of course those children didn’t learn that in a vacuum. They were parrotting what they heard at home. I went to the only teacher that my daughter said repudiated that behavior and talked to him about it. I bought a huge book that talked about discussing diversity with children, brought it to him and asked if he would consider approaching the Director of the school. Not so strange that the only teacher who was willing to do anything about this was pretty flagrantly gay, and had had to fight for his job in this school full of Bible Belt oil kids. Anyway, nothing formal was done at the school, and I was not surprised — it would not have been popular with the predominantly Bible Belt oil American parents. It was a school with great teachers & it really gave the kids an awesome education, but it sucked in a million other ways, and my plan was always to send our daughter to the local village school rather than that one.

Anyway, my thoughts have always turned to large-scale intervention & education (as I suggested above), whether by teachers or professionals at a school, or religious & civic leaders of a community.

I can tell you that Wasilla is desperately in need of an intervention!

18 11 2008

Very emotional and inspiring? I am an african-american who was raised to love everyone regardless of their beliefs or the color of their skins. All of us have faults that will be judge by a higher power. If we begin to love our neighbors and we do ourselves….the world would be a much better place!

18 11 2008
jwa-Cheney Hussein Palin

We are on the same page here. My post was intended to voice opposition to teachers using their authority and position as a personal soapbox.

As a science teacher myself, I understand your comment about the biology teacher talking politics. However, I am hired to teach – and sometimes the lesson that presents itself is not strictly scientific. We are also charged with developing citizenship and rational, objective thought. When the opportunity occasionally arises I’m not afraid to model for my students what a respectful, thoughtful discussion of current events looks and sounds like. Many of them don’t get it any where else but at school (if there).

18 11 2008
Jan Arnold

My son, who attends school in South Carolina, has heard the same disturbing remarks. I was sickened reading the other day in Huff Po the incidents of racial slurs, threats, and vandalism. I hold on to the thought that FINALLY these people are truly in the minority – the country overwhelmingly voted in Barak Obama. No longer can we fear that ignorance and hate is the prevailing opinion. We know otherwise. We, as a country, voted in our new, very qualified president – who happens to be black. There is no question that we all fear for Obama’s safety and the safety of his family and, indeed, even for us – his supporters. None the less, they (the racist minority) cannot erase the great victory, and they cannot defeat the new era this ushers in. Let us be resolute in our support and in our demand that our new president be kept safe and that hate crimes will not be tolerated. And let us continue to Love and pray for our president through the terribly difficult times he will face in the coming year.

18 11 2008

Waverli Rainey is what the future of this country is all about. God Bless her…

18 11 2008

@jwa —

I understand exactly where you’re coming from. The problem is that I want my daughter to listen only to “a respectful, thoughtful discussion of current events” (borrowing your great words) and not have to listen to raving lunatics who think Obama is a socialist. That’s not fair of me, I know, because aren’t we supposed to listen to the views of people who do not agree, so I’m happiest if it stays out of the course of general conversation. Our daughter had some great teachers who subtly made their views known, but did not beat the kids over the heads with it like some of the other teachers did. As this election (and others, but mostly this one!) has proved, rational, reasonable thinkers are in short supply! That being the case, and recognizing that, I have to say that I support the school district’s policy, it probably saved them from an avalanche of phone calls and firing a teacher or two (or many more).

There was one teacher that our daughter had in the UK that I would have LOVED for her to hear his views on this election, and a few here in Anchorage, oddly enough (or maybe not!) they all are pretty much in line with my way of thinking… But I think our daughter, a child of Republicans — one (me) who changed her registration from Repub after the Palin pick, and the other (her ridiculous father, my ex) who at 46 wore a “Hos not Bros” t-shirt (this guy has an MBA?? Say what??) and votes party line no matter what — is exposed to quite diverse political talk, and so is pretty well able to draw her own conclusions & very well able to support her positions. She’s in the minority in that, I know.

18 11 2008

I am sending this to all my friends here in Europe. Thank AKM. I think this young woman is the kind of Ambassador for the United States that I have been dreaming of.

18 11 2008
Deuce2 AL "Renegade"

AKM, Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to read Waverli’s
very well written letter. It proves that young people are concerned.
She will go far. I am sending a link to everyone I can think of.

18 11 2008

I hope one of you guys submit this at Change.gov, I am sure Obama will recognize her. She would have been a better running mate by thousand times than Palin.

18 11 2008
Let'sGetReal for "ThatOne"

Waverli…I commend you! You should sit on Obama’s Unity Teen Board, if there was such a board! You make my heart dance!

18 11 2008

sadly it’s not just alaskans that have said similar things and voiced their hatred in such a evil manner..but you my dear are our future..goddess bless you.

18 11 2008

Submitted to Digg – now all you have to do is ‘digg it’!!!

18 11 2008

Amazing insight from a high school student!

I just sent this to my neice who is a high school student in anchorage.

Great article thank you for sharing

Now if we could get more americans to read it….

18 11 2008

So well written. It is repulsive to think that this level of racism, intolerance and (YES) Treason still exists in this country. I wish that the teachers of that class had used that intolerance as a teaching tool- instead of turning a blind eye to that unacceptable behavior.

I hope Ms. Rainey does not face similar intolerance for speaking out and being brave. And I hope she gets a scholarship to Harvard or Stanford- as a reward for her independent thinking and excellent writing.

I still KNOW HOPE, but at moments like these, it can be difficult.

18 11 2008

Bigotry is rooted in ignorance. It seems that the Sarah Palin represents a significant portion of the population of Wasilla. I’ll bet is a shock for her to discover that the rest of the US does not share her ignorance and resulting ignorance. While the Secret Service can follow up on the meeting, the high school and the threats, serious or not, the situation begs for the high school for inservice training of teachers about tolerance and politics and maybe some guest speakers at the school from outsiders about tolerance, the nature of politics in the US, and about celebrating the differences found among all the people who call themselves American.

In the meantime we can be thankful for young people like Waverli Rainey. The world is a better place for her. And I suspect she’s better qualified to be Vice President than the “hillbilly from Wasilla.”

18 11 2008
Jan (SW Washington)

Waverli’s essay brought tears to my eyes. I will be sharing her essay with my own US History students as a prompt for another discussion on tolerance, respect and the need to speak out on injustice.

Just a thought- Someone posted her People to People involvement. Those students must raise money to pay for their trip. Has she gone already? If not, maybe this is an opportunity for us mudpuppies to show her our monetary support as a true American ambassador!

18 11 2008

Way over 325 posts in support of Waverli so far. I think her message is getting more attention than most realize.

18 11 2008
Wally Bertone

Thank you Waverli for giving us a glimpse of the courage, intelligence and compassion that will be the new Alaska and the new America.

18 11 2008
Whabs, Seattle, WA.

What a beautiful, beautiful essay! Thank you for posting it. I loved it deeply and madly from the bottom of my Utopian dreaming heart!

18 11 2008

Waverli’s essay is wonderful…she gives me hope for the future. I hope she keeps up the good work!

18 11 2008

Bigotry, hate, and other dysfunctional behavior are commonly taught in are public schools in the usa.

Just look at how we idealize are hi school football teams and players. We have Cheer Leaders yelling……….. Go! Fight! Win! Kill them! Hurt them! Smash them!

Then we have coaches yelling at players……., Take them out! Hurt somebody! Get out there and hit someone!

Then we have the tuff kids that “take out” or “injury” players, that are feared, respected, and idealized because they are thugs. Kids get validated because they are ready to @uck up anyone any time. This is good programing if you need strong bodies for the front line in battle…..

To me, this is negative programing, and does not go away easily. When we program are kids to “hit” and “take out” the other team, we are breading dysfunctional behavior.

Blood sports are not going away any time soon. I do find it interest that, public High Schools Canada quit playing american style foot ball. I’m sure that there were economic as well as social reasons for this.

Sarah P. is kind of a Cheerleader with her campaining style. Win at all cost…… Win the unjust wars…… Win everyone to her causes only……. Lie for the good of the team…….

Great Writing Waverli!

18 11 2008

Wow this was not only touching, but also well-written. Many have already expressed this much better than I. Had to first voice my support at the paper and send the letter out in e-mails before I came back here for comments. I imagine that similar stories and similar acts of courage are being repeated around the nation. This one was particularly poignant for its happening in the Mat-Su and for the eloquence of the writer.

My daughter, a high school student who is non-verbal and unable to sign or use assistive technology (including simple things like picture boards), wore her Obama shirt to school with a zippered hoody on 3 different days. One day, her hoody came home zippered half way. Another day, a warm one, she came home with the hoody zippered all the way up to the neck, so that none of the shirt showed. The last day (election day), a cool day, she came home with the hoody off and everyone on the bus was happy and all smiles.

Colorado turned blue this year as did our county. However, the neighboring county remained red.

I held signs for Obama and waved a large flag along with 3 teens including my daughter (who sat in her wheelchair with her Obama shirt on) on a busy street corner on election day. We had lots of honks and thumbs up, but also got some thumbs down. We smiled and waved at them all.

I think that when we get naysayers, our conduct speaks volumes. This election has been so emotional on both sides, that I think people are going to remember who supported whom for a long time. Standing tall and speaking out in the face of hate takes courage, but once you’ve done that, you will still be judged by your actions and how you behave. It may feel unfair, because we’re all human, but it’s just a small taste of how people who may be different from you feel; that they are always “on stage” when they are not in the majority and when they don’t see their own represented among those with power.

18 11 2008

as a 50 yr old suburban raised man, i told my wife the other day that not since high school with ONE black student, have i heard as much overt racism as i have this past year. at work, at the stores, at friends and neighbors. hopefuly this is just a wave that passes.maybe it’s just a temparary reaction to change not yet recognized as good. (as is most) i for one refuse to let the ignorant, the misguided or the misled to diminish the promise i was raised to believe in.

18 11 2008
Flowering Moon

Fantastic! Well-written, intelligent and from the heart. I am truly inspired by her words.

AK, I am so glad you published this and I hope it is picked up by other major news orgs. It deserves a wide, wide audience.

18 11 2008

Dear Ms. Waverli, THANK YOU for smoothing the ragged edges of my day. Are you SURE you are so young that you can’t vote? Where does a young lady get such deep insight and clear vision to see truth? It is astonishing and very healing to hear such profound thoughts so purely spoken, by someone so young.

Promise me you will print your essay out and keep it near you always. And during rough times, read it again to yourself and remind yourself that this is truth. It’s not whatever ugliness you may be experiencing, even if that truth seems to hide at times. It is still the truth. Don’t let go of it.

18 11 2008

Incredible Waverli, thank you for writing, and thanks to Mudflats for sharing.

18 11 2008
Waverli Rainey

Dear Supporters,
So I was walking home today with my exchange student sister, Nan, in the freezing Alaskan late November cold. We were very close to the house when my mom, asked, “How many comments do you think you have on the article?” I shrugged not really having any clue. Her answer was 277. I thought my brain would explode right there in the middle of my street.

I ran into the house barely giving myself time to turn off my MP3 player or breathe. I sat down in front of the computer screen and read the 200 some comments that had accumulated since the morning before school. It took about an hour, satisfied I refreshed to see if there was any more and there were more comments – I was up to 357 comments! At that moment I was too exhausted to read anymore and went to do something else.
As of this very moment, the comments are at 468. This is all very surreal, scary, and very exciting.

As for the People-to-People business, yes I’ve already been. I can proudly say before I turned sixteen I’ve: been to three continents, four countries, been to Narnia (a town in Italy) and repelled down an 800 year old castle in Assisi. The summer before, I went to Japan as a Palmer Sister city ambassador and this summer I’m going to Mexico with my church for a mission trip. In 2011 we hope to go to Africa as a mission trip. It’s all very exciting.

Thank you again for your comments!
Waverli Rainey of Palmer, Alaska

18 11 2008
Waverli's mom

Dear friends and family,

I have always known my kids totally rock! So the fact that the world is discovering my daughter’s heart and talents should not be surprising to me, but it is – so many great things to say about our girl! Yes, we are very proud of her, but we were proud of her before this, too. It’s pretty amazing what the internet can do.

We want it known that the Mat-Su School District and her high school both reacted quickly and positively when they were made aware of the issues described. It is a good district and school with a caring and intelligent staff of administrators and teachers. (It was a sub in class that day.) When we let them know about these issues they sprang into action.

Also please know that most of the kids there are great people! The few that said things they should not probably got the words from their parents. They need education, not more anger directed at them.

We do not want to let these negative events define us, our school, or our community. We love our school, school district, town, community and state. Wave and the family never meant for any of this to put the school in a negative light. Its meant to be a message of hope, not of harm. Please, make sure folks read it that way if you can.

The way people have opened their hearts to her is a blessing to us.

Thank you all,
Proud mom of Waverli and Tommy Rainey

19 11 2008

I would love to think that this happened only in Alaska. But, reality is that it is happening all over the USA. See…with that vote, the majority spoke out against prejudices and intolerance. But…it is the minority that we must share that they can not spread their hate anymore. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”–Dr. King.

19 11 2008

To Proud mom of Waverli! (two posts above)
Your daughter’s words and position say a lot about how you raised her.
Three cheers for you and your family.

19 11 2008

YAY! thanks again for helping Waverli’s letter go viral! 600 responses to the local newspaper. Can’t imagine how many people have actually read her letter.
I don’t get choked up often, but That did it.

19 11 2008
wasilla city council

Contact the Wasilla City Council… It was clearly all Rep when I was told it would not be. There are legal concerns until now. Its not just the timing of the call, it was more than that.

I would like to ask the organizers to name the NON-rep that were invited to have a table or raise funds??? Bet no such list exists.

It was more than just the call – it was a full blown Rep event. Check the news feeds after – they called it a rep rally.

Good Job kiddo!

20 11 2008

To Waverli’s Mom: Thought this thread was gone so I posted this note over in the Forum…

I added your letter at the end of the post in MomsHugs with a request that people read it before reading the article. Hope that little bit helps.

If MomsHugs is actually read by anyone of the 25 news rooms or reporters, they will quickly get the point of my post. National news empowers hatred & bigotry by focusing their incredible power on those who use hate speech. It is past time for them to stop.

Guess that means – other than all the wonderful comments posted on Frontiersman – your family is unlikely to be accosted by news reporters nor have the street outside your home jammed with TV trucks.

From one Mom to another ~ HUGS!
PS: I grew up in Nebraska, moved to Iowa where kids were raised (great state!), and recently moved to Georgia to live near daughter. I’m finding it hard to adjust to Southern attitudes & miss Iowans a lot!

20 11 2008

Freakonomics posted “Bigot Belt” by Eric Oliver. Very interesting economist’s analysis of voting patterns that show the demographics of racial bigotry…



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