Social Question

jca's avatar

How much and in what ways should the high school behavior (including crimes) of a middle aged or elderly person still affect their present employment or treatment in society?

Asked by jca (28107 points ) May 11th, 2012

A few days ago, there was a news piece about a 58 year old woman, who was employed by Wells Fargo Bank. They recently discovered that she was arrested for shoplifting as a teen (16 or 17 years old at the time). She had not revealed the conviction when she was hired, and because of company policy, they fired her. She worked there for five years.

It has just been revealed by some prep school classmates of Mitt Romney that when he was in high school, he participated in bullying incidents against a classmate. Today on the news they said they tackled the classmate and Romney cut his hair off. The classmate later came out as gay. Romney now claims that he does not remember the incidents, admits that they did engage in what he calls “pranks” and he apologized.

I have to admit when I heard about the bank employee getting fired for something she did in the 1960’s, I felt sympathetic, for a variety of reasons, like her age and the circumstances of her being young and stupid and now, older and hopefully wiser. However, when I heard about Romney, I felt unsympathetic, due to feeling like the attacks of the gay classmate speak more to his character. I am not sure (and this may take some thought today) if my feelings are tainted by my dislike of Romney in general.

How do you feel? In what ways should the high school behavior of a middle aged or elderly person still affect their present employment or treatment by society? What particular circumstances might you feel are forgiveable and what circumstances do you feel should not be forgiven?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

78 Answers

tom_g's avatar

Great question. You’re right about Romney. I don’t care that he was a gay-beating asshole when he was in high school, as long as he was for civil rights today. He isn’t. So things haven’t really changed, have they?

I didn’t see the news article, but exactly how did Wells Fargo find out that the woman had been arrested as a teen?

DaphneT's avatar

I thought juvenile misdemeanors were sealed records. If that was the case, she did not have to reveal that particular era of her life and the bank had no business knowing it or firing her over it. Second point, if this was a recent event, then the bank should have conducted a background check on her when they hired her five years ago. I work as a lowly retail clerk and I had a background check 5 years ago when I moved up in responsibility. So how could a bank have failed to uncover the information? Seems to me the bank has ethics issues on their part, I’m glad I don’t bank with them.

As for Romney, sadly many teenagers were bullies and it is only recently that the issue is being tackled by society. I try to assess a person’s character in keeping with the age they grew up in. I keep reminding myself that women in their 70’s were raised in a different era than myself, or that people in their 20’s have very little excuse for not knowing things that are knowable with a few keystrokes. So what Romney did was wrong, he’s not likely to remember the precise incident, he’s made a politician’s apology. In the scale of what’s important he lacks in so many other areas, it hasn’t affected my opinion about him.

thorninmud's avatar

We now know that the prefrontal cortex (PFC)—the part of the brain responsible for weighing actions in light of likely outcomes and restraining impulsive behaviors—doesn’t come fully online until the early 20s. Teens can be expected to do stupid stuff. Seeing the consequences of doing stupid stuff is part of the process of training the PFC.

We also know that kids who consistently exhibit an inability to restrain impulses are far more likely to have problems even as adults. They fail to assimilate the lessons of their poor judgment, and so they fail to develop a robust “executive function”.

One or two episodes of teen idiocy are not good predictors of adult behaviors.

filmfann's avatar

The shoplifter? I think most people can remember incidents they regret involving taking a 5 finger discount.
Romney? I don’t think most people can remember participating in a hate crime. He is supposed to be a leader (which is what the guy with the scissors usually is), and this is not the kind of character I would want managing or representing my country.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Why shouldn’t it?

I would argue that a 16 year old who shoplifted (long after he or she knew that it was wrong) shows a tendency towards that sort of activity – and that it isn’t a propensity you outgrow.

Age 10 or 12, I will agree, shouldn’t be held against a person. But by the teenage years, you know what you are doing.

Tough.

JLeslie's avatar

In my opinion if it was a juvenile conviction it should be sealed and be treated as if it never happened. If she had been 19 when she shoplifted then the lie of not disclosing would matter.

Usually companies don’t look at these things when someone has been employed for years unless they want to fire the employee for other reasons.

Same for Romney, something in high school, all I would hope is he acknowledges the incident and deeply regrets it. I wouldn’t hold it against him now.

syz's avatar

My initial response is very similar to your own. But we are talking about a bank after all, where the temptation and opportunity to steal must be rather high. It seems to me that the bank didn’t do it’s due diligence when it comes to the employee, and one wonders how they found out after 5 years.

As to Romney, I think the information about his behavior in the past needs to be taken on balance – it’s of concern for someone who will potentially be leading our country, but shouldn’t be the full basis for any decision. Merely part of the whole picture. (Like the lack of judgment shown by taking an extended drive with the family pet strapped to the roof of the car. Like the clear history of saying whatever is expedient at the moment – the so-called “flip flopping”. And so on, and on, and on…..)

Kayak8's avatar

I was going to post, but @syz beautifully summarized my thinking on the topic!

missingbite's avatar

I guess we need to discuss Obama shoving a little girl when he was a youngster then? Kids do all kinds of stupid things.

As to the bank employee, she was not fired for the shoplifting. She was fired for lying on an application. Tell the truth. I doubt she forgot being arrested.

JLeslie's avatar

I still am curious how the hell the comopny found out? She was under 18, why do they have access to that information? Or, do I not understand what a juvenile record is and how it is treated?

syz's avatar

@missingbite Good point. Lying on an application is a completely valid reason for termination.

wundayatta's avatar

From hair raider to corporate raider—Romney has a consistent record of fleecing people and corporations. If that’s what people want him to do to the country, they’ll elect him, and that’s exactly what will happen. One thing is clear about politicians—you can never say later you were fooled. Anyone with eyes to see knows exactly who Romney is, just as we knew exactly who Bush was.

I was talking about corporate raiding and bank excesses and the need for regulation yesterday on another question and lo and behold: JP Morgan today admits to losing 2 billion dollars in the last six months due to reckless gambling investments.

This is nothing compared to what you will see in a Romney presidency.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@elbanditoroso ”...(shoplifting)...and that it isn’t a propensity you outgrow.” I completely disagree with that. I shoplifted a bunch when I was 8 or 9…a friend and I were like Bonnie and Clyde at the local Shopeez one summer. Got caught, thought I was going to jail (thanks dad!) didn’t do it again as a kid. As a young teenager I did it a couple of times, just for the hell of it. I quickly outgrew that. Since then I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve corrected clerks when they gave me a $5 instead of a $1…and one time a guy gave me a money order for $80 when I needed it for $8. I desperately could have used that money, and I could have walked away with it, but I didn’t.

You KNOW stealing is wrong, even as you do it. Attitudes towards other people though….I think that’s different. That is something you’re raised from the cradle with. You’re taught by your parents that you are superior to whatever other group. You are taught that that attitude is the right attitude.

GoldieAV16's avatar

I was willing to write off Romney’s dog on the roof of the car, exactly because there has been no evidence since of him mistreating animals.

But the bullying incident in high school? Just two weeks ago he sat idly by while one of his top aides was bullied into resigning the campaign for being gay.

I try to go out of my way to be forgiving of past transgressions – because we all have them – but only when a person seems to have “lived and learned.” If the growth is not evident, I’d say that it’s fair to judge them for the past behavior, in the context of the present.

Coloma's avatar

Short of murder I think archaic teen behaviors should retain no historical value.
I was arrested at17 for stealing a blanket from a hotel room to camp out at the beach with a friend when we were traveling. Misdemeanor theft and my records were erased at age 18.
It was my only brush with the law and if someone were to bring that up now I’d laugh in their face and volunteer to quit, on the spot. Absurd.

wundayatta's avatar

@Coloma you stole a blanket. You must resign! From fluther!

Yeah. Right. LOL

How the hell did you get caught?

Coloma's avatar

@wundayatta The hotel owner saw us put the blanket in our trunk in the parking lot at a beachside motel. Busted. My life of crime came to a grinding halt that day. lol

wundayatta's avatar

@Coloma Clearly you weren’t cut out for crime. You would have packed the blanket in a suitcase before you left the room. Or something.

john65pennington's avatar

I have arrested scores of shoplifters.

People do not realize that shoplifting is a convinction that will follow you the rest of your life. Shoplifters are complex people. I could give many examples, but the bottomline is that the assumption is, if you steal a dollar candy bar, you will steal a million dollars, if you have the opportunity. Many occupations will not hire a convicted shoplifter. Government jobs are out and as you can see, most bank positions are also included. This woman not only was convicted of shoplifting, but she either lied on her job application or purposely concealed it for personal gain. The bank was correct in the action they took.

One example was the manager of an IHop Restaurant. He came into a 24 hours store around, I was working part time, around 2 am. He opened a package containing a felt tip pen and stuck the pen in his sport coat. I grabbed the discarded package and followed him thoughout the store. After passing the checkout, without paying for the pen, I placed him under arrest. Upon searching this person, I discovered eight other ink pens in his coat and the stolen store pen. He stated he wanted a new ink pen to write on an envelope to be sent to his son in another state.

That stolen ink pen cost him $250 plus court costs and his job. No one wants to hire or work with a thief.

Again, the bank was correct in the action it took against this woman.

By the way, my wife stole my heart many years ago. Can I NOW arrest her?

tom_g's avatar

@john65pennington: “I could give many examples, but the bottomline is that the assumption is, if you steal a dollar candy bar, you will steal a million dollars, if you have the opportunity.”

I find that this statement just doesn’t match what I know about people I know – at all. It’s one of the more troubling assumptions I’ve heard. @thorninmud already discussed the development of the PFC. Nearly everyone I know – including myself – engaged in all kinds of reckless and questionable behavior in their teens, yet would not (I repeat, would not) steal today. If this stuff follows you around, then the problem isn’t the teen behavior as much as the system that fires a 58 year-old woman for something she did when she was a developing kid.

missingbite's avatar

@tom_g People need to know that actions have consequences. If the woman in question would have stated that she was arrested as a child and learned her lesson, she probably wouldn’t have been fired. She lied on the application. Besides, we aren’t talking about a 10 year old who was arrested, she was 16 or 17. If it had been murder she would have been charged as an adult.

bolwerk's avatar

Forget the lack of mercy in authoritarian American society, it’s really bad public policy to make a potentially millions of people unemployable because of a minor felony. It impoverishes people, because they have a harder time making ends meet, and probably encourages more crime. They end up needing to steal to survive, and are perhaps justified in doing so at that point. But that’s probably what authoritarians want: more crime, so authoritarians can flex their muscles and punish more people.

Also, Wells Fargo maybe was using this as cover to get rid of someone for other reasons. Firing people isn’t always easy, especially in a big company with rigid procedures in place, and a clear-cut violation can make it easy. I don’t blame her for not revealing the conviction. First of all, it’s no one’s business, and secondly I don’t see why she’d remember something that happened 36 years prior to being hired.

tom_g's avatar

@missingbite: “People need to know that actions have consequences.”

I thought her action did have consequences? Wasn’t she arrested for shoplifting?

@missingbite: “If the woman in question would have stated that she was arrested as a child and learned her lesson, she probably wouldn’t have been fired. She lied on the application.”

Maybe she assumed that she lived in a society that would not consider her offenses as a minor as something she should mention. Anyway, she shouldn’t have to.

@missingbite: “Besides, we aren’t talking about a 10 year old who was arrested, she was 16 or 17. If it had been murder she would have been charged as an adult.”

Wow. We jumped to murder already? I thought we discussing shoplifting. I’ll bring it back around to shoplifting (for my sanity’s sake)...
She was 16, right? We’re not disputing this, right? And you don’t seem to be concerned or even commenting on @thorninmud‘s comments about PFC. Does this concern you at all? Let me put it this way…

If my daughter had a stupid teen moment and shoplifted some makeup (note: almost every woman I know did this as a teen), and she got caught, I’d have to do some research. If this was going to follow her around for the rest of her life, I’d probably pack up the family and move to a better country. Any country that would penalize her at 58 years old for that act is complete shit.

Coloma's avatar

@tom_g Agreed. The woman already paid for her crime. This stuff is as absurd as dredging up that some politician smoked pot in their youth…jeez…let it go! One teen mishap does not a criminal make.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] This is our Question of the Day!

YARNLADY's avatar

My brother was convicted of a felony and served time in a county jail when he was 21, 50 years ago. He has never committed a crime since then, but was recently refused senior housing by a government agency because of being a convicted felon.

Ron_C's avatar

Two things struck me about this question, first is the irony of Wells Fargo prosecuting someone for a minor offense 40 years ago. What about the financial crisis in which they are still contributing? Second, offenses occurring when a person is a minor are sealed. The bank must have been snooping where they don’t belong.

As for Romney, I believe that he doesn’t remember bullying a gay kid. Likely that was just a part of the normal behavior of his economic class. He probably bullied many kids and never thought a thing about it. Hopefully he would have learned to be more tolerant and, in fact, he was. Unfortunately the extreme right of his party has pushed him to regress to his days as a bully. I expect that as president he’ll bully more than gay people.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C You think the wealthy bully more often than the poor?

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie I expect that they do but in a more subtle way.

JLeslie's avatar

Interesting.

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t think people who commit a minor crime in their youth should still be paying for it later in life. I think such records should be sealed.

Young people do ridiculous things. Their brains are not fully developed. I am not the person I was in my teens and I doubt many of us are. There may also have been circumstances that led to the crime that do not exist now.

thorninmud's avatar

I will say that I’m more disturbed by Romney’s professing to not remember the incident. I mean, come on: he held a kid down and, while the kid was screaming, he cut off his hair. That’s got to create a pretty vivid memory-trace, no? Several people who witnessed the incident remember it pretty well and are still disturbed by it. Leaving aside the actual incident, this supposed failure to remember it raises more ominous questions:

Was it not enough out of the ordinary to stand out? Just another day in the life of a Romney?

Had he felt so thoroughly justified in the act that it caused no moral dissonance at all?

Or is he just bullshitting about not remembering?

A couple of years back, I tracked down a junior high classmate so I could apologize to him for having thrown him to the ground 40 years ago. He hadn’t remembered, but I sure had.

jca's avatar

I think Romney’s lying, because it’s easier to lie and say you didn’t remember than it is to have to answer uncomfortable questions about who, what, why, when, where, how.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sounds like Bill Clinton. “I don’t recall that.” How many times did he say that during his testimony?

Does anyone else find it interesting that they can’t really seem to come up with barely a speck of “dirt” on Obama?

Ron_C's avatar

@Dutchess_III “Does anyone else find it interesting that they can’t really seem to come up with barely a speck of “dirt” on Obama?” It is possible that he never did anything that bad. Not every politician has a skeleton in his closet. Besides, I bet whatever they find can’t beat the lies they’ve been spreading for the last 5 years.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Ron_C I so agree with you! But gosh! I can tell you, if I was president they could find all kinds of “bad stuff” on me!

Ron_C's avatar

@Dutchess_III I am no angel but I can’t think of anything that would disqualify me for office except that I don’t want it. The worst thing I did was argue with the cop that gave me a speeding ticket in upstate New York. I upbraided him for wasting his education by hiding in the weeds and jumping out to scare people and give them a nonsense ticket. I doubt that he and the Justice of the Peace will vote for me. Other than that I have a pretty good record. In fact, I would bet most people do.

Coloma's avatar

@thorninmud He’s gotta be bullshitting, unless he’s hit the dementia zone. lol
I don’t believe for a minute he “doesn’t remember the incident. Classic denial IMO.

bolwerk's avatar

The only GOP presidential candidate who was almost certainly not a sociopath was Rick Santorum, and God knows a lot of things were wrong with him besides that.

GoldieAV16's avatar

Can you even imagine if PBO had been arrested for disorderly conduct EVER??

bewailknot's avatar

I know people can change to an amazing degree, but to be so cruel to someone and laugh while saying you don’t remember it? Should someone with such a poor memory hold public office?

My employer orders pre-employment criminal screens. If a conviction comes out but the applicant did not mention the conviction on their application we withdraw the offer of employment. We are in California though, so anything more than 7 years ago we are not allowed to know about (or more than 2 years if it was marijuana). If someone is still a minor we cannot do a criminal screen on them until they are 18. I have heard that a juvenile record is not automatically sealed, the offender has to request to have it sealed.

missingbite's avatar

@tom_g She was arrested twice after high school so she could have been 18 or 19. And BTW…..“Because Wells Fargo is an insured depository institution, we are bound by federal law that generally prohibits us from hiring or continuing the employment of any person who we know has a criminal record involving dishonesty or breach of trust,” Wells Fargo spokesman Jim Hines said.

So I guess you will have to move!

Sunny2's avatar

My concern with Romney and the hair cutting incident is that he showed a complete lack of empathy or kindness for his human victim. I also question his sense of entitlement in doing such a thing. It’s part of his lack of identification with common people.

Coloma's avatar

@Sunny2 He’s a raging narcissist, arrogant and oblivious to others. Selective memory is part of their ruse.

JLeslie's avatar

I saw a quote on TV that Romney basically said he felt badly about the incident. Did the people on the Q saying he didn’t remember it actually see him say he didn’t remember it? Was there a quote floating around about it?

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: What I saw on The Today Show is that he said he doesn’t remember it but he feels badly it happened and he’s sorry. So he’s not denying it, just saying he doesn’t remember but he’s sorry if it did.

Sunny2's avatar

@Coloma I’m afraid you’re right..

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree with those who say “How could he not remember doing something so horrific to someone that they were screaming for help? If he truly doesn’t remember, if that kind of thing is no big deal to him, if it’s that casual, then that makes him a sociopath.

bolwerk's avatar

Was there ever any doubt that he’s a sociopath? He shows a lot of the signs, like being willing to say or do anything to get what he wants.

JLeslie's avatar

My husband brought up bullying today. Seems there was a 15 year old who committed suicide and the reason given was she was being bullied at her new school. Anyway, my husband and another guy who was with us get into a conversation about it and my husband says, “well just imagine, I went to an all boys school most of my education.” to make sure I understood, I asked, “so are you saying boys were constantly bullying? Kind of a hazing?” he said yes, and our friend said yes two. They both could name incidents of when they harrassed a kid in school either for being fat, or no specific reason just decided to target them. They are both some of the nicest guys I know, especially my husband would never taunt or be hurtful to someone as I know him today.

I asked our friend if his mother had known, do you think he would have stopped. He said he thought so, that she would have sent him into nezt week for doing some of the mean things he did. He also said at the time, he didn’t realize it was very hurtful to the other person. Didn’t realize the impact it might have. He said some of the kids it probably didn’t bother that much, depended on the kid probably.

Hearing all this I think Romney might not remember a specific event, because he probably participated in a bunch of them, and maybe lacked empathy for the guy they bullied. I also think Romney might have remembered, but hope to be able to deny it, or maybe he thought it was unimportant. Either is possible I think.

@jca Ok, thanks.

missingbite's avatar

I love that this thread has gone from bringing up PFC for the woman who was fired to calling Romney a sociopath for being a bully. Unbelievable.

JLeslie's avatar

@missingbite The original question included Romney.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, gosh. Sure I did and said some really awful things to others when I was younger…but I remember them because they made me feel like shit. I remember, in 3rd grade, I called the kid in front of me, who was the only black kid in the class, a “nigger.” The look on his face when I said that haunts me to this day. His name is Clarence. I’m sooooo sorry Clarence.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@missingbite At this point Romney is more relevant than the lady who got fired for not revealing an arrest she had as a teenager. We determined, far above, that it was probably more due to her lying on her application than as to the actual crime. So THAT section was said and done, and Romney goes on as he could be our next president.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yeah, the kids who don’t remember probably lack empathy, or did at the time. My husband and our friend did recite specific things that they are very sorry for now, remembered the names of the kids, and what they had done to the kids. They were kind of doing what other kids had done, and also had been victims of bullying themselves, but I don’t think they thought of it as bullying, more like teasing and harrassing, but that was what kids did so to speak. You probably remember this one incident because it was not in your nature at all. I do think men, judging from hazing and other bullying Q’s tend to look at these things differently. Gay men seem more sensitive to it, because they probably felt like shit, on the outside, in school all too often.

missingbite's avatar

@Dutchess_III Actually she was fired because new laws don’t allow people who have been convicted of certain crimes involving theft can’t work in the banking industry. She would have to have a wavier from the FDIC to work there. More federal regulations.

My point is that we have gone from making excuses like PFC for her but not for Romney. Is he really a sociopath or was he just a kid who may have been a bully? I think the later but some will disagree. Especially if they love Obama who shoved a little girl to the ground as a kid. Maybe his is a sociopath as well?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I’ll bet Obama remembers showing the little girl to the ground. Don’t know for sure, but I’ll put five bucks on it. The fact that Romney doesn’t remember doing something like he did in high school gives me pause.

jca's avatar

I never heard about the Obama thing but I would say something a little kid did is a tad different than something someone did when they were 17 or 18, like what they’re saying Romney did.

GoldieAV16's avatar

Um, PBO never shoved a girl to the ground. People know about the shoving incident because it was from PBO’s book, Dreams From My Father.

He tells of being just one of two African American children in his school, so the other kids encircled the two of them and began taunting that they would have to get married, “kiss her, kiss her!” (Sounds like he was one of the two being bullied.) PBO writes:

”‘I’m not her boyfriend!’ I shouted. I ran up to Coretta and gave her a slight shove; she staggered back and looked up at me, but still said nothing. ‘Leave me alone!’ I shouted again. And suddenly Coretta was running, faster and faster, until she disappeared from sight.”

He goes on to express remorse over the incident.

JLeslie's avatar

Yeah, I can’t see how that particular Obama incident as a little boy compared to Romney’s, since most like the kids they tackled to the ground and cut his hair probably never did a think to the Romney group of boys, let alone the age. Even so, as I said about I don’t hold it against Romney so many years later, and it was a teenage act of meanness and stupidity.

Dreadging up the Obama’s shove and Romney’s bullying is like dredging up Laura Bush’s car accident. Sounds bad, she killed another person as a result, but no one thinks she is a murderer, or even a irresponsible driver at this point. She actually did run the stop sign, the accident was her fault. We all can see how that could happen to anyone, especially a teen. Years later do we worry about her ability to drive? Or, to be a first lady? Didn’t seem like we did. Going back to teenage years for people who are 50 years old seems like a waste of time. Unless there is a pattern, as someone suggested above. If there is a pattern we still don’t have to go back to the teen years, because then the person has done things in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.

GoldieAV16's avatar

I forgot to link to the disorderly conduct arrest incident. ThisAnarchist-Mitt-Romney-arrested-in-1981-for-disorderly-conduct is a sort of humorous retelling.

I don’t think it’s sociopathy as much as it’s privilege, and a disregard for the rules because, frankly, they don’t apply to you.

GoldieAV16's avatar

Okay, some weird HTML markup going on there – sorry!

missingbite's avatar

@GoldieAV16 You are correct and I probably shouldn’t have referenced it. The little girl is probably fabricated like the N.Y. girlfriend that he writes about was. No telling if it really happened or not.

jca's avatar

I was just looking at Mother’s Day cards on someecards.com and one of the cards is “Mom: Thanks for not sending me to high school with Mitt Romney.”

filmfann's avatar

What story of George Washington growing up can you think of? Cutting down the cherry tree, and saying “I cannot tell a lie! I cut it with my hatchet!”
Is that story important to the legend of Washington?
How is this story about Mitt irrelevant?

GoldieAV16's avatar

@missingbite Not getting what you’re saying here, at all. Why would someone invent a story of shoving a kid? And are you saying that David Maraniss, who wrote the biography on PBO, made up the NY girlfriend, and Vanity Fair was complicit in faking her photos in the current issue? Thoroughly confused…

missingbite's avatar

@GoldieAV16 That is exactly what I am saying. Obama has admitted that the New York girlfriend he wrote about was actually multiple women from New York and Chicago. The girlfriend he describes does not actually exist in one person.

I always thought an autobiography was non fiction. In this case at least some of it was. Who knows if there really was a little girl named Coretta. She could have been multiple people or a little boy. Who knows?

Dutchess_III's avatar

What are you talking about @missingbite?

missingbite's avatar

@Dutchess_III What don’t you understand? The girlfriend in his book was a fabrication. She was a composite of many women he dated.

He admitted in the book that some of the characters in the book were composites of multiple people.

By that logic, Coretta, the little girl he shoved could be a composite person as well. We don’t know if she was one person or a combination of people he rolled into one.

missingbite's avatar

@Dutchess_III @GoldieAV16 To explain a little further, David Maraniss didn’t make up the girlfriend, Obama did. Actually she is several girlfriends rolled into one character so he could make a point.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I’m confused. Obama was in 2nd grade when he pushed a “girl” on the playground. Where do you get that she was a composite of many other “women?” Are you making this up or do you have proof, other than an anti-Obama blog?

missingbite's avatar

@Dutchess_III I’m not sure how else to explain this again but I will try. Obama admitted that some of his characters in his book were not real people but just composites of many people. Those are his words. Not a blogs, but his. He stated clearly when questioned about the NY girlfriend that he described in his book as being more than one woman even though he talked about just one woman. She was a composite of women.

I simply stated that I shouldn’t have used the girl he pushed as an example because in reality it may never have happened. He could have made the whole thing up so we could understand how he felt as a black kid in a mostly white school.

How you got that I was using something from an anti-Obama blog just shows your paranoia I guess. I am only using his words. He stated that the characters were changed to protect them so I doubt Corletta even exists.

If you don’t’ understand this I’m sorry but I am done trying to explain it. It’s not that hard.

GoldieAV16's avatar

Use of composite characters (a common device) is not the same as making up events.

PBO didn’t “admit” to the use of composite characters, he leads with it in the introduction of his book.

jca's avatar

To clear this up, is there a specific link with a direct quote where he specifies what you’re talking about, @missingbite?

missingbite's avatar

@GoldieAV16 You guys are so defensive. I simply stated that I shouldn’t have used her as an example and didn’t attack him for using composite characters. I simply said the little girl may not have existed. She may have but we don’t really know. I’m sure he did get taunted and did push somebody.

@jca as @GoldieAV16 stated it is in the forward of his book.

I’m done on this subject. Sorry for the topic drift.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It just sounded like you were suggesting, or someone was, that he was in the habit of pushing little girls on the playground, and the “one” incident was actually a compilation of a bunch of different instances, which isn’t the case.

GoldieAV16's avatar

@missingbite, I’m sorry I came across as defensive.

I thought I was just portraying another view of the issue. I’ll watch my tone more carefully. Thanks for pointing that out.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther