Wow Steve Lindner, Way To Go!

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carla's picture
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Being young, black, and safe Lini S. Kadaba, For The Inquirer

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 8:25 AM

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Whenever 13-year-old Samuel Lindner goes out with his friends, his parents remind him to "act like you've been somewhere."

The phrase has been a constant in the Lindner household since Sam was in preschool. It means he should present himself with confidence, bred of education and experience. Be polite, on his best behavior, and make smart choices.

On the surface, the advice sounds like typical parental nagging. But Sam, his 15-year-old sister, Sophia, and his parents know those five words connote much more - a set of unwritten rules that can mean the difference between success or failure, even life or death. The Lindners, who live in Ardmore, are African American - and that simple fact adds layers of concerns for the welfare of their children.

"Sam knows racism exists, and he understands why," says Steven Lindner, 48, a Lower Merion commissioner and corporate trainer. "But that doesn't make it any easier. . . . We don't want him to fester over it. We just want him to be aware of these situations."...The Lindners tell Sam not to travel in groups of teens - to avoid any suspicion of hooliganism. And whenever Sam or Sophia head to the store, the mantra is: "Don't forget to get a receipt. Don't forget to get a bag." Because, the Lindners have told their children, blacks too often are profiled as shoplifters....Adds Steven Lindner: "No matter where he goes, there's a perception: He's the black kid."

And that label comes with its share of baggage. At Boy Scout summer camp, Sam says, counselors assumed he could not swim. He jumped in the pool and earned his badge.

Often, the Lindners look for ways to improve the odds against their son. Steven Lindner has made a point to introduce him to Lower Merion police officers - a preemptive move. "Sometimes, I'll go down my list," he says. "What do you do in this situation? What do you do in that situation?"

At the mall, Sam has watched his father go into a store in his suit and tie and then return to that store in jeans and sneakers. "We get very different treatment," Steven Lindner says. "My way of letting him know profiling exists is by doing these examples."

I truly did not know it was so unsafe for the Lindner family in Ardmore, did you?

The commissioner of We The People, which is really Me First, Last, and Only has got himself some cushy coverage in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Truthfully it is amazing this article...and somewhat offensive in it's obviousness.

If I felt that Commissioner Lindner was a truly genuine person I might not be so critical. But to me this smacks of Lindner has higher aspirations so he needed some media placement love, doesn't it? The kids look real cute in their private school uniforms don't they? Truly this is a congressional campaign worthy photo and article placement, isn't it?

A question: If Lindner is always seeming to reinforce the message of negativity, what does that say for him as far as racism goes? Is he helping or hurting? I don't like the man and I think this article is too cute for words. Sign me yet another reason why I am out of Loser Merion and the land of political hypocrites.

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Hugh Gordon's picture
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This comment seems a bit mean spirited.  Regardless of how one feels about Steve Lindner's performance as commissioner, the article addresses a real issue.   And, given the fact that the achievement gap in the LM public schools is as large as ever, good on them for using a private school.  

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carla's picture
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I do not care for Lindner and I am not being mean spirited because I do not feel in my opinion that he just did this interview for the good of the cause. I mean where was he when LMVUE started up for example? I think it was on the other side of the table wasn't it? And FYI I went to private school because my parents discovered when we moved here once you got past elementary school LMSD wasn't all it was touted to be.

I do not feel that Steve Lindner ever does anything unless he gains some personal benefit and I am entitled to think that. I am not alone in that sentiment either. With his attitudes is he actually keeping feelings of racism and societal division alive and well? Or is he helping a cause and helping improve a situation? I can't decide.

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"Well behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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" And, given the fact that the achievement gap in the LM public schools is as large as ever, good on them for using a private school. "

Excuse me - his wife works for Lower Merion schools and they choose to send their kids to private schools?  There is a ringing endorsement where staff believes the best educational opportunity lie.

The article touches a real issue, and until there is a real response to this issue, it will never be closed.  The truth is "some of the nicest people I have met" are white and same for black.  Same for the inverse.  Why do people judge me by my appearance (or yours)?  Is it rational?  Irrational?  Racism?  What does that even mean?

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curious's picture
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Ardmore:  your facts are wrong.  His wife does not work for Lower Merion, she works for Agnes Irwin where she is in administration (I think she is head of the Lower School).  Given that, it is hardly suprising the daughter has an AIS on her uniform and it may say little, if anything, about their views of the public schools. 

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Ardmore's picture
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Sorry - I must have misread that somewhere - she worked for the Haverford School district at one point, before working at both the Haverford School and Agnes Irwin...

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politeia's picture
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This sounds like sound advice for any child. I don't see why race should have to be an issue in regards to sound and proper child rearing.

I can say that as a white person who grew up and went to prep school on the Main Line (like Lindner's kids from their school outfits) and who has an Ivy league/Wharton business degree that you can still get screwed over by anyone - including your own government.

I was targeted by the police and falsely convicted of a misdemeanor 11 years ago because I complained about local government where Montgomery county probation then challenged me to take a their own polygraph when I denied I committed the crime (my sentence was one year probation, no jail for a M3 one notch above a summary offense).

Well, I paid for and passed their state-of-the-art computerized polygraph twice with a 99.99% certainty I did not commit the crime (there were no witnesses and there is no direct proof I committed this minor crime) per the Johns Hopkins University software program utilized by the state-of-the-art government polygraph.

This is in my probation record and I recently swore to this under oath before one of DA Ferman's perfidious grand juries where she loves to spring the perjury trap - as noted by the various perjury charges she has brought down on people she laid the trap for, like political enemy and former Montco Commissioner Jim Matthews.

But wait a minute. I'm a white, Main Line prep school/Ivy League grad.

How did this happen to me?

I prefer to leave race out of it and just deal with the facts. Lindner's kids have nothing to worry about in regards to false accusations as long as he is a commissioner. They are protected.

I would have appreciated and accepted this story if it involved a poor African American family in the inner city. The Lindner's are obviously a privileged family by the nature of his position as a commissioner and the schools his kids go to, and his kids have nothing to worry about if they obey they law - unlike kids of all races and creeds who don't have the benefit of a dad in government and who can and do fall victim to corrupt cops/government agents and get falsely convicted of crimes.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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Hugh Gordon's picture
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Racial profiling by police and shopkeepers to the detriment of African Americans goes on all the time, including here.   It's a fact of contemporary American life.  It doesn't make any difference whose kid you are.  

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politeia's picture
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I didn't say it did not happen here. I just said Lindner's kids are protected here. I indicated this is a poor example (IMHO) to use for racial profiling due to Lindner being a commissioner.

Like I said, I would have appreciated the article more if it was not a politically connected family with the benefits and privileges of the Lindner's, whether that be an average African American family in LM or Philly - with poor African Americans being the most vulnerable (thus my reference to a poor inner city African American family being a better example).

I think African American families have more to worry about in Philly than Ardmore, though racism does exist everywhere. African Americans are really scapegoated for crime in Philly - which makes them racial targets by business owners and Philly cops (even black Philly cops), while crime by African Americans or anyone is not so much of a problem in LM so it is not as much of a concern - though I agree racial profiling and animus exists in LM as it unfortunately does in most all communities, but this is a pretty progressive area.

Anything racial happens to Lindner's kids and the LMPD will come down on whomever did it like a ton a bricks for a bias crime since Lindner is a commissioner. Not so much so for other African Americans in LM or Philly.

However, and like I said, racial profiling does exist in LM. Just look at the LMPD. Anytime you drive past a car pulled over by the LMPD on Lancaster or Montgomery (even in the western part of the township) for a traffic violation look at the race of the person pulled over. In my decades in LM I have noticed it is African Americans pulled over about 50% the time even though African Americans make up a rather small percentage of drivers in LM.

I guarantee you this, though - if a car is pulled over in LM and the plates are run with the name "Lindner" with an Ardmore address, the occupants will be treated with kid gloves.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves ~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

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