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Book Review: White Flour by David LaMotte


Very early in life, children begin learning how to deal with violence. In general, we teach them one of two responses: fight or flight. Neither of these is very attractive from the Christian perspective.

Is there an alternative?

David LaMotte, in White Flour says there is. In a book designed for parents to read to pre-school children he uses Dr. Seuss-like rhyme to recount the true story of an event in Knoxville, TN (May 26, 2007) with attractive illustrations by Jenn Hales.

In Knoxville, a white-supremacist group came from out-of-state to hold a rally in a public park. A group of counter-protesters, The Coup Clutz Clowns, met the hatred of the white supremacists with humor – and laughed them out of town.

In a delightful way, LaMotte shows how the Clowns deliberately would “misunderstand” the chants of the white-supremacists – and use humor to defeat them. “White Power” became “white flour” – so the Clowns threw white flour all over themselves.

As the demonstrators grew louder, the Clowns acted as if they may have misunderstood – and instead of “white flour,” they reached into their bag of tricks to throw white flowers into the air.

Another “misunderstanding” of the chant for “White Power” became “Tight Showers” – so the Clowns huddled tightly under a small, camp shower while one on stilts doused them all.

The final “misunderstanding” of “White Power” was “Wife Power.” For this, the lady Clowns donned wedding dresses and chanted, “Here’s to wives and mothers.”

The protesters had a permit to use the park for several hours that day. They left in shamed defeat with an entire hour and a half left.

LaMotte, in an afterward “What Really Happened,” admits he took some “artistic license.” He had all the White Supremacists wearing Klan robes and masks as a visual shorthand for racism, though there were also neo-Nazis in the group.

The point he makes is that there are more ways of reacting to such demonstrations than “fight or flight” – to become violent or to ignore them. In this case, creative humor won the day.

He concludes the afterward by saying, “What is needed is creativity, and a refusal to become that which we abhor. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.'”

This is an excellent teaching tool for parents to help children understand there are better ways to respond to evil than with violence or by ignoring it. We can find ways to stand up for what is good and wholesome without adopting the tactics of those who are bad. I think Jesus would approve!

The hardback book, published in 2012, is available from the author at http://www.davidlamotte.com for $16.95. (Disclosure: I was sent a free copy of the book to review. This review is my own considered judgment of the merits of the book.)

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One Response

  1. Reblogged this on christocentricity and commented:
    This is amazing …

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