This really hasn't changed in recent versions of InDesign. There is a very rudimentary way of dropping out backgrounds which only works if you have an image on a white or very light background called Detect Edges. Choose View > High Quality Display. Select the image, then choose Object > Clipping Path > Detect Edges.
You adjust the Treshold setting and Tolerance setting to try to select the best result. The best result isn't of professional quality. It might work for a quick comp.
Basically, you need to learn to do it in Photoshop. You need to use Photoshop methods to select the background and delete it to create an image with transparency which you can place in InDesign. Or you need to use the older methods of creating a Clipping Path or an Alpha Channel. Then you can select those options in Object > Clipping Path.
First thing to check would be if you've accidentally set a Paper fill.
Next would be to show the import options when placing. Depending on the type of file, you may have the option for transparent background. If the file actually has a white background you can try using ID's clipping path function, but you'll probably get better results editing the original art to remove the background.
yeah, I was afraid it would be difficult, or at least for a person who shuns photoshop. So, if I want to do it in photoshop with exact, clear instructions would they be above? Or is there another place you could show me???
If the background is white, you can probably just use the magic want to select it in Photoshop. Double-click the Background layer in the Photoshop layers panel and rename it (a flattened image with a Background layer cannot be transparent), then select and delete the background. Save as .psd.