Posts Tagged ‘racism’

OVERCOMING RACISM and DISCRIMINATION

Doesn’t it make you angry when someone treats you unfairly just because you’re black, brown, white, a woman, a man, homosexual, older, younger, disabled, bald, long-haired, short, fat, poor, wealthy, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. ?  Doesn’t it make you angry?  What would Dr. Martin Luther King say?

In 1790, George Washington said “The government of the United States …gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution, no assistance….”  In fact, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and a few other pieces of civil rights legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, outlaw discrimination based on: 1) race, 2) color, 3) sex, 4) religion, 5) national origin, 6) age, and 7) handicap.  However, there are many other bases for discrimination which are not illegal and are not obvious and therefore are much more difficult to deal with than those which are illegal.  Because I’ve had a lot of experience in this area I thought I’d share my views on how discrimination works and how best to deal with it.

My understanding of discrimination began in 1975 when I became a collateral-duty (side-job) Hispanic Employment Program Manager for my small Federal bureau, which took about 20% of my official work time.  For the other 80% of my work-time, I was a Environmental Planner.   With help from our Field Office employees, we were able to increase Hispanic-American employment in my small bureau from one person to 32 Hispanic-Americans so that my 500-employee bureau was 6% Hispanic-American when I left it.  I received awards for my work from the Director of my bureau as well as from the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

When I went to work for another small bureau in the U.S. Department of the Interior as a Program Analyst, I also took a collateral-duty (side) job as my bureau’s Collateral-Duty EEO Counselor, counseling about a dozen Equal Employment Opportunity complaintants, and received my bureau’s first “Outstanding Counselor” award in 1985.

Finally and importantly, at age 25 years, prior to both of those experiences, I had a large brain tumor removed which resulted in 1/2 of my face being paralyzed and numb. Suddenly I looked physically challenged and was easily-identifiable.  This situation gave me the unique experience of being able to compare how I was treated when I looked like most other people versus how I was treated when I looked differently and was easily identifiable as being physically challenged.

HOW EXTENSIVE A PROBLEM IS DISCRIMINATION

In the past, discrimination has led to lynchings because of race, national origin, religion, and other differences;  it has led to the torture and slaughter of six million innocent Jews by the Nazis and the murder of 3000 innocent Americans by Al Qaeda; and to many other atrocities through the ages, including right up to the present with “Flash-mob” attacks and the “Knockout Game.”  Today, however, allegations of racism have become politicized and  therefore many, though unfortunate, are false, like Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin.  A quick and easy way to determine most bogus allegations of racism is to first check if the accuser is a politician or a political adviser or pundit or works in the “race” industry…and if s/he does, then you can assume the allegation is false.  Racism and discrimination does still exist today but it’s a tiny fraction of what it was back in the 1950’s and before.

HOW DISCRIMINATION DEVELOPS

I believe that discrimination evolves because of three phenomena: 1) quick and easy identification of the group being discriminated against; 2) mind set; and 3) selective perception.

Easy identification is the reason why African-Americans, as well as women and most minorities, still are the recipients of some discrimination, though nothing like the situation was even 50-years ago.  The same is true of the fat, bald, unattractive, elderly, and disabled.

“Mind-set” I believe is the second phenomenon that enables discrimination to occur.  It develops when one’s mind, because of stereotyping or some other reason, thinks along certain lines or is “set” to the extent that, even when new contradictory information is brought to light, it is discounted or simply not considered or even not perceived.  Another name for mind-set is “paradigms”.

Once a mind-set exists, selectively perceiving phenomena within the area of the “set” is called “selective perception”.  With discrimination, one would selectively perceive only those phenomena that reinforced the mind-set.

HOW TO HANDLE DISCRIMINATION

What should you do if you experience discrimination?  Getting angry at the injustice is a common reaction.  Some may even think that they now have the right to retaliate.  I can recall a number of massacres motivated by feelings of persecution and self-righteousness in seeking revenge.  However, when the retaliation avenue is pursued,  all parties become victims, especially those exacting the revenge.  To cite just one example, if you discriminate against me, and I become angry and/or vengeful, you would actually now be controlling my behavior by changing my attitude.  Therefore, a much healthier approach is to say to yourself, “People make the most absurd assumptions based on very superficial and erroneous analyses.  They aren’t thinking intelligently.”  Also, “people can think anything they want about me but if they act on their beliefs, then I’ll take appropriate action, from simply shrugging it off to considering the entire range of legal actions and implementing whatever is appropriate for the situation”.

FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE

I have seen firsthand how easy identifiability, mind-set, and selective perception work.  For me they are not simply theories you might read about.  Up to age 25, when I looked like most others, I was treated one way.  After 25, when I looked obviously disabled, I was treated  differently, except from my family and friends.  And even though most people were not even aware of what they were doing, people’s good intentions didn’t help much.

CONCLUSION

Dr. Martin Luther King has told us to “judge people on the content of their character”.  If we do otherwise, we should remember how discrimination works so that we can prevent ourselves from unwittingly engaging in it.  Anyone who looks or is different is at risk of being the victim of discrimination.  The healthiest way to deal with discrimination is to try to understand and forgive those who wrong you.  This will make you a bigger person as well as add years to your lifespan.  To quote Mahatma Gandhi, “Hatred can be overcome only by love”.

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LESSONS I LEARNED FROM MY FOLKS

Do you remember how to do geometry and trigonometry from high school?  For most people geometry and trig are two of the subjects that they were required to learn in order to graduate, both of which most people will never need or use.  This article is about five important lifelong lessons I learned from my folks that I really needed and used throughout my lifetime and that they don’t teach you in school..

The five lessons are:

  1. The world’s a cold place without family and friends
  2. Help whoever and whenever you can
  3. Treat everyone fairly
  4. Get a good education
  5. Do the best you can

 

First lesson. I remember my mom telling me, “Michael, the world’s a cold place without family and friends.” My mom came from a very large family…9 brothers and sisters…and she had many friends…her neighbor friends, her work friends, and her poker friends. Why are family and friends so important…they’re the people that know you and care about you…so when you reach low points in your life or just need someone to talk to, they usually give invaluable emotional support…and of course you support them when they need it.  At my mom’s funeral there were about 500 family and friends who came to see her one last time and to pay their respects to her family. It was unbelievable!

Second lesson. “Help whoever and whenever you can.” I knew my father was a good person, helping anyone that needed help, but even I was surprised at his funeral when strangers came up to me and told stories about how my father had helped them. I worked at my father’s grocery store on weekends and during summers when I was a child. The store was located in a very poor neighborhood in Philadelphia and most of our customers were on welfare. The children of the poorest families would come to the store every day for one of my father’s “free sandwiches.” As I got older my father would often send me to Philadelphia’s city hall and to Pennsylvania’s state office building with needy people to speak on their behalf in an effort to get them emergency aid. In addition, my father told me that his mother gave baskets of food to poor families during the depression…so I understand where he learned his compassion and helped whoever and whenever he could.

Third lesson. “Treat everyone fairly.” My folks felt strongly about treating everyone fairly. Both had friends from other races and nationalities. They sent me to a junior high school that was 75% minority to help me learn how to get along with people who were different from me. My dad constantly asked me about my agency’s (US Department of the Interior) dealings with Native Americans and my mom frequently quoted pearls of wisdom and common sense from her African-American girlfriends at work.

Fourth lesson. “Get a good education.” My parents believed in their children getting a good education, although I only wanted to be a forest ranger even that required a college degree. So when the time came, my mom went to work for a meat-packing company making sausage in a cold, refrigerated room in order to pay for my sisters, brother and I to go to college.

Fifth lesson. “Do the best you can.” My first semester at Penn state was a failure. When I came home for spring break my parents tried to comfort me with, “Michael, as long as you did the best you could, you have nothing to be ashamed of.” Well, I wasn’t doing the best I could…playing ping pong until 3 am in the morning the night before my midterm exams, but I heeded my parents words and knuckled down and did the best I could…and consequently got good grades. Eventually I received my bachelor’s degree from Penn state and my master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

In conclusion, my folks taught my brother, sisters and me many lessons, just five of which I just shared with you. But unlike geometry and trig, they are lessons that have been useful throughout my entire life. Now, when I encounter a tough situation, I ask myself, “What would my parents advise?” Their advice has resulted in my making good decisions. So “Mom and Dad, wherever you are, thank you for teaching me the lessons I needed to live a good life.

RIGGED ELECTION: TRUMP IS THE LAST CHANCE EVER FOR A (MOSTLY) CONSERVATIVE PRESIDENT

Some Republican politicians this year are not supporting Donald Trump because of Trump’s rhetorical excesses, because they don’t consider him a true conservative, and because of his “locker room” comments from 2005.   Some Republican politicians  figure that, if Hillary becomes president, they can always regain the Presidency in 2020, but is this realistic?

Today, the “open borders” policy of Hillary Clinton (2/3 of immigrants vote Democrat), and her plan for huge increases in Muslim refugees (90% of which will vote Democrat), as well as a Clinton Supreme Court probably ruling that a photo ID is not required to vote (and the consequent increase in voter fraud from today’s 4 million fraudulent (Democrat) votes, 2016 is the last year that a Republican can become president of the United States.

Consequently, beginning in 2020, it really is a waste of time to even bother holding another presidential election.  We will have Democrat presidents for the foreseeable future.  So all of those Republicans who are not supporting Donald Trump this year and then plan to elect a true (establishment) Republican in 2020, are deluding themselves.  If Trump is elected president this year he will build the wall on our southern border and stop illegal immigration, help ensure that photo ID’s are required to vote, and purge registration roles of deceased voters and people registered in more than one State.

So what’s a voter to do if s/he doesn’t like Hillary or Donald for president?  List your ten most important issues and rate both Hillary and Donald on each of those ten issues.  You might have to listen carefully to discover what each candidate has to say on each of your ten issues.  Then you need to consider what Hillary and Donald have accomplished in their lives.  Finally, you need to think about how honest they are and then tally their total score.  Whatever nominee receives the highest score you vote for.  Try to avoid even considering non-issues like racism, sexism, or climate change since these issues are phony for these candidates.  Do understand, however, that if Donald Trump is not elected in 2016, there will never be another Republican president and that, with Hillary Clinton selecting the next three or four Supreme Court justices and the consequent loss of your individual right to own a firearm, the United States will move far to the left, default on the National debt, and government corruption will become even more rampant than it is today and move closer to becoming a Venezuela-style country.

OBSESSED with RACE!

Mike Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York, etc., etc.   The first incident due to a policeman protecting himself from being killed; in the second incident, the police being overzealous and inappropriate in its enforcing a minor infraction of the law.  Both incidents had nothing to do with race, but months later the U.S. is still agitated from them, and other incidents,  to the extent that two New York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were ambushed and killed for revenge while sitting in their police car. Why?

Americans are obsessed with race!   Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that his dream was that one day his four little children will live in a nation where they will be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.  In other words, a “color-blind” society was his dream.  The opposite has and is taking place even though race relations in the U.S. for most people have never been better.   Politicians and their minions call anyone a racist who disagrees with them on anything, whether or not it has anything to do with race.   Moreover, the government encourages discrimination in many, many ways including something so minor as requiring race and ethnic information in order to get medical care (I refuse to provide it calling it “racist” on the form).

My credentials for stating the above: while working for the Federal government for over 40 years,  I volunteered to perform three “collateral-duty” jobs that took up to 20% of my official work time, each for a minimum of five years.  Two of the three involved fighting racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination.  In one of my collateral-duty jobs, I was instrumental in increasing Latino employment by my Federal Bureau from under 1 % to 6% of the workforce (as the Hispanic Employment Program Manager); in the other collateral-duty job, I counseled about a dozen minorities and women in seeking remedies for alleged discrimination (as an EEO Counselor).  Each of these positions required extensive training which I was happy to take and I performed well, to the extent that I received EEO awards from my bureau and the Department of Interior.   These experiences, plus working at my father’s butcher shop (with a 99% African-American clientele) when growing up, working as a counselor at a camp with 50% African-American “campers,” and attending a Junior High School with 50% African-American students, gives me a far better perspective than most white Americans in understanding race relations.

My perspective on race relations today versus throughout the past is that relations have improved significantly in the past 60 years.  But if my perspective is accurate, why is racism such a major concern today? Is it really politics as I stated earlier?  Author of the book, The Big Black Lie, Kevin Jackson, blames the Democratic Party in its attempt to convince voters that Republicans are racists.  In his book, Wrong on Race, Bruce Bartlett enumerates the Democratic Party’s history of racism.  Most recently, author of the book, Mugged, Ann Coulter, gives a very detailed account of racial demogoguery from the seventies to Obama.  My own experience and observations validate what I read and make me hopping mad.  The pain and suffering by all parties has been perpetuated for political gain.  I also agree with Dinesh D’Souza’s book, The End of Racism, that the American obsession with race is fueled by a civil rights establishment that has a vested interest in perpetuating black dependency.

Will this obsession with race ever end?  Only when the deception behind it is fully exposed and widely acknowledged.  Unfortunately, that day may never come.  What would Dr. King say?  Nothing…I believe he would be  in tears!

Let’s go back in time to when African-Americans were freed from slavery and see what Booker T. Washington, born a slave, who established the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to educate and train African-Americans and was the most prominent African-American in his day (1856-1915), said in his book, “Up from Slavery”:  “…the policy to be pursued with reference to the races was, by every honorable means, to bring together and to encourage the cultivation of friendly relations, instead of doing that which would embitter.”  What is happening today is the opposite of what Mr. Washington advocated and is being done mostly in order to keep 90% of African-Americans voting for the Democratic Party.

 

TRAYVON v. GEORGE v. MEDIA v. THE RACE-OBSESSED

The Prosecution’s case against George Zimmerman  showed that Zimmerman acted in self-defense to prevent his own life from being taken by Trayvon Martin,  who attacked and tried to beat George to death.  The police had it right from the very beginning…letting Zimmerman go after checking his wounds and other forensics against his account of what happened…there simply was no “probable cause” to think otherwise.   This was so obvious that Zimmerman’s Defense team decided not to even put him on the stand to testify.  The racist charge was debunked when the FBI’s report stated that there was no racial-bias intent.

I feel very sorry for Trayvon’s mother and family but have nothing but contempt for the race-baiting incompetent media. Even Fox News showed 17-year old Trayvon’s before and after photos when he was 12 and 14 rather than portray him accurately as a 6-foot plus 17-year-old young man.  Of course, NBC edited Zimmerman’s dialog with the police dispatcher to make it appear that this Black Hispanic (1/2 Hispanic and 1/8 Black) is racist, but then again we  already knew that NBC is an unreliable source for accurate news.

The Media and the Prosecution tried to have George Zimmerman put in prison for 25 years for defending himself against being murdered.  I will never, ever trust the Media again, ever!!!  It was the real loser in the trial.

Now it’s Al Sharpton’s turn to have a crack at Zimmerman, with the support of many Black-Americans, liberals, the President, Attorney General Eric Holder, and the Justice Department, this time alleging that Zimmerman’s motivation was racism even though the FBI interviewed almost 40 people a year ago  and concluded that racism was not an issue.  Already some black youths have targeted Hispanics and assaulted them.  Where and when will it end?  Stay tuned. Sharpton already has blood on his hands from inciting people to riot in the Tawana Brawley incident in 1987…we’ll see how many will be injured and killed this time over the “not guilty” verdict for George Zimmerman.

 

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