Tags: African American, bigotry, black, Confronting Myths, current-events, discrimination, DNA, Donald Trump, Dr. Robin DiAngelo, European Americans, Obama and American Bigotry, Prejudice, Presidential election, race, skin color, skin complexion, white
Much of the trouble today is being caused by changes in our society and the world that people do not understand or appreciate. Many people are concerned and worried about the new president-elect Trump and what effect his presidency will have on society. The people to be most disappointed relative to Trump’s election and his presidency will be his base supporters. They will be disappointed because Trump will not be able to deliver on the promises he made during his campaign. Politicians make promises based on things they think their followers want to hear knowing that those many of those promises will never be fulfilled. The supporters of many politicians suffer from innocence, ignorance or biases that prevent them from seeing the unrealities of the claims and promises made by their candidate. Once reality sets in, the people will see where they were misled into believing things they wanted to happen were just not possible.
The theme of Trump’s campaign was “Make American Great again,” which in code language is “make America white again.” The phrase and its sentiments have been used time and time again to garner support from the European Americans who believe that they have been left behind by the government in favor of immigrants, women, LGBT, and people of color. They still, however, enjoy the privileges that come with being European American (white) but are in fear of losing them. So, when Trump said that he wanted to make America great again, his followers knew what he meant and felt encouraged that the social changes that had taken place would not threaten their privilege and control. Regardless of what the candidate promised one thing that cannot be stopped is change. Trump supporters called for change, but what they really wanted was no change except to go back to reclaim some of the advantages they believed they lost to immigrants, women, and people of color.
So, what exactly are many European Americans afraid of losing that would cause them to disregard their sense of integrity, character, decency, values, and standards by electing someone who reflects none of these traits? The answer can be found in the social conditioning experienced by Americans since the days of the founding fathers and their inventing and instituting the system of European American (white) supremacy and African American (black) inferiority. In other words, they invented the concept of a black and white race with the white race deemed superior to all non-white races for the purpose of controlling them. Dr. Robin DiAnglo commented on this experience: “This systemic and institutional control allows those of us who are white in North America to live in a social environment that protects and insulates us from race-based stress.” She continued by noting that “We have organized society to reproduce and reinforce our racial interests and perspectives. Further, we are centered in all matter deemed normal, universal, benign, neutral and good.”With the rapid changes taking place in America, the control presently in the hands of European Americans is under constant threat of change, and is, in fact undergoing change.
The social conditioning European Americans receive in society includes little if any reference to race; therefore, they are never stressful regarding race. Society has told them that they are the representatives of the human race; they are the normal people. All other people belong to a separate race. For example, when stories are reported in the media, usually, the only reference to ethnicity occurs when the subject or subjects of the story are not European American (white). If the story concerns European Americans, ethnicity (race) is never mentioned because society must assume that the subjects are European Americans and no ethnicity (race) is required.
Another feature in American society that conditions the European Americans, as well as the rest of America to the European Americans sense of normalcy can be observed in any pharmacy or department store. All one needs to do is to ask for stockings in a nude or natural color and look closely at the color. The color will match the skin complexion of European Americans. The same scenario exists with cosmetics as well as with bandages and Band-Aids; their color approximates the European Americans’ complexion.
European Americans being able to see themselves as normal or without race or ethnic identity is constantly reinforced by and through society. They are also conditioned to see themselves as superior to all other so-called races. Both the elements of normalcy and superiority comes with a large degree of a suspension of disbelief when one realizes that people of color, according to the sciences, were the first of the Homo sapiens to appear on the planet, and in Africa. So the normal color for a human being would be non-white, not white. Also, the concept of superiority seems questionable in light of the fact that when any person of color procreate with a European American (white), the off spring generally manifest physical characteristics of the parent of color. That would suggest that the superior genes reside within the people of color. In addition, eighty percent of the world’s population reflects people of color; that number alone would suggest that the longevity of European Americans (whites) is limited. All those things make little difference when we read that our DNA show we are all from the same family of man and a specific or distinct race cannot be discerned from DNA.
The invention and instituting of the system of European American (white) supremacy and African American (black) inferiority was based on a false concept of race. The fact that the system has been able to sustain itself for so long is due to the control that European Americans have had on society. Now that the system is falling apart due to changes constantly occurring in society, the fear of losing that control and all it represents was possibly at the heart the presidential election. Regardless of who is president, changes will continue to destroy the system of bigotry. The challenge for the European Americans today is replacing the concept of being white and superior with one of being simply a member of the family of mankind without reference to preferences and skin color.
Tags: A&E, African Americans, American Education, beliefs, Bible, Christianity, Constitutional rights, Duck Commander, European Americans, Free Speech, gays, homosexuals, Phil Robertson, Robertson
Much has been made recently about the interview conducted by GQ with Phil Robertson of the Duck Commander. Some people thought the comments on Gays and African Americans were disrespectful to those groups, but others thought that regardless of the content of his comments, the Constitution gives him the right to express himself without fear of retribution. Americans generally support the right of free speech even when it might be disagreeable. With respect to Robertson, the A & E organization’s action in suspending him from the show was not based on the people reacting to his comments; it was a business decision. Regardless of the reactions to Robertson’s comments, we learned a number of things from the experience.
When the Beverly Hillbillies show came on television, we all knew that the program was fiction and the characters were actors. With the Duck Commander, we know that these are real people, and as such are not restricted to delivering lines some writer has written for them. The show is called a reality show because the viewers are given an opportunity to see how these people live their lives in (supposedly) real time. One of the marketing ploys of most reality shows is to expose some of the show’s cast to the public, thereby creating more interest in and viewers to the show. These interviews generally focus on the show and the particular member’s contribution to it as well as how the show has impacted his or her life. When the viewer receives some inside information about the show often it sparks more interest. The comments generally do not go far beyond the show and the member’s personal life. That changed, however, with Robertson’s references to gays and African Americans.
One of the lessons we learned from Robertson’s comments is that many Americans support the right of the individual to speak his or her mind regardless of the content. Some Americans believe that the content should be reasonable and non-threatening. We know that when comments are made concerning politics, religion, or social identities by cast members that reflect a bias, public attention is usually created. The publicity created by the comments is generally good for the show which is one of the reasons for the comments in the first place. The entire phenomenon is usually just part of doing business in the entertainment world. What happened with Robertson’s comments about gays and African Americans was that they came as a surprise to the A&E organization. Robertson’s or any American citizen’s right to free speech does not extend to a business, only the individual. So, we might imagine that some of the Duck Commander’s sponsors questioned the mishap and demanded some action from A&E.
Chances are that Robertson never gave a second thought to his comments because they were his and not meant to cause any problems for anyone. Unfortunately, too often celebrities are placed in situations where their comments are expected to reflect a certain mindset and when they do not, unwanted attention is created. Most viewers of Duck Commander were probably not surprised to learn of Robertson’s views relative to gays and African Americans. When we take the time to assess the people in the reality show, the setting, background, and theme, our expectations should not rise above the reality that is presented. As the line in one of Elton John’s song states “you can’t drink whiskey from a bottle of wine.” So, based on the individuals and information presented in the show, we should have some idea of what to expect from what the show presents.
If we were to pass judgment on Robertson’s comments about gays and African Americans we would first need to look at three areas of society: educational, religious, entertainment. If we examine Robertson’s comments relative to African Americans, we have to first realize that his education did him a disservice when it left him with the misguided information about their experiences, state of mind and aspirations. One wonders if he is aware of whom the President of the United States is or what the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960’s are all about. His comments suggest he does not know about these things and that represents a failure of the educational system that informed his sense of history.
Robertson’s comments regarding the gay community reflect a religious perception of intolerance relative to the people he sees as unacceptable to God. Contrary to religion presenting a mindset of acceptance, love and understanding, Robertson’s comments shows a total rejection of gays and their lifestyle that he sees as based on the Bible and biblical teachings. Since the Constitution also grants the individual freedom of religion, Robertson is free to hold whatever views his religious beliefs promotes as acceptable.
The entertainment industry is without a doubt one of the most powerful and influential forces in America. We are shown or told what to eat, drink, wear, go, think, and see, like, dislike, how to act, and above all, what to believe. What we must remember is that individuals, more likely than not, reflect the standards and values of their community, not independent ideas and opinions that have been addressed individually for logic or rationale. Robertson’s comments to GQ simply reflect what he obtained from his community and justified through his observations and experiences. The likelihood of anyone changing Robertson’s perception of gays and African Americans are few and far between because he is thoroughly convinced that his way of seeing and interpreting these things is correct.
A&E suspended Robertson from his show because of his comments about gays and African Americans, but the negative reactions of the viewers of the show against A&E will probably have him back in no time at all; after all what we are talking about is money and business. Robertson’s family business is very successful on its own, so with or without the show he will continue his lifestyle as well as his beliefs. As far as the public is concerned, we would do well to heed the words of Gamal Hennessay: “Always consider the source of your advice. Advice cannot be neutral, the source of advice is just as important as actual words.” Enough said?