Paul R. Lehman, The criminal justice system must be replaced for justice to become a reality for all

September 25, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Posted in African American, American Bigotry, American history, Bigotry in America, black inferiority, blacks, Constitutional rights, criminal activity, democracy, Department of Justice, Disrespect, education, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, fairness, justice, justice system, Killings in Tulsa, law enforcement agencies, Media and Race, Norm Stamper, Oklahoma, police force, Prejudice, protest, Race in America, skin color, skin complexion, social justice system, white supremacy, whites | 3 Comments
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By now most of America should realize that the continued shooting of African Americans and people of color by police officers is not just a random act of an inexperienced, untrained, misguided rookie cop. The plethora of excuses for the killings does little to avoid the conclusion that the problem is systemic—part of the culture of law enforcement nationwide. The idea of a few rogue cops committing these killings does not stand the test of validity for dismissing their actions as random while protecting the force. The fact of the matter that law enforcement culture views African Americans and people of color as the enemy or less valuable than European Americans is more than evident by the mere number of incidents that have occurred recently as well as historically.

Holding town hall meetings, public panel discussions, firing a few officers, hiring a few officers of color, making speeches and the like will do nothing in addressing the problem. The problem is the culture that views the African Americans and people of color as having less human and social value as the European American citizen. According to some former police officers, European Americans are conditioned to view African Americans with fear and trepidation. Norm Stamper has said that as an officer he experienced the fear that European American officers had for African American men. This cultural view is held by European Americans as part of their view of reality and normalcy in America, i.e. European Americans have been conditioned to not see their bigotry as a problem, but as the normal way to see society. Until they are able to see and understand that their view of reality is bigoted, the problem will persist.

The recent deaths of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C. should serve as proof sufficient to underscore the charges African Americans and other people of color have made against the various police forces for many years. European Americans have been conditioned to view police and other law enforcers as public servants whose characters project honesty, truth, justice, loyalty, dedication and integrity, and certainly, many officers do project those qualities. What the African American community has been saying for years is that they are not viewed or treated by law enforcement the same as European Americans and therefore their relationships are not the same. Now that America and the world can witness via video just what happens in many of these cases, the call to replace the system and culture of criminal justice in America should be readily acceptable to all.

What we witness in Crutcher and Scott cases goes totally against the picture of law enforcement presented to the general public. The fact that the police not only lie about their actions but also create false reasons for their actions; these faults constitute deceit. The tacit of trying to find something considered socially unacceptable in the African American victim’s background to make him or her appear in a negative light is below contempt. The result is that the element of trust in law enforcement is no longer possible. We are not indicting all individuals who have taken the oath to serve and defend, but when time and again the result of any actions involving the killing of an African American with little or no repercussions for the officers, we have to ask, where is the justice?

The protests that we witness around the country are not against police officers, but the system and culture in which they work that discriminates against African Americans. These protests must continue and include more citizens of all ethnic identities, especially, European Americans. The media present most protest involving African Americans as an African American protest when in fact it is a protest by American citizens because the problems being underscored by the protestors are American made. All Americans should be affected by the videos of unarmed citizens being shot by police officers and the subsequent lack of appropriate justice for their acts.

The American criminal justice system must be replaced, not adjusted, expanded or tweaked because the core of the system would not be affected. The core in place presently views African Americans in a negative and uncomplimentary perspective, and because of that view, they are treated with a lack of respect. That view must be replaced with one that views all people as valuable human beings worthy of respect and deserving the protection and service given by law enforcement. To fully address the problem of injustice, European Americans must be educated to observe, speak, and behave in a way that includes them and all human beings in the family of mankind. In order to begin the process of replacement, all citizens must be educated to the fact that the concept and belief in a system of biological races is a myth, false, made-up. No one’s skin complexion gives him or her preferences of any nature over another human being, except by man-made laws. The protests today are focused on getting rid of those unjust laws.

The social conditioning received by European Americans relative to skin complexion has been so overwhelming that separating the fact from fiction is a monumental challenge. However, society is rapidly changing its demographic profile to the point that the social value of white versus black skins will have little to no value. Some Americans turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the protests now happening in society thinking that since only African Americans are involved that they are not affected by whatever the problems might be. They will learn that they are directly implicated in the problems and must become a part of the change or remain a part of the problem.

If Americans who view the videos showing the treatment of African American citizens by law enforcement  want to become involved in making positive change, they should not only voice their concerns to local authorizes but also seek out organizations and/or civic group where they can become active participants. If no such groups are readily available, they can start one to focus on the problems that need changing. Words without actions is just hot air

Paul R. Lehman, Ignorance of reality in “Report undermines claims of police bias”

July 29, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Posted in African American, American Bigotry, blacks, criminal activity, democracy, Department of Justice, discrimination, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, fairness, justice, justice system, law enforcement agencies, Media and Race, Minnesota, Oklahoma, police force, Prejudice, Race in America, racism, social justice system, The Oklahoman, white supremacy, whites | 1 Comment
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A recent article on the “OPINION” page of the Oklahoman (7/27/2016) entitled, “Report undermines claims of police bias,” represents the very kind of bigotry that serves to keep the communities and citizens in a state of disunity. One has to question the accuracy of the data presented by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation reporting on itself because human nature and self-preservation favors embellishing the positive and minimizing the negative relative to self-examination. The report focused on police-involved shootings and revealed the following facts: “Such shootings are not common, although they have increased; those killed are typically to blame for their own fate; and most importantly, appearance of racial disparities can be created by a literal handful of cases.”The Opinion writer of this article has, seemingly, little or no sense of reality if he or she believes that these comments do not show the ignorance and bigotry of all of the aforementioned relative to the challenge for unity between the African Americans and the law enforcement agency.

The first statement made: “Such shootings are not common, although they have increased,” suggests that the Opinion writer is apparently fully aware of all the shootings, those reported and those not reported in the African American community.  Evidently, the accuracy of that statement depends on how long the data has been collected and recorded and by whom. When we look back briefly at a recent case where thirteen African American females were sexually assaulted by Daniel Holtzclaw, a member of the Oklahoma City Police Department, we know why nothing was done by the police department until one of the thirteen assaulted women had the courage to reported the assault. Being assaulted by an officer of the law gives African American females little room relative for reporting the incident. Many African Americans will generally avoid contact with the police unless absolutely necessary because of the history of disrespect and abuse relative to the way they have been treated in the past.

Also, the Opinion writer misses the actual problem of concern between the law enforcement agency and the African American community—a failure to communicate. The shootings are only part of the problem; respect for and value of the citizens of color have been problems from the very beginning of statehood because bigotry by European Americans against African Americans is a seemingly natural occurrence. Until just recently, when the protest marches against police shootings began, the criminal justice problems of the African American community were ignored because they, evidently, according to the Opinion writer and the data, did not exist.

The second statement shows a total lack of understanding of the communication problem: “those killed are typically to blame for their own fate.” In other words, the police are perfect; they never make a mistake even when they are afraid of the victims because of their color. So, the Opinion writer is saying that people of color that follow or try to follow the orders of policemen, cause their own deaths. How ignorant can one be to believe that a police officer, one who is afraid of people of color, does not experience a behavioral change when having to confront one? In a recent video, a police officer shot a young African American man, Philando Castile; the officer ordered him to get his license. When Castile proceeded to get his license, the officer gave him another order. When Castile did not respond quickly enough to suit the officer, the officer shot him. Why? From the viewpoint of the Opinion writer, Castile caused the officer to shoot him because the officer thought he was reaching for a gun—a gun which was legal for him to carry and for which he had a license. Seemingly, because of the officer’s fear of Castile, his stress level increased from the normal level of stress that goes with the job and contributed to his quick, training-based, reactions. Castile died.

In another recent incident, Charles Kinsey, a physical therapist, was lying on his back with both empty hands extended up, asked the officer not to shoot him. The officer shot him. But, we must assume according to the Opinion writer that Kinsey caused the officer to shoot him, so it was his fault that he was shot. We are led to believe that officer behavior is always calm, deliberative, measured, and in the best interest of the citizens, they have volunteered to serve and protect. Unfortunately, with the help of videos we are able to witness officer behavior that does not fit that model, because they are human beings, and we humans make mistakes.

The third statement underscores a serious problem in the Opinion writer’s understanding of the conflict and protests: “and most importantly, appearance of racial disparities can be created by a literal handful of cases.” The statement basically implies that based on the data from the report that the history of police actions of abuse, intimidation, mistrust, injustice, and shootings are all figments of African American imagination; that the instances of lynching’s in Oklahoma and America were simply minor and rare occurrences; that the massacre of the Greenwood section of Tulsa in 1921 really did not happen. We must question again about where the data was acquired when it was acquired and by whom, and if the focus was restricted to shootings.

The Opinion writer’s last statement shows a blind respect for law enforcement and data and a total disregard for history and ethnic bias: “In short, any racial disparities in police shootings appear the result of statistical noise, not deliberate bias.” Continuing, the article states: “And the fact that Oklahoma law enforcement officers resort to lethal force so infrequently is a testament to their integrity and courage.”The Opinion writer fails to understand that the problem is not with a single police force in Oklahoma, but it is a culture within law enforcement and the entire criminal justice system that must be replaced.

Nothing is gained in closing the gap of disunity between the law enforcement agencies and the African American community when honest and clear communication is not achieved. A better understanding of the problems involved in the shootings from both sides would go far in bridging that gap of fear and mistrust. For clear communications to take place both sides need to recognize that there are preconceived ideas and beliefs that must be confronted and replaced before any progress can be made. The attitude, ignorance, and tone of the Opinion writer shows just how much work lies before us in recognizing that we are not really communicating with one another if we still live in a world of make-believe.

Paul R. Lehman, 50 Years later, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 still needed

April 21, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Posted in Affirmative Action, African American, Bigotry in America, blacks, Congress, democracy, desegregation, discrimination, Equal Opportunity, Ethnicity in America, fairness, liberty, minority, Pledge of Allegiance, politicians, President, segregation, skin color | Leave a comment
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The recent celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (CRA) gives us an opportunity to evaluate a number of concerns relative to that Act, and society in general. Although the process of acquiring the Civil Rights Act was started by President Kennedy, President Lyndon Baines Johnson was the man who championed it through Congress. He paid a large political price for doing so. Nonetheless, we are thankful for his efforts and success. Today, when we look at the Civil Rights Act, we can identify a number of things that are directly related to society then in 1964 and now.
The first thing we realize by the signing of the CRA is that a need was present for such action. After the Civil War, African Americans were literally kept in slavery via a lack of education, jobs, housing, and political representation. Although segregation, discrimination, prejudice, and bigotry were present and visible in everyday life of America, little was being done to recognize the problems. Americans, both African Americans and European Americans tried fighting the injustices on a variety of fronts, but the sentiment of the majority population was against social change. With continued pressure on the Federal Government and the presidents, the civil rights activists over the years since the Civil War were able to acquire an audience with people in power. So, for the first time in American history, Congress and the American people were able to see and accept the fact of injustices visited on African American and other ethnic Americans.
As a result to recognizing the un-American treatment of African Americans and other ethnic Americans, discussions took place relative to how to go about identifying these injustices. With regards to the individual’s rights, safeguards must not be placed in the hands of the states, because a lack of uniformity would exist. So, if efforts were to be made, they must come from the Federal Government. Under the status quo in society up to 1964, segregation was the law and it existed in every aspect of the African American’s life. The sit-ins and marches helped to call attention to the social injustices regarding public accommodations for African Americans. Some success had been achieved in a few areas of education, but the concept of separate but equal was still in effect. So, through the efforts of a number of Civil Rights leaders working directly with President Kennedy and some of his associates, the plan to create a Civil Rights Act that would address some of the injustices experienced by African Americans and other Americans was crafted.
Now that a plan of action was in place, the question was how to get it approved by a Congress that felt no need or urgency to enact a bill that would, in effect, take away some of their power. President Kennedy knew that he would be in for a long and hard fight with certain sections of the Congress in winning approval of this Act, but he was convinced it had to be done. Unfortunately, President Kennedy was killed before he had an opportunity to engage Congress relative to the Civil Rights Act. The task of bringing the CRA successfully through Congress fell to President Johnson. The undertaking for President Johnson would not be an easy one since he was viewed as a Southern politician from Texas and Southern politicians were not very keen on giving equal rights to the sons and daughters of former slaves. For many politicians, the rights and privileges enjoyed by the European Americans and Caucasians were not to be shared equally with African Americans and other ethnic groups. The concern for so-called white supremacy being negatively affected by passage of the CRA troubled many of the political group known as the Dixiecrats. President Johnson was well aware of this group and their concerns because he was consider part of them prior to becoming Vice President. However, Johnson also was aware of the importance of the CRA since its creation acknowledged the existence of injustices as reflected in the status quo, and the label of hypocrisy of America and its claim of democracy.
Nonetheless, Johnson showed political acumen and courage in getting the CRA through Congress. The passage of the CRA represented the success of the efforts of many civil rights activists who labored many years in this regard. With the passage of the CRA, the Federal Government assumed control of the protection of the individual American’s rights. Rather than representing the end of a struggle, the CRA actually was the beginning of a new sense of democracy where all Americans regardless of skin color, religion, gender, and ethnicity could challenge the previously biased conditions. The challenge came from the mindset of many European Americans who felt deceived by the Federal Government who gave the minorities the same rights as they enjoyed. Somehow, they saw this as wrong and an injustice to them as European Americans.
Today, as we look back on fifty years of American life with the CRA, we can recognize how that Act has benefited the society in progressing towards that democracy that gives each citizen the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We can also recognize the struggles that come from making changes in a society based on bigotry. The struggle is still in progress and will be until we educate ourselves and each other of the commitment we made and make as Americans. In essence, what is the responsibility of each and every American? We find the answer in our pledge of allegiance to our country:”I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”
In this pledge we recognize, accept, and embrace the United States of America as one. We underscore that understanding when we add to the pledge “and to the Republic for which it stands.” The remainder of the pledge states what we stand for as a nation. No where in the pledge is there a reference to a state as an independent entity? As a society, we need to confront those who would like to make American into a nation that caters to their wants based on skin color or ethnicity. The CRA was passed as a measure to confront the injustices of the past and present. As American citizens, we have the responsibility of protecting those rights and privileges. To witness injustice and not call attention to it is the same as accepting it. Ayaan Hirsi Ali stated that “Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.” To that we add that acceptance of intolerance by Americans is hypocrisy

Paul R. Lehman, The picture of President Obama and a banana reflects negatively on the sender

February 11, 2014 at 1:18 am | Posted in African American, Constitutional rights, democracy, discrimination, Disrespect, equality, European American, freedom of speech, justice, Prejudice, President Obama, Race in America, Russia, skin color | 2 Comments
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The phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” has been around for a few hundred years and it still has relevance today. The concept of the phrase whether it is one thousand or ten thousand words concern not only the picture itself, but also the creator as well as the producer and user. Each has its own reason for the picture’s value; so, the image that constitutes the picture is not the only concern of the viewers. In an article from the Guardian, “Russian MP’s Obama with banana picture sparks racism debate” (2/9/14) a discussion concerning racism began. The picture in question is a doctored photo of President and Mrs. Obama; the picture has been changed to make President Obama appear as though he is chewing on something while he stares wide-eyed at a banana that seemingly is before him.
The article noted that “The subject of racism has become the focus of a public discussion in Russia after an MP from Duma caused outrage by posting an image of Barack Obama that was photoshopped to include a banana. It continued by stating that “Irina Rodina, an MP from Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party and a triple Olympic champion figure-skater, posted the picture on her personal Twitter account.” Rodina apparently saw nothing amiss with the picture she claims was sent to her from friends in the U.S. She was quoted as saying “Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, and you should answer for your own hang-ups.”
If we take the time to look at the photo, we can recognize that the image of President Obama has been altered, so that he does not appear to be in a normal state, but a contrived one. His eyes have been made to seemed fixed on a banana magically suspended in from of him. We do not know what the person who altered the photo had in mind, but a suggestion might be that an effort was made to associate the President’s image with that of a monkey or something similar that likes to eat bananas. The irony of the photo is that many people like and eat bananas, so why try to focus attention on the image of President Obama looking at the banana unless it is an attempt to try and make a denigrating statement regarding him. In fact, because the photo is so contrived, the effect probably rest with the question it raises—why?
The answer to that question never is given because the charge of racism came quickly to the front. The article noted that “The incident was widely discussed in the Russian press, with many commentators coming to the defence of the MP and figure-skater.” We agree with a person’s right to free speech, so as far as Rodina having the right to Tweet the photo we have no argument. Our concern is to why? What was the objective? We do not know because no one, including Rodina has said. What we do know is that most educated and informed individuals generally have a working knowledge of their actions, especially if they are deliberate.
The article reported that the United State ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, was not pleased and believed “that Rodina was guilty of ‘outrageous behavior which only brings shame to her parliament and country.’ A spokesperson for the U. S. embassy quoted Thomas Jefferson in response to the tweet: ‘Bigotry is the disease of ignorance.’” The response is appropriate in this instance because to identify the photo as racist is to support the concept of multiple human races, which in turn feed the illusions of bigots. The ignorance associating people as members of a race because of their color, religion or beliefs is like saying that fresh water from different parts of the world is different just because it changes from country from country. We know that certain things can be and are added to the water, but take away the additives and it is all the same. So it is with people.
When something so contrived as the President Obama picture is offered to the public, the logical response is to simply ignore it and let it pass, because that is not what the presenters want to happen. They want to raise the ire and alarm at what they know can appear degrading not only to the President, but to the country as well. By acknowledging the photo, the viewer gives in to the trap and brings attention to a cause that is lost and dying—racial superiority.
Rather than the picture being viewed as disparaging and denigrating to the President, the fact is that the ignorance of the people who created, produced and promoted it is underscored. The use of the word racist does not fit the situation, although the people responsible for the picture might think so. By accepting the term racist, the blame for the action can be displaced among the larger group of like-thinkers. The appropriate word is as the embassy spokesperson noted from Jefferson is bigotry. The bigot has to accept personal responsibility for his or her actions, not the group. Obviously, seeing the photo will generate questions, but by letting it pass, since nothing positive is to be gained from an angry reaction, does not give comfort to the instigators.
Yes, we can agree with the phrase that “a picture is worth a thousand words” but we need to always keep in mind that the picture did not create itself, and there has to have been some motivation for the production. We are correct to question the purpose of the photo as well as the expectations of different viewers to the photo. However, once rational and reasonable people understand that the use of the photo is for negative propaganda, we can then remove ourselves from any attempt to call attention to it. When some people have lived their entire lives internalizing a myth, then no amount of common sense or facts can change their biased minds.

Paul R. Lehman, A President Obama critic exposes his thinking and that of his like-minded group in a mock Divorce Agreement

November 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Affordable Health Care, African American, American Bigotry, American Racism, Bigotry in America, blacks, Christianity, democracy, Democrats, discrimination, Disrespect, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, fairness, GOP, justice, Media and Race, Obamacare, Oprah Winfrey, Prejudice, President Obama, Race in America, Republican Party, Respect for President, the Republican Party, whites | 2 Comments
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President Obama’s haters go to any lengths to try and recruit like-minded people. The internet and other social media outlets are their transmissions of choice. In an effort to underscore the problems with the perceptions of these Obama haters, the follow email is offered as an example of proof of their total lack of reality and full-fledged lack of reason. Nothing has been altered relative to the text or content of this email.

DIVORCE AGREEMENT–
WRITTEN BY YOUNG COLLEGE STUDENT
The person who wrote this is a college (law) student.. Perhaps there is hope for us after all.

DIVORCE AGREEMENT

THIS IS SO INCREDIBLY WELL PUT AND I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT’S BY A YOUNG PERSON, A STUDENT!!! WHATEVER HE RUNS FOR, I’LL VOTE FOR HIM.

Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, etal: We have stuck together since the late 1950’s for the sake of the kids, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has clearly run its course

Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right for us all, so let’s just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.

Here is our separation agreement:

–Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a similar portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.

–We don’t like “spreading the wealth” so we’ll keep ours and you can spread yours all you want.
–We don’t like redistributive taxes so you can keep them.
–Since you hate guns and war, we’ll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military.
–We’ll take the nasty, smelly oil industry and the coal mines, and you can go with wind, solar and bio diesel.
–We’ll keep capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street.
–You can have your beloved lifelong welfare dwellers, food stamps, homeless, home boys, hippies, druggies and illegal aliens.
–You can give everyone healthcare if you can find any practicing doctors.
–We’ll keep our Judeo-Christian values.
–We’ll keep “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance and we’ll keep “In God we trust”
on our money.
–You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism, political correctness and Shirley McClain. You can also have the U.N. But we will no longer be paying the bill.
–We’ll keep our Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood.
–You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU.
–You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O’Donnell. You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them.
–We’ll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO’s and rednecks.
–You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we’ll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us.
–You can have the peaceniks and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we’ll help provide them security.
–We’ll keep the SUV’s, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Volt and Leaf you can find.
–We’ll keep “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “The National Anthem.”
–I’m sure you’ll be happy to substitute “Imagine”, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”, “Kum Ba Ya” or “We Are the World”.
–We’ll practice trickle-down economics and you can continue to give trickle up poverty your best shot.
–Since it often so offends you, we’ll keep our history, our name and our flag.

Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like-minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I’ll bet you might think about which one of us will need whose help in 15 years.

Sincerely,

John J. Wall
Law Student and an American

This email is from a person who is representative of people who see themselves as civil, Christian, patriotic, and who understand law, politics, human decency, responsibilities associated with living in a society, common sense, fairness, justice, democracy, and honesty. We waste time and energy in attempting to communicate or argue (intelligently) with like-minded people. No firm ground or base exists on which to build a rational discussion.

One wonders why this person is so angry and full of hate, prejudice, fear, bigotry and confusion, because with all the things he believes are going against someone like him, trying to help him would be a lost cause. Life for Wall must be a miserable experience since it appears that most of his time is spent in finding fault in other people. The name on the email, John J. Wall, seems appropriate in that the ideas and opinions expressed seem to belong in the setting his name suggests.

We should not overlook the people who forwarded the Wall’s email. Their sentiments were ones of joy, happiness and hope for Wall’s future. Wall is seen as some type of hero or new leader because of the criticisms and name-calling relative to President Obama and his supporters.

After reading this email from Wall, the only reasonable feelings that impact us are ones of sadness and compassion for the writer. He lives in the greatest country on the planet, enjoys the freedoms and privileges protected by our Constitution, yet lacks the where-with-all to enjoy and appreciate what he has. Trying to reason with Wall and his friends would be next to impossible because they probably believe that God is a Christian, conservative, Republican who wrote the Bible just for them, and in American English.

Paul R. Lehman, The media fails its responsibility in the Trayvon Martin case.

April 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Posted in American Bigotry, blacks, Disrespect, equality, fairness, Media and Race, minority, Prejudice, Race in America | 5 Comments
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Who is Joe Oliver? If you have been following the Trayvon Martin case, then you know that for a few days Oliver was on all the major news shows telling the audiences what a good friend he is to George Zimmerman, the killer of Martin. Why was Oliver on all the news shows? The answer is because the media did not do their jobs. They took the word of some unknown person and let him have an audience with the program viewers. The media is at fault for creating much of the confusion surrounding this case.

Without first checking his credibility before allowing him air time, the media did the public a disservice because what Oliver had to say contributed absolutely nothing to our understanding of this case. One reporter, however, Jonathan Capehart, a writer for the Post, realized that Oliver was seeking publicity and had nothing concrete to share because it was not based on facts. Oliver convinced the media that he was “A man who knew the man who shot Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. A man who could vouch for Zimmerman’s personal growth and character. A man who knew the gunman so well that he was certain that the voice screaming for help on one of the 911 calls was Zimmerman’s.” According to Capehart, while Oliver might have believed all this, the facts proved otherwise.

The game Oliver had been playing with the media came to a head on the MSNBC show The Last Word, with Lawrence O’Donnell. Capehart was also a guest on this show and took part in asking questions of Oliver. Any number of responses from Oliver to the questions put to him by O’Donnell could have proved  Oliver’s lack of credibility, but one response to a question sealed the deal. Oliver said that “I wouldn’t put myself out here on the line like this if I didn’t know in my heart that George Zimmerman was in a life-or-death struggle.”All the guests realized simultaneously that they had been had. What does knowing something in “your” heart have to do with hard facts? Nothing.

Finally, Joe Oliver was no longer invited to talk on any of the news shows simply because he had nothing to contribute. Why did not the media know this before hand? We might assume that part of the reason is the desire to be first in presenting what has been called “breaking news.” The problem with this concept is that the line defining news has been blurred to the point that one questions what really is defined as news today. Reporters and journalists used to verify their information before offering it to the public. However, since the advent of “breaking news” it seems that speed is more important the accuracy. Oliver is not the only person seeking “air time” regarding this case and the media has in a number of instances accommodated them.

Another problem that the media seems to create in a subtle way involves the subject of race. When a question about race is raised by a reported or journalist, then race inters the story. From the introduction of race comes the question of racism. Once racism has been introduced the charges of being or not being a racist become the center of attention. For some people, simply knowing someone of a different ethnicity is proof enough that the accused is not racists. Unfortunately, once the bridge to race, racism, and racist has been crossed the water beneath the bridge becomes too tainted to be of use. Using race as a decoy has become a popular ploy to try and defuse an issue. With respect to the killing of Trayvon Martin, we do not know for certain that it played a part. We do know that Trayvon is dead. As a society we need to stop using the words race and racist as catch-all words. In reality bigotry might have played a larger part in the activities surrounding Trayvon’s death than did racism. A person can have prejudices and not be a racist.

One thing the media can help the public to understand is that racism and prejudice is not the same thing. If they want to be accurate in reporting, they should try and ascertain the difference before assuming that race was involved. By not making a clear distinction between racism and bigotry the media is complicit is promoting the confusion. If they do not know the difference, then they should avoid using the words because their use creates a definite impression with the public. After all is said and done, if the public is not made aware of the misuse of the words race, racism, and racist chances are we will be back at the same place as before the news story of Trayvon broke—uninformed.

We have been led to believe that he media has a responsibility to the public, and part of that responsibility involves reporting facts. If we cannot depend on the media to provide us with the facts then they have outlived their usefulness to us and the public good. Unfortunately, what passes for news today is little more than entertainment, and not good entertainment at that. So, who is Joe Oliver and why do we want to hear what he has to say? Mr. Capehart was right when he said “Don’t trust Joe Oliver’s ‘gut feeling about his ‘friend’ George Zimmerman.” My response to that statement is why did I have to listen to Joe Oliver in the first place?

Paul R. Lehman, Gingrich relies on bigotry to try to slam Obama

May 17, 2011 at 12:37 am | Posted in American Bigotry, Media and Race, Race in America | 4 Comments
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Before he made his announcement to Americas that he would be running for president, Newt Ging rich recounted how he had used poor judgment in his past. However, he said that he had asked God for forgiveness and has since tried to live a good life. In other words, Newt wants to wipe his slate clean, let the past be past and move on to the future and the presidential campaign. America is not supposed to remember how Newt left Congress and why. While his good guy image might appeal to some, his need to introduce ethnic bigotry into his campaign exposes his negative and unethical side.

Using what we understand to be code words, Gingrich has labeled President Obama as “the most successful food stamp president in history.” What that is supposed to mean is that he caters to poor African Americans who need public assistance. In essence, Newt tries to create an image of President Obama that many Americans would reject. The idea that more people receive food stamps today because Obama is President suggests that he is giving away taxpayers money to undeserving people. The media years ago went out of their way to picture African Americans in welfare lines and give the impression that they were the beneficiaries of undeserved goods and services all because they were lazy and refused to work. What the media did not report was the fact that the majority of welfare and food stamp recipients are European Americans. The fact is that if all the African Americans in America were to be on welfare and receive food stamps, they would still be in the minority of recipients.

Evidently, facts do not matter to Newt, the important thing is the image presented in code. The objective is to try and discredit Obama in some way so he appears unacceptable to the voters in 2012. The programs passed by Congress and signed by Obama can easily be defended with facts by the President, so Newt tries to stay away from them. If charges can be made against Obama for something that is emotionally based, then that is the hunting ground Newt favors. So, he deals in coded words and phrases when attacking Obama.

 Appearing on Meet the Press, Sunday, Gingrich was asked if he thought the reference to food stamp president was racists, and of course, he denied it. Gingrich is correct, because he is not a racists, he is a bigot. He made the claim that “The Obama system is going to lead us down the path to Detroit and destruction. I think we need a brand new path that’s a path of job creation. And one of the central things of this campaign is going to be paychecks versus food stamps.” One would have to have lived on another planet the last several years to not identify Newts comments as code for an incompetent African American president. The reference to jobs and paychecks would be his contribution to the nation.

Newt is a very bright student of American history and he knows that for many Americans having an African American as President is a very uncomfortable and untenable position for them. The game to them is not to let the President win the battle of social justice and fairness. For Obama to be accepted as a legitimate president would mean that many Americans would be forced to see themselves as not superior to him. That is an image they cannot accommodate in their minds. Gingrich knows this and plays to it. He believes that bringing to the surface, in coded words, the idea of Obama’s inferiority; he can garner the support of those bigots whose self image is being threatened by Obama’s presidency.

Will Gingrich ever admit that this is the game he is playing? Not on your life. He sees himself as intellectually superior to both the bigots and Obama, so that leaves him free to try and play them both. What does he think comes to mind when he makes a reference to Detroit and destruction in the same sentence? What he hopes will happen is a recalling of many of the negative things associated with that city from the past and recent times. He suggests that the reasons for Detroit’s problems are because of its large population of African Americans and its history of African American mayors. He wants to create a negative image of failure associated with African Americans and then tie President Obama in with those images.

Fortunately, David Gregory saw through the smoke screen Newt tried to create regarding his bias language and called him on it. Gingrich, however, is of the opinion that he will never admit to anything wrong because he is never wrong. Even when he is shown evident of his lies, he does not own up to them. This man says he wants to be president and that he has changed from the old person who did devious things, to a new person who is on the right track. After listening to his talk about himself and Obama, we know for certain that he is not in control of the truth, but believes that simply by having the words come out of his mouth, he should be believed.

For Gingrich to refer to President Obama as the most successful food stamp President, and one who is leading us down the path of Detroit and destruction is as clear an example of bigotry via code that we can get in text. For him to deny that fact is to play to the fools.

Paul R. Lehman, The affirmative action problem in Oklahoma

April 11, 2011 at 12:13 am | Posted in American Bigotry, American Racism, Ethnicity in America, Race in America | 3 Comments
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After some three hundred years of slavery which precluded African Americans from enjoying the blessings of liberty, America was finally made to see its hypocrisy. Along with African Americans, other ethnic Americans and women were subjected to segregation, discrimination, and prejudice in employment, schooling, housing and even religion. Finally, in 1964, a Civil Rights bill was signed into law that made provisions for trying to correct the years of injustice perpetrated on the Americans who had been victims of unjust treatment. One of the so-called remedies for helping to address and correct the ill treatment of American prejudice and bigotry was called Affirmative Action.

Today, some Americans believe that the day after President Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights bill all Americans became free and equal in all aspects of life and society. These people have no sense of history preceding the Civil Rights bill because if they did then they would realize that simply creating and putting into place laws do not change human nature. The first order of business for those people who opposed the laws would be to create defenses for them. Part of the problem comes from one of the terms used historically in our social laws—equal.

What many people assume is an understanding of the word equal when in fact, they misunderstand it. Equal is an arithmetic and mathematic term in that it pertains to numbers or constants. For example, when we say two plus two equals four, we use equal to mean “results in,” “comes to,” “totals,” “amounts to,” or “constitutes” four. The numbers are constant and fixed entities. However, if we try to apply the term equal in a social situation, we no longer deal with fixed entities, but relatives and variables. For example, if we say that love plus hate equals chaos, we have no standard of measurement to evaluate the results. We have no standard of measurement because the terms love and hate is relative, not fixed. We all have mental images of these words through associations, but these images differ with each person. So, the word equal was and is used inappropriately in social matters where its interpretation is often confusing.

Part of the confusion in using equal as a social term comes from the fact that its application contradicts the idea of logic and justice. For example, in a family of four with two children, a boy and a girl, every time either child receives anything, the other child must receive it as well. If the girl get a new dress for Easter, her brother must get one as well; or if the boy gets a suit and shoes, the girl must get the same items. That would be the essence of equal treatment. Is it logical or just? Actually, we would say no, it makes on sense to give each child the exact same thing s since they are different genders. So, how does one receive equal treatment? One has to change the interpretation of the word equal to fair. The expectation of the word equal is fairness. People want to always be treated with fairness, rather than being treated equal. Why?  Because logic and common sense dictates that one does not give a bicycle to a child with no legs, but a wheel chair.

Fairness means that conditions and appropriateness are brought into play regarding the individuals seeking it. To apply fairness means to underscore inequality. Affirmative action is by design unequal because one cannot maintain the status quo while attempting to correct it.  For example, if there is a two-lane bridge with only one side paved, in order to pave the other side, traffic on the paved side must be interrupted. The majority Americans for hundreds of years used the paved lane while the African Americans, women, and other ethnic Americans were force to use the unpaved lane.  Affirmative action seeks to pave the other lane, not to deprive others from using the paved lane.

Now consider the following news article, “Plan may reverse right act, “published in The Oklahoman, April 6th, that states “A Republican-backed plan to wipe out affirmative action programs in Oklahoma appears headed for approval by the Legislature…” Evidently, these legislators believe that fifty years is time enough to remedy the problems of segregation, discrimination, prejudice, and bigotry that was part of the American character for some three hundred years. The article further states that “The affirmative action proposal by state Sen. Rob Johnson, R-Kingfisher, and Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Tuttle, would prohibit special treatment based on race or sex in public employment, education or contracts.” In other words, the majority Americans enjoyed three-hundred-years of special privileges and preference, but will allow those who were victims of unfair and unjust treatment only fifty years to try and make some advancements.

The article states what the supporters want to accomplish in this proposal, namely, “Supporters say the measure would underscore an important principle even though the practical effect would be minimal.” What important principle is of concern here? The article does not say; however, it does point out an irony—“No preferences are given to minorities or women in state contracts or for admission to state colleges or universities. The measure would abolish a handful of state scholarships that target minority students.”

So, there we have it. The rights, privileges, and preferential treatment of European Americans in Oklahoma are being denied, abused, and restricted because of this infamous affirmative action measure. My question to you, dear reader, is what would possess these fine, up-standing, fair-minded legislators to want to cut a program that seeks to help some disadvantage students? My first inclination would be to identify a deep-seated prejudice in them, but other reasons might be more applicable. You be the judge.

Paul R. Lehman, National election shows that prejudice and hatred are alive and well in America

November 7, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Posted in American Bigotry, Ethnicity in America, Race in America | 1 Comment
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When the leader of the GOP says that their top goal is to make Obama a 1-term president, we have little choice but to believe him. Sen. Mitch McConnell left no doubt in the minds of the American people that the GOP will do nothing that appears to help Obama, even if their actions will hurts the rest of the country. Whether one considers the reason to be Obama’s ethnicity or his political party the GOP’s objective is the same—get rid of Obama.

Since day one of Obama’s election he has been the target of the GOP. Why? First, and foremost, is that they do not respect him as a person and especially as the leader of our country. However, to state the reasons publically would cast a light of prejudice on them, so, they resist it. What they do instead is attack everything he says and does in a manner that forces him to defend himself continuously. Of course, if he chooses to defend himself, he simply opens the door for more accusations; the game becomes a Catch-22.

Shortly after Tuesday’s election McConnell reiterated the GOP’s objective of making Obama a one-term President. His reasons for this wish is because Obama does not follow the wishes of the GOP, but chooses to try and run the government in a rational, logical, and practical way that benefits the working and poor Americans. The GOP will have none of this foolishness. McConnell says that “…if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailout; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things.” In other words, the GOP has said that it is their way or no way.

Tuesday’s election showed in many instances that the politics of rejection works, even if it works against the people who voted for it. In Oklahoma, for example, the Republican candidates did not have to run on issues against their opponents; they ran only against Obama. They ran the table in winning all the Republican offices from “governor to dog catcher.”The state’s largest newspaper, The Oklahoman, stated that “Republican legislative leaders were ecstatic Wednesday by posting record gains in both chambers after several Democratic incumbents were knocked out of office by a buzz saw named President Barack Obama.”Please take note of the statement relative to why the candidates won—they ran against Obama!

The newspaper article (11/5/10) continued by stating that “People were voting against Barack Obama and (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi,” said Rep. Glen Bud Smithson, D-Sallisaw, who lost his bid for a fifth term.” The mention of Pelosi was just to fill space. The real reason according to Smithson is that “The candidate really didn’t matter. They were voting Republican because they hate our President.”So, as far as this candidate was concerned, voting republican was a hate vote to hurt Obama. Why do they hate Obama? Evidently, the hate does not come from his party affiliations but from his ethnicity. Had it come from his party affiliations then there would have been specific issues presented for addressing. None were mentioned.

So for those who want to downplay the ethnicity issue and focus on the party partisanship, what happens when nothing regarding the arguments on issues is presented? What are we left with as reason for the hatred? The only logical reason comes from slavery’s legacy—the African American’s lack of positive value. One of the most important historians of the Reconstruction period was William A. Dunning who saw this period as a failure. His sentiments regarding the freeing of the slaves were based on their being the reason for the war. After of the war the freedmen were used as a form of punishment for the South and its pro-slavery sympathizers. In any event, anger and fear of the pro-slavery the South relative to the freedmen was created and housed in the Democratic Party.

The mixture of fear and anger originated during the Reconstruction period because of the various acts that gave privileges to the Freedmen. Dunning (Essays on The Civil War And Reconstruction 1897) states that, “Enfranchisement of the blacks was to accompanied by disfranchisement of the whites. Not that distinctions of color were embodied by express term in the laws; nothing so invidious would have been tolerated at that date, and nothing of the kind was necessary.” The rationale of the South was that when the freedmen (African Americans) were given something by the government, something was taken away from the Southern European American. To be more explicit about the South’s and it pro-slavery sympathizers regarding their feelings towards the freedmen Dunning adds that “It was thought that the anticipated evils of the black vote might perhaps be mitigated by giving all the whites an equal part in politics; and doubtless some felt that the imposition of negro suffrage and the prospect of negro domination constituted a sufficient punishment for the leaders in rebellion.”

The fear and anger of African Americans in positions of political leadership has long been a concern of some European Americans. The South and its pro-slavery Sympathizers felt right after the Civil War that the rights and privileges given to the African Americans was a form of punishment for them. The fear of the Southern European Americans was so great that they created in the various states law known as “The Black Codes” to keep total control of the freedmen. The Republican Party during that time was the champion of the freedmen, along with President Lincoln. They were able to pass the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. The Democrats were more concerned with states’ and individual’s rights and keeping control of the freedmen. Everything changed in 1964 when the Democratic President, Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights bill. What that bill did was to remove, by law, anything that could be used by the European Americans as privilege over not only African Americans, but also all ethnic Americans. The Republican Party took up the mantle of saving the privilege and prestige of the European Americans, so the South began to move to the Republican Party and many of the southern Democrats joined them. In essence, the parties switched roles with the Democrats becoming the people’s party and the GOP representing those citizens who worked towards restoring the privileges and prestige the European Americans enjoyed prior to civil rights.

Today, the references to Washington bailouts, Obama care, out of control spending, and the Democratic Party by the Republicans are all camouflaged phrases that simply means President Obama. The hate and fear are not hidden from the American citizens. What is obvious is as Smithson stated concerning Tuesday election in Oklahoma, “The candidates really didn’t matter. They were voting Republican because they hate our president.”

Paul R. Lehman, Gingrich choice of words for Obama shows bias and fear

September 19, 2010 at 12:10 am | Posted in Bigotry in America, Race in America | 2 Comments
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Why would a respected former congressman refer to President Obama as a Kenyan, anti-colonialist, and even a con man? That is actually what Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, said of Obama recently during a televised interview. Make no mistake about it; Gingrich knew just what he was doing when he selected those words to characterize the President. He capitalized on the negative political atmosphere he has helped to promote. His comments were meant to discredit the president as an American, to spread fear among the people about the President’s political philosophy, and to convince the people that they were duped by a confidence man.

When Gingrich referred to President Obama as a Kenyan, he was connecting with the people who claim that Obama is not an American citizen, the “Birthers.” In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, many Americans want to believe that Obama is not a citizen, therefore, he should not be president or even eligible for the office. The obvious reason for this attitude is plain and simple bigotry. Call it politics if you will, but the facts are that these Obama critics are against him because of his ethnicity. No other president’s citizenship has been called into question except for Obama. The media has produced newspaper accounts of Obama’s birth in Hawaii as well as copies of his birth certificate to prove that he is an American citizen. This information is rejected by the “Birthers.” They want to keep the flames of criticism against Obama burning hot and bright. Gingrich knows the power of this negative criticism and decided to tap into it. One reason for this attitude is to continue to keep the doubt in the minds of some of the critics; to feed the hunger of those who consider Obama an alien.

In addition to Gingrich wanting to continue the criticism and fear of some Americans concerning Obama, he wants to underscore the fear of these people by making a reference to a political philosophy—anti-colonialist. Just what this means is never made clear by Gingrich, but the mere suggestion of something not sounding American is enough to set off anyone looking for a reason to reject Obama. Most Americans know that we were once a colony and that our Declaration of Independence show that we are anti-colonialists. But Gingrich also knows that the people looking for justification to reject the President will latch on to any information to try and prove their point, so he stresses that recognizing this mind-set of Obama helps to predict his behavior. Now the Obama critics are armed with a new (old) term with which to characterize Obama’s brand of anti-American politics. How very right of Gingrich to provide that service to his supporters.

The most serious and dastardly criticism Gingrich makes of Obama questions his honesty and integrity; he states “This is a person [Obama] who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president.” So now we come to the meat of Gingrich’s point regarding Obama, his citizenship, his political philosophy, and now his character. He states that “I think he worked very hard at being a person who is normal, reasonable, moderate, bipartisan, transparent, accommodating—none of which was true.” Gingrich sees Obama as a flawed person who is an alien, anti-American, dishonest, obsessed, irrational con-man who duped literally millions of people to elect him president. Now the Obama critics can sink their teeth into something concrete against Obama when they cry about wanting to take their country back. Newt doesn’t say to where the country will be taken or how it will be taken.

Raising the emotions and spirits of angry people is one thing, but an objective must be in place as a focal point to strive to accomplish. What is missing from the nonsense of Gingrich is where is this talk leading the people? The people need to be able to articulate just what the problems are and how they should go about correcting them collectively. Criticism of the policies of the President at the mid-point of his term makes about as much sense as asking a brain surgeon half-way through the operation if the operation is a success. No one will know until the surgery is complete. People might disagree with choice to have surgery in the first place, but that is why people are in positions to help make those decisions. We can certainly argue the pros and cons of the policy after it has been given time to work, but to complain about it before then is foolhardy.

Gingrich’s uncomplimentary comments and characterization of Obama are not the first nor will they be the last to try and create fear and doubt about our President and the direction in which he is taking our country. Instead of relying so heavily on what people say about this or that policy, people need to become better informed about things that will affect them directly, then, make an educated decision. Regardless of one’s politics, knowing what is being proposed and its effect on our society in the short and long run of things just makes sense. When people yell that they want the government out of their lives do they really know what they are asking? If they were to start listing the things that our government actually does for us, they might arrive at a different conclusion. Statements that sound like bumper stickers, for example, “take our country back” make no sense since no one knows who is suppose to do the talking, and where it is to be taken. Another statement, “government spending is out of control” does not identify any specifics about government spending. When the people become responsible for the government, then the government can be made to be responsible to the people. As  long as this negative and critical attitude relative to the President and the country exists, and supposedly responsible people like Gingrich continue their campaign of fear and hate, American will not realize its potential of being the land of freedom and justice for all.

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