Tags: African Americans, American History, bigotry, black, Confronting Myths, current-events, Donald Trump, ethnicity, European Americans, hate groups, hate incidents, Obama and American Bigotry, politics, President Obama, President-elect Donald Trump, race, Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC, The Oklahoman, white
A recent “opinion” article “Law Center’s new ‘hate’ report misconstrue cause and effect” (The Oklahoman 12/6/2016) shows just how uninformed many Americans are about bigotry and hate in America. The writer points to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as the culprit in the matter of tracking and reporting actions of hate groups in America. The article begins with identifying a recent SPLC report relative to the ‘hate incidents’ in the United States and the connections they have to President-elect Donald Trump. The article misses the point of the report when it stated that “But a closer look at the report shows these ‘incidents’ include obnoxious behavior of a type that predated the election.”
In essence, the article writer is suggesting that many of these ‘incidents’ have nothing to do with Trump and should not be considered as relevant to the report. We need not be reminded that many of the ‘incidents’ began when Trump started his ‘birther campaign’ to try to discredit President Obama and continued to grow once Trump entered the presidential race. Ignoring the seriousness of the hate and bigotry generated by many of Trump’s words and actions, the article notes that “Without doubt, Trump’s rhetoric has been crude at times, and we’ve criticized his excesses. The culture is already [ course] enough without a president adding to the rot.”For many Americans, the words and actions coming from Trump relative to women, ethnic and religious groups, not to mention the press, would not be described as “crude” and “excessive,” but unbefitting a candidate for President of the United States.
To add insult to injury, the article stated that “Still, it’s worth noting Trump has denounced those who would use his election as an excuse for racist actions or statement.”What is the value of a denunciation coming from the lead perpetrator of the action? Trump, as well as most Americans, has been conditioned to recognize bigotry, but to overlook it if it does not impact them directly. Yes, bigotry is in the fabric of American society, but as long as no one points to it, it is continually promoted and supported. Be that as it may, the focus of this blog is not Trump, but the “opinion writer’s” lack of understanding regarding “hate groups” in America and the work of the SPLC.
In order to fully appreciate the efforts of the SPLC, we offer their statement of purpose” The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit organization that combats hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation. Its Intelligence Project, which prepared this report and also produces the biannual investigative magazine Intelligence Report, tracks the activities of hate groups and the nativist movement and monitors militia and other extremist antigovernment activity. The SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance project helps foster respect and understanding in the classroom. Its litigation arm files lawsuits against hate groups for the violent acts of their members”
The apparent purpose of the Opinion article was to quibble over the number of ‘hate incident’ occurring during Trump’s presidential race: “The group declares there were 867 ‘hate incidents’ in the first 10 days after Trump’s election. Those figures come from two sources—media and self-reporting to the center. The latter category is one that justifies skepticism, since there’s certainly a share of the public willing to fabricate incidents.” The article fails to see that the number of incidents is not the critical point, but the fact that these incidents occur at all! The report states that “it was not possible to confirm the veracity of all reports.” Therefore, because the SPLC could not verify each and every report, the “opinion writer” suggests we should question the entire report.
The “Opinion writer” (OW) questions the number of incidents as they relate to Trump’s election and attempts of remove any association of Trump with these numbers. The OW used as an example of how Trumps could not be responsible for the increase in ‘hate incidents’ by focusing on Oklahoma. He noted that “Oklahoma’s state population represents a little more than 1 percent of the total U.S. population. Trump received the support of 65 percent of Oklahoma voters [for the record, all 77 of Oklahoma’s counties voted for Trump], compared with less than 29 percent for Clinton. Only a few states gave higher levels of support to Trump.” The OW then made the statement: “If Trump’s election emboldened supporters to act racist, then one would expect Oklahoma to be flooded with incidents.”The writer is guilty of committing a fallacy in logic known as “hasty generalization” by concluding that because one thing exists, then the other should exist was well. Not true! So, because the SPLC found only five “hate incidents’ in Oklahoma, this coincidence is proof enough for the “OW” to question the report.
The “OW” in the article’s last paragraph attempts to impugn the integrity of the SPLC and its work: “Actual threats, vandalism and attacks should absolutely be reported and prosecuted. But the Southern Poverty Law Center tries to equate hearsay reports of ugly comments with actual physical violence against minorities, and then effectively absolves the perpetrators of genuine racism by shifting the blame to politicians.” Many hate groups want the attention and publicity that comes from “self-reporting;” so, this is why the SPLC noted in the report that “it was not possible to confirm the veracity of all reports.” Yet, the OW wants to condemn the organization for doing it job and suggesting that it shifts the blame of bigotry to unbiased politicians like we might assume—Trump. We might ask the OW for a definition of “genuine racism” since, evidently, to the writer other forms of racism/bigotry exist.
The reference this blog made to the OW being uninformed is underscored throughout this article by references to the number of “hate incidents” reported by the SPLC in a report focusing on the increase since the election of Trump. The focus of the OW should be, in order to serve a public good, to help in debunking the concept of numerous biological races that form the basis of the origins of the many ‘hate groups’ in America. These groups firmly believe in the false concept of a white race, the OW should help to replace that myth rather than quibbling over the number of “hate incidents.”
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: African American and American, black and white race, Clara Luper, Confronting Myths, Donald Trump, European Americans, Jr., Julian Bond, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young
While making negative comments about President Obama, Donald Trump displayed a problem mindset that is too common among many Americans today. The concern of this blog is not so much who said it, but what was said. Trump made at least two references to, we can assume, African Americans when he said he “had a great relationship with the blacks,” and also, “I have a great relationship with the blacks”…. (NY Daily News.com) His references to “the blacks” make it sound as though “the blacks” are a monolithic group that is capable of being influenced and controlled as a unit. The problem regarding this concept is that it still exists in American society today. The statements, however, shows an ignorance, inappropriateness, and arrogance regarding African Americans.
For many years my concern over the use of “blacks” as synonymous with African American is well documented in this blog as well as my books. This Trump incident provides still another opportunity to continue my battle. The mere fact that the phrase “the blacks” is used shows a mindset that still carries with it the image of Africans and African Americans from slavery. Since slaves were considered property, they could be and were viewed as a collective unit, the same as cattle. Because they lacked power over anything, even themselves, they were easy to manipulate and control. Laws did not discriminate among African Americans relative to status, free or slave, wealth, and education. The lack of positive social value for blacks made it easy for European Americas to view them as a collective group. The negative stereotypes that accompanied the images helped to create a mindset that is reflected in Trump’s statements. He meant no harm by using the phrase, his ignorance of history and social changes got the better of him and allowed him to let the phrase roll off his lips with ease. He, however, is clearly not alone in this condition.
Most Americans believe they have a solid grip on their country’s history; they are incorrect in that belief. What they have is a portion of their country’s history that was taught them in school. If they received no further education regarding American history, then their knowledge is very limited and skewed. For example, most Americans do not realize that American Indians were the first to be enslaved in North America by Europeans (Spain). The second group was Europeans—many of the English prisons were emptied and the criminals shipped to America to serve as free labor. The Africans was the third groups to be enslaved. Other ethnic groups, the Chinese and Japanese, suffered from near slave-like treatment. Most American students do not learn of these part of the America story until later in life or from some extended studies if they learn of them at all. In any event, the use of the phrase “the blacks” is totally inappropriate for the informed American today because it takes away the uniqueness and integrity of the individual. By lumping all African Americans into a monolith—blacks, the general impression is that they are all alike in every aspect of their being. The inappropriateness of this suggestion is the fact that we know identical twins is not exactly alike. All human beings are unique and special regardless of their ethnicity or gender, so to place all African Americans into a group called “the blacks” is not acceptable.
When someone, anyone, knowingly uses the phrase “the blacks,” he or she is not only showing ignorance and ineptness, but also arrogance. For African Americans to use the phrase knowing that it is the same name given African slaves to deny them any sense of self-worth, pride or history shows a lack of understanding of history. For European Americans to use the phrase means nothing has changed in their knowledge and understanding of ethnicity in America since slavery; that is, since Africans and African Americans were called blacks during slavery, and are still called blacks today, what would be the reason for European Americans to change their views of African Americans? The term African American does not create the same mental image as the phrase “the blacks” regardless of who is doing the thinking. So, to avoid falling into the negative symbolism created by use of the phrase “the blacks,” we should stop using it.
Too many people have fallen in love with the term black not realizing the inaccuracy and negative symbolism associated with it. The y think that just because it is fine with them it is okay for everyone else—ignorance is bliss. Trump symbolizes European Americans who view themselves as normal and all other ethnic Americans as different from them. The arrogance comes from the belief that European Americans are not only biologically different, but also intellectually superior to other ethnic groups. That belief, although false, is what allows people like Trump to use the phrase “the blacks” with impunity.
The primary, but false, assumption made by Trump in his statement that “he had a great relationship with the blacks,” is that all so-called blacks follow one leader, and if Trump has a good relationship with that one leader, he does not have to worry about other so-called blacks because they will fall in line with their leader. The problem with that philosophy is that Trump sees himself superior to the so-called black leader. African Americans have never had a single leader in America. In some cases, the media created and/or selected some African Americans to represent the voice of the so-called blacks, but actual leaders and spokespersons for African Americans did so with the consent and approval of a group of leaders. Those leaders included Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young, Rosa Parks, Julian Bond, and Clara Luper, along with a host of others too numerous to name.
The problem of images and historical stereotypes will continue as long as we as a society continue using terms such as black and white to define and describe Americans who do not see themselves as belonging to an ethnic group based on color.