Paul R. Lehman, Brigette Gaberiel’s statement on political correctness shows confusion

December 18, 2015 at 5:23 am | Posted in African American, American history, American Indian, Constitutional rights, democracy, education, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, freedom of speech, identity, immigration, justice, Pilgrims, skin color, The U.S. Constitution, whites | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The following statement provided an opportunity to make clear some common misinformation:

We must come together as a nation. We must throw political correctness in the garbage where it belongs and start speaking the truth! I am sick and tired of everybody walking around being so offended. We need to start offending people. I am sick and tired of “I am an African-American, I am an Italian-American, I am a Lebanese-American”. We are nothing but Americans!” –Brigette Gabriel, Watchmen on the Wall Conference 2015-http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Gabriel_Brigitte

On the surface the statement above reads like someone is deeply concerned about the bigotry and insensitivity relative to ethnic Americans. However, on closer scrutiny we discover  the opposite intent of what is said because of the apparently vague generalities. Let us be specific in our concerns. Who are the “we” in the first sentence and why are “we” not together? The next sentence does nothing to identify or to make clear the “we” questions, but states that political correctness must be thrown into the garbage. Why? In addition, the truth must start to be spoken. What truth? Before we go further in our discussion we realize that the above statements reads like bumper stickers of the past: “America, Love it, or Leave it!” Like the bumper sticker, society does not know who is making the statement and to whom. To most Americans, that bumper sticker statement would be totally Un-American, because in our democratic form of government, when we do not like something that is unreasonable, we work to change it, not run from it.

Gabriel’s reference to political correctness sounds more like a “dog whistle” than a legitimate complaint about something of significance. Most instances of political correctness seek to make more accurate and pertinent some expression or practice. An example of political correctness involves changing  the label “Garbage Man” to “ Sanitation Worker” and in so doing  remove the denigrating reference to garbage and the gender designation of man. Why would anyone be against that kind of correctness? For certain some of the changes or suggested changes can appear hyperbolic and unreasonable, but to discount all political correctness would be fool-hardy. How does one distinguish “the truth” in political correctness without examining the objective in making the change and then checking for its validity and accuracy? Again, the question must be asked: Whose truth?

The next sentence contains sentiments of Gabriel being “sick and tired” of other people walking around being offended. She has every right to feel whatever she is capable of feeling, but that freedom does not include making other people conform to her feelings. She has no control of the feelings of other people, but if so concerned about why they feel offended, might inquire of them. Maybe they are justified in feeling offended. Her statement reflects a degree of arrogance when she describes her dislike of other people’s expressions of offence as if they are supposed to please her.

Gabriel’s next statement sounds dictatorial and aggressive towards people who offend her and the “We” she has yet to define. What would be the objective in deliberately offending people? Americans have 1st Amendment rights that are protected by the Constitution, so if their expressions and/or behavior does no physical or mental harm to anyone, then they can continue exercising their right, whether Gabriel like it or not. The suggestion of wanting to offend someone for some unknown reasons or for using political correctness seems un-American and un-democratic.

In her next sentence, Gabriel expresses again her feelings of “sick and tired” of what she apparently considers political correctness: “I am an African-American, I am an Italian-American, I am a Lebanese-American”.  This statement shows a total lack of or acceptance of American history in that Gabriel does not understand the difference between ethnic identity and cultural identity and how it has played out in America since before the Mayflower. Although the pilgrims brought their prejudices with the to America, those prejudices were not based on ethnicity, but skin color—red for Indians, black for Africans, and white for Europeans. Not until the founding fathers invented two races—one black, one white, did the need for identity become important.

The ruling Anglo-Saxon class of early Americans wanted to control society in order to protect themselves and their possessions, so they invented two races base on skin color followed with what they promoted as natural characteristics. For the white race the concept of total supremacy over all non-white people was offered as a God-given right. For Africans/African Americans the concept was one of inferiority in every respect, especially, intelligence. These two concepts were two sides of the same coin; one does not exist without the other. Everything was fine for a while because all the social, political, religious, legal and educational institutions were controlled by the Anglo-Saxons.

In the early 1920’s the ruling class realized that too many lesser whites were immigrating to America, so they slowed European immigration down in some regards, and put a stop to it relative to people of color—see Johnson-Reed bill.  The lesser whites—including Irish, Italians, Slavs, Poles, Jews, Germans and others were placed under the rubric of Caucasian, a term coined just prior to 1800. This term Caucasian became identified with white and elevated the lesser whites relative to privilege, and prestige. The significance of this elevation for the lesser whites, which is important to Gabriel’s complaint, is that the European immigrants who could change their identity from its ethnic origin to white, did so. Being white was more important and valuable than being Italian-American. Unfortunately, the shift from ethnic identity to white did nothing positive for African Americans; it, in fact, produced more bigots who identified with their new social group.

All Americans have two identities, one ethnic, and one cultural. The ethnic identity is based on ancestry and geography and cannot be changed. Our cultural identity is of our own choosing. For example, if a female child is born to French parents in France, then both her identities will be French. However, if as an adult she decides to move to England, and become an English citizen, then her cultural identity changes to English. She becomes a French-English citizen or just English. The case with African Americans is different because the African captives who were enslaved in America had their identities taken away from them and replaced with terms like Negro, black, colored etc. So, the term African American is not an example of political correctness, but a re-establishment of both former and current identities.

European Americans or whites can select the time and place to use their ethnic identity; for many, they only know white or Caucasian. Control of African Americans and some lesser Americans is still in effect today because race still has social value. We would welcome the day when all Americans can truthfully say that we are all Americans and be politically correct.

Advertisements

Paul R. Lehman, The University of Oklahoma’s SAE video offers a chance for change

March 11, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Posted in African American, American Bigotry, American Dream, American Indian, American Racism, Bigotry in America, blacks, Constitutional rights, democracy, discrimination, Disrespect, education, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, fairness, Ferguson, Human Genome, justice system, liberty, life, Oklahoma education, Prejudice, race, Race in America, racism, skin color, skin complexion, socioeconomics, whites | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A recent video of students riding a bus enjoying themselves, laughing, and singing a song was broadcast via social and regular media. The young men singing the song were members of The University of Oklahoma’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. The picture and the entire atmosphere on the bus seemed a fun-filled and joyous occasion, and it was until the words of the song were revealed. The words of the song stated that “There will never be a ‘N’ word in SAE,” and included “You can hang them from a tree.”This song was sung by these young people because they felt safe, secure, and comfortable on a bus that included no African Americans. Why did they believe that singing this song was acceptable? The answer is they were taught this by their parents, schools, and society.

America is and has always been a diverse society, not of races, but of people from different cultures and geographical locations. Generally, American parents teach or tell their children that America is a democratic society that respects the liberties, rights, and freedoms of all people. However, the actions of the parents contradict the words. Whether conscious or not, children are made to see differences among themselves and others and the focus on group identity begins. As children grow they learn to recognize the benefit of group identity, an identity usually reflected in the family relationships, with other people in school, church, neighbor, and community. So, the young people on the bus reflect a sense of community of like people.

In our schools, children are force to identity with a variety of groups that include social-economical, cultural and ethnic. Rather than focusing on the similarities of the students, emphasis is usually placed on differences which are few and minor. Students learn through social activities as well as curriculum to place social value on individuals. Although they are taught that all people should be treated fairly, the language and social practices underscore the idea of separateness. The concept of many biological races has been debunked for years; yet, teachers continue to use terms such as black, white as if they were legitimate. American history underscores the lack of value places on the lives, value, and contributions made by African Americans as well as other people of color. Teachers and professors cannot teach what they do not know or accept.

Society tells our young people that bigotry is fine as long as they can keep it hidden; just do not put themselves on the spot by blatantly saying or doing anything in public that an be interpreted as biased. The young people of the frat bus thought they were in a protected environment, so they felt as ease in singing their song. In various aspects of society young people are shown that it is fine to discriminate against people of color; they see it in our criminal justice system, our educational and political systems. They are reminded time and again that African Americans have little social value, so denigrating them is perfectly okay as long as one is not exposed. Fortunately, the use of social media has provided an opportunity for all of society to see some of the things that have been happening in private for many years.

The behavior of the young people on that bus can be attributed to their parents, schools, and society. Their actions displayed an ignorance of a democratic sense of humanity and history; a belief in the value of each human being regardless of color, ethnicity, gender, social or economic status. Their actions showed at attitude of arrogance, supremacy, and tribal characteristics such “us versus them.” The first two lines of the song underscore the idea of group or tribal separateness with the understanding that the reason for there not ever being a “n” word in SAE is because of color and social value. Their actions, displayed stupidity. Why would anyone, especially young university students want to sing a song about lynching? Along with an ignorance of history, and an arrogance of privilege and power, these young people forgot about the power of social media. Sometimes the speed of the social media is faster than a speeding bullet as many people have learned to their regret.

Placing the entire blame on the students for their action would be to excuse the parents, schools, and society for their failures in preparing the young people for life in a diverse, democratic, society. We can begin to correct many of these failures by starting with the truth—bigotry was part of the American fabric from its beginning. As a society we have allowed bigotry to continue and grow through systemic creations enforced by laws, and lies. The concept for multiple biological races is false; only one race of human beings exists. Intelligence, character, physical and mental attributes are not based on skin color. The history and struggles of African Americans, Asian Americans, American Indians, and Hispanic Americans to gain their civil rights have been glossed over and not made relevant to days’ students, just as they were not valued by their parents. So, we arrive at ambiguity and ignorance in many young people; unfortunately, the only regret for some of these young people is the fact that their bigotry was exposed.

The concept of racism is irrelevant in today’s society since only one race actually exists. To call someone a racist is to give approval to their false concept of races. An individual can not be a racist in isolation because the term refers to a group. To ascribe responsibility to an individual accused of ethnic bias, the term is bigot. Young people as well as society in general need to learn and accept the meaning and nature of living in America. Because the changes in society have become more apparent in recent years, the challenge of change makes life difficult for those who prefer the status quo. When any American is discriminated against or denigrated because of some superficial difference, all Americans are impacted because that thinking goes against what we say we believe in and stand for as citizens— life, liberty, freedom, and justice for all.

Paul R. Lehman, Why Pat Buchanan thinks President Obama “killed white America.”

November 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Posted in African American, American Bigotry, American Racism, Bigotry in America, blacks, Congress, Democrats, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, GOP, integregation, Media and Race, minority, Prejudice, President Obama, presidential election, public education, The Daily Currant, the Republican Party, whites | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For a number of years in my books and lately in my blog the question of American bigotry has been discussed. An important part of America’s history and heritage is involved with ethnic bigotry. We know that the ruling class in society created race as a vehicle to accomplish control of society. Because slavery was necessary to America’s economic success and slaves came in many different shades and colors, a distinction had to be made to guard against organized protest against the ruling class. The best way society thought to accomplish this was to make everyone of European ancestry and of fair complexion, superior in every way to all other ethnic groups. So, the society gave itself the gift of race, and color—black and white. White or the so-called white race became the symbol of superiority and normalcy regardless of the social or economic status of the citizens. These characteristics were constantly re-informed through all the institutions of government. The end result was that all Americans knew their status in America; if they happened to not be European American, then they knew they were not considered first-classed citizens.

The fact that American society consciously created ethnic bigotry as a consequence of slavery, it also was aware of the hypocrisy that was created in its creed of “all men created equal” or “life and liberty of all,” and the idea of a democratic society. The ruling class knew they were in the minority, so they placed in the Constitution the right to abolish the government if they believed their rights were not respected by the government. Over the years, the word “minority” changed and came to mean something the founding father did not consider—ethnic Americans and women. So, for three hundred years or so, European American males were led to believe that America belonged to them and the other people living here were only here because they allowed them that privilege.

After the passage of the various civil rights acts as well as many social changes in America that favored the ethnic Americans, a degree of concern began to sweep over the European American conservatives that they were slowly loosing control of their country. The one event that brought this point home to them was the election of Barack Obama, an African American, as President of the United States. Obama’s election in 2008 came as a complete surprise to many European American conservatives.  That election was proof positive that the country was changing and they were losing control. So, they put into process efforts to undo the damage that had been done by the election. Now, however, they were motivated by fear and dread of actually losing their country through the loss of power and political control.

After four years of fighting to hold on to their country, the verdict came in early Wednesday morning—they lost. Obama had been re-elected. No one epitomized the reaction better than Pat Buchanan, a conservative political pundit, when he noted that Barack Obama has “killed white America.” Buchanan, in an interview with G. Gordon Liddy, reported by The Daily Currant, stated that “White America died last night. Obama’s reelection killed it. Our 200 plus year history as a Western nation is over. We’re a Socialist Latin American now. Venezuela without the oil.” We are told that Liddy recognized this statement as biased, and tried to get Buchanan to re-do his statement: “With what you just said right there…You seem to imply that white people are better than other people. That’s not really what you’re saying is it?”

To that question the article noted: “’Of course that’s what I’m saying,’ Buchanan replied ‘Isn’t it obvious? Anything worth doing on this Earth was done first by white people.”

In the course of Buchanan’s lamenting the loss of so-called white control he states that “I cried last night for hours. It’s over for all of us. The great white nation will never survive another 4 years of Obama’s leadership.

Buchanan’s reactions are not an isolated experience; many conservative European Americans across the country expressed the same sentiment. The problem with Buchanan and all his like-minded citizens is that they try to operate in twenty-first century America and world with a nineteen-century perception. They never bought into the concept of democracy. With society and its institutions telling the European Americans that being white was superior to all other ethnic groups, what were they to believe? With history books telling them that God gave this country to the European Americans to do with as they saw fit, and with the laws making certain that white skin received public privilege and political power, what were they to believe? They thought that their power and control would last for many more years.

Too many people like Buchanan failed to realize that America is a constantly changing society and has been since it beginning. Unfortunately, America has not been very attentive to its responsibility of keeping everyone aware of the many changes that have taken place regarding our changing demographics and our history. The mere fact that Buchanan considers America as “Great White Nation” is proof enough that he has little grasp of reality. As a society, we must do a better job of educating ourselves concerning who and what we are as a nation. The fear and dread of losing the power and privilege usually associated with being white is at hand for many social conservatives; they cannot take the country back because it never was their’s in the first place. That idea was a social creation as was race. Both concepts have been debunked.

Having to come to grips with reality when reality is contrary to what one has believed for all one’s life is devastating. But, how can one live in a society where changes in all its institutions have occurred and not be aware of those changes? Whatever one might call Buchanan because of his outdated social perspective, please do not refer to him as a racists. By doing so, one would be endorsing his false concept of multi-biological races of human beings existing. Bigot is the accurate term for him. He needs to know that only one race of humans exist, and it come in many colors.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.