Journalists’ use of race by color continues to create confusion

April 30, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in African American, Alzheimer's disease, blacks, Daniel Chang, DNA, equality, Ethnicity in America, European American, Human Genome, Media and Race, minority, Race in America, skin color, The New York Times, University of Miami, whites | 2 Comments
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Two articles reporting on “Alzheimer’s disease in blacks” arrived at different conclusions about the study’s affect on African Americans. The first article discussed here in the last blog was written by Daniel Chang in the Miami Herald (4/11/13) entitled “Researchers identify possible new gene linked to Alzheimer’s disease in blacks.” The earlier article in The New York Times (4/9/13) written by Gina Kolata is entitled “In Blacks, Alzheimer’s Study Finds Same Variant Genes as in Whites.” We find some interesting similarities as well as differences in comparing these two articles that focused on the same topic: Alzheimer’s disease in blacks.
Actually, the similarities are few; first, they include a reference to “Alzheimer’s disease in blacks” in their headlines. Next, they both discuss the gene ABCA7. Other similarities might exist, but these two are the major ones. The Chang article suggested that the important concern is that this ABCA7 gene is found in blacks and is also linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Of course, we had problems with the use of the word blacks. The only reference to blacks by Kolata appears in the headline. Obviously, someone else could have written the headline for Kolata’s article without fully reading or appreciating the text.
The differences between the Chang article and Kolata’s are many, but the major ones verify the comments made in the last blog by Chang regarding the use of blacks as an identity. Nowhere in Kolata’s article does the reference to blacks appear. Because of this deliberate act, the readers are spared any confusion about the study or who it involves “African-Americans have a slightly higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease than people of largely European ancestry, but there is no major genetic difference that could account for the slight excess risk, new research shows.” In effect, no major concerns for African Americans acquiring Alzheimer’s disease were detected as a result of this study. This statement is contrary to the Chang statement:”University of Miami medical school researchers working with geneticist and physicians from other institutions have identified a new gene associated with Alzheimer’s disease in blacks, a finding that doctors say could help them prescribe more effective drugs for patients affected by the disease.”
The Kolata article does not place emphasis on blacks as does the Chang article, but on the disease; it says that “The results are from one of the only large studies ever done on Alzheimer’s in African-Americans. Researchers identified the same gene variant in older African-Americans that they had found in older people of European ancestry.” Chang’s article never mentions people of European ancestry. Kolata’s article continued, noting that the study “…found that African-Americans with Alzheimer’s disease were slightly more likely to have one gene, ABCA7 that is thought to confer risk for the disease.” In addition, the Kolata article noted that “Another gene, AP0E4, long known to increase Alzheimer’s risk in older white people, was present in about the same proportion of African-Americans with Alzheimer’s as it is in people of European ancestry.”This quote mentions the word “white” for the first and only time in the article.
So, what is the point being made here? The point is when ethnic identity is used and clearly defined, such as in African American and European ancestry or European Americans little confusion occurs. When color is used as ethnic identity, no one knows for certain who is being identified. The fact that the Chang article used blacks only suggested that some biological difference appeared in African Americans that did not exist in European Americans. The use of color, be it black or white, always suggest race and different races at that. Using the terms African American and people of European ancestry in her article, Kolata avoids the confusion associated with the color words.
We can compliment Kolata on her avoidance of suggesting a so-called racial difference in the Alzheimer’s study when she commented that “The researchers calculated that ABCA7 increased Alzheimer’s risk by about 80 percent in African- Americans, compared with about 10 percent to 20 percent in people of European ancestry. “ She added that “Those are considered modest increases; a gene that carries a significant risk would increase the chances of getting a disease by well over 200 percent.” She continued by noting that “…ABCA7 was not very common, still leaving most Alzheimer’s risk unexplained. About 9 of every 100 African-American with Alzheimer’s had the gene, compared with 6 out of 100 who did not have the disease.”
All the attention to blacks paid by Chang was totally unnecessary. One Alzheimer’s researcher, Dr. John Hardy, commented on the study by applauding the participants for their focus on minorities then “cautioned that the difference in risk between African-Americans and those of European ancestry who had ABCA7 was unlikely to be meaningful.” Actually, the Chang article seemed to promote race and racial differences as the focus of his article when the information did not support it. The Kolata article presented the study information in a clear and unbiased way. Her article is a good example of how ethnic identities rather than race can be used positively and effectively. Other journalists would do well to follow her example

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
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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.

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