Paul R. Lehman, Bill O’Reilly’s comments about Maxine Waters hair underscores social conditioning

April 3, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Posted in African American, African American hair, American Bigotry, Bigotry in America, black inferiority, Criticism, discrimination, Disrespect, equality, ethnic stereotypes, Ethnicity in America, European American, fairness, freedom of speech, justice, Prejudice, President Trump, race, Race in America, respect, skin color, skin complexion, social conditioning, social justice system, The Huffington Post, tolerance, white supremacy, whites | 1 Comment
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The social conditioning of European Americans generally makes them oblivious to the fact that they are bigots. For many, just the false concept of being white is enough to convince them of their superiority over people of color. They are usually not aware of their ethnic biases because society has constructed all the social institutions to accommodate the European American’s sense of being normal. In addition, “…many European Americans still believe that race is a valid term that protects them from scrutiny, they continue to act as though being European American is sufficient for the display of arrogance. Their ignorance of race allows them to act as though their skin color is a birthright, the power, and privilege they think they deserve.” (The system of European American (white) supremacy and African American (black) Inferiority, p.88) This characteristic of European American arrogance was on display recently by Fox television personality, Bill O’Reilly.

We learn about the incident from Taryn Finley, from Huffington Post: “During a segment of “Fox and Friends,” the show played a clip of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Ca.) speaking out against the discriminatory and bigoted practices of President Donald Trump’s supporters. When asked to give his response, O’Reilly killed two birds with one stone and made a comment that was both racist and sexist.” The statement O’Reilly made was “I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig,” ‘he said.’ “Do we have a picture of James Brown? It’s the same wig.”O’Reilly’s first display of arrogance and ignorance was in the fact that James Brown never wore a wig. So, his statement of “It’s the same one,” shows his lack of knowledge relative to James Brown. His arrogance and ignorance continued.

O’Reilly was on the show to provide some informational input relative to a clip shown of Rep. Waters making a statement. However, he did not pay enough attention to what Waters was said so he was not in a position to make a response concerning it. Because of his ignorance and arrogance, both conditioned in him by American society, O’Reilly gave little thought to not responding to the question but instead chose to make a comment about Rep. Water’s hair. The fact that he did not pay attention to the clip showed his lack of concern and value for what Waters had to say. His actions for not paying attention to what was said showed his lack of respect for a United States Representative. Why? The answer is because O’Reilly grew up in a society that conditioned him to not value people of color, specifically, African Americans.

The lack of value for Rep. Waters by O’Reilly was displayed in his choice of references to James Brown. Brown was an entertainer who had a major impact on the world of music starting in the 1950s. He was known also for his clothes and capes as well as his hair, which was coffered in a costume style. For O’Reilly to compare Waters hair to that of James Brown showed he lacked concrete information about both Brown and Waters, but did not hesitate to speak it as if his assessment was accurate and valid. Neither was the case. But, because of O’Reilly’s social conditioning, he felt at ease speaking his mind with fear of retribution. One can infer that O’Reilly saw nothing wrong in viewing Waters as something of a clown in a wig. He, apparently, would not have stopped with his analogy and comparison of Waters to Brown had not his co-host Brian Kilmeade “laughed and made a tasteless joke about the musician, who died in 2006. “He’s not using it anymore,’ he said—they finally buried him.’” The problem with this incident is the fact that O’Reilly never realized his bigotry in his words and actions. To add insult to injury, O’Reilly did not respond to Waters comments about Donald Trump and his discrimination and bigotry. O’Reilly acknowledged his lack of concern and respect for Waters in his statement:”I didn’t hear a word she said.”

Some people might say that what O’Reilly said about Waters was not that bad; he meant her no harm or disrespect. Wrong. The fact that he did not pay attention to what she was saying was disrespectful, and the excuse for his not paying attention was, even more, condemning of his bigotry and arrogance. But these things never registered to him as being “over the line” of decency and respect because of his social conditioning.

Once O’Reilly was confronted with the fact that what he said about Waters was considered in poor taste, he offered something of an apology in order to maintain his sense of superiority. The fact that he apologized is irrelevant because we do not know what he apologized for since all he said was:”Unfortunately, I also made a jest about her hair which was dumb. I apologize.” What we need to understand about O’Reilly and many European Americans is that they are ignorant as to their perceptions of people of color bring biased. They cannot see a problem is denigrating someone of color because they do not see that denigration as something wrong and unacceptable in our democratic society. They have been conditioned to see themselves as normal human beings, and their perception of everything is normal as long as they are at the center and in control.

While America has made progress on many levels, one of the levels that need to be addressed is the fact of race as a myth. For too many years Americans have been conditioned to see each other by focusing on our differences, especially in skin complexions. We have been led to believe that the fairness of the skin reflects a higher order of human biological development. We know today that all human being are alike and belong to only one race, the human race. However, because of the continuous social conditioning that underscores the myth of European American supremacy, people like Bill O’Reilly cannot see himself as a bigot. The challenge for America is to change the bigoted norm to one that reflects the value and worth of all human beings. That way we can begin to remove the ignorance, innocence, and arrogance that underscore the mindset of too many Americans.



Paul R. Lehman,D. L. Hughley and Megyn Kelly’s exchange on race an example of nation’s problem

July 21, 2016 at 3:48 pm | Posted in African American, American Bigotry, American history, American Racism, Bigotry in America, black inferiority, blacks, Constitutional rights, democracy, discrimination, Disrespect, Dr. Robin DiAngelo, entitlements, Equal Opportunity, equality, ethnic stereotypes, Ethnicity in America, European American, fairness, Ferguson, freedom of speech, happiness, justice, justice system, law enforcement agencies, liberty, Media and Race, Minnesota, police force, political tactic, Prejudice, race, Race in America, racism, skin color, social justice system, white supremacy, whites | Leave a comment
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One of the primary challenges associated with European Americans and African Americans attempting to have a rational and reasonable discussion concerning ethnic bigotry (racism) falls directly on the fact that the social conditioning received by European Americans does not allow them to see themselves as the bigots they are conditioned to be. The invention and instituting of the system of European American (white) supremacy and African American (black) inferiority achieved that objective. Since they are conditioned to see themselves and their social perception as normal and natural, only the people who do not look like them belong to a race, not them, because they believe they represent the model for the human race. Therefore, when a conversation relative to ethnic bigotry begins, the European Americans generally, are ignorant as to their opinions and perceptions being biased.

In an article, “White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism,” by Robin DiAngelo, ( 7/23/2015) in commenting about this restricted social conditioning of European Americans noted that “Yes, we will develop strong emotionally laden opinions, but they will not be informed opinions. Our socialization renders us racially illiterate. When you add a lack of humility to that illiteracy (because we don’t know what we don’t know), you get the break-down we so often see when trying to engage white people in meaningful conversations about race.” An example of what DiAngelo wrote about can be observed in a recent (7/14/2016) exchange between Megyn Kelly and D. L. Hughley on Fox News.

The system of supremacy through its institutional control allows the European American to “move through a wholly racialized world with a unracialized identity (e.g. white people can represent all humanity, people of color can only represent their racial selves).” The assumption of supremacy in opinions and perceptions is consistently manifested by Kelly throughout the exchange. For example, when Hughley makes the comment that he believes police are given the benefit of innocence from any wrongful act they may or may not have committed, Kelly is quick to come to the defense of the police. That defense in carried in the statements that referred to allowing the information before and after the event to come to the final decision that’s given. Hughley counters Kelly by suggesting that when the evidence of what happened is right before one’s eyes, waiting to acquire all the information that occurred before and after the event does not change the event. Kelly continued to disagree with Hughley and maintains her support for the police.

Kelly’s behavior showed signs of stress because Hughley did not accept her viewpoint which comes, if we remember, from a restricted and biased point of view. In essence, Hughley’s opinions cannot be accepted on their merits because they do not coincide with Kelly’s which she considers superior to his.

Stress became apparent on Kelly when the subject of racism is introduced when Hughley made the comment that “The only place racism doesn’t exist is Fox News and the police department,’ which he said sarcastically, but Kelly took seriously. Her comment to Hughley was “Come on, come on. That’s insulting.”For European Americans and Kelly in particular, speaking about racism is very uncomfortable because it is a challenge to their and her perception of it.

When Kelly tries to change the focus of the discussion from the Minnesota shooting of Philando Castile to the Brown shooting of Ferguson, Missouri, Hughley tried to direct her back to the original subject. However, she resisted and fell back to the point of law enforcement acquiring all the information before a decision concerning a shooting is made. Hughley made reference to personal experiences where the judgment of police was in question and would not relinquish control of the exchange to Kelly. The main point that Hughley was trying to make consistently throughout the exchange was that racism was a systemic and institutional fact, but Kelly seemingly could not and would not accept that point.

The exchanged between Kelly and Hughley began its conclusion when Kelly made the comment that “It is very dangerous when you get to the point where you paint an entire group with the same brush based on the bad actions of a few.”She apparently did not realize that statement could be applied in a variety of ways, not just the way she had intended it. Hughley replied to that comment saying “That is amazing to hear on this network. That really is.” She seemingly did not realize that her network has the reputation of following that practice with certain social groups.

Consequently, stress came to a head for Kelly and so using her power of control she ended the exchange, interrupting Hughley, and thanking him for being there. By abruptly ending the exchange we see the degree of stress she experiences when things do not go the way she had wanted them. We also see how unprepared she was to address the subject of ethnic bias (racism) with an opinionated and informed person of color like Hughley.

DiAngelo describes a situation that could explain the exchange between Kelly and Hughley we she wrote that: “Socialized into a deeply internalized sense of superiority and entitlement that we [European Americans (whites)] are either not consciously aware of or can never admit to ourselves, we become highly fragile in conversations about race.” She continued by noting that “We [European Americans (whites] experience a challenge to our racial worldview as a challenge to our very identities as good, moral people. It also challenges our sense of rightful place in the hierarchy. Thus we perceive any attempt to connect us to the system of racism as a very unsettling and unfair moral offense.” So, any effort to associate the institutional system of European American (white) supremacy and African American (black) inferiority and fear with European Americans is unacceptable and unwarranted.

Today, in America we need to be mindful of the different perspectives involved when attempting a discussion on ethnic bigotry;  and with the changing social and political atmosphere deconstructing the notion and value of race, we must come to the understanding that the new atmosphere must replace the old one, not accommodate it.

Paul R. Lehman, Ann Coulter uses language to create attention

November 6, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Posted in American Bigotry, American Racism, blacks, equality, Ethnicity in America, justice, Media and Race, minority, Prejudice, whites | 4 Comments
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Ann Coulter has for years used her spin on information as an
attention getter. She has created a persona that some people accept as genuine
and credible. The problem with accepting the Coulter persona is that it is not reliable
or trustworthy. Whatever Coulter has to say will always shed light on her
first, then the information. For example, she was recently on Fox News talking
with Sean Hannity about how the liberals were attacking the African American
Republican candidate for President, Herman Cain. Although no proof was offered
for the accusations, she nevertheless made the claim with confidence. Coulter
has shown herself to be a manipulator of information to call attention to her
and elevate her position with all the people who think and believe as she does.

While talking with Hannity, Coulter made the statement: “Civil
rights laws were designed to protect blacks from Democrats, from Democrat laws,
from Democrat segregators, from Democrat governors and Democrats in the White
House wouldn’t protect them.” To hear her speak these words one would assume
she knew whereof she was speaking. However, to anyone with a general working
knowledge of history, Coulter obviously mixes movements, parties, and time
periods to create simultaneously two different interpretations.

First, for people who are knowledgeable of American history,
they know that prior to the Civil War, the Republican Party, the party of
Lincoln, supported the elimination of slavery. They also know that the
Democrats were the party that embraced slavery, especially in the South. For a
better picture of the party differences prior to 1964, any informed reading of
the Reconstruction Period in America will fill in the gaps. Coulter spins the
information to make it appear current, which we know is not the case.

Second, for the people who are unfamiliar with American
history, and share Coulter’s belief and perspective, her words will appear as
truth. What becomes obvious to the reader it that the messenger appears more
important than the message. The attention that falls on Coulter is exactly what
she wants. Coulter knows very well that it was the Democrats, President, John
F. Kennedy, and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson who were responsible for the
1964 Civil Rights Bill. If any American knows anything about the 1964, 1965, 1968,
or any Civil Rights bill, they know that never is there a reference to any
specific American citizens. Civil rights are to be experienced by all Americans.
The civil rights legislation sought to include those citizens that had not been
included previously. The party for bringing the changes in civil right is the
Democrats. Most African Americans know this, and continue to support the party
that supports them.

Whether Coulter is a bigot or not, she knows how to use
language to create concern that might suggest bias. She made a statement to
Hannity that suggest a kind of paternal ethnic bias that goes back to the days
of slavery. She knows that many African Americans as well as many Americans
generally, question the rationale of ethnic minority citizens joining a
political party that does not recognize their value. What the party does
recognize in these ethnic minority members is a change to use them as
protection against charges of bigotry. In essence, if we have ethnic minorities
in our party, then we cannot be accused of bigotry. So, in an effort to stroke
the egos of the ethnic minorities in their party, especially the African Americans,
Coulter says that: “our blacks are better than their blacks.” Therefore,
African Americans who belong to the Republican Party are better people than
those African Americans that belong to the Democratic Party. The fact that she
uses the pronoun “our” indicates ownership and suggests that these citizens are
not free to make their own choices, but simply follow what the party suggests.

Although the statement might have been offered as a show of
support for African Americans, like Herman Cain, who are members of the
Republican Party, the statement can also be seen as a slam on the inability of
African Americans to recognize an insult or a back-handed compliment. In any
event, the language of the statement was meant to arouse attention, which it
did. The attention, however, fell on Coulter more than on the message. She
knows how to spin the language and present it in a way that some people will
not question it. She has also developed a style of over-talking anyone who
questions the veracity of what she says.

Coulter manages to keep herself in the public eye by writing
books or making claims that call attention to her for making the claims. If Coulter
was an expert in some area or had some credentials that provided reasons to
accept what she says with more than a grain of salt, then her claims might be
taken seriously. Unfortunately, she has her mouth and her determination to
dominate any conversation in which she participates. That evidently, according
to Fox News, seems to be enough because when she brings up the famous Clarence
Thomas phrase “High-tech lynching,” with a reference to how she suggests the
liberal media treats Herman Cain, Hannity does not seem to understand just what
Coulter has done. She knows there should have been a reaction to that term, but
Hannity is so accustomed to agreeing with her, the significance of it does not

Coulter generally comes across to viewers and readers as a
person in control of the information she dispenses. The problem with that is
those people who are uninformed, believe her. For the other people, they know
she caters to bigots who rely on ethnic  stereotypes
to give meaning to her words. Coulter is the epitome of the person with a
little knowledge being a danger. She is skillful enough to play around the edge
of the mud pit without falling into it, but she will provide enough information
for some to wallow in it. To read her books or listen to her talk, one has to
wonder if she is pulling our leg or is she really that crazy. With all the
attention she gets and the money she makes, one might easily say that she’s
crazy—crazy like a fox.

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