Paul R. Lehman, Bigotry in our language is a not so hidden secret we can afford to ignore

September 3, 2018 at 6:44 pm | Posted in Africa, African American, African American hair, American history, American Racism, Bigotry in America, black inferiority, blacks, Civil Right's Act 1964, Constitutional rights, criminal justice, Declaration of Independence, discrimination, DNA, equality, ethnic stereotypes, Ethnicity in America, European American, European Americans, fairness, Hair, Human Genome, identity, justice, justice system, language, law, Media and Race, minorities, Negro, Prejudice, race, Race in America, racism, skin color, skin complexion, Slavery, social conditioning, social justice system, socioeconomics, white supremacy, whites | 2 Comments
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The objective from the very beginning was division and on a permanent basis as the reason the founding fathers invented two races, a black and a white. Unlike the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution that said we are one people, the concept of race has kept us separate and unequal. Subsequently, if we continue believing in the concept of races we will continue to be separate and never fulfill the objective of our democracy. If we are to ever have one nation, we will have to change the way to look, speak, and act towards one another. We also need to understand that the language we use helps to keep us separate. For example, as long as some people view themselves as black and white, they will not come together because of the historical significance of those words. They were meant to keep us apart.

Many well-meaning civic groups actually work against themselves by choosing a name that creates a negative and defensive feeling in others towards them. Take, for example, Black Lives Matter, a group that has an objective that is in keeping with the concept of democracy, but because of the word black in the name, it creates a defensive reaction in the minds of many European Americans.

We also have groups that use words like white, Aryan and caucasian that they believe makes them different from people who do not look like them. Their pronounced goal is to save or preserve the so-call white race. They need to visit history to learn what happens to people who are separated or separate themselves from other people; they become extinct, like for example, the Australian Tasmanian Aboriginals, and in America, the Eire people and the colony of Roanoke.

When civic activists call for unity among people of color, they miss the opportunity to enhance their programs by not inviting all concerned people. We as a society have been conditioned to identify ourselves based on our so-called differences when our objective should be for all to use the same identity. We are all Americans, so why is it necessary to use color or ethnicity as part of identity? When visitors come to America, they come using their cultural identity. When Americans get a passport they provide a picture, but no racial or ethnic identity, because our cultural identity is American, not black or white, Hispanic or Asian etc.

We do ourselves a constant disservice by identifying ourselves as separate groups which have been our legacy since slavery. We have to grasp the reality of our situation understanding that the concept of biological races is a myth, invention, social construction, and lie. Prior to the Human Genome Project, everything about races with the numerous divisions, classifications, and characteristics was conjecture and opinion. We now have scientific proof, validation, and evidence that all human beings are more alike than penguins, and the skin complexion, eye shape and color, and hair texture are not unique to a select group of human beings. We are of one race of beings whether we like it or not.

We might think that language does not play so great a part in our lives and our behavior, but studies old and recent underscore the fact that when the words black and white are used in a sentence referring to an identity, a measured reaction occurs. The reaction for the European American, usually an increased heartbeat, is observed when the word black is used because of the social conditioning associated with the word. African Americans do not experience a similar reaction when the word white appeared in a sentence because they are conditioned to seeing it and without feeling threatened.

The media in American society contributes greatly to the separation of ethnic groups by the way they use inappropriate identity language. For example, if a bank is robbed and the robber was apprehended, nothing pertaining to the robbery is gained when the ethnicity of the robber is identified. Except, in American society today the identity of the robber is omitted if he or she happens to be European American, but the identity is almost always given when the robber ‘s identity is a person of color. The effect of the naming the identity of the ethnic person serves to strengthen the negative stereotype society already has of the person of color.

Another way in which the media contributes to the negative stereotypes and biased attitudes held by some Americans relative to people of color has to do with the mentioning of the geographic location of an incident that is readily identified as being in a location where predominately people of color reside. Again, the mere mention of the location adds to the negative stereotype held by many people familiar with the location.

Today, with all the problems America is facing relative to our government and the various policies being addressed both positively and negatively, we need to take the opportunity to add our concept of race and identity into the mix and deal with it once and for all. We continue to talk about racism as if it was legitimate rather than bigotry which is what has been and continues to be practiced in society. Yes, our language uses the word racism to talk about social biases, but simultaneously serves to keep the concept of races alive and our society separate. We need to decide what kind of society we want to live in as well as our children and grandchildren. Once we make that choice, we need to get to work and make it happen. We have been talking about racism for three hundred years to no avail because we are still talking about it without a change in the daily behaviors of people. Racism is not the problem, we are because we refuse to accept the fact that we have been living in a false reality. What we cannot continue pretending to not see is the rapidly changing demographics that will force changes in society relative to cultural and ancestral identities.

We currently have an opportunity to make great strides in addressing our oneness as a society by debunking the myth of race and working to make America what it was meant to be a democracy. We will not and cannot get to where we want, and need, to be if we do not change from using our misleading ethnically biased language of bigotry.

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Paul R. Lehman, Study of Alzheimer’s disease in blacks creates confusion

April 21, 2013 at 11:57 am | Posted in African American, Alzheimer's disease, American Racism, blacks, Ethnicity in America, European American, Human Genome, identity, mixed-marriage, public education, skin color, U. S. Census, whites | 1 Comment
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The need for our society to divorce itself from the use of color as an identity becomes more apparent every day. For example, an article by Daniel Chang in the Miami Herald (4/11/13) titled “Researchers identify possible new gene linked to Alzheimer’s disease in blacks” creates more questions than it answers. What good is a study that uses unreliable information? We are certainly not against studies that can be beneficial to society and strongly support them, but not studies that seem a waste of time and money such as the one mentioned above.
Chang states that “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…” Let us stop here and ask the question—how are blacks defined? Did the study select African Americans to participate in the study and refer to them as blacks? We are not told. If the study uses the word black as an identity does it refer to only people with black or dark complexions? If the study used African Americans and referred to them as blacks, how does the study account for the African Americans of light or fair complexions? If the study refers to people with black skin or dark complexions, then it would not be limited to people in America. Since we are not told just who the study subjects are except for the word blacks, we are at a loss to understand the value of the study.
One of the major discoveries of the Human Genome study involving DNA was that all human beings are 99.9% alike. They discovered that since all humans belong to one race that discerning a race from DNA was not possible: “DNA studies do not indicate that separate classifiable subspecies (races) exist within modern humans. While different genes for physical traits such as skin and hair color can be identified between individuals, no consistent patterns of genes across the human genome exist to distinguish one race from another. There also is no genetic basis for divisions of human ethnicity. People who have lived in the same geographic region for many generations may have some alleles in common, but no allele will be found in all members of one population and in no members of any other.” (genonics.energy.gov) For some reason the people working on this study did not get the memo.
The article continued by noting that “While Alzheimer’s occurs as frequently in blacks as other populations, researchers say there are important differences in the molecular mechanisms of the disease among people of different races and ethnicities.”What and who are we to believe? The study on DNA says that race cannot be determined, yet, this Miami study says it can. We need all the helpful information we can get to help in treating and curing Alzheimer’s disease, but we also need reliable information. When confusion regarding the existence of race is in question, the results of any study that does not clearly define its subjects will be suspect. We are told by Chang that “The study that led researchers to identify the gene, called ABCA7, will be published …in the Journal of the American Medical Association this month. Why?
The Miami study seems to directly undermine the findings of the Genome Project when it makes reference to “different races” and when it apparently identifies blacks as a race. One must question the logic of their statement that “Identifying these differences could help researchers develop treatments and drugs that are more likely to be effective because they’re tailor-made for an individual’s genetic make-up.” The individual in reference to the statement belongs to a black race? We thought that the study focused on a group of people—black people with the same gene, but now we are told that drugs will be “tailor-mage for an individual’s genetic make-up.” Are the people in question black complexioned or just called black rather than African American? The confusion continues because the subjects of the study were not clearly defined.
Chang does provide the following information:”The research project that led to the discovery of the new gene is believed to be the largest genome-wide association study conducted on late-onset Alzheimer’s disease in blacks.” Again, we must assume that blacks is a reference to what or who? He continues “It [the study] included 1,968 cases and 3,928 controls collected at multiple sites between 1989 and 2011. We do not know anything about these cases except some were controlled.
The ridicule made regarding this Miami study is not directed to Daniel Chang, he simply reported the story. The complaint falls to the creators of the study for not clearly defining their subject by ethnicity or by referring to people having the same “new” gene ABGA7. Since race is not possible to discern except by color, restricting the treatment to blacks could negatively affect other people, non-blacks with the “new” gene from receiving needed treatment. If the creators of studies involving human beings would focus on the problem rather that the supposed race of the subjects, more people might benefit from the study. Nothing prevents these study creators from using ethnicities or ethnic groups as the focused population to study, but using race and color dooms the study from the start.
So, what are we to make of this important study that focused on blacks? The ethnic make-up of American society is changing so quickly that the old form or system of identifying an individual based on his or her color is no longer effective. Many countries do not consider the skin complexion of their citizens as part of their personal identity. So, when any of these people come to America, they comes using their own unique identity, not one of black or white etc… The sooner we as a society stop using color and the concept of multiple races as valid or factual, the better off we will be, and studies that focus of specific cultural or ethnic groups will provide some benefit.

Paul R. Lehman,President Obama, biracial versus black, not a problem

November 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Posted in African American, American Racism, blacks, Ethnicity in America, European American, Hispanic whites, integregation, minority, Non-Hispanic white, Prejudice, President Obama, public education, Race in America, socioeconomics, U. S. Census, whites | 4 Comments
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In an Opinion article by Patrice Peck published in The Grio, “Biracial versus black: Thought leaders weigh in on the meaning of President Obama’s biracial heritage,” he ask the question of how to identify the president—biracial or black. What Peck and the “Thought leaders” are doing in attempting to answer that question is the same as beating a dead horse—counterproductive. The Western world, American society, and especially, African Americans have accepted the concepts of multiple biological races of human being as well as the concept of a black race and a white race as factual. If we are to educate ourselves and our children with accurate, factual, and up-to-date information, then we need to abandon the concepts of races, black and white.

In my latest book, America’s Race Matters: Returning the Gifts of Race and Color, I discuss the problems attendant to continuing to promote the false concepts of race and color. Most educated people know that race is a social construct, made-up like other myths– Santa Claus, Easter Rabbit, and Tooth Fairy. While society recognizes these latter myths as myths, they still want to hold on to the myth of races and color. Unfortunately, our changing world and society are forcing us to make adjustments to our concepts or become more confused and misinformed. With respect to African Americans, the willingness to accept the color identity given them by a slave-owning society to deny them a positive self-identity is way past due. We will be more specific about that issue later.

If we want to educate ourselves and our children about race, let us be factual—all human beings belong to one race, Homo sapiens. If some doubt exists about this fact, the people who subscribe to the Christian religion might want to reference in the Bible, Acts 17:24-26  which states  in part :”God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshiped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth,…” (The bold print supplied by the writer). So, we are one people as for as God is concerned; so why not accept that concept?

We are not restricted to what the Bible says about being one race. The Human Genome Project mapped the Human DNA sequence in total. What the research tells us is that “we [human beings] are so much alike, that only our individuality separates us. For every group [ethnic group] assumption there are several exceptions that can be shown. While we [scientists] can identify your ancestry, DNA tells us that we share so much in common that any two individuals on earth can trace some common ancestry in six generations or less.” So now we can recognize that by accepting the false concept of multiple biological races, we invite the acceptance of additional false concepts of racism, racial, mixed-race, and yes, even biracial. So, when the race experts and intellectuals continue to promote the concept of races, they are not presenting factual, accurate, and current information. President Obama is neither biracial nor black; he is African American.

Now the acceptance of the term black or black race or white or white race falls in the same category as does the term race. The term race was determined by world renowned scientists in 1945 to be ineffective as a social term( see UNESCO). In other words, the word race should not be used as a form of identity as in black race and white race. Instead, the term ethnicity or ethnic groups would be more accurate and certainly less confusion. The Census Bureau has discovered the confusion created by not defining the words race and ethnicity from the data received in the 2010 survey. Still, they refuse to drop the term race; so the confusion will not only continue, but also grow. Part of the problem with using colors to identify people is that it does not work and actually does them a disservice. No one comes to America as a black or white person; they must use their cultural or geographical identity. Once here, they can evaluate the positives and negatives associated with changing their identity. Most European Americans select a white identity; most people of color retain their cultural or geographical identity because they see no value in being identified as black. Eighty per cent of the world’s population is people of color, all shades; twenty per cent of the world’s population would be considered “white” in America. In America the color white has positive social as well as historical value, the color black does not except for the African American community.

President Obama is not black because black is a color, not an identity. To underscore this point we might ask the questions: what language do black people speak, from what country do they reside, what culture do they exhibit, and what religion do they embrace? We can ask the same questions of so-called white people as well. What we discover in the responses is a lack of certainty and understanding relative to race. Technically, all people are of African ancestry, but those people of color living in American with African ancestry are more correct in referring to themselves as African Americans rather than black. The people who identify themselves as white can more accurately refer to themselves as European Americans.

So, if Mr. Peck is fortunate enough to have children, he should tell them that President Obama is an African American, not a biracial or black person. They, his children can identify themselves in a manner that suits them, except for black or white, because the colors say nothing about who they are; they are merely colors, and not accurate colors at that. Society does not care what African Americans call themselves, so it is up to the African American community to start divorcing itself from the term black which was given them during slavery. Although the cultural revolution of the sixties and seventies did much to change the negative concept of the term black, it did not change anything in the European American community. The time for up-dating  identity is here. America is rapidly turning brown and when it does, color will be insignificant.

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