RACISM REVISITED 2021

Can a white guy write about this subject?

When I mentioned to a dear friend that I was thinking about writing a book called RACISM REVISITED, her reaction threw me for a loop. She said, “Be careful with that because you have no credibility with the subject.” Oh, yeah, I am white. But wait, why can’t a person of one race discuss race and different viewpoints on the matter? Am I somehow disqualified because of my race? That, in substance, is racism. But I am not angry about it; I am simply curious as hell.

We would not be hearing so much about Critical Race Theory (CRT) had the New York Times not published the 1619 Project, an on-going educational initiative to enlighten all races of US citizenry about how this country was formed and how our laws, customs and policies affected people of different races in dissimilar ways.

Most authors eventually face a situation in which they over-describe or lather on some fiction to make their words more compelling. The 1619 Project asserts that American history doesn’t begin in 1776, but rather 1619 when the first Africans were brought to these shores and sold as property. This truly angers some conservatives who believe God himself sanctioned the creation of our new land in 1776.

The writer of the 1619 Project used some fanciful language to attract readers. Here’s a little gem from the title page, “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.” A white person may hear “our ideals are wrong,” when author Nicole Hanna-Jones was probably trying to communicate that there was a difference between our ideals and actions. It’s like the father hitting his son because the young boy slapped his sister. What was the lesson learned? Did dad’s action reinforce violence as a learning and communication tool?

We are talking about education here, and some state governments are trying to control what we teach our children. Oh, boy. An article titled Disingenuous Defenses of Critical Race Theory, written by Christopher F. Rufo, appeared in the New York Post on July 9th. You can read it here. First, I’ll point out that the newspaper is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s company. Next, as one would expect given the title of the article, Mr. Rufo contends that most other writers are wrong. Okay, I get that. The Op-Ed is anti-CRT.

The goal of all these legislative actions is to stop teaching the core principles of critical race thinking, which Mr. Rufo claims has “race essentialism” and “collective guilt” baked into them, claiming that to be a strong kind of “state-sanctioned discrimination.” While he attempts to link “guilt” about racism to the left, he fails to explain how political membership has anything to do with teaching the history of African Americans.

I am sure Mr. Rufo fears that we are going to push “toxic racial theories onto children” at the expense of taxpayers. Really? Is this about money? Well, slavery was about money. I don’t know how you could possibly teach the economic history of the United States without mentioning the advantage we had with “free labor.” Hou could such knowledge possibly harm young minds?

The Supremes

In the fifties, there was a huge uproar about teaching sex education in our high schools. I remember it well. We were told not to do it, but never told precisely what it was that we were not supposed to do. In 1959, the US had a population of 177 million and now we have a family some 331 million strong. I guess that sex education either didn’t work or totally corrupted us. We never talked about slavery, of course, because we were all white kids.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that US students can say pretty much what they want when they are not on campus, but the high court did provide a path to punishment for disruptive behavior in the school. I became extremely interested when Florida, my home state, passed a law stipulating Critical Race Theory was not to be taught. So, I wrote a letter to the Education Commissioner, Richard Corcoran:

I read with great interest the recent discussion of guidelines on teaching what is described as “Critical Race Theory.” I also saw your quote in the newspaper, “… the rule would help better ‘police’ Florida teachers and would prevent teachers from ‘indoctrinating’ their students with a liberal agenda.” From that, I have a few questions.

First, what is the decree attempting to do? Is it simply a censorship bill? What is NOT to be taught about America history? What exactly is this “liberal agenda” you mentioned? As a taxpayer, I would like to know what exactly is the state outlawing? Please send me the language you are prohibiting, in detail please.

This whole effort on your part seems to be more placating than what you might really do if you were not being managed by a dogmatic Governor. Would you, for example, forbid teachers from discussing the Holocaust? You know that in Germany, this study is mandated. Would you forbid any teacher in the Florida Educational system discuss slavery, lynching and Jim Crow Laws in America? Time to be specific, Mr. Corcoran.

I hope you respond. I don’t want to go on social media and make a big deal about this, but certainly, this whole effort reminds me of what happens in totalitarian nations. The intimidation within the law reeks of political pressure, but it’s your job to lay out exactly what can be said and what cannot be discussed. You know, that once one takes away the truth, that person is no longer an educator, they become the “thought police.” Will we still let the kids read George Orwell’s 1984?

Well, I never got a response. It’s part of a huge problem in modern America — too much tweeting and yelling with no acceptance of responsibility or explanation about how things work. Laws get passed without people understanding why or what they mean. According to a recent story from NBC News, “Critical race theory battles are driving frustrated, exhausted educators out of their jobs. Battles over diversity and equity initiatives in public schools have resulted in administrators and teachers being fired or resigning over discussions.”

The tension is being created by furious parents berating teachers, especially those of color, for presenting critical race theory in classrooms. Schoolboards need to understand that CRT is an academic framework taught in graduate schools that posits racial discrimination is embedded within US laws and policies. But then, who am I to say? I am white. What would I know about the struggles of Black men and women in a post racist world? Irony there.

Before any reasonable discussion or debate can take place, all the parties must agree on the meanings of words. I know what racism is, even though I may never have felt it. Our founding fathers were not interested in the rights of women and people of color. They had little care for the natives who were either forced off their land or murdered. The early settlers cared only about being successful as a nation and all their critical British theories propelled them to look the other way. Consider this, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” That was a lie, and so is the myth of Puritans sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with the Native Americans to celebrate the freedom of America. That lie is taught in our schools, and let’s not forget that below a certain age Santa Claus is a real person. Hey, I can be critical of Santa Claus. I’m white and most of the time he’s white too, you know, just like Jesus. Oops, did I go too far?

BRAND NEW BOOK

We knew that the great divide in America would have a major effect on the presidential election in the year 2020, but something else was lurking that we didn’t anticipate. The world suffered a global pandemic of Covid-19, and everything changed. The lockdown motivated one author to write MASHED POTATOES: Covid, Cancer & Comfort Food. The cover ironically claims the book is a “humorous” recollection of 2020, but one might ask, “Where was the humor?” This is a work of survival to motivate those who desire to get beyond Covid-19, beat cancer and defend our precious Democracy.  The world got Covid, the writer got cancer and we all ate copious amounts of comfort food. It’s time to swallow the truth, survive the madness, take a large spoon and savor some delicious MASHED POTATOES. Get some here. 

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them. Kindle and Paperback Click Here

 


SLOGANS, HOOKS & TAGLINES

Collective Intelligence Quota Conundrum

I worked in marketing, and all of my ilk carry bad attitudes forged by maxims of the past. In 1938, Will Rogers said, “You’ll never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” It has been said he was paraphrasing H.L. Menken’s statement in the Chicago Tribune, “No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.” Okay, definitely wordy but it makes the point.

Many want to attribute the Will Rogers quote to the master marketer and showman, P.T. Barnum, but that’s incorrect. P.T. said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” As time has roared forward, our language has become trimmed and sharpened. We are now in the land of short crisp slogans, hot hooks and repeatable taglines. We are a busy people and we don’t have time to read much more than headlines. The snappier the pitch line, the easier it is to remember and there is nothing better than a quotable line that gets widely parroted. Taglines are not at all bad, but we often put too much stock in them.

“Fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance” is a great advertising hook even though it’s vague and passive. It uses the word “could,” not the word “will,” so there is no guarantee. If I say, “America Runs on Dunkin” you automatically think about dashing out the door in need of your morning coffee. When you hear the words, “It’s Finger Lickin’ Good” you know it’s KFC, which used to be Kentucky Fried Chicken. I guess they went with the letters because people were turned off by the concept of fried food, or maybe Kentucky.

Donald Trump was a lousy president but a great sloganeer. We remember that Mexico would pay for the wall, but they never did. We remember that everything that made him look bad was the “greatest witch hunt in the history of the world.” But really, Donnie, the actual witch hunt took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692-93. Terms like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter forced us to take stands. Are we the problem or the solution?

I loved the phrase Defund the Police, not because I thought it was a good idea but because it got people’s attention. A good slogan makes folks talk about it. H.L. Menken could have said, “We need to consider the ramifications of the budgets and the allocations of those funds so they can be modified in order to facilitate reform, which will make enforced laws appear more responsive to the needs of the community.” Oh, yeah that would have worked. Not.

The far-right radical propagandists have latched onto the phrase Critical Race Theory, and constructed a devious and destructive boogieman around it. Those jerks can’t comprehend that the “theory,” is not a school class or subject, it’s just a hook for academic masturbation. Historical realities exist and cannot be changed. Facts taught in a classroom, even when colored by the opinion of the teacher, inspire students to think. They will look at a picture of Emmitt Till in his open casket or a southern Black man hanging from a tree and then decide whether that is right or wrong. Hopefully, they will be repulsed.

When our former president kept saying the election results will be rigged, his fans could chew and swallow the tagline, Stop the Steal. When people ask if Trump caused an insurrection, all they need to consider is how the results of an election could possibly be STOPPED. Donald John Trump promoted that phrase which triggered the insurrection. He must share blame.

When the phrase Black Lives Matter became popular, some people came up with All Lives Matter as a response. Others supported the police, and their slogan became Blue Lives Matter. If Friedrich Nietzsche were still alive, he would proclaim No Lives Matter. Really, you couldn’t let African Americans have their own slogan for a while? You usurped their tagline so quickly, thereby proving you have no respect for them or what they wanted to convey. The slogan All Lives Matter is a great example of white privilege revoking Black power.

The conundrum here is the lack of awareness of words and the implication of those terms and comments. It’s like the old expression “Some of my best friends are Black.” Why would anyone say that? The only reason would be an insecurity of being white while others are judging you. If you tell an N-joke, you need to understand that you are at least a little bit racist. And if you cannot grasp that, then just come up with a statement to divert attention from who and what you truly are.

Trump used to always say, “I am the least racist person you will ever meet.” Oh really? The statement is too long to be an effective slogan. Furthermore, it’s unbelievable, has no “hook” and prompts the question “Where’s the beef?” When one constantly defends oneself by saying they aren’t what people say and think they are, then they must provide some evidence. The Trump administration had very few people of color in top positions. Maybe they just couldn’t find any smart Black people beyond Ben Carson, and the jury is still out on whether he knew anything beyond brain surgery.

Some slogans and taglines are intended to generate talk about the subject or person. Howard Stern has called himself the King of all Media for years. It’s not an actual title, but that doesn’t matter. It’s like Donald Trump saying he is a very stable genius. An I.Q. test can determine if one has a high-level quotient for learning, remembering and applying intelligence, but problem solving is a gift that some people with lower I.Q.s can more effectively use as compared to over-analytical thinkers. If Donald Trump was a true genius, why would he have suffered so many business failures and bankruptcies? Could it be that he was so damn smart he just couldn’t figure out solutions to his challenges?

The Big Lie is a slogan that the media, Democrats and left-wingers have applied to Trump’s Election Rejection Deception. O.M.G. I just created a slogan for Trump’s post-election behavior. 82 million of us Americans rejected him, and then he fired up the deception burners. The problem is our democracy is being singed by his lies and harangues and we must put out the fire right now. Donald Trump should be banned from politics.

BRAND NEW BOOK

We knew that the great divide in America would have a major effect on the presidential election in the year 2020, but something else was lurking that we didn’t anticipate. The world suffered a global pandemic of Covid-19, and everything changed. The lockdown motivated one author to write MASHED POTATOES: Covid, Cancer & Comfort Food. The cover ironically claims the book is a “humorous” recollection of 2020, but one might ask, “Where was the humor?” This is a work of survival to motivate those who desire to get beyond Covid-19, beat cancer and defend our precious Democracy.  The world got Covid, the writer got cancer and we all ate copious amounts of comfort food. It’s time to swallow the truth, survive the madness, take a large spoon and savor some delicious MASHED POTATOES. Get some here. 

 

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here


THE FACTS OF LIFE

Critical Race Theory Unites Whites

I remember when I learned the facts of life right after a whiffle ball game on the suburban street right in front of my house. After a rather juvenile description of how humans make babies, I marched into my home thinking that my parents would never do that! It took a few months for my thick brain to realized, what Joey said was true, all true. I figured out that we humans do the same things the dogs do, minus Mrs. Kelly pouring hot water on the animals to separate them. I was certain that my parents would never allow her in their bedroom.

That day of schoolboy street-based learning with my buds led me to become skeptical of what they had seen in the human sexuality pamphlet at the bottom of their father’s sock drawer. By the time I was in high school, the gender specific health classes left me with a vague and cloudy, almost valueless, understanding of how sex actually worked. Now I’ll bet you’re wondering what this story has to do with the subhead of today’s post, right?  Well, just stay with me here and you’ll soon see.

With each passing generation after the end of the Civil War and slavery, Americans have become a little less bigoted and a little more understanding about the history and feelings of Black people. Today we use the phrase Black Americans, because they are. Still, we have much more work to do.

There were no African Americans living in the small suburban town of Brentwood, Pennsylvania where I grew up. There were a few Black kids who attended my bible school, but they are mostly a dim memory. Sure, my friends and I had our favorite baseball players of color like Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Ernie Banks, and we all knew the story of Jackie Robinson, but those were heroes of the game and not personal acquaintances.

While the act of human reproduction seemed a bit strange to my young mind, I couldn’t wait to get to the next base — both in baseball and girls. Our parents and teachers used the fear of pregnancy to inhibit our large libidos in the same way they used fear to teach us that if negroes move into the neighborhood our property values will go down. It’s so embarrassing to commit this to writing, but it’s a fundamental part of the systemic racism that some white people are working so hard to have everyone else ignore.

Our former president strongly argued that teaching about race relations, racial discrimination and systemic racism is a plot to inspire hatred of white people. Really? Did Donald Trump believe that the white race was under attack by teachers and schools, or did he want to whitewash the racism charges brought against his father, his company and the Donald himself? They clearly discriminated against Black people in their New York Real estate ventures, and while they never admitted to being guilty it’s plain to see that they were.

I had an Italian high school Spanish teacher who tried to make us kids believe she was Hispanic. One day in 1965 she said in class that the Spaniards who came from Europe fixed their racial distrust and discrimination with the natives in North and South America by simply intermarrying with them. I remember thinking how crazy this woman was and wondered why she was shoveling such bullshit. I am sure if she were alive today, she would deny having said that stuff, but memory is my curse. And just for the record, those from Spain, killed the men and raped the women.

We know that slave owner Thomas Jefferson, mated with his slave women and produced offspring. Those mixed-race babies didn’t get freedom for almost a hundred years, but the fact that white male privilege included the benefit of sex and reproduction with their Black slaves is a true part of the story. Take the tour of Monticello in Virginia, which was Jefferson’s home, and they will tell you.

Critical Race Theory is a terrible name. Much like Global Warming, it’s easy to misuse and misinterpret. Climate Change is a much better term for the latter while Racial Equality is a more appropriate and meaningful name for the former. When we teach the good parts along with the bad, learning becomes better. For example, April 15, 1947 was a glorious moment in the history of the United States. That was the day when Jackie Robinson, a Black man, first took to the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was the first African American to play white man’s professional baseball. A good student might ask why it was more than a hundred years after the Civil War before a Black man could finally play. Here’s where critical race reality must enter the discussion.

Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida, recently said, “Let me be clear, there’s no room in our classrooms for things like critical race theory. Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.” Does his curious use of the term “red cent” mean he thinks all money is still made of copper? That aside, his idea that teaching kids the true history of America would make them hate their country is utter dystopian. However, he’s not saying what he believes, but simply repeating what other fearful white men have told him.

I have a question for Mr. DeSantis and his fellow white male counterparts who have passed a law banning the teaching of truth. Should young Florida kids be taught what happened in their state after a Category 4 hurricane hit there in 1928? Black survivors were forced to recover the bodies of those killed in the storm. The officials in charge ordered that food would be provided only to those who worked, and some people who refused to work were shot. Oh, it’s true, read it all here.

Maybe that shouldn’t be taught. Why would we want to make the majority, you know, the white kids feel uncomfortable? There are times I wonder why this makes me feel sick, then I remember that I am a human being empathizing with other humans who were treated inhumanely and killed.

The biggest problem with most of the right-wing politicians and grifters is they will not sit down to discuss these things in an interview. They are hiding behind their masks of self-righteousness. I would love to have 30 minutes to ask DeSantis some hard questions, but that will never happen. The KKK wore sheets to cover their identities. They didn’t want others to know who they were, but today we know who they are. Hopefully, some day they will have to stand trial.

BRAND NEW BOOK

We knew that the great divide in America would have a major effect on the presidential election in the year 2020, but something else was lurking that we didn’t anticipate. The world suffered a global pandemic of Covid-19, and everything changed. The lockdown motivated one author to write MASHED POTATOES: Covid, Cancer & Comfort Food. The cover ironically claims the book is a “humorous” recollection of 2020, but one might ask, “Where was the humor?” This is a work of survival to motivate those who desire to get beyond Covid-19, beat cancer and defend our precious Democracy.  The world got Covid, the writer got cancer and we all ate copious amounts of comfort food. It’s time to swallow the truth, survive the madness, take a large spoon and savor some delicious MASHED POTATOES. Get some here. 

 

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here