Friday, June 5, 2020

Black Lives Matter and perpetuating Racism

With clear intent I have avoided watching a video of the George Floyd homicide. This is to help maintain an objective perspective in addressing the issue of race and particularly the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

First, let me give you some background on me in regards to race. In grade 1 I had a best friend who was from a nearly opposite class background as myself but that didn’t matter to me. I would see him and run to him and give him a hug and kiss on the cheek. It would so embarrass him. His race was black. Throughout my schooling I had friends across a range of class and racial distinctions.

I enjoyed going to the International Festival, an annual event in Indianapolis that showcased the attributes of various cultures or ethnic groups. As I trudged through high school I became more interested in race and racial politics.

Racial injustice piqued my interest. The more I observed and learned the more I became grounded in three basic principles; 1] the government should stay out of matters related to race, 2] that separation of races, particularly when self-imposed, will reduce racial conflict, and 3] pursuing equality among races [or equality in general] leads to tyranny.

While there are few instances which I could point to that helped to solidify these positions there is one I can clearly recall. Although there was a high school miles closer to some of my black classmates they were brought there to, at least to my perception, achieve a racial politics goal. I can recall some white students referring to black students coming to “our school” as though it belonged to the white students. Secondly, it took those black students away from their neighborhood and likely nearby friends who went to the neighborhood school.

These political actions peeved me. Let people the hell alone and allow them to live their lives as they wish, was my thought. But no. Racial statistics seemed to be more important than the wishes of the people. During and shortly after high school I either went to meetings regarding various racial groups or spoke with people involved. I proposed my first principle to all.

I got the cold shoulder at every turn. While all groups seemed to profess seeking an end to racism and equal opportunity [equity] regardless of race none wanted to eliminate the tool of racism and racial discrimination; racial classification. Particularly if it was imposed by the government. That was until I came across one loosely aligned group; the white power movement.

I found a home there. They did want the government to get out of the racial discrimination business. They did want people to be able to self-segregate themselves. They did oppose the tyranny of equality.

Of course they had some drawbacks. They denigrated other races and some held a virulent hatred toward other races. Then there was the well-established rift between skinheads and the Klan. If you believe in a principle then proudly stand up and espouse that principle. Don’t be two-faced and hide behind a damn hood. Or the modern day equivalent of an on-line screen name that is not your given name.

Another hypocrisy I encountered was some of the skinheads who didn’t like my friendship with Olympic medalist Nelson Vails. He was a black man married to a white woman. Don’t dare come to me with your proposition that the government shouldn’t force us to intermingle with black people in employment or whatever and then tell me that I can’t choose to do so if I so desire. I make my friendships based on the integrity of the person.

The most vociferous opponent of the white power movement I encountered was Jewish based organizations. They were the most hypocritical. For someone to talk about doing away with racism but then to segregate themselves into communities, to show discriminatory practices when hiring employees or choosing business suppliers, and to disqualify their offspring from marrying certain people, all based on their race is the greatest hypocrisy.

I am all for discriminating. I will choose products made by a non-union workforce over a union workforce without hesitation or comparison of quality. I discriminate based upon likelihood of quality or on ethical principles. However, I won’t profess to judge each product based upon it’s quality and then discriminate based upon ethic principles. While I will readily discriminate by using a vast range of categories I don’t use race to make a judgment of character. This is where I think Martin Luther King fell short.

He stated, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.". That may simply have been intended as a primary step. As for a final goal, as it appeared to me, I think it fell short. Rather, a more laudable goal I reason is a day when we no longer use race as a social classification.

Race is entrenched in our thinking and, thus, language. When describing a person we often use a racial marker first. This is done although other markers may be more distinctive and narrowing. Male cuts out half the population. Age 60s narrows it considerably. Caucasian knocks out a few more. In some situational circumstances race may be more efficient. Fifty people are in a room including a black couple comprised of a man and woman. You need only say black woman and I know of whom you refer. With great consistency however race is used as a primary marker. Hence, it’s considered most important. At least that is the implicit message that we receive subconsciously.

Care should be exercised when making utterances. Once it is said it cannot be redacted from the mind. In the legal community we all give a wink to “the jury shall disregard that comment” instruction. They can’t!

Race is also entrenched by government usage. There it is used as a means of control. I saw clearly through first-hand experience how the government attempts to perpetuate racial conflict among the populace.

As a youngster, rising to national prominence in the white power scene, the US DOJ targeted me and took on the responsibility of providing for my general care and needs. As I made my way as far north as Minnesota, out to the great plains, and then down to the Bayou I was isolated in or turned away from various prisons. I settled in Louisiana [lousyana] and with lightning rapidity I ran my unit and generally stood as the go to guy for the white boys.

However, I associated with members of all races. A principle that I held while I was there is that there are only two kinds of people here; those being held in and those holding us in. Race didn’t matter. My associations caught the attention of the staff. I would get called into the Lieutenant’s Office and interrogated regularly about who I was seen with and what we were talking about before being admonished not to loiter in groups. There were also regular trips to the segregation unit for me. Ha, you put me in prison for not following rules and then expect me to follow rules. Sorry Charlie!

What concerned the prison staff is that I was unifying prisoners across racial lines. The government doesn’t want us to be harmonious amongst each other. If we are harmonious, then, like in the micro-society of prison, we have a unified enemy; the government oppressor.

So onto the central topic. “Black Lives Matter”

Language is critical in persuasive motivation. Consider the Emotion Recognition Task. The researchers who designed it used a human model to give facial expressions reflecting the seven basic emotions. During an evaluation the research subjects are to identify which emotion is expressed by the model’s face. The subjects are asked which expression “agrees” with an emotion choice. The researchers particularly chose not to ask which expression “accurately” shows an emotion choice. This is because that would skew the results when presented to people like me. I would doubt that the model experienced the seven particular emotions during the one sitting for the photos.

The position statement “Black Lives Matter” is illustrated more clearly by looking at it’s mathematical inversion which is: “NOT-Black Lives do NOT Matter”.

I saw a posting on Facebook which stated that anyone who said that it means the lives of people of other races does not matter doesn’t understand the phrase. But in analysing it mathematically it is clear and succinct: “NOT-Black Lives do NOT Matter”. The author of that posting went into a lengthy explanation using a biblical reference about 100 sheep and the shepherd going after one who got away while the others were left asking, “do we not matter?”

I readily concede that “Black Lives Matter'' may not be intended to say “NOT-Black Lives do NOT Matter”. But as a first impression statement of principle, which is exactly what that is, it does say that. However, it may be redeemed through explanation such as the sheep analogy.

You have likely attempted something akin in the past. You are queried and immediately respond “yes” and upon instantaneously catching a glimpse of horror on the face of the inquisitor or bystanders you seek to clarify. “I, uh, well I don’t mean that you are fat but it’s just the cut of those pants that gives that impression.” Give up and leave. You just forever called her fat.

The same can be attempted after someone is exposed to the phrase “Black Lives Matter”. Immediately give a clarification using a sheep analogy or whatever. Do so that the person can hear it, process it, and override the first impression all within about one second, give or take 30 micro-seconds, of first hearing “Black Lives Matter”. That way it may not become embedded. “Black Lives Matter”

The statement “Black Lives Matter” conveys a position of principle. The analogy about sheep conveys a position for action priorities such as a triage protocol. Those in greatest danger are tended to first. To make the biblical reference analogous to “Black Lives Matter” the story needs tweaked a bit which I will do.

“Sheep Lives Matter” will be the position statement. Now 50 sheep and 50 lambs are in the pen. Two of each escape before the shepherd latches the gate. He then goes after the two wayward sheep while the other 96 animals in the pen wait to be fed. When the shepherd returns with the two sheep the others ask, “do we not matter?” The shepherd responds, “Well sure you do but my action protocol requires that I tend to those most in danger first.” “Well what about those two lambs”, the other animals ask. “Oh they are wolf food by now”, says the Shepherd, “No one told me that all animals' lives matter.”

ANYTIME race is used as a marker it is used for the purpose of exclusion - discrimination. Anyone who continues to use racial identifiers for sociological purposes does so to perpetuate racism or racial classification.

From my perspective, based upon vast life experiences including significant study of racial politics, sociology, and psychology, we should all espouse the idea that “All Lives Matter”. Concurrently, that there is a systemic bias in law enforcement against people based upon class, and to a lesser extent, race.

Those who espouse that “Black Lives Matter” are likewise saying “NOT-Black Lives do NOT Matter”. There is no other valid interpretation. They are perpetuating racial conflict. When you tell me that you stand for equity and that “All Lives Matter” then you have found a confederate to help you end racial prejudice and injustice.

But when you tell me that my life doesn’t matter then you can just go %$#@ yourself.

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