The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Life Changed Is Life Saved: Racism, Bigotry, Callousness Banished

The following post is based on a story from an American who changed his life to a better life.  For some of you this screed might work better if you read Josh Clark's experience, and comeback to the opening and body of the screed. In any case, I have only experienced knowing of a few cases of that which is so eloquently stated by Mr. Clark.   

There are times when you read something that grabs you and delivers a signal to your brain: "This is serious, this is heartfelt, this is relevant, this is right all while feeding the brain's frontal lobes and Hippocampus." The experience runs the full course of cognitive processes from sensory perception thorough mental assimilation and the ultimate mental activity: Leaning.

Such external sensory experiences remind of personal epiphanies and personal experiences that upon reflection resonates with the person as an awakening, inducement for a paradigm shift and personally rewarding. A literal cognitive bundle not often experienced throughout the full measure of our full lives. We have sensory experiences as we grow through our formative years that induces learning (e.g. first real kiss to companionship to love). We certainly learn to exercise acquired skills to the level of proficiency leading to a career (e.g. attaining that first big promotion). The person learns while providing healthy nourishment for a well-rounded and humane psyche. A psyche at peace with life is without fail accompanied by a healthy emotional state. 

Some never experience life shattering experiences that result in a "changed" person. Imagine living a life that embodied learned social intolerance regarding race, religion, national origin, gender or social class. It is like being taught (by your parents) to avoid the rich kid from "The Heights," because "they are raised differently." Latter in life you find with the first experience, the rich kid you have in front of you isn't a bad person at all. Our parents, family and early social choices environment shape the individual.

For sake of developing what follows (below), supplant the "rich kid" with a black kid. A learned experience far more prevalent than caution and bias regarding America's kids of wealthy families. Actually, chance of interacting with the uber wealthy kids is almost as remote as being struck by lightening. Examples aside, "social shaping" affects us all, the only differences in our respective experiences are where the learning takes us in life.

 or this   then to this     ending like this     

I often refer to the following diagram to show how social "shaping" and social leaning from early childhood through our formative years, leads to adults who are either "ism" intolerant or who are tolerant of people who are is some way different. Intolerant adults are socially shaped to bigotry, racism, over the top gender bias or homophobia; they arr "ism" driven creatures. If the individual doesn't take steps to counter social development that leads to the bigot or the racist, we experience what we have today in increasing numbers. Imagine Rand Paul, Donald Trump, or Ted Cruz raised from childhood with an iota of tolerance for others. 

If you take a few minutes to review the diagram you will notice there is a point at which the person can take affirmative steps to counter social development that leads to bigotry and racism. In the absence of direct personal action or intervention in the "Direction for Change" stage (opportunity), the person will development through stages of bigotry and racism that could lead to manifestation as such:

                                                     Image result for racist flag waving 

Or this...listen carefully. You will not only see first hand the result of being raised to be a racist, you will see the racist (as is often the case) also has issues with sexism. According to Think Progress and official part of the CPAC archive....
At one point, a woman challenged him on the Republican Party’s roots, to which Terry responded, “I didn’t know the legacy of the Republican Party included women correcting men in public.”

The Cycle of Oppression diagram very basically places visual light on the social a social disease that affects so many Americans.

The Cycle of Oppression
"Isms" make close bed fellows that can be broken via concerted intervention as in the diagram and via the personal testimonial of a Facebook poster.
   Josh Clark's photo.
Josh Clark 
Something has been weighing pretty heavily on me the past few days. I have had a few small discussions on the issue, but haven’t gotten too far into it. I wanted to share this, not for attention, but because I thought it needed to be done. 

It’s no big secret to my friends that I love to hunt, fish, camp and do pretty much anything outdoors. I have always considered myself to be a country boy stuck in the city. One of the ways that I used to show pride for my lifestyle was wearing t-shirts with the Confederate/ Rebel flag on them. In high school, I even had a bumper sticker on my truck that read “Keep It Flying”. I had grown up seeing the flag regularly, and although I had seen it used in negative ways on occasion, I chose to accept the “Heritage not Hate” and “Pride not Prejudice” interpretation of the flag. If you had asked me back then, I would’ve told you that it was a symbol of southern pride and had nothing to do with racism. 
I was raised pretty close to downtown Nashville and grew up with kids of all races with all kinds of backgrounds. I played baseball, basketball and football on teams where sometimes whites were minorities. I am very thankful for this. As I continue to grow and learn, I realize that we tend to fear things just because we don’t understand them. Because of where and how I was raised, I never feared people of other color or background. I was able to realize that we are all the same underneath. I have had white friends, black friends, Asian friends, Middle Eastern friends, Latino friends, Christian friends, Muslim friends, Atheist friends, etc. Thankfully, I have never had a racist bone in my body.
It wasn’t until well into my college years when I began to start thinking for myself. I no longer let the people I was raised by tell me how to view every issue and tried my best to be more open-minded. I believe that one of the most important things for us to do as humans is to try putting ourselves in others’ shoes before we make any kind of judgement. 
Although I never meant anything racist by sporting the Confederate flag, I couldn’t help but think of what some of my black friends thought about it. I really can’t think of a time that I was confronted about it. Did it not offend them? Were they too nice or afraid to confront me about it? The more I researched about the history of the flag, the worse I felt. What I had been told about its history was wrong. Thousands of southerners still fly the flag with no racist intent. They still defend the good things they’ve been told about the flag. They, like I once was, are WRONG. The flag is a symbol of a way of life that was wrong. Not that it needs to be stated, but slavery is one of the most evil and cruel things this world has ever seen. The Confederate flag represents this evil. Where is the pride in that? The Confederate flag is also a sign of division. How can you truly be a patriot of this country and fly this flag? Do we really need to fly a flag to show that we are southern, or that we like to hunt and fish, especially when it’s offensive to so many? It is not a kind thing, a good thing, or the right thing to do.
To those against removing the flag, I do not think you are a bad person. I know what it once meant to me. I do, however, challenge you to do your research. Step outside of what your family taught you and be open-minded. Even if you believe in a different history lesson, is flying a flag worth the pain it causes others? Please try to view these issues from the other side of the argument.
To those I may have offended in the past, who never confronted me, I apologize. I was WRONG. 
As our country continues to move forward on equality issues, I believe the only place for the Confederate flag is in our history books.
It is refreshing to know there are many Americans who stand against social shaping that leads to oppression of people based on "isms." While some never know it, such oppression also oppresses the oppressor.

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