Archive | August 2016

STYGMA TOWARDS THOSE WHO HAVE AN ILLNESS OF THE MIND

Stigma-the word means almost the same as it sounds, something like a sword that might stab you under the rib; isn’t stigma happening when religions or relics start to drip blood on the wall, the altar, or a person’s “stigmatized” face\sometimes people get it, and they start bleeding from body part?

I thought it was some virus-a stigma-a stigmatism-that one could get that nested in an eye, and cause us to ask, “Isn’t that stigma?”

No, a stigma is far more powerful & hurtful, than any of the things I’ve described here. A stigma is created & perpetuated by people who have a lot of bias (towards whatever they ridicule) and lack good, accurate information about whatever they are stigmatizing (consistently finding themselves engaged in an emotional commitment to ignorance).

Stigma is a false or negative statement of one’s mind about a group or class of people; bias, as written above, it is definitely an emotional commitment to ignorance, mainly because people reject the facts around any given group, blinded by their own denial. Big Time! Stigma is a judgment you lay on some other group or person; it’s an extension of the blame game. “We don’t want those drug addicts (or any type of group such as homeless, “crazy” people, or battered women or men) living in our neighborhood!

What runs these kind of “stigmatized” responses? Most likely, it’s fear with a capital F! Fear is the enemy in the mind that causes you to shrink from anything you don’t like or of which you fear. When we do fear that traps us, we can’t think clearly or reason intelligently; we think with ignorant, irrational, fuzzy-logic brains.

Bias-prejudice-racism syndrome (my word) will cause a lot of crazy making in our lives; intense drama is no fun to live with all the time. It drains us of energy to live an effective, healthy, & joy-filled life. Anything we center on will require energy, commitment, & persistence over time.

We may think all persons who have a psychiatric diagnosis, are “crazy” people, “who are also very violent.” Not true at all, of most people with diagnoses; most can function in their treatment plans with medication, therapy, and other cognitive-behavior interventions. Most likely this perception comes from highly publicized crimes journalized in the media. Also, many people with diagnoses are able to work, and each person has to work out what that’s going to look like for them.

Here’s an idea to try on: when thinking about any particular group, try to think of the group objectively, factually; think of points that you believe about certain classes of people, and list them. Once you’ve done that, ask yourself why you believe this about that group. Think of specific points that you feel these people “have” or “possess.” Then do as much of a search as you can, insuring you obtain accurate data & information are correct. This is a real self-challenging search and you’ll have to work for a result!

©Christopher Bear-Beam April 11, 2016

 

 

Trump’s Track Record

This material is excerpted from the Intelligence Report (summer, 2016), a Southern Poverty Law Center publication. This time line takes place over the twelve months after officially putting in his bid for the Republican Presidential Campaign. Throughout this time, Trump has made many racist & biased statements; his typical pattern is to make this kind of ignorant & alarmist statement, then over the next several days he defends it, never apologizing, but always keeping “Donald Trump” as Number One.

The following contains some of the factual evidence, in a time line form, no matter what Trump says afterwards; the statements are telling, and indicative saying what he says as a result of his own consciousness & belief systems regarding diversity, race, immigration, etc. Language is an environment, and it’s also a reflection of one’s character & ethos.

June 2015

Referring to Mexicans seeking a home in the USA: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists” (p. 15). Stereotyping, blaming others for our own financial problems, & making a huge inference that all Mexicans are, essentially, trouble & pathologically sick.

Members of the White Genocide Project started a petition to honor Trump for ‘”opposing white genocide”’ (p. 15).

August 2015

Trump introduced a six-page immigration plan; the plan was largely devised by Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state who also serves as an attorney for the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, “a far-right anti-immigration group” (p. 15). Kobach is also known for marketing & defending anti-immigration and voter ID laws.

David Duke also praised his plan by saying about Trump, “he has really said some incredibly great things recently. So whatever his motivation, I don’t give a damn. I really like the fact that he’s speaking out on this greatest, immediate threat to the American people” (p. 15).

Trump clashed with CNN’s Megyn Kelly. He told CNN that Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever,” and was blaming Kelly for her tough debate questions on her menstrual cycle, that’s just the latest misogynistic comment from Trump. In the middle of the month, Trump fired his top advisor, Roger Stone; Stone is known for verbal, racist attacks using words like “stupid Negro,” “House Negro,” “Nigga,” “Uncle Tom,” “Arrogant Know-It-All Negro,” and more.

November 2015

When a Black Lives Matter protestor was beaten by Trump’s supporters at a November 21 rally in Birmingham, Alabama, Trump told Fox News, “Maybe he should have been roughed up. It was absolutely disgusting what he was doing” (p. 16).

The next day Trump tweeted that blacks were responsible for 81% of whites murdered in the U.S.—PolitiFact showed that this to be a flat-out lie; ironically, true, genuine statistics verify that 82% of murdered whites were, indeed, killed by other white people.

Trump also claimed that people were laughing when the Trade Towers were brought down in 2001; multiple investigations showed that this wasn’t the case, but Trump restated the allegation and stubbornly refused to retract it. Do you think that most rational people want someone for President that’s so rigidly racist they can’t admit it when they’re wrong.

December 2015

After the ISIS attack in Paris, Trump called for a ‘”total and complete shutdown”’ of Muslims entering the U.S. A number of surveys have shown that the number of American Muslims supporting violence is tiny. This harkens back to putting certain “tests” on folks who want to emigrate to the U.S. at prior times in our nation’s history.

February 2016

This was a bad month for Trump. He denied knowing about David Duke, after one time calling him a racist bigot who was a problem; he said “I don’t know anything about David Duke, okay?” which was patently false, because of previous statements he had made about Duke.

Trump told South Carolinians the story of how General John Pershing executed Muslim prisoners in the Philippines with bullets dipped in pig’s blood, which is a total fairy tale, but effectively denigrated Muslims.

He promised to pay the legal fees of anyone who knocked the crap out of anyone protesting at his rallies.

March 2016

At one of Trump’s rallies in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Trump supporter, John McGraw was videotaped as he punched a black protestor; the local sheriff called the attack “a cowardly, unprovoked act;” yet Trump said he was looking into paying McGraw’s legal fees.

May 2016

“In Washington, DC. police released a video showing an unidentified white woman assaulting a black woman wearing a hijab. The victim, who said the woman also poured a strange smelling liquid on her, said her attacker called her ‘fucking Muslim trash,” shouted that she was voting for Trump, and said she hoped that as president he would send “‘all of you terrorist Muslims out of the country’” (p.20).

June 2016

It was in this month that Trump said that he wouldn’t get legal justice, based on a lawsuit that accused Trump of fraudulently offering degrees through Trump University, because the judge in the case was of “Mexican” heritage. So what if he was born in Indiana, and so what if he’s a Mexican-American-big deal! Just another sign of Trump’s own racism.

This was the month of the horrific massacre of primarily LBGT people in a club in Orlando, Florida. Trump insinuated that the massacre was an example of the complicity of Muslims; in December, 2015 fourteen people were killed by a Muslim couple in San Bernadino, California, and Trump claimed in an interview that “There were numerous people that saw bombs all over the apartment floor,” yet there was no evidence this was true.

August 2016

Within the last week, from the time of this writing, Trump accused President Obama of being one of the founders of ISIS, as well as Hillary Clinton.

I write this, not as an alarmist, but as one who wants to highlight the racism of Donald Trump as an alert; it doesn’t matter if he’s an Unaware Racist, or a Blatant Racist, his track record is filled with racist & biased rhetoric.

Not unlike Germany, prior to the reign of Adolph Hitler, Hitler hit men & women were sent out into the streets to provoke the populace; Hitler blamed the business sector for many of the evils found in Germany’s economy. At first Hitler wormed his way into the public eye, because he seemed “righteous” and had a solution to the problem of the German economy—that solution was the “final solution” for Jews in Germany, and the occupied countries Germany had invaded.

The message is clear: fascism often begins with the innocent appeal for the betterment of the nation & its inhabitants-something’s amiss & we can fix it (“Let’s make America great again”); as political inroads keep occurring, people get brainwashed & can’t think straight or rationally. They believe the lies of people who they think “is in the know,” and are especially persuaded by charismatic & wealthy people. This is Trump’s appeal so we need to continue our vigilance to communicate our truth as much & well as we can.

Please share this with as many people as you can. If you know Trump supporters, now would be a good time to communicate about the Trump falsehoods & racism.

©Christopher Bear-Beam August 18, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Discrimination & Association

By Christopher Bear-Beam & Bill Beam

My family & I lived in the Houston, Texas from 1990 to 2004. We lived a couple of places in the Houston Metroplex, and finally found ourselves in the northern suburb of Houston, living in Spring, Texas.

During this period of time, I was engaged in anti-racism work, mainly through the auspices of the Center for the Healing of Racism, located in Houston. As time went by, I learned many things (unlearning & replacing old, racialized conditioning with accurate information & behaviors)-I also learned & dialogued with others about the many faces of Racism, Sexism, Stereotyping, Cultural Racism, Internalized Racism, Xenophobia, Hate Crimes & Hate Groups, Unaware Racism & Institutional Racism, and co-facilitated “Dialogue Groups” and training for other organizations & professionals.

I’m a very intuitional thinker & learner, so my decoders were open & mindful of actions, language, and non-verbal communication of many around the Isms that impacted & surrounded me in my world & community.

For part of this time, all three of our children lived with us in our home, until our oldest boy, Ted, moved out of the house to begin life at the University of Houston. So my youngest son, Bill, was witness, as well as my daughter, Liz, to some of the events in this story; at that time, to give this story some context, Bill was in his adolescence & early adult years. Usually, a time of chaotic upheaval in any family.

Of all our three children, Bill looked most like someone who may have been from the Middle East, or someone from the Latina/o ethnicity; Bill took after my dad, who was much darker skin-toned than my mom. My ex-wife’s ancestry was Germanic, and mine (on mom’s side) was the British Isles.

I wanted to share this story, because I think it illustrates how whites can be discriminative through association with those who don’t look like us, or even biased by the kind of clothing one wears or their appearance; many times whites may even “pass” to look like a white and not a person-of-color. Some of these factors relate to Classism.

This re-emphasizes the point of how deep these prejudices, biases & Racism go, because “arrested-due-to-being-with-an-African-American or Latina-American” may be another little known observation about one of the dynamics of Racism, and a huge cause for concern for citizens and police departments.

As we’ve come to know, simply looking a certain way may serve as a trigger (this also includes Law Enforcement Professionals); this trigger can prompt a person to get more information from the person in this instance. Either way, what we have here are the stereotypical thought-processes that can re-inforce with each negative or discriminative incident. The natural consequence for a person, most of the time, is a kind of “hardening of the categories,” so the person in the system and the system itself gets even more unclear & muddy. In many ways, this leaves little energy left for police to “Protect & Serve” the community in which they work.

This applies to Bill’s first incident. He was returning some videos to the video store; he happened to be wearing an old, Navy P-Coat (as they were called) that hung down, maybe below his belt line.

At that time, Bill was wearing this coat (once my dad’s) when he went to the video store. However, the menacing symbol of teens who kill, wearing longer, trench coats, had already been set in motion by one of the shooters at Columbine, CO, who helped gun down many students & teachers there. The Media, along with many other sources, kept the “dark, long overcoat” stereotype running for a while.

So, Bill is walking up to the store’s front door, and the next thing he knows, a cop car pulls up, flashing its blinding, red lights, the way that many “first responders’” vehicles would be flashing at a fire in a fire-works factory. The officers grabbed him, and threw his head down on the sidewalk, nose first; they then cuffed him and pushed him into the back seat of the police car. Bill remembered the face of one of the deputies, having seen him before sometime. Bill sits in the back seat, as his nose drips crimson drops of blood.

He told the cops his reason for being at the video store was only to drop off some movies, and that was it! As they probed him with more questions, and silly, stupid remarks barbs (it turns out that Bill looked a little bit like a suspect wanted for murder!).

As they talked more, the officers laughed at Bill and threw open & hidden barbs at him; one of them suggested in a very serious manner that he should think about going into the Military and make it a career.

After asking him a few more questions, they must have concluded that Bill didn’t seem to match the description, or seem the type to be a local ax-murderer! Bill is a very passionate person, and sometimes his anger gets the best of him, and then he goes out-of-control. He has a big, wonderful heart!

Bill delivered pizzas, and drove an old, white Ford Fairlane (if my memory serves me, I think I gave him this dubious car, or maybe he had bought his own). If I gave the car to him, I apologize for the piece of shit!

He delivered pizzas all around the sub-division, and our part of town. He would drive down this one road, and Harris County Constables would stop him all the time for some fairly “piddly-squat” reasons. Personally, I think that the fact that he looked like a Latino-American, was the real cause of the police harassment. Then, too, his “almost-looking-like-a-low-rider” car would have caught their attention, in their profiling Bill. Interestingly enough, I’ve talked to a few other persons-of-color who have had the same kind of treatment by officers of the law.

The third incident that Bill told me about where he encountered discriminative association (I’m sure there were other times as well), was a time he was with a friend of his who happened to be an African-American. They were situated in an apartment community, they rang the apartment number, but no one answered; Bill’s friend decided to jump the fence & look for the apartment. His girlfriend, who lived there, had his cell phone, and he needed it back.

His friend disappears over the gated-fence, and ran away out of sight; in this case as well, a cop car guns its engine, moves towards Bill, and with sirens & lights flashing\fire-engine red\Bill’s left standing by the gate as both officers get out of their squad car, with pistols drawn.

One of the cops whispers something to the other and he gets back into the car-he pulls out of the parking lot, and heads towards the leasing office. Once there, he explains to the manager that they got a call from a resident of the apartment complex, who saw an African-American male trying to break into the apartment. He asks if he can take a look around, you know, to check things out, and the manager, of course, said yes.

The police officer leaves the office and goes from one building to another looking for the apartment number the caller had given. After surveilling a while, he sees Bill’s friend sneaking around some apartments-he finds the one he’s looking for, and knocks loudly. The officer yells, “OK, put your hands in the air, turn towards the wall, spread your legs and put your hands up against the wall. Now!” The dude turns and surrenders himself to the officer.

The cop marches him back to his cop car and pushes him down, headfirst, into the unyielding metal of the top of the car, and then into the back seat, hard. His partner gets in and sits in the passenger-side of the front seat.

The officers spoke very abusively to Bill & his friend, but especially to his friend, the young, African-American dude. In their questions & conversation, they called his friend a “N_ _ _ _ _” and kept bad-mouthing both of them.

Bill’s friend attempted to explain that he’d gone to his girlfriend’s apartment here; after ringing her bell & getting a “no answer,” he got real panicky because he needed his phone for his job; then he told the cops, “I swear to God, I wasn’t casing any apartment, I didn’t break into an apartment, and all I’m trying to do is to get my phone back. I’m really sorry I trespassed, and jumped the fence!”

The cops didn’t believe him, and didn’t take a word of his seriously, Bill told me later; at the end of the day, they took Bill’s friend to jail, and let Bill walk. Maybe White Privilege was doing its work, too, and that’s why Bill got off. All of us are conditioned to perceive the empirical signals & stimuli that surround us, reacting or responding to them based on our value-judgments.

Our senses activate our perceptions, too. We see something happen &, Deja vu, our memory transports us back in time to when that similar situation occurred. All humans have evolved this type of conscientiousness. Usually, we react in “fight or flight” ways in order to survive or avoid pain.

Earlier in the story, I used the term “hardening of the categories.” Perhaps another way to define this term is to say that many folks appear to ‘have an emotional commitment to ignorance.’ When we get new information or see a little more clearly & deeply about ourselves, often it’s not a pleasant experience; we resist it, push-back against it, or deny its reality. This has been given the label of cognitive dissonance-cognitive, disrupting information that we’re not ready to hear; we seek psycho-social historical knowledge and other narratives that may have been on the oppressor or the “perp” side.

If we allow our categories to harden, so that we put people who are different than us in neat little category-boxes, the reinforcement increases their hardening, they get tight, rigid, dry & breakable, dull & sometimes people grow stunted & pathologically in their effects on both self & others.

This kind of person isn’t typical to someone who’s open to learn; their ignorance acts as a barrier, acting as a metaphysical wall to see things around them that are beautiful & empowered diversity of humanity, too. Have you ever seen an ugly rose? Have you ever been in the presence of a mean-spirited tulip? What about a hostile hydrangea?

This may operate in a different kind of way. I remember being in a hospital vending area, and an elderly African-American woman, possibly a person who had intellectual disabilities, was struggling to get candy or coffee from the machine; another white woman stood near me, and she looked over at me, giving me a non-verbal signal, as if to say, ‘These people are ignorant. We are superior, more intelligent than a black person.’ Looking at me with that superior look was here way of finding some type of alliance in this situation. This also may be a type of discriminative association.

This extends also to other discriminative associations where people appear in oppositional roles. We see one thing, one object, one person, or one scene, we make a quick judgment about what we see, based on discriminative association, then we’re off and running.

Most of us would probably feel much more contentment if we stop profiling others, especially when it comes to some kind of negative or deleterious association with someone or something else. Just because we think something to be true & factual, doesn’t mean it is, or that it ends up that way. It has to be authenticated by facts, observations, and good, sound information throughout the entire process.

©Christopher Bear-Beam July 14, 2016