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BE AN INSURGENT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST DONALD TRUMP

OK, that’s it. Stop. Think. After Donald Trump’s recent interviews in nation-wide media outlets, not disavowing his relationship with David Duke, the outspoken, “once-a-candidate,” KKK member, makes Trump, in the words of one journalist, “unelectable.” Duke has endorsed Trump for the Presidency.
If we haven’t had a fairly militant, or passionate response to the even the possibility (as I write this it’s Super Tuesday) that Trump could be the Republican front-runner, and maybe President. I don’t know about you, but this causes shivers to run up & down my spine.

It’s curious to me that reports are so conflicting over this issue. He tells one interviewer he doesn’t know Duke, but, please, have you been alive for the last decade, living on this planet, and don’t know who David Duke is & what he advocates for (hate& violence) in his apparent new role as the “pied piper.”

I’ve wondered to myself, what are the conditioning factors of a person like Donald Trump? How does one getto be so unaware of her own behavior (I’m not a mind reader so I don’t really know), in Trump’s case, his ownpolitical & rhetorical style is raw, blunt, emotion-stirring& driven, biased, based on his own inferences not fact, some might say abusive (he turned to an audience member at one his rallies, and asked her if she was Mexican), and certainly race-baiting.

Another factor about Donald Trump is that he’s got a good case of narcissism and “big headedness.” Glenda Blair has written a book about the Trump family. David Margolick, reviews the book in the New York Times Book Section, December 3, 2000. At Donald Trump’s father’s funeral in the late Nineties, Trump showed his self absorption, having little to say about his father:

Appalling, perhaps. But astonishing? Astonishing to whom? Surely not to anyone who’s followed the career of Donald Trump — which is to say, virtually everyone. No one can doubt he has done remarkable things. But not content to let the facts speak for themselves, he has been breathtakingly, unabashedly, unceasingly immodest. Whether one credits all of his superlatives he spreads around — the ”biggest” and ”greatest” this, the ”richest” and ”sexiest” that — few would dispute his stranglehold on the one title he has never claimed: the most swollen swelled head on earth. He has plastered his name on everything: hotels, apartment buildings, casinos, an airline, a yacht, a quiz show, a bicycle race, golf courses and even a board game (lowest denomination, $10 million, and guess whose smiling face is on every bill). He is forever flaunting beautiful women on his arm, always with a smugness suggesting that they are his just deserts (or desserts).

Watching and listening to Trump, one always has to ask two questions: Could anyone ever really be so full of himself? Or is it all an act? To Blair, the author of ”Almost Golden: Jessica Savitch and the Selling of Television News,” the answers are, essentially, ”Yes” and ”No.” True, Trump knows that his very name is as golden as the facades of his buildings and helped to save him from bankruptcy a decade ago. But that Trump’s conceit has made and kept him wealthy makes it no less genuine; it is a matter of conviction, not tactics. A man who so loves himself does not have much room left for anything or anyone else, which is bad news for Blair. Someone so deeply shallow, so profoundly superficial, yet so painstakingly scrutinized for so long by so many reporters and gossipmongers is not a promising subject to write about — unless, that is, she uncovers something everyone else has managed to miss.

Blair neatly captures Trump’s uncanny business instincts, as well as his competitiveness, chutzpah, cruelty, vulgarity and hucksterism. And she catches him in his lies, or what Trump himself calls ”truthful hyperbole” — inflating the number of floors in his buildings to give each more cachet; hiring bulldozers to go back and forth uselessly outside a casino site to give potential partners the illusion of activity; boasting of paying cash — $8 million of it — for his Palm Beach pleasure dome, Mar-a-Lago, when he’d actually put down only $2,811 of his own money. She also reintroduces us to Ivana Winklmayr, the beauty from Czechoslovakia whom Trump married in 1977. It was Ivana who gave Trump his first three children and his most enduring nickname — The Donald — only to be traded in, a dozen years later, for a younger and more pliable model named Marla Maples.

Margolick uses Trump’s own, interesting term when He references the term “truthful hyperbole.” Trump appears to use the over-inflated statements & opinions of a New York street punk, and the logic of a jackass; I’ve found very few statements he’s made that mention any source or reference making his political & rhetorical points. It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that if you have a serious “narcissism” problem, it’s like a chronic & terminal eye disease, and very easily may lead to, or trigger, pathology, or “false to facts” reasoning.

Another little-known fact is that Trump’s father was a known sympathizer & associate of the KKK. In 1927, Fred Trump was arrested in New York for a melee between police & the KKK; a number of people were wounded in the disturbance, and Trump was thrown in jail.

I’m actually glad that Trump is the Republican candidate who must be beat at this point! Why? Trump is the ex officio example of a politician (saying he really isn’t the “average” politician) who doesn’t care about what people think about his blatantly racist remarks & behaviors, nor his form of dishing out a neoconservative & racist message. He has done his part to graphically display the ultimate contrast to Social Justice. We thank you, Donald.

The other piece of this is that it’s brought out the racism, exceptionalism, & ignorance of many people in this nation; racism has never left-it returns in a multi-display of costumes and clown outfits over a number of generations, and really since the founding of the nation & prior to that as well. The reason so many people are responding to Trump is fear. They’re afraid of American Whites not being the majority demographic in American culture & politics. Sorry folks, you can’t change what’s already happened, and it’s moral & rational foolishness to attempt the idea to try to go back in time, to a lesser state of social consciousness, to a lesser state of continuous abuse of Civil Rights .

A topic for another time is fundamentalist or conservative co-dependency on bigoted politicians.

As it has often been said, if we refuse to learn from history, we’re doomed to repeat it. When Trump moved from being the entertaining clown (incidentally, he loved playing the “class clown” role in school) among the Republicans, to being the iconic spokesman for racism, bias, & bigotry; he moved into the realm of danger for the human rights & civil rights of all Americans. Because this is the arena where ideology & power meet and do their work of attempting to influence the thought processes of human beings, in their own behalf, with their political agenda.

Between now & the election, will you choose to be an insurgent against Donald Trump, using whatever your wisdom & skills tell you what to do? Time is short. Let’s find our space to act!

©Christopher Bear-Beam March 1, 2016

Law enforcement ignorant of communication methods in Ferguson, Missouri

In the August 22, 2014 issue of the Austin Chronicle, Jim Hightower writes in his column that there are lessons we can learn from the past and ongoing events in the estranged community of Ferguson, Missouri. To use his words, the way the local police department marshalled their forces, in an “infuriating” manner, against their own citizens. The gulf between African-American residents and in what is basically a European-America faction who support Officer Wilson who shot an unarmed Michael Brown six times. To add to the indignity of how Michael Brown was killed, as well as his age, ethnicity, and class, after Michael Brown was shot, authorities allowed his body to lay in the middle of the street for a number of hours; this to me is the height of disrespect.

A similar dynamic went down in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit the city. Many of the hard hit areas were areas where African-Americans and other persons of color lived. Sadly, first responders didn’t make it to many homes to identify bodies in any kind of timely fashion, in a respectable way, or failed even to come. Police, themselves, appeared to use this incident as a pass for vigilantism, and criminal actions against many persons-of-color in that city.

Yes, we can learn from the experience of the Ferguson Police Department, primarily how not to quell violence, what has worked and what hasn’t worked, what methods of reconciliation & integration have been useful? Police officers dressed out in combat gear is seen as an occupying enemy. The irony in this is that practically all the personnel on the police force are white, in a town two-thirds African-Americans. So they are the local representatives of a white, male system that employs a military force; the police department is only one representative of Institutional Racism that continues to perpetuate the use of military equipment, armaments, and racism within the community.

My undergrad work in the field of Communication Studies, and graduate work in Counseling Methodologies helped me to develop a good platform for practical communication. What factors does effective communication hold in its hand? Language, choice of language, grammatical tools, etymology, learning how to be a better listener, learning how to read environmental, social, emotional, intellectual, social contexts in which the communication unfolds, projection of biases, ignorance, perceptions of both encoder & decoder, peer influence, & genetic components.

One component of communication that greatly influences the way communication happens or goes down, of which the Ferguson Police apparently were unaware, is called Object Language. Object Language is comprised of aspects of verbal or visual communication, as well as non-verbal elements such as clothing, architecture, what kind of car someone drives, the music we prefer, and direct or indirect behaviors. If there are consistent patterns of these and other elements over time, we can infer certain ideas or messages are in the process of being communicated.

Let’s look at an example: suppose you attend a school where the textbooks are inferior, old, & beaten up, or unavailable. The school, inside & out, has paint peeling off the walls, and broken-up concrete sidewalks; each classroom has windows that have been painted over with black paint. So the lighting is poor in all of the rooms, and the blackened windows keep out sunshine an overcast day may psychologically effect people, and cause some depression with it. It presents a darkened and morbid environment where students feel repressed and demoralized.

If resources are slim, and these problems are never fixed, what does this kind of Object Language say to both students & staff? The clear message is: we don’t really care that much about you—you’re going to have to make-do with you have right now (the implicit message is indifference & lack of caring concern from the encoders of this kind of communication. If they really cared, they’d find some way to improve the students’ learning environment, wouldn’t they?

In contemporary, American society, there has been a trend to move to militarization by law enforcement agencies. This may move a police function from that of protect & serve, to shoot & ask questions later. In communities of color, there has been, for a very long, long time, a basic mistrust of the police by the community. They are often viewed as ‘the enemy,’ so there has often been no basis for everyone coming to the table to advocate for their own issues & and collaborate across boundaries for the higher good of the community. Trust, as a process, often is flawed & unworkable.

The reason the militarization of police agencies is even alive & well is that the Federal government has become one of the main providers of military gear, weaponry, and tactical technology such as tanks and Humvees; they are doled out to police departments through a special program in the Federal government. The Federal government is a colluder & commiserates in the new militarism now waking & sticking its head out of the sand!

One recommendation is insuring that all personnel on the Ferguson Police Department receive Cultural Competency Skill-Building training, using a Best Practices model, such as the one used by The Center for the Healing of Racism, Houston, Texas, in a regular & consistent cycle of theory & practice. As with any kind of mandatory training for any group, some officers will feel it’s a waste of time. But, incrementally, there will hopefully be phases of training so teach a general understanding of workable cognitive & behavior interventions that all officers can use in their work. The goal would be for a greater sensitivity & awareness of cultural differences & similarities, growth of a consciousness that aligns itself with natural systems, and how this functions together with positive social education &accurate information for intercultural dialogue.

© Christopher Bear-Beam August 25, 2014

Silent Racism is Unconscious Racism

By Christopher Bear-Beam
The other day I stopped at one of the local gas stations that I frequent often. I usually get my gas there. I got out of my car and was walking to the store entrance. As I was getting nearer the door, an African American man was pulling into a marking space in an SUV. I think that he parked just a little over the parking space line.
Also coming down the walkway, heading towards the entrance, was a European American male, most likely in his fifties, dressed in middle class clothing. As he approached the African American in the SUV, he looked at his vehicle as if he was inspecting the other man’s parking competency. What was strange to me, however, is the non-verbal communication on his face—a mixture of judgment and fear. Now I’m a European Male, and probably slightly older that this man doing the inspecting.
Next in this chain of events, came a surprising behavior on the part of the other white man, that I have never observed before. For the last sixteen years I have been co-facilitating community dialogues around race, and training all kinds of groups and individuals. I received my training from The Center for the Healing of Racism, Houston, Texas (http://www.centerhealingracism.org/).
So the next moment consisted of something that I could view academically, but had never observed experientially. With the fearful look in his eyes, the European American man stopped abruptly, and stepped back about one pace when he realized that this was a black man—in my own running story line, I asked myself if he would have responded this way if it was another white person. Personally, I don’t think so.
I even rationalized in my own mind that maybe he was OCD and since something around him was out of order, or “over the line,” so to speak, he had to either avoid it, or see if he could control it in some way. Yet considering the context, the non-verbal communication, and the fear in his eyes, I made the assumption that he was afraid of the man due to his “blackness.”
One way to define this is Silent Racism. Silent Racism has many names and generally affects us—European Americans—because we haven’t been on the side of what it’s like living as a Person of Color in this culture, and very often, we don’t even have to think about how a person of color has been exposed to many micro aggressions, which are insults, put-downs, and ‘we’re better than you so we’re superior to you.’
Silent Racism also may be termed Unconscious Racism, Unaware Racism, Indirect Racism or perhaps Aversive Racism. Most of the time when whites are engaged in this type of Racism it’s not due to any intentionality to be mean or cruel. Many European Americans have very good hearts, and they aren’t conscious of the fact that they still practice this type of Racism. It’s a very subtle and covert kind of Racism, and that’s why Modern Racism is much more insidious. It’s not the blatant kind of Racism perpetrated by skinheads, the KKK, members of the White Identity Movement or members of other hate groups.
As a multicultural trainer, I had not seen this before. I’ve seen a white woman move as far away as possible from an African American on an elevate, and physically protecting her purse. But this European American male was most likely functioning this way out of fear.
Fear and separation are two of the triggers that keep this type of Racism going in our culture. Most American whites don’t want to directly face how we have been conditioned in a racist society—that’s called denial—and I’m not talking about that long river in Egypt.
If you want to do personal healing around Racism, or you know of groups that would benefit from this kind of multicultural training, check out Sunbear Community Alliance at: http://www.sunbearca.wordpress.com/. This author is the Executive Director of this nonprofit, and we are always looking for allies, collaborators, and people with the vision of re-conditioning our minds, feelings and behaviors to a Multicultural Consciousness.
Another good website for information on Racism and Anti-racism is: http://www.racismreview.org/.
©Christopher Bear-Beam October 29, 2011