Crips n’ Bloods – what the “right” has in common with common street gangs

January 14th, 2013

Crips n’ Bloods…what the “right” has in common with common street gangs.

 

The ferocity we’re experiencing as we begin the debate about passing sensible gun laws (or as the “right” insists; ‘gun control’, or ‘Obama’s threatening to take your guns away!’), has resulted in a near rabid whirlwind of slander and accusation.  Compounded with the ongoing hostage situation (GOP denial of raising the ALWAYS raised debt ceiling, aka paying our already spent bills), the still smoldering religious resentment over contraceptives in the healthcare bill (another denial of reality, not to mention a chauvinistic slam against women), and the continuation of the “anything except what Obama proposes” mantra (aka Mitch McConnell, Eric Canter, and every other tea-party “patriot”), has got me to thinking about street gangs.  Seems to me the “right” has a great deal in common with a group they are either completely oblivious to (when it comes to talking about where daily gun deaths are happening) and often using as a device to instill fear in their faithful (welfare, government hand-outs, & non-taxpayers – even though REAL statistics show more whites on welfare, gov hand-outs are proportionally higher for wealthy whites, and many don’t pay federal taxes because they live below the poverty line!)….I am speaking of the once notorious Crips and Bloods street gangs located in inner-cities across the country.

 

Often donning red-kerchiefs, the bloods (aka red states) have been holding this country hostage while disparaging the poor (aka black), illegal immigrants (aka Mexicans), same-sex marriage (aka gays), terrorists (aka Muslims), and anybody who just doesn’t look like them (aka anti-American Socialists).  They weld their assault rifles (used for what kind of hunting exactly?!) with massive ammunition clips (if you can’t shoot a deer with a couple shots, these are sure to obliterate them!), posturing with a NO COMPROMISE attitude as if everything else is the problem because they say so.  The few studies that show otherwise (that the proliferation of guns are a real problem) are debunked with no facts, and the studies that should have been done have been conveniently ruled illegal to conduct by any government agency if they result in any kind of conclusion which hold guns responsible (language like this was actually inserted into a bill which was passed in Congress in 1996!).

 

Much like the Crips who terrorized inner-city neighborhoods (and still do under the guise of different titles) by selling drugs openly on street corners (aka using distorted truths, lies and misinformation openly), brandishing weapons to control their turf (aka bringing guns to political rallies, passing laws like Florida’s “stand your ground”, and forcing states to allow guns to be carried in public places; parks, schools, and our Nation’s Capital), and threatening to do harm to residents (aka stating they will not compromise on sensible gun legislation, holding the country hostage with the debt ceiling which could cause extreme damage to our credibility not to mention hurt poor & working families, refusing to pass the violence against women act, refusing to fund the Sandy relief bill, refusing to acknowledge the international disabilities act, continuing to stall on immigration…), these “patriots” are considered “true Americans”.

 

If the Bloods actually took their turf war to this “gang’s” ‘hood, I think then we’d see some real action on these issues!

Re-branding Diversity for 2013

December 27th, 2012

Re-branding Diversity

 

(I began this post the week of the CT school shootings and like most American’s, the outrage overwhelmed me.  I found myself sidetracked by the ongoing battle to create stricter gun laws and a safer-saner society.)

 

 

I recently read an article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine about the rebranding of therapists and psychotherapy.  It was a fascinating piece describing how many people in the field, after years of training, suddenly find themselves out in the world with too few clients and a sputtering career.  The article suggested recent graduates of psychotherapy programs along with seasoned professionals are hiring branding experts to re-brand their image into one that is more palatable and thus attract more clients.  From “Psychotherapy” to “Life Coach”, from “Shrink” to “Teen-Parenting Guru”, instituting happier, less clinical jargon on websites, and in business flyers.  The subtle, smoother re-crafting of their field in order to make it more commercially appealing seemed an interesting idea to me.  The taboo that yet surrounds psychotherapy is getting a makeover thanks to specialization and a desire to attract more business.

 

This change in brand got me to thinking.  I have been touring my show for ten years now, combined with interactive workshops that delve more deeply into issues of identity, race, and diversity.  In that span of time, I have gained a great deal more knowledge via the hundreds post-show dialogues I have led, along with my hours of study and absorption of issues.  In the past five years I have been asked to present my show with follow-up dialogue as a Keynote address for a great many “Diversity Conferences”, or “race-related” events.  I cannot tell you how many times I have been to one of these wonderful events only to experience the rooms filled primarily with people of color and women.  If the definition of diversity is “of various kinds or forms”, then these conferences are far from fulfilling a “diverse” mission.  One could ask, “Where are the white people? Shouldn’t they be apart of this dialogue?”

 

Combine this with my years of experience facilitating dialogue on race and diversity on campuses, in corporations, for government agencies, and in theaters across the country and it becomes very apparent to me that we (in this field of “diversity” etc.) need to rebrand what we are “selling”.  Watching people struggle to engage in open dialogue about who they are and how they see others assures me there is a great need for these types of conversations.  However, many are afraid or uncomfortable having discourse on this topic in mixed company.  You can create the most diverse, multi-ethnic, multi-racial environment on the planet, however if you don’t know how to talk to one another it won’t matter how colorful your group is.  If you can’t find ways to share personal histories in an effort to build common understanding, that great diversity won’t mean squat.

 

If you simply watch or read the news you can witness how the word RACE ignites a volatile dialogue from either black or white, right or left.  Studies prove the disparity in how different races, ethnicities, or genders perceive their plight; whites see race relations as improving while blacks do not, women see less opportunities for advancement in the workplace yet CEO’s think differently, gays feel disadvantaged in being denied marriage when some think civil unions should suffice, and on and on…  Is it any wonder why when people hear about a diversity conference or workshop that those in abundance are people seeking a more level playing field, not those who wish to maintain the status quo?  I can’t tell you how many times I hear people groan in displeasure when told my presentation has to do with race or diversity.  “Do we have to talk about that?!”  Fortunately for them, my program creates a very safe environment for people to share personal stories, rather than harangue about race.  Post-show discussions actually become a place where people can learn about one another and foster understanding.  However, if you won’t book the show because you’re worried about “yet another diversity/race program”, you’ll never get to the post-show.

 

So…perhaps it’s time to re-brand “diversity” and create a less threatening, more inclusive (another buzz word in our field), more commercial moniker that will reach out and grab not only people of color (and women), but anyone who might be fascinated by human interaction.  But what would we call our efforts to educate and unite through means of communication?  Maybe that is simple enough?  Or perhaps; An Identity Bridge?  Communication Solutions?  Team Building sounds to “You mean I’m gonna have to get up and do some kind of improvisation game?!”.  How about Developing Authentically Engaging Conversations?  I’m sure there are many more I could suggest, but baring a sudden realization that white privilege dominates our society/world, we are going to need to seriously diversify our diversity efforts if we are going to reach the kind of understanding necessary to create a change in our environments.  Let the re-branding begin.

Language as weapon

December 5th, 2012

What’s in a word?  Language as weapon.

 

The English language can be maddeningly complicated.  How many times have you thought you understood someone, only to have misinterpreted their meaning?  When was the last time you had to look up a word in the dictionary because you weren’t exactly sure of its meaning and usage?  And how often are you at a loss when composing something because you just can’t find the “right” word to express your thoughts?

 

Common situations for most of us I guess, yet we plough through them barely stopping for thought or reflection.  What happens when we read something or hear something that sounds offensive?  Are we always certain of what we suspect?  Will the passage we are reading or hearing have the same impact on others?  What is perfectly fine for one person to say/write may not be acceptable for another.  I find our freedom of speech – so highly valued and cherished as a part of our unique democracy – is quite often used as a shield to protect those who don’t want to accept the responsibilities that come along with that freedom.  If we acknowledge the FACT that each of us has at sometime over the course of our lives been deeply hurt by something someone has said to us, then we must also acknowledge that words have the ability to cause pain.  If we can cause pain via the use of language – which in some cases has counter effect of great violence – then we should also be willing to accept the responsibility of the use of such language.  This seems a basic principal to me which no one ever talks about or acknowledges.

 

Just think of a time when someone said something terrible to you, perhaps called you a terrible name, or commented quite derogatively on a job you had done.  Most of us either brushed the insult aside, or have countered with an equally offending abuse.  We walk away either feeling victorious for having gotten the last word in the argument, or with our heads down feeling defeated.  Either way, what kind of negativity and residual effect stays with us?  Where does this “pain” live within us and for how long?  Do we really ever shake it completely?  How many times have we talked disparagingly about what so-and-so said to us days, weeks, or even years ago?  I’m not talking about new-age, airy-fairy psychotherapy theories, I’m speaking of real pain caused by something said to us by someone who was most likely angry and in pain.

 

So…we hurt each other with words, but don’t ever bother to stop and think about the consequences or accept the responsibilities of that “freedom of speech”.  We move on until the next time we can practice our cherished “freedom”.

 

I’ve been thinking about all the rhetoric spewed over the course of the last election cycle…and some still being batted about since!  I’ve written in the past about the kind of name-calling President Obama was subjected to; some political, some quite racist in nature.  There are a good number of people who would completely deny that any such name-calling is racist, or for that matter uncalled for.  These people would go on and on (and have) about the Left’s perpetration of race as a means to divide this country.  I would point out however, that most of these voices are white, and most are angry in tone (some in their ranks would dispute the anger charge, but they are tone deaf at best).

 

Since the 80’s that party has employed Lee Atwater’s now famous “Southern Strategy” in dividing voters by means of coded language…using “race” without just coming out and using the word(s).

 

http://www.thenation.com/article/170841/exclusive-lee-atwaters-infamous-1981-interview-southern-strategy

 

Whether it was Bush I using the Willie Horton ad to demonize Michael Dukakis, all the way up to RNC African-American Chairman Michael Steele acknowledging the party’s use of the Southern Strategy for 40 years, or more recently during the GOP primaries and the labeling of Obama as “the food stamp” President to John Sununu noting that the President needed to “learn how to be an American”.  Hurtful, racist language used with no regard for responsibility of the consequences.

 

No one talks much about the “Southern Strategy” now-a-days, but the election rhetoric speaks for itself; Urban, Welfare, Food-Stamps, Crime, Crack, Poverty, Ghetto, Social Worker, Union, Entitlements, Detroit, Public Workers, Lazy…all words used to excite a base that perceives the government as doling out “gifts” to minorities.  All the while they lament the plight of “Traditional America” and sacred “Job-Creators”, as the “Tea-Party” marches to the beat of “Take our country back” (from whom?!)

 

Rather than have dialogue in a respectful manner, we have resorted to name-calling in a disrespectful way.   I’m not naïve, I have read a little history and it’s not like this is a new phenomenon within our political landscape (although the racial component is relatively new with the addition of large sums of minority voters).  Historically politicians have argued and even fought using language unfit for “gentleman” within the chambers (and now “ladies”).  However, let’s be honest and recognize the depth of our nation’s current problems.  Do we really think we’ll find solutions without acknowledging our differences in a respectful way?  It’s no wonder Florida’s now famous “Stand Your Ground” law was given birth in this environment.  If we can continue to avoid responsibility for someone we shoot, then most certainly will avoid those we hurt with the weapon of language.

A few thoughts on race and gender (post election)

November 29th, 2012

What’s all this talk about Rice?  Is it race, gender, politics, or all of the above that plays into this non-stop unappealing story of nothingness?  Shouldn’t they (McCain & Graham…along with Ayotte) be more interested in what actually happened, then what Rice may or may not have said/known?  Four people were killed, does it really matter whether what Rice said was or wasn’t the actual truth?  After all it’s been pointed out by many that the first Rice knowingly lied about incidents in Iraq…and both Msr. McCain & Graham defend her integrity voraciously back when they supported a war brought on by false intelligence.  I would be derelict if I didn’t also mention that our embassies and consulates had been attached seven times during the Bush Presidency, killing dozens and injuring many.  Why the outrage now?  Is it race, gender, politics, or the nasty mix of it all rolled up into the bruised ego of a “Maverick” gone wild, and a party searching for a new way to crush its opposition.  One might point out that both Rice’s are black females so how could it possibly have anything to do with race…but that argument is baseless in a world where Herman Cain was once considered a legitimate candidate for the Republican Party, and that ultimately 93% of black voters cast votes for Barack Obama.

 

As long as I’m talking about Republicans (I was, wasn’t I?), I noticed a barely mentioned item this week where Mr. Boehner, the tanned Republican majority House leader, chose the committee chairmanships for the 113th Congress recently.  These are the powerful assignments doled out to various Congressmen to lead the 19 committees (22 according to GovTrack.com) comprised in the House such as; The Science, Space and Technology (once led by the now famous former Congressman and Senate candidate Todd Akin, but now led by the newly appointed Republican Congressman from Texas, Lamar Smith, an avid global-warming skeptic…it’s about science I tell you!), Banking, Agriculture, Homeland Security, Armed Services, Ethics, etc.  Should we be shocked to discover that Mr. Boehner appointed all white men to lead the committees?  After a trouncing in the election by minorities and women (single in particular), you’d think they might want to “reach across the isle” so to speak and foster better relationships with these constituencies.  Not so says Mr. Boehner.  It might help to point out that the female composition of the 113th Congress will consist of just 20 Republicans as opposed to 61 on the Democratic side…and for the first time in history the House Democratic Caucus will have a majority of minorities and women (not to mention that there are seven openly gay members now serving).  Now that sounds like Diversity in action to me!

Stick and Stones…a history lesson

November 12th, 2012

Sticks and stones…a history lesson

By Michael Fosberg

 

I’m not sure how anyone cannot be exhausted by the recent election extravaganza we just concluded!  After years of campaigning (for Mr. Romney, literally years!), billions of dollars spent, and a dizzying disregard for facts, we have finally reelected the man of color for another term, praying he alone can lift us out of our self-induced economic/social stupor.  In the aftermath of the battle, the blame and finger-pointing on the right is comical at best, tragic at worst, and slathered in denial.

http://nymag.com/news/frank-rich/gop-denial-2012-11/

 

Throughout the entire campaign Mr. Obama was portrayed as anything but was he was.  Whether it was far-right zeal, simple ideological differences, or race, the right did everything they could to paint a picture of “the most divisive figure in modern American history” (said the young-up-and-coming Republican Senator from Florida, Mark Rubio).  Divisive obviously because he didn’t agree with what has proven to be their less 50% of America’s limited world-view.

 

What was striking to me was the divisive (to use their term) vehemence in which President Obama was portrayed;

“The most radical leftist President in American history”

“A natural secular European socialist”

“The most radical President we have ever seen in the history of the country”

“A socialist palling around with terrorists”

“A communist”

“A Marxist”

“A Saul Alinsky radical”

“He’s destroying this country”

He’s been compared to; Hitler, Mubarak, Mussolini, Castro, Mao, and Joseph Stalin without the bloodshed.

 

Some comments more tinged with racism were;

“Pro-Islamist”

“Un-American”

“Muslim”

“Runs a gangster government”

“He and Michelle hold un-American views and can’t be trusted in the Whitehouse”

“The food-stamp President”

“He doesn’t operate on the same planet as you or I do”

“He leads a vile, evil, American-hating administration, wiping its ass with the constitution”

“We don’t know anything about him”

“I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America, I don’t know that.  But I do know this, that in his heart he’s not an American.  He’s just not an American.”

 

Then of course there was that birth certificate thing which following the released a long-form, many still claimed it was fake…see Donald “the birther idiot” Trump.

 

Oh…and let’s not forget the attack on Welfare rules which even though proven false by every fact-checking organization, they still rammed it down people’s throats because it smelled of the government giving free handouts to minorities.

 

Not to mention the ridiculous;

“It’ll be hard to stop the economy from being socialist”

“Radical Islamist and their supporters will be dancing in the streets”

“He went on a global apology tour”

“Death panels”

“Acorn”

“It will be the mosqueing of America”

“Wealth redistribution”

And my favorite:

“He’ll make us ride around on bicycles”

 

Yes…much of this is politics of the 21st century (and some taken from the playbooks of old!), but I couldn’t help but be struck by the connection between what went on during this election cycle (and following, re; the racist tweets which have spread across cyber space like wildfire) and what has been a part of our historical record.

http://inamerica.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/01/parallels-to-countrys-racist-past-haunt-age-of-obama/

 

Whether it was a part of our Reconstruction past, or what I am remind happened more recently in the book I just read (recommended by an audience member from a show in West Palm Beach, FL.)  Kingsblood Royal by Sinclair Lewis published in 1947.  Lewis, a prize-winning author known for his award-winning novels; Babbitt, Elmer Gantry, and Main Street, set Kingsblood Royal in a fictitious community in Minnesota during the early forties. The story is about a man named Neil Kingsblood who on the prodding of his father, goes out in search of what he is told may be “royal” blood in the family tree.  His genealogical search turns up very little in “royalty” but instead discovers his great-great-great grandfather is black.  Back in the forties this racial discovery constituted the one-drop rule, making him, his wife, and small child a member of the tribe no matter they looked white.

 

What’s striking about the book is not so much the parallels to my own story (and many others who discover a “new” race later in life), but how people spoke about black people back then.  I’m not talking about the blatant use of the “n-word” (which once again has proliferated via twitter and the internet following the President’s reelection), but rather the way people outright lied, mischaracterized, and demonized people of color to scare and marginalize their lives and political power.

 

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”

-George Santayana

SCOTUS and Affirmative-Action 2012

November 6th, 2012

PRIVILEGE WINS.

By Michael Fosberg

“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” -John Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

 

For the past several weeks this quote has been rolling around my mind as the Supreme Court approached the hearing of the Affirmative-Action case; Fisher vs UT.  The idea stated by the Chief Justice seems so simple and practical.  Almost, dare I say, an “Ah-ha” moment.  But of course, why hadn’t we thought of this before?!

 

John Roberts is an extremely intelligent, highly competent legal mind (according to what I’ve read!).  He graduated from Harvard Law School after attending Harvard College.  During his early years he attended a small exclusive prep school in LaPorte, Indiana.  He has served in the US Attorney’s Office under President Reagan, as well as the US Justice Department under President George H. Bush.  He is a 57 year-old white man.

 

The principles behind his sentiment are noble and strive-worthy….but wholly unrealistic.  More importantly it also ignores the fact that he himself has never experienced a great many injustices for which people of color must overcome.  He benefits from the privilege of being white – in which that privilege is totally unrecognizable.

 

Has he ever been pulled over by police while driving for no apparent reason other than the color of his skin?  Would he have heard about the gross inequalities for people of color in finding, securing, and obtaining competitive home loans?  Has he seen the unemployment numbers for people of color are almost twice that for whites?  Has he shopped in a department store where his every move was watched by security personal?  Has he walked out in his neighborhood only to discover a food desert with little place to shop for healthy food alternatives?  Is he aware that African-American’s suffer from a greater disparity in healthcare coverage and outcomes than their white counterparts?  Might he have heard about environmental racism in which poor communities and families of color are repeatedly subjected to harsh environmental hazards perpetuated by large corporations and sometimes even the federal government?  Maybe he’d heard that although blacks represent aprrox. 14% of the population, they make up 44% of the HIV positive numbers in this country?

 

 

And as for education…according to a recent study by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA in which concrete numbers are provided to prove we have a much more segregated school population nationally; 74% blacks & 80% Latinos attend majority nonwhite schools, or more damning; 15% blacks & 14% Latinos attend what are called “apartheid schools” (0-10% of white students).  In the Chicago metro area half the black students attend these “apartheid schools”, a third in the NYC area schools, and in Los Angeles metro 30% of Latinos attend such schools.  And yet blacks make up approx. 14% of the US population, for Latinos it’s 17%. These segregated schools account for a large majority of our nation’s “dropout factory” high schools.

 

Additionally, there is a troubling problem with this “unequal” public school system.   We have asked (demanded via No Child Left Behind) each school adhere to equal testing and outcomes, when in fact there is no way for this to occur.  How is an inner-city “apartheid” black school in Chicago where students are confronted by vastly unequal nutrition, environmental, and healthcare challenges (not to mention financial), to compete with one across town where students are better integrated, have more nutritional choices, and less environmental & healthcare challenges?

 

Finally, I think it important to look at a little history to give this issue some context.  The University of Texas is steeped in a racist past since being founded by white Texans for white Texans.  As recently as 1969 a professor used the N-word in class to describe the derogatory nature of lazy students.  The campus is littered with buildings and statues named after staunch racist members of the UT community.  Just a few years ago an MLK statue was defaced two years in a row.  Earlier this year a cartoon ran in the campus newspaper mocking the killing of Trayvon Martin.  Today there are places on campus where black students feel unwelcomed or they should keep away from.

 

So, a question for Chief Justice John Roberts, 57, having been raised and trained in a mostly white background and being in possession of a privilege for which he does not entirely recognize exists…how does he view his colleague Clarence Thomas?  Thomas, the lone black conservative justice on the court who replaced the first and only other black justice (Thurgood Marshall) and received the lowest ABA rating ever for a justice.  Thomas who has sworn-off his Yale law degree suggesting it was not worth the paper it was printed on due to his own Affirmative-Action collegiate legacy.  Once he left college he claims to have felt tainted by the “preference” and was unable to secure a high-powered job because people saw him as a racial preference, not a legal powerhouse (lest we not forget he graduated in the middle of his Yale law class).  It has been suggested that perhaps he could not get said job because he was not actually a legal powerhouse, and in fact more of a mundane legal mind, thus his continued silence during cross-examinations on the court.  A black man who sees no place for race discussions in our society, yet “played the race card” when it came to his contentious confirmation hearings.  Does Mr. Thomas have any understanding/realization that his very nomination to the court was due to his blackness?  He would NEVER have been nominated had he not been black…that’s a fact.  His judicial record (according to those who understand these things better than I) was average at best.

 

But these are judges I am writing about….impartial arbiters of fairness, justice and law.  They couldn’t possibly be swayed by their own personal experience!  These are the very personal experiences for which Sonia Sotomayer was accused of having – being both a Hispanic & a woman – by those on the right leading the calls for her not to be confirmed.  Judges are above that…aren’t they?

 

As I see it we have a conservative wing lead by a 57 year-old white man, with a affirmative-action-legacy-hating black justice following, along with a mad Italian (Scalia), a semi-Italian Barry Goldwater fan (Alito), and the white “swinger” (Kennedy).  All white men (Thomas excepted), having benefited from the privilege of their light skin, the aristocracy of their Ivy-league schooling, and the advantages of their upbringing.  These white men are competing against three women; Bader Ginsburg, Sotomayer, and Kagan who has recused herself having previously worked on AA as Solicitor General, and an easy-going older white guy who has spent time living in other countries and possessing a worldly view (Breyer).

 

No contest.  Privilege wins.

 

How to Define an American

May 21st, 2012

A few weeks ago, I found myself in a conversation with students about the US Census.  I have been traveling the country for the past eight years, performing a one-man show that tells the story of my search to find my biological father and subsequent discovery of my biraciality, and during the post-show discussions with audiences, I often delve into issues surrounding identity.  The 2010 Census gave us each the option of choosing from 14 newly configured preferences of racial categories (AND the choice to mark more than one box). This 2010 form also introduced an entirely confusing new concept of “origin” – in relationship to Hispanic – which precedes the question of race.  What’s the difference between “origin” and “race” I posit to the students in attendance?  A student queried back; “Why not just call ourselves American?”

 

Why not indeed? We are, after all, living in the United States of America and take great pride in our American spirit; from our national anthem played at sporting events, to the flag lapel pins of our politicians.  We tend to rally around those who have suffered from natural disasters in a way that we like to call truly American.  And we claim to welcome all those who come here legally to apply for citizenship, and the prospect of “The American Dream”.  (the current disagreement regarding the status of illegal alien’s not-withstanding)  So why not just call ourselves American and be done with it?

 

Well…the problem I see first and foremost is, how do we define what “an American” is?  Baseball and apple pie may seem like quintessential American symbols to most, but to others it might be Saturday’s at the Synagogue and a kosher deli, or fasting on Friday and an Irish pub.  If we are indeed a melting pot, are not all these options/definitions a part of the equation?

 

At a recent political rally a minister was heard to say; “I don’t care what the liberals say, I don’t care what the naysayers say, this nation was founded as a Christian nation…There is only one God and his name is Jesus. I’m tired of people telling me that I can’t say those words.. Listen to me, If you don’t love America, If you don’t like the way we do things I have one thing to say – GET OUT. We don’t worship Buddha, we don’t worship Mohammad, we don’t worship Allah, we worship God, we worship God’s son Jesus Christ.”  Does this mean if I am a liberal, and not a Christian that I am not an American?  Or somehow less of an American?

 

During the 2008 political cycle there was talk of “Real America”, and “Pro-America areas”…what does that say about the REST of America?  Are they not Americans?  Who’s doing the defining and by what measures?  There are certainly those who would argue that acts of terrorism, violence against the state, or disparaging words towards our government might constitute an anti-American act of tyranny. Yet even these extreme cases involve differing interpretations of what might appear as obvious transgressions.

 

The difficulty in defining our Americanism, is the same difficulty we have in defining our race; there is no one experience.  There are many experiences across a wide range of people (young, old, born here, or not) and places (from north along the Canadian border, to the deep south still scarred by distant traces of the Civil War).  And the difficulties in trying to force our definitions of self into a box, be it American, White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, or other, is we deny that which is in front of us when we try to sanitize or assimilate that which is different.

 

An Abridged Anthropological Review

July 26th, 2011

Following is an abridged review of my book by Dr. Larry Ross, Professor of Anthropology:

 

Take One, Please… An Abridged Anthropological Review of Incognito: An American Odyssey of Race and Self-Discovery, Authored by Michael Sidney Fosberg

Michael Fosberg’s Incognito is an outstanding personal ethnographic narrative; it is written with great humility, and it thoroughly elucidates America’s identity struggles of the last two centuries. Every human is born into a culture that is already going on, when you get there, so others actually decide your identity. This well-documented account, of both sides of his family’s successful escape from enslavement in the Old World (Armenia) and the New World (America) simultaneously, is indeed groundbreaking, by any measure: it presents a form of sociocultural dualism that has never been exposed.

As Fosberg explains, he was socialized as one of the “Starving Armenians,” those who survived the Turkish genocide during World War I, migrated to America, and made good against all odds. Fosberg’s Armenian maternal grandfather, Garabed Pilibosian, was probably the most influential male role model (in his conscious) of his early learning experience (originally Garabed Misakian, when he was enslaved by a Turkish family in Armenia as a child, before he escaped to Aleppo, Syria where there was an orphanage for Armenian children; then Garabed fled to Paris, France before making his way to America. Pilibosian became Garabed’s ‘made-up’ surname, of unknown origin, in America. The affable Garabed established a very successful cleaners in the Karcher Hotel, along with his Armenian wife Rachel, in Waukegan, IL, thereby averting his family’s starvation). Fosberg recalls that:

“Grandma would be in the kitchen ordering around her ‘girls’ who had no choice but to assist, while the men would watch sports, play cards, or engage in a rousing round of backgammon on grandpa’s beautiful, ancient, handmade, inlaid, dark wood board. As the aromas from the kitchen crept into the family room, our salivary glands would swell with anticipation. Delicate cheese and meat pastries covered the cardamon, and sesame, a soup of fragrant peppery broth with extra lean meatballs stuffed with nuts and garlic, lemon saturated grape leaves rolled around a meat/nut/rice combination, sumptuous flaky breads, a steak tartare-like dish, and our favorite, a kind of Armenian pizza, a pungent spicy ground lamb on crisp dough. And that was just for starters!”[1]

Armenians were declared to be legally “White” by the United States Supreme Court shortly after the turn of the century, while other immigrants (e.g. Indians, Japanese, Africans, and Mexicans) were denied “Whiteness” and they continue to suffer the consequences. The major confounding variable of American life, for people without “Whiteness”, continues to be “Race” above all others: why is this? “Race” is the definitive predictor of one’s life chances in America, with ‘some’ statistically insignificant variation.

Incognito provides a profound, non-fiction Culture Construct (see Dr. Robert Lowie) which peels back the layers that under gird America’s sociocultural constants, in an experiential way that could not have been anticipated: this is because Fosberg’s identity had been projected as Armenian and “White” well into his adult life, however he serendipitously found out that his biological father is actually classified as “Black” in America’s “Racial” system (i.e. the Office of Management and Budget Statistical Directive 15; this is why you have to check those boxes).

Fosberg’s biological father and mother were divorced when he was two-years-old, due to economic and sociocultural factors (i.e. her “White” parents did not want “Race” mixing, and they wanted all ties with Fosberg’s biological father severed; this occurred when his mother Adrienne Pilibosian of Waukegan High School Class of ’53 remarried, and her new tall, blond, Swedish husband John Kenneth Fosberg of Waukegan High School legally adopted Michael Fosberg, who was also born with blonde hair). In this, a picture is truly worth a thousand words, because when you look at the pictures in the book, one can only surmise the epitome of “Whiteness” in an American Suburban Bucolic Utopia (Suburban Bucolic was coined by the Artist Steve Miscensik of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History; personal communication).

However, this vivid illusion falls apart, due to the weight of numerous disturbing undercurrents; Adrienne Pilibosian’s secrets from her college days in 1957 emerge, when Fosberg decides to investigate his biological father’s whereabouts after he learns that Adrienne is divorcing her second husband (after 25 years of marriage and two more children), who Michael Fosberg has known as his “father” since the age of two. The divorce was a shocker without any previous notification, and Fosberg’s world is upended; his rage toward his mother is initially vicious, however a friend intercedes and helps Fosberg to understand what his mother must have sacrificed for him, all of those years: a “White” girl having a child by a “Black” man in 1957, a time of absolute racial segregation in America (e.g. The Little Rock Nine). In conjunction, Fosberg’s blonde English girlfriend, and artist named Jo expresses anxiety over the loss of her biological father at the age of three (accidental death from electrocution), and how she had so many questions for him that can never be asked, or resolved.

This launches Fosberg on an ambitious quest to ‘find himself’ that leads him into a sociocultural purgatory, and he courageously treads where no man has ever gone; after he makes contact with his biological father by looking him up in the Detroit, MI telephone book by name (provided by his mother after about 30 years, although she did ‘mention’ his name once in the past), the truth surpasses all fictional possibilities! No one could make this up, because it simply ‘should not happen’, in America, where Identification is fixed and rigid: Take One, Please…

Also, Adrienne Pilibosian neglected to mention that Fosberg’s biological father was “Black,” preferring to tell young Michael that she thought that he “had some Indian” in his ancestry… Thus, Michael Fosberg grew up believing that he had a trace of “Indian” (i.e. Native American) “blood” and the rest was pretty much from the “Starving Armenians”: it was vague… A phone call to Detroit changed all of that when Fosberg’s biological father told him that he was “Black,” which was yet another shocker, and that he had been expecting to hear from him sooner; his father also told him that he worked at The Ford Motor Company, that he was married, that he had a mistress and another son, and that he was the target of an FBI investigation for Bribery (finally convicted and given a one-year prison sentence).

Thus, Fosberg found that he had another half-brother love-child who was “Jewish” and “Black” living in a suburban Detroit hideaway, funded by his biological father. Also, Fosberg’s biological father’s wife Sue was going to divorce him when the FBI completed its work… Sue rejected Fosberg and his efforts to establish a relationship with his biological father as well, so it seemed that the quest to ‘find himself’ actually led him to a hornet’s nest of high drama! However, his fraternal grandparents embraced him warmly, and through them he was able to be reunited with the distinguished side of his biological “Black” father’s family, John Sidney Woods, after about 30 years.

Actually, the “Black” side of Fosberg’s family can more accurately be described as legendary: his great-great grandfather Talton Woods (they have his discharge certificate) was a soldier in the “all-Black” Massachusetts 54th Infantry Regiment featured in the film Glory, starring Denzel Washington, that made the suicidal frontal attack on Fort Wagner during the Civil War: “Next to that was a picture of a tall as strapping black man in a baseball uniform in full pitching windup. It was her father, Charles “Lefty” Robinson, my grandmother said. Framed on the wall next to the photo was a player’s contract dated July 7, 1924, from the St. Louis Stars of the National Association of Colored Professional Baseball Clubs.”[2] There is a picture in the book of “Lefty” and his team, the Mohawks, in Jefferson City, Missouri. Fosberg met his aunt in Jefferson City, MO and found out about the distinguished career of his uncle, Dr. Charles E. Anderson:

He had been one of the country’s foremost experts in meteorological research. He had received an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, along with being class president, from the historically black Lincoln University [founded by the Civil War’s 62nd & 65th Colored Infantry Regiments], a master’s degree in Meteorology from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. from M. I. T. in 1960. He had been a weather officer and captain in the U.S. Air Force for the famed Tuskegee Airmen and had experienced, my aunt said, “unbelievable horrible, terrible” racial hardships. For a while he worked for Douglas Aircraft, then he was recruited by the University of Wisconsin as a Professor of Meteorology, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, an organizer and Chairman of the Afro-American Studies Department. He ended his teaching career in the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University.[3]

Fosberg’s uncle Paul, who also lives in Jefferson City, MO agrees to show him the ‘historic sites’ of the family in Mexico, New London, and Hannibal, MO, and an even higher level of revelations, regarding the “Black” family’s experience, is recalled:

“He tells me his father’s mother was Mary Morrison Robinson. Her father Arthur Morrison, had refused to raise Mary because she was fathered by a white landowner’s son and a black woman, his wife, Jenetta Morrison. ‘We used to tease my grandmother all the time, we’d say Gran Morris, when was ya born?’ An’ she’d say, ’49. An’ we’d say, ‘When?’ an’ she’d say ‘I tol’ ya ‘49’! She was born in 1849 before the Emancipation Proclamation. She was born into slavery Pike…or was it Rawls County, Missoura?”[4]

In an effort to make even more intimate discoveries, Fosberg asks his uncle Paul about what growing up was like for him, after he was born in New London, MO:

“Uncle Paul, what was it like back then with separate bathrooms and drinking fountains and all that? ‘Hell!’  he gruffs. ‘What difference does it all make?  If you can take a shit where ever’body else does? You can go behind a guy and that leaves of bad odor? Don’t make no difference if he’s black or white, it stinks!  The fact that you kin go in the front door…’ He laughs heartily. ‘That don’t make…jus’ as long as you can git in the house, go in the back door…’ His voice trails off as I see he notices something along the side of the road. ‘Now right down in there somewheres there’s a tree, my father used to point out to us, on the way to Colombia, where they hung the Negroes, very close to the road. An’ the tree last time I saw it didn’t have no foliage. They lynched a black man, hung ‘im to this tree. That tree’, he says emphatically, ‘right over there in that field.’”[5]

In this way, Fosberg discovers the painful tragedies and spectacular triumphs over adversity, of his fraternal and maternal lineages, after living the bulk of his life as a “White” man in suburbia.

Things fall apart with Fosberg’s English girlfriend when her repressed rage over the early loss of her father, her molestation by her stepfather in childhood and her mother’s disregard for it: her mother was as cold as ice toward her, and Jo faked illnesses to get attention from her mother… It didn’t work, and Jo’s stern ego protection may have transformed the development her personality; it became harsh, and she was challenged by one of their wealthy patrons while at dinner, on a job with Fosberg. Essentially, they said, ‘What went wrong in your childhood, and what are you still angry about’? which hit the nail on the head… The fact that Fosberg did not come to her defense led to quarrels, and the eventual demise of their partnership. On the rebound, Fosberg becomes engaged to a beautiful woman named Victoria, whose mother is “Black” and her father “Irish” thinking that this will solve his problem, in some way, and make him authentically “Black” somehow; she is warmly embraced by the “Black” side of his family at a holiday gathering, “Blacks” in California now accept Fosberg as ‘one of them’ when he is with her, and it creates a Kum-Ba-Ya moment… However, she has her own issues, becomes distant, and the relationship collapses: but it all seemed like a good idea, at the time, in Fosberg’s quest to find himself. (This is a ‘hint’ that you can’t have both, for the same price, in America, but the point was made absolutely clear to him by his siblings.)

In order to ‘close the circle’, regarding the “White” side of his family’s reaction to the suppressed revelations about Fosberg’s ancestry, he meets with his half-sister Lora and half-brother Christopher, in Chicago (they share Fosberg’s Armenian mother, but have a Swedish father, so they are identified as fully “White” in the America’s “Race” categorization scheme). His sister Lora is brutally honest, though perfectly tactful and insightful. Lora tells her half-brother:

“I remember you telling me and feeling kind of shocked.  I was very surprised to see how much you looked like your father.  I remember [mom] telling me she thought it would be really hard on you as a child to go through life knowing that information and that you’d feel isolated and left out.  I think she felt her decision not to tell you was a good one because you never felt isolated and left out because you were black.  She didn’t have a responsibility to tell you.  When you finally asked her, she had a hard time with that, but she eventually did tell you.  I think she has a lot of guilt about her history.  But it’s her stuff; she did it, she lived it, she suffered in hell for it.  I don’t know this, but my feeling is she probably doesn’t really want to get into it because she’s probably like, ‘Let bygones be bygones, my God!  I was just a kid! at the time’. She wants to be able to give you what you want to know even though she doesn’t want to talk about it at all. She already paid her dues for it.  And I hope you won’t force her to tell you things she doesn’t want to. Race doesn’t mean anything to me.  But I don’t think that you’ll ever know what it means to be black.  You’ll never be able to feel the racism that is out there.  You’re only going to have the good parts of being black not the bad parts…  ‘cause you’re just not black enough.”[6]

Fosberg’s half-brother Christopher, who had moved to London for a job trading commodities, tells Michael that he should question his unconditional acceptance of his biological father, and that he should have unconditional acceptance for his adoptive father who raised him in their family, John Fosberg, instead:

“I think it probably hurts his feelings that, well, first of all, do and Dad are really different.  You’ve never been super close.  I think I’m probably closer to Dad than any of us ‘cause I can relate to him the most.  I think the correct approach to the whole thing, and I’m not saying you doing it wrong, but because of what you’re doing and because you are searching out a new family, Dad needs to be reassured.  So that it doesn’t feel like, ‘Thanks for bring me up but I got the blood over here and blood is thicker than whatever.’  Know what I mean? I think that a father is a kind of sacred thing.  You know what I mean?  It’s something that everybody needs, and obviously you can’t get away without having one, but if you’ve got it, you’re a really, really lucky person. It can only help you in life and it’s something you should hold really dear to you.  And I think that I can’t relate to having two.”[7]

A face-to-face meeting with John Fosberg, his adoptive father who has remarried and relocated comfortably, leads to a whole new level of mutual awareness and acceptance; a semblance of a father and son bond, that never existed before emerges, and they are able to offer explanations for some of their past misinterpretations of events. John explains that, “The only indication your mother ever gave me about your heritage is one time she said she thought you might have a little Indian in you, and I just kind of shrugged my shoulders like, ‘so what’? I know you got into that minority thing at some point in your life, about having Indian in you.”[8] Based on what his mother had told him, Fosberg had been checking the “Indian” box on applications to universities: it appears that he was not the only person that his mother had told the Indian trope… John is grateful to Adrienne however, and he asserts that “She gave me a terrific education in becoming more liberal, more considerate, becoming more appreciative of the situation. From every aspect she gave me a great education without ever telling me why.”[9] John in turn passed this awareness on to his bigoted Swedish mother, in anticipation of Fosberg’s upcoming wedding to a “Black” woman, stating that “Before you and the revelation of your heritage, she was unbelievably out of the Old World. Great lady, good honest woman, but wants to come up with arguments for discrimination, I don’t know how else to say it. Doesn’t even know what she’s arguing about, that she’s arguing for discrimination; she’ll tell you she’s not.”[10]

Still closing the circle, Fosberg ventures back to Boston to investigate his origins. There he meets some of his illustrious relatives, then moves on to Martha’s Vineyard to meet his second cousin Cheryl, who exclaims:

“You don’t come to the Vineyard and not visit the Inkwell, baby!” The Inkwell…the infamous Inkwell has been the number one vacation spot for African American families for decades, and it’s the beach immortalized in the 1994 Hollywood movie with the same name. As we step from the car after scoring a choice spot up front, the beach unfolds in front of me. It is packed with every shade of black person you can imagine. It looks like Soul Train meets MTV…people dancing, laughing, joking, struttin’ their stuff. “Hey Skip, I want to meet my cousin Michael. Michael Fosberg, Henry Louis Gates, Jr.”[11]

This event at Martha’s Vineyard causes Fosberg to further question his identity: Was he “Black”, was he “White”, how would he have fit, in this world at Martha’s Vineyard had he been socialized as “Black”? For decades, he had been immersed in an ever present Armenian identity that became supplemented, with a Swedish identity.

“In the end, I was not raised black.  I didn’t live through the black experience, was not a target of racism, was not singled out because of the color of my skin, and was not spurned or called names.  Does that make me any less a black man?  Do you have to have that experience to be black?  All my life I wore a disguise, a mask of identity.  Incognito is defined in the dictionary as an adverb meaning ‘with the real identity concealed…with one’s identity hidden or unknown’.  So what am I now?  Who am I?  Which box have I been checking off on applications, or in the 2010 Census? How about AAA. African-American-Armenian. Is there a box for that?”[12]

While America’s “Race” system wants people to pick one, “Michael Sidney Pilibosian Woods Fosberg” provides strong suggestive evidence that it would be impossible for anyone to actually do so, with any scientific accuracy. Anthropological research has concluded that it is the group that decides who is a member, not the individual (e.g. the University of Maine’s Dr. Paul B. Roscoe’s The Perils of Positivism in Cultural Anthropology, and his citation from R.F. Ellen); thus the question of whether Fosberg will fit into his family’s Armenian side, adoptive Swedish side, or African American side revolves around each group’s presumed identity: this is what he would have to fit into, on their terms, but either ‘exclusive’ identity would be a misrepresentation.

In reality, this is the case for all Homo sapiens sapiens as explained by the American Anthropological Association’s Statement on “Race” which was published in 1998; about 94% of human genetic variation is within groups that have been classified as “Races”: no one is actually in a “Race”, which is the opposite what we have been taught for the past four centuries in America:

http://www.aaanet.org/issues/policy-advocacy/AAA-Statement-on-Race.cfm

Fosberg finds that there was a legal obstacle to his biological father and mother moving to Virginia where his grandparents lived, when he was born in 1957 and John Sidney Woods and Adrienne Pilibosian were married; this was a major contributor to their problems, for

“The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia forbids, even to this day, they don’t enforce it, but blacks and whites can’t live under the same roof.  It was hard to believe this outrageous statute still stood.  It probably did at one time, but in 1996?  Truth is, there was a Virginia law – the Racial Integrity Act — forbidding blacks and whites to marry (either in the state or another), or to have sex together.”[13]

Therefore, social and legal forces made it extremely difficult for the young ‘mixed-race’ couple to survive, relying on family resources that could not even be accessed due to the absolute segregation of 1950s America. (Fosberg provides evidence in a chapter titled The South that the sentiments of the Virginia law above have not changed, fifty years later.) John was rejected by Adrienne’s mother, who came to visit her daughter in Boston only when he was not at home, staying in a hotel. However, Adrienne’s sister and brother-in-law were tolerant, during their visit in the 1950s.

This brief review cannot possibly encapsulate the scope, gravity, or sociocultural value of what Fosberg has discovered, in America. In my opinion, Incognito must be made into a feature film, like Glory, for worldwide distribution. It provides a thoughtful, introspective analysis that can help America, and the world, move beyond the Take One, Please paradigm, and its problems with diversity that result in conflict.

Dr. Larry Ross

Professor of Anthropology


[1] Michael Sidney Fosberg, Incognito (Chicago: Incognito, Inc., 2010), 22.

[2] Ibid., 154-155.

[3] ibid., 166-167.

[4] ibid., 172-174.

[5] ibid., 174-175.

[6] ibid., 206-207.

[7] ibid., 208-209.

[8] Ibid., 246-247.

[9] ibid.

[10] ibid., 250.

[11] ibid., 268.

[12] ibid., 270-271.

[13] ibid., 296.

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Fanatic

May 26th, 2011

Hola, Buenos Dias from Tarifa, Spain!  I’m here on holiday visiting my brother, his wife, and their adorable 18 month old son, Luka!!

 

In the past week there was something I found terribly disturbing about the NBA playoffs which no one seemed to notice.  (Aside from the fact that my Chicago Bulls are down 3 games to 1 to the Miami Heat!!). During the 3rd game of the Bulls series with Miami – a sport quite dominant with players of color – Joakim Noah, the energetic pony-tailed center for the Bulls was caught on camera (TNT broadcast for those of you following cable television) saying a gay slur toward an abusive “fan” in the Miami Heat arena.  According to several Bulls players on the bench at the time (and perhaps they are not the best judges of the situation since they would do anything to support a player on their team…but, in this case, one has to believe there is some basis in truth…), the fan was overly abusive, loud, aggressive and undeterred.  Noah angrily – but not aggressive or abusively – spouted off what appears to be “faggot”, turning away from the fan (whom we do not see in the picture) as quickly as he utters the word.  Taj Gibson, a fellow teammate, described the fan; “The guy just kept going.  I know the crowd looked at the guy too, like, ‘Come on man, leave him alone.  It’s over.’  But the guy just kept going…It was the usual, but in that circumstances, it was heavy because he was really loud.”

 

I’d like to point out a couple things about this which I find terribly wrong with our sports obsessed (fanaticism) country;

First, although I would never want to defend someone using a slur such as this, and yes Noah is a ridiculously highly paid athlete, why is it okay for the “fan” to speak that way to a player and not get fined, or penalized in someway?  Noah, a multi-million dollar athlete gets paid to push his body/self to the limit in an extremely high pressure/high stakes game in an arena where the energy level with 20,000 screaming fans is off the charts, and we expect him to respond in a manner appropriate of visiting the Queen??  Again, no excuse for using the word/slur, but com’on…aren’t our expectations out of line here?

 

The Second point – which is important to the first – within this highly frenetic, chaotic, atmosphere we allow….YES…ALLOW, a fan (or fanatic, which is where the word finds its roots) to address (or dress down as might be the case here) a player in this way.  AND, as Taj Gibson says almost matter-of-factly, “It was the usual”.  ”The usual”?  Shouldn’t we be addressing this issue as well?  Yes, these are highly paid professional athletes in the heat of the moment and they should be held accountable in some way for their super-stardom, but why aren’t we holding fans accountable as well?  This behavior is considered “usual”??!!

 

When was the last time you went to a game and really listened to what fans are saying?  Have you heard the kind of offensive language used in ballparks all across the country?  Have you seen the alcoholic abuse drunken fans enjoy spewing toward players?  When are we going to stop this kind of abuse?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy about the ridiculous money players are getting, but also don’t think this high paid fleecing justifies the fan abuse or the expectation of players keeping in line with league policy. Many of these players have come from neighborhoods most of us couldn’t dream of being brought up in, under conditions we can’t imagine (isn’t that a sad fact of the discrepancy in our society).  Again, not saying this gives them permission to use said language, just saying, why doesn’t it cut both ways?

 

Upon delving deeper in the fan – fanatic, I was surprised to find a definition that jolted my understanding; according to Wikipedia, philosopher George Santayana defines fanaticism as “redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim”, and Winston Churchill, “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject”.  Fanaticism is a belief or behavior involving uncritical zeal, particularly for an extreme religious or political cause or in some cases sports.  Synonyms being; enthusiast, zealot, bigot.  Bigot.  So, if we connect the dots here, a “fan” might be considered a bigot (a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs.  The predominant usage in modern English referring to one who is hostile to those of differing race, ethnicity, nationality…)

 

Now that makes sense!

 

Racey

May 17th, 2011

There’s been a flurry of news activity the past few weeks, filled with jingoistic and racist tones.  From Donald Trump’s faux-Presidential aspirations and his relentless hammering of President Obama over his nonexistent birth certificate (with NY accent – he had guys on da ground in Hawaii checking it out!), then once that was exposed as a false motive, Trump undeterred, went after Obama’s school records and anything else he could in a coded/racist way.  When folks in the media began to use the R word as it applied to Trump’s wacky non-stop drivel (and why exactly were they blanket covering him in the first place?), Trump responded with, “There is nobody who is less of a racist than Donald Trump” – speaking in the third-person about himself!  I think my theory of racism applies quite aptly here; if you have to deny you are a racist, then there is a very good chance you are!

 

Oh…and this is the same guy who said, “I have a great relationship with the blacks.  I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.”

 

AND in the highly controversial 1989 New York case of a white woman who claims to have been raped by five black boys while jogging in Central Park, Trump took out full-page newspaper ads calling for the death penalty for the African-American suspects who were later exonerated in 2002 when an already incarcerated man admitted to perpetrating the crime by himself of which DNA evidence proved him correct.

 

And finally, perhaps the most damning, in 1973 DTrump’s Management Corp was sued by the Justice Dept for alleged racial discrimination.  Snoop Dogg referred to the case by joking about DTrump’s supposed 2012 Presidential run by saying; “Why not?  It wouldn’t be the first time he pushed a black family out of their home.”  DTrumps lawyer at the time was the infamous Roy Cohn, a former Joseph McCarthy aide known for his hard-ball tactics.  In an act of desperate bravado, Cohn sued the Justice Dept. for defamation seeking 100 mil.  The judge in that case not only threw it out, but did so with the comment; “wasting time and paper from what I consider to be the real issues.”

 

DTrump settled the discrimination suit two years later and was ordered  to stop discriminating (wow…big deterrent!) and provide a list of vacancies in his 15,000 apartments to a civil-rights group, giving them first priority.  However…undeterred, DTrump did not fulfill his promise, and three years later was charged again!  This time DTrump was forced to compensate victims…

 

“Nobody could be less of a racist than Donald Trump.”

 

Enough about that loser who finally came clean by letting us all know he never really intended to run for President but was just using the media as a philanderer….

 

www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-may-11-2011/tone-def-poetry-jam—lyrics-controversy

 

The link above sparked last night’s debate between John Stewart and Bill O’Racist(Reilly) on FOX news after the incendiary mock “journalist”, along with several other fellow mock-journalists at FOX were OUTRAGED by the recent appearance of the rapper Common at a poetry event held at the Whitehouse.  Hannity, O’Reilly, Carl Rove and others went ballistic even though their HipHopcrisy was thick.  It’s a good laugh, but a frustrating experience to have to watch Stewart try to remain light-hearted while mr mean-as-they-come O’Racist pound away with not a trace of civility.  His lame attempt to associate the Obama’s with Common and “other’s of questionable character” (ie. Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, etc.) as if these people somehow have the President’s ear when it comes to what he believes and how he runs the country, is more than absurd….it’s racist!

 

And finally, speaking of FOX news, a recent study done by the University of Maryland found that FOX news watchers were far more likely to believe falsehoods and rumors about national and world affairs when compared to those who paid attention to other news outlets.  Which also jived with an NBC news survey taken during the height of America’s health care reform debate, where FOX News viewers were found to be most likely to have believed wildly inaccurate interpretations of the legislation.  The Vice President for news at FOX disparaged the U of Maryland by saying that “the Princeton Review ranked it amongst one of the top schools where students study the least, and for it being the best party school.”

 

Just for the record….the Princeton Review ranked it as one of the Best Northeastern Colleges, and #19 in the rank of party schools!

 

Exactly how much damage is FOX doing to our country?