Why It Is Always Wise To Never Judge Any Book By Its Cover

More than anything, never judge a book by its cover. That is too easy, for a complex people.

Recently, I wrote an article about a new college course added to the catalog at CUNY Hunter College’s Poli. Sci. department. It is called, tentatively, “Abolish White People” so named after another course, “Abolish the Whiteness” at another very prestigious university. At forst glance, one may think that this title reflects a literally, racist, and very negative cause or belief. However, this course is designed to enlighten and create a cohort of learned collegial mindsets.

This course aims to examine and explore the ‘-isms’ in society, the origins, intent and impact For those who fail to endeavor upon a journey of self-discovery and emerge with a more respectful worldview, then it makes complete sense that one cannot make his/her way past the title itself. That is a real shame, though. If it were indeed sentiments to be taken seriously at face value, then even though we may disagree, and I certainly do disagree, we are missing out on an opportunity to gain a more full understanding or insights into what would make someone say such horrible things, believe it or wish to support this as a cause.

If one were truly solution-focused, then the way to find effective solutions to problems is to fully explore that problem, from ALLangles. We would invoke logic as a point from which we approach the process. For example, professional profilers, in their quest for justice trying to capture a criminal suspect, is to truly examine and capture the mindset, the aim, the message or motive of the activities that person[s] pursues. If we want solutions, we must dissect the problem, examine the characterand ‘get into their head’.

iF SOMEONE WERE RUNNING AROUND YOUR TOWN AND DEFACING RELIGIOUS PROPERTIES, WITH HATEFUL MESSAGES INSCRIBED ON BUILDINGS, EXCLAIMING DESIRE TO HARM PEOPLE, SURE THAT’S BAD AND ILLEGAL. bUT, DO WE JUST PUT THEM BEHIND BARS AND SAY THAT WE HAVE DONE OUR OBS, OR DO WEALSO AIM TO PREVENT FURTHER DAMAGE BEFORE IT IS REPLICATED OR DONE BY MORE PEOPLE?

iF PERHAPS ONE DIDN’T MAKE IT PAST THE TITLE, AND FELT SO THREATENED that you hastily went away, then you missed the point of the post completely. Ok! Mea Xulpa! I was unaware that this audience was so sensitive and given all you may have read from this site or summized about the general author, I would like to believe that there was interest more than utter surprise or disappointment. I truly feel that political correctness is the protocol on this forum, as opposed to honest inquiry, expressions of the many realities of others that exist for so, so many out there. That’s right1 There are many different daily realities that people live and experience and perceive every where we go.

In fact, there may just be people or groups of people who sincerely wish the sentiment, a quote, referred to in that post. Look at the Islamic ‘radicalized’ groups. The targets of their dissatisfaction with Western politics, religious ‘rights’, moral, civil or human rights, seem to be aimed specifically at the very population to whom ‘terrorist’ acts are always focused. On not one occasion has any atrocious acts been committed against African or Asian nations, just people like you and me. But, in contrast, black communities are never targets, maybe black people have been considered ‘collateral damage’; in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Do not be mistaken to believe that these are the words of an anti-American, against whites, or a ‘radicalized’ citizen. I am a realist, and consider myself to be somewhat intelligent, and always, always seeking information. I thoroughly the rights of others, different beliefs, and so forth. On top of that, I also am, once again a realist, seeking a true co-excistence between races, nations, because we all have one thing at the very least in common, and that is being human beings. In the end, religion and every -ism that we identify, will mean nothing.

What will mean more to our ultimate fate, will be the way in which we demonstrated respect, kindness, fairness, compassion, and appreciation for one another’s unique gifts. We will not be smiled upon if we step over others, except by sheer will, determination and hard work to demonstrate our willingness to win the right way. But, win or lose, everyone loses when we stack the deck against some groups or just one person, and yet feel deserved to earn the temporary title of ‘winner’. We all lose! Is it worth it?

How can we honestly feel secure in winning if we cheat our way to the top? I guess that is why there is so much fear, resentment, prejudice, discrimination. What we don’t know scares us, and we must, both you and I, conquer those fears. Be brave. Surely, we can’t be so shallow to take a ‘cover’ to its literal extent. I would only hope that none of us harbors such narrow and extremist views on other human beings, whereby the biggest difference between us all is superficial,-skin deep. Take a chance on people, and ourselves, too. Everyone’s angry that things are like they are. You fear me, are angry that we live and breathe the same air, and anxiously await the day when confronted with those fears. If there is strength and great will, then face them today. This way those fears will be behind you.

The past can’t be changed, but today can begin a journey towards the discovery of a new path-leading to a better tomorrow. Once again, mea culpa! Thank you for allowing me to express myself. I welcome all comments, and respect all who  raise their voices-whether yea or nay. Just do so respectfully! We can learn from anyone, and each other, so enlighten me. I am a life-long learner!

 

Why Does Hindsight Always Have 20/20 Vision?

While listening to the United States Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing and the questioning of ex-FBI Director James Comey, it came to me that both he and President Trump now have reflected on their conversations and other interactions.  Most likely, they both fully agree with the old adage, “Hindsight is 20/20″.

That is indeed true, and no greater proof exists with the events that led up to this hearing…. other than my own life decisions. Undoubtedly, we all can relate. If we could address our younger selves or maybe the person that we were yesterday, we may have made so many different decisions. But, that is life, and that is living and learning. Fortunately,  most of our decisions, choices, judgments, actions, and perspectives weren’t terribly life-altering-at least not to the point of no return. Not everyone can say that, though.

What about the police officer[s] who shot and killed an unarmed or innocent person, suspect or bystander? I am certain that the officers who mercilessly beat Rodney King, those years ago, would not have made the decisions in that moment. I can go on and on. Personally, I wrestle with my own life choices and wonder what might have been had I taken a different path back then. Where would I be, my children, my career, my life?

But, in the heat of the moment, or in the midst of  a situation, it is extremely difficult to think past the immediate, albeit not impossible. As individuals, we are a combination of nature versus nurture, and often, nurture wins out. We operate from a position impacted and influenced by our own capacity, experience and the environment. Basically, everything we have learned thus far, everyone with whom we have interacted, everywhere we have ever gone, and everything we believe about ourselves and life all can be trumped in the heat of the moment. Or, our can be confirmed.

We are products of the environment, which includes our upbringing, what we live, whom we loved, and how our brains process it all can be unpredictable at times of stressful circumstances and moments of uncertainty. We mustn’t omit the biological processes, the physiology, like the adrenalin flowing through our bodies when anxious, upset, or excited. Even ‘training’ can exit the window.

Our personal convictions which may dictate complete honesty to ourselves and others, will confound us at times. We say that honesty is the best policy but does that imply that we be explicitly honest to others? Or does it also mean that we must be honest with others, not by ‘brutal’ honesty, but by omission, or what we carefully choose to say?

You know the times when your friend asks you, How does this dress look on me?”, and you respond ” Well, it is certainly interesting!” Now, you know that you think the dress is absolutely hideous, but instead of being direct and being boldly honest, you say, ‘interesting’. Yes, it is interesting, but because it is apparent that she really loves this dress, and you don’t want to hurt her feelings by being brutally honest. Is that honesty, really? Is it that you also don’t want her to ‘go off’ on you, because you know what that looks like? It wouldn’t be pretty.

Today, I also heard of this student who, because of sports, wore ‘blackface’ in school, and caused a huge stir. Well, because the past is not taught or fully explored in schools, this young man had no idea[?] of the deeper meaning, the symbolism of blackface, he wanted only to display his eagerness for and loyalty for the game. He probably didn’t know that there is a strong history and dark past associated with such displays by whites in this country. It represented a time when black people were used as amusement for whites, the butt of jokes, not taken seriously and names like Al Jolson mimicked African-Americans on stage in theaters around the country.

This young man demonstrated the dangers of not teaching history in its full regalia, and the product of the ignorance of American youth in regards to our own history of racism and inequality perpetuated by the dominant culture was to maintain wealth, power and the comforts of privilege and entitlement through the demonization and alleged inferiority of a group of people whom were enslaved and unfairly exploited for the comforts afforded to whites via free labor.

A clear result of negligent instructional design, meant to maintain the status quo and limit questioning by children who simply need to know the real truth and origins of this ever-present racial divide. Children need to know from whence the attitudes of their parents originated and why. More than this, children need to know how, the methodology, racism was spread and persisted to live within the subconscious of both black and white minds for generations. Children need to know while they interact with diversity everyday through many online forums, implicit bias still exists and the irony is that these digital natives may be unaware that the very people they learn to resent, may be those whom they enjoy digital repartee on a daily basis.

So, if we could do anything differently than yesterday, because hindsight is 20/20, what would we do differently? What decisions would we not have made? If any of these examples come close to being on your list[and there is surely a list], wouldn’t these life-altering choices be among them? If so, it is not too late to admit they were made, and begin the process of making right the many wrongs in life. When we fail to know and understand our history, our past, we are doomed to repeat it. But, do we want to weigh our children and their children with the burdens borne of those decisions? Out of our failures, we can experience successes, and from successes, we can build upon them to experience greater successes. Live, learn , reflect and proceed-wiser, better, stronger, kinder, gentler, and more respectful of the value of life. Hindsight always has 20/20 vision!