The Case Against Reparations for African Americans

The other day, I was speaking to a very dear friend of mine about race issues in America. (My friend happens to be white.) She asked me what percentage of black people would likely hold her personally responsible  for slavery? I told her that I could not quantify a percentage but likely,  most African Americans would hold her responsible for the sins of her ancestors. For the record, I vehemently disagree with that opinion. Over the years, I’ve heard several arguments made for reparations on numerous occasions but none have satisfied me. Why? For me, it always comes down to this – who should pay? It is this question that my case against reparations for African Americans rest. Tune in for the details. Subscribe to “The Things I Think About Podcast” on your favorite podcast platform!

Resources related to this podcast:

BlackHistoryQuiz.comSubscribe to our weekly newsletter!
“Question everything (Think for yourself.)” Magnet by Recruitees | Redbubble
“Wanted for Crimes of Opinion” Magnet by Recruitees | Redbubble
“It takes more than a month to learn our history!” Sleeveless Top by Recruitees | Redbubble
“It takes more than a month to learn our history!” Laptop Skin by Recruitees | Redbubble
(1) Call for reparations and Occupy City Hall seek results from weeks of protests – YouTube
California moves to consider reparations for slavery – Washington Times
Racist Fact #5: Only 1.6 percent of whites owned slaves – Facts Are Racist!
How Many Slaves Landed in the U.S.? | The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross | PBS
How Native American Slaveholders Complicate the Trail of Tears Narrative | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian Magazine
Slavery | The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture
“The Known World” of Free Black Slaveholders: A Research Note on the Scholarship of Carter G. Woodson on JSTOR
Did Black People Own Slaves? | AfricanAmerica.org
Research Suggests White Slavery Was Much More Common
Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, The Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Early Modern History: Society and Culture): Davis, R.: 9781403945518: Amazon.com: Books
Reparations Agreement between Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany – Wikipedia
BBC News | Africa | Trillions demanded in slavery reparations

Recruiters and The Election

The Retro Lounge Podcast Series

Original post date: November 9, 2006

And this is the original description:

Jim Stroud and Karen Mattonen discuss the election, lying on a resume may get you 10 years in prison, plus feedback on some listener feedback.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Show my sponsor some love? – Work Giant (0:33)
  • Karen is back in the lounge – Yay. (1:33)
  • Gotta love FonPods! I do… (1:55)
  • A listener vents 0n the feedback line (3:00)
  • They say, family first? But you have to eat (6:00)
  • Jim sings again and then apologizes (7:00)
  • Daddy of the year? (8:15)
  • Hate your boss? Good! I call that job security (10:00)
  • The haunting of bad performance reviews (10:48)
  • Smokin’ the good stuff (11:33)
  • Quick sec’ on reference checks (11:58)
  • Looking for a contract recruiter? I know some bodies. (12:42)
  • Did you vote? (12:52)
  • Karen waves and salutes the flag (13:02)
  • Karen’s paranoid? Or simply stating a fact? (13:45)
  • I only guessed that it was Diebold (14:36)
  • So… how easy is it to hack a voting machine? (16:08)
  • The rant on the voting machines continues (17:32)
  • Why is there controversy over this? All you have to do is… (17:56)
  • Now let’s relate this (somehow) to recruiting (19:36)
  • Do it like Digg! Or rather, like Recruiting.com (20:00)
  • Karen thinks it makes too much sense for companies to adopt (22:00)
  • Karen really liked my idea because of the community aspect. (23:33)
  • If I patent this idea, I would rip-off (a piece) from Market 10 (24:56)
  • Do recruiters really do this? Oh, noooo… of course not. (25: 40)
  • Nice topic, but let’s table that for now (27:00)
  • Karen hates the metric system (27:40)
  • The police chief is doing a great job, but he lied on his resume (28:33)
  • The debate ensues (30:00)
  • Recruiting.com RULES!! (30:33)
  • How many lies did Cheif McGuire have on his resume? (31:32)
  • In some states, lying on a resume is against the law. (32:28)
  • Recruiters could be held liable for this… (33:00)
  • Wow! Let me say that again!!! (33:18)
  • In California, its a misdemeanor to lie on a job description (34:05)(opens in a new tab)
  • So, this guy could face 10 years in prison?!!! (Over a resume?!) (35:50)
  • But people love that guy! (36:40)
  • Maybe HR is to blame (37:50)
  • I say Hail to the Cheif (38:57)
  • If he had not lied on his resume, would they have turned him a way? (39:50)
  • And that’s a wrap (45:05)

Is it Time to Cancel Robert Byrd?

This is election season and as such, I expect propaganda to flow from both sides of the aisle. One that caught my eye today was against Joe Biden. It was a picture of him holding hands with the late Senator Robert Byrd at a political rally with the caption, “Does a Photo Show Joe Biden With the ‘Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan’?” The internet meme caught my attention so, I had to research Robert Byrd and learn about this alleged Klan connection.

For the record, Senator Robert Byrd was NOT a Grand Wizard. Was he involved with the Klan in any way? Most definitely. In this episode, I look into the history of one of the longest serving U.S. Senators in American history and ask, “Is it time to cancel Robert Byrd?”  

Special thanks to my sponsor Black History Quiz

Podcast Transcript 

The Book of Acts 9:1-9, details an event in the life of Paul the Apostle that led him to cease persecuting early Christians and to become a follower of Jesus. It starts off like this, “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven… {We hear a clip from this video.} After that conversion, Paul went on to do great things for the Kingdom of God. Some people loved and supported him whereas others never forgot his early persecution of the church and wished him harm.

Let’s imagine now, someone with a similar history of persecuting the less fortunate, repenting of his past life and doing what he could to make amends. Some would argue that such was the life of former Ku Klux Klan member – Robert Byrd, who served in US Congress from 1952 – 2010; whereas others would say you were crazy to even make such an analogy. Either way, I’m going to talk about him, his legacy and ask what should happen next, after this word from my sponsor.

{Special thanks to my sponsor Black History Quiz}

This is election season and as such, I expect propaganda to flow from both sides of the aisle. One that caught my eye today was against Joe Biden. It was a picture of him holding hands with Senator Robert Byrd at a political rally with the caption, “Does a Photo Show Joe Biden With the ‘Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan’?” The internet meme caught my attention so, I had to research Robert Byrd and learn about this alleged Klan connection. Was Robert Byrd a Grand Wizard? No. Was he involved with the Klan? Most definitely. Here is an interesting quote from the website – ThoughtCo.

Raised in a West Virginia coal mining community, the future senator often said that his childhood experiences helped shape his political beliefs. While working as a butcher in the early 1940s, Byrd formed a new chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in Sophia, West Virginia.

In his 2005 book, Robert C. Byrd: Child of the Appalachian Coalfields, Byrd recalled how his ability to quickly recruit 150 of his friends to the group impressed a top Klan official who told him, “You have a talent for leadership, Bob … The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation.”

Flattered by the official’s observation, Byrd continued his leadership role in the Klan and was eventually elected Exalted Cyclops of the local group.

In a 1944 letter to segregationist Mississippi Senator Theodore G. Bilbo, Byrd wrote,

“I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”

As late as 1946, Byrd wrote to the Klan’s Grand Wizard: “The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia and in every state in the nation.”

At some point between 1946 and 1952, Robert Byrd changed his mind about his racist beliefs, just before he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1952. Byrd claimed he simply lost interest in the Klan and dropped his membership from the group. He also said that he he joined just for the excitement and because they were opposed to communism. In interviews with The Wall Street Journal and Slate magazine in 2002 and 2008, Byrd called joining the Klan “the greatest mistake I ever made.” Interesting.

Here is some of what he said in his autobiography about why he became a KKK member…

“[I] was sorely afflicted with tunnel vision—a jejune and immature outlook—seeing only what I wanted to see because I thought the Klan could provide an outlet for my talents and ambitions. … I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times … and I don’t mind apologizing over and over again. I can’t erase what happened … it has emerged throughout my life to haunt and embarrass me and has taught me in a very graphic way what one major mistake can do to one’s life, career, and reputation.”

Robert Byrd was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1952. He served in the House for 6 years then, served as a Senator for 51 years. He had numerous leadership positions during his tenure and on four separate terms as president pro tempore, Byrd stood third in the line of presidential succession, after the vice president and the speaker of the House of Representatives.

During his time in office Robert Byrd performed several controversial legislative acts. Here are the highlights, as stated by ThoughtCo. It is noteworthy to mention that these events happened after he saw the light and disavowed the Ku Klux Klan.

In 1964, Byrd led a filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He also opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as well as most of the anti-poverty programs of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society initiative. In the debate against anti-poverty legislation, Byrd stated, “we can take the people out of the slums, but we cannot take the slums out of the people.”

But while he voted against civil rights legislation, Byrd also hired one of the first black congressional aides on Capitol Hill in 1959 and initiated the racial integration of the United States Capitol Police for the first time since Reconstruction.

While some of his fellow conservative Democrats opposed the 1983 bill creating the Martin Luther King Jr. Day national holiday, Byrd recognized the importance of the day to his legacy, telling his staff, “I am the only one in the Senate who must vote for this bill.”

However, Byrd was the only member of the Senate to vote against the confirmations of both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, the only two African-Americans nominated to the United States Supreme Court.

In opposing the 1967 confirmation of Marshall, Byrd cited his suspicion that Thurgood Marshall had ties to communists. In the case of Clarence Thomas in 1991, Byrd stated that he was offended when Thomas called opposition to his confirmation a form of “high-tech lynching of uppity blacks.” He felt that Thomas injected racism into the hearings.

Oh, here’s one more thing… in 2005, the NAACP rated the senator’s voting record as being 100% in line with their positions during the 2003-2004 congressional session.

Some would say that Senator Robert Byrd voted the wrong way on several key issues in history and I would agree with them.  But to be fair, he did facilitate some positive change as well. Some. When Senator Robert Byrd died in 2010, here are some of the voices that spoke for him. You might recognize some of the voices.

Today, Robert Byrd’s name is celebrated in West Virginia. His name gracing over three dozen public works projects, including two federal courthouses, a dam on the Ohio border, libraries, community centers, roads, bridges, schools, and several university buildings throughout the state. Except, in one instance…

Here’s a quote from The Federalist

Byrd’s still-hallowed legacy came into question this month when tiny Bethany College, in the state’s narrow Northern Panhandle between Ohio and Pennsylvania, removed Byrd’s name from its health center. In a statement, school President Tamara Rodenberg said, “The last few weeks, and well before the conversations and calls for change took hold, we recognized as a campus that the name of our Robert C. Byrd Health Center created divisiveness and pain for members of Bethany community, both past and present.”

Twenty-nine of the college’s 35 board officers are from outside West Virginia. The move came even though a petition effort on Change.org failed to achieve its goal of 1,000 signatures.

The state’s political leaders have not expressed similar concern, and Byrd’s tarnished past has failed to gain any traction as a 2020 election issue in West Virginia. Nothing has been proposed in the Republican-controlled legislature to rescind Byrd commemorations, and the 14 sitting Democratic state senators, all white, have been silent.

A quick recap…

  • Robert Byrd was once an exalted cyclops of the KKK.
  • He later had a conversion of conscience and disavowed the Klan, prior to his run for public office.
  • Senator Robert Byrd led a filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • He also opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
  • He was the only member of the Senate to vote against the confirmations of both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, the only two African-Americans nominated to the United States Supreme Court.
  • And yet, he hired one of the first black congressional aides on Capitol Hill in 1959 and initiated the racial integration of the United States Capitol Police for the first time since Reconstruction.
  • He also supported making MLK’s birthday a national holiday and was once endorsed by the NAACP.

People are complicated and rarely are they the dumbed-down cartoon versions we see on Internet memes, like the one I saw of him holding Joe Biden’s hand at a political rally. All that to say, Was Robert Byrd a racist who changed his tune only for political advantage? Or, did he genuinely have a change of heart and try to make amends, albeit later in his life, for some of what he done? I’m inclined to believe the former. What do you think? Is it time to cancel Robert Byrd and remove his name from being celebrated in West Virginia? Before you answer, listen to Robert Byrd in his own words.  

 

 

Bad News is Good Business

The evening newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC have been 150 times more negative when covering President Trump compared to presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, according to a new study.  News stories in general and reports focused on President Donald Trump in particular will continue to be reported negatively because its highly profitable for the mainstream media. (No, its not purely for ideological reasons.) In this episode I discuss research focused on the media, the psychological effects of so much negative news coverage and why nothing will change despite the adverse effects on the public. Subscribe to “The Things I Think About Podcast” on your favorite podcast platform

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

If you spend any time at all watching the news, at some point you will hear some negative news concerning President Trump and its been a trend since he first entered office. Let me share with you quotes from two very interesting articles; well, I thought they were interesting. The first one I’ll share is from a 2017 article in The Washington Examiner.

How negative was press coverage of President Trump’s first 100 days in office? Far more than that of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, or Bill Clinton, according to a new report from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

The Harvard scholars analyzed the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and the main newscasts (not talk shows) of CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC during Trump’s initial time in office. They found, to no one’s surprise, that Trump absolutely dominated news coverage in the first 100 days. And then they found that news coverage was solidly negative80 percent negative among those outlets studied, versus 20 percent positive.

Again, that was back in 2017. My next quote comes from a Fox News report dated August 17, 2020. 

The evening newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC have been 150 times more negative when covering President Trump compared to presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, according to a new study. The Media Research Center analyzed all statements made by reporters, anchors and nonpartisan sources, such as experts or voters, made on CBS’ “Evening News,” “NBC Nightly News” and ABC’s “World News Tonight” from June 1 through July 31.

MRC research director Rich Noyes, who conducted the study, feels that “millions of viewers are witnessing the most biased presidential campaign coverage in modern media history.”

That last comment really caught my attention. Is the mainstream media only interested in making President Trump look bad for ideological reasons? Sure, that’s part of the story but, its not the whole story. Bear with me and I will fill in the blanks, after this word from my sponsor.

When it comes to negative news coverage – President Donald Trump is an easy target but to be fair, there are plenty of negative news reports to go around. Why is that? Well, no big mystery there, they do it for the money. Let me share a few quotes about the media from a variety of sources that are sad, but true. The links to all my sources can be found at JimStroud.com.

Nielson ratings account for 50% of negative news statistics. Most journalists attribute the Nielson ratings as the biggest reason that news reports are either sensationalized or are simply inaccurate. The ratings boost viewership, which in turn attracts advertising dollars and investment. So as a result, many media outlets stress the importance of delivering negative and emotionally jarring news reports. This burden falls squarely on the shoulders of journalists, who feel pressure to deliver over exaggerated news stories.

Negative media coverage reports show that negative words such as “bad,” or “worst,” and “never” are 30% more effective at catching people’s attention as opposed to positive. The studies also revealed that negative words improved the average click-through rate. Headlines with negative bias showed a 63% higher result when compared to positive ones.

In theory, the news should be an unbiased presentation of the truth. However, in reality, the news is anything but that. Studies show that the majority of articles are biased and represent a media distortion of reality. Contrary evidence is often omitted, and 79% of media articles have been shown to be divisive.

So, putting Trump is a negative light and bad news in general, makes news organizations money. Such being the case, its no wonder why it continues. But I have to ask, why does the public put up with it? Isn’t all the negativity on the news having an adverse effect on the viewers? Yes! Yes, it is, But on a perverse level, we (the public) buy into it, we crave it. After all, they would not feed us SO MUCH bad news if we were not willing to consume it. And that’s not speculation, that’s science.  2 more quotes for you. This first one from Psychology Today and it references a psychological study where people were shown positive news, negative news and news that was emotionally neutral.

As we predicted, those who watched the negative news bulletin all reported being significantly more anxious and sadder after watching this bulletin than those people who watched either the positive or neutral news bulletin.

But what was more interesting was the effect that watching negative news had on peoples’ worries. We asked each participant to tell us what their main worry was at the time, and we then asked them to think about this worry during a structured interview. We found that those people who had watched the negative news bulletin spent more time thinking and talking about their worry and were more likely to catastrophize their worry than people in the other two groups. Catastrophizing is when you think about a worry so persistently that you begin to make it seem much worse than it was at the outset and much worse than it is in reality—a tendency to make mountains out of molehills!

So not only are negatively valenced news broadcasts likely to make you sadder and more anxious, they are also likely to exacerbate your own personal worries and anxieties.

Bad news makes money. Too much bad news makes you anxious, sad and full of worry. So, why can’t we give it up? Time magazine has an answer for us…

While increased anxiety and stress are reason enough to be wary of overdoing it when it comes to the news, these and other mental health afflictions can also fuel physical ailments. Stress-related hormones, namely cortisol, have been linked to inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease and other serious health concerns. So if the evidence suggests the news can stress people out, why do they keep going back for more? For one thing, it’s entertaining, Davey says. The human brain is also wired to pay attention to information that scares or unsettles us—a concept known as “negativity bias“.

“In a state of nature, our survival depends on finding rewards and avoiding harm, but avoiding harm takes priority,” says Loretta Breuning, a former professor of management at California State University, East Bay and author of Habits of a Happy Brain.

Breuning explains that the human brain is attracted to troubling information because it’s programmed to detect threats, not to overlook them. “This can make it hard for us to ignore the negatives and seek out the positives around us,” she says. “Our brain is predisposed to go negative, and the news we consume reflects this.”

This is too funny to me. Funny, ironic; not funny ha-ha. Its like we’re caught in a parasitic relationship with the media. We know its not good for us to consume too much news because it has a negative effect on our mental health and yet, our brains are wired to seek out the kind of bad news that is hurting us.  Sigh… I’ll leave you with this.

A Russian newspaper, The City Reporter, decided to publish only positive stories in their publication for a day. The social experiment was undertaken in order to see the effect negative vs positive news stories have on people. Stories were all written from a positive stance. They included things like how the roads were clear despite heavy snow. The result of the experiment led to the newspaper losing ⅔ of their readership that day!

Yeah, the newspaper workers were just as shocked as you are.