Free Speech is Dying. Can we save it?

I mentioned in an earlier post that I am researching the media for an upcoming podcast. The more I dig into matters concerning journalism, the more I get concerned for American freedoms I have taken for granted my whole life. I am speaking of the right to free speech.

There has been an alleged coordinated attack against conservative content that has intensified as we approach the election that has been in effect for years.  The efforts go beyond the political to include a globalist agenda to bring the entire world under the control of a single, global authority. Said agenda is purported to be supported and encouraged by people like Bill Gates and the World Health Organization.

For some people, just mentioning an impending “new world order” is enough to get your eyes rolling and I can agree that such claims can seem far-fetched, to say the least. Whether you believe these claims or dismiss them as far-out conspiracy theories perpetuated by Trump supporters, it is undeniable that there is a disturbing trend of censorship underway from big tech companies.

What bothers me about censorship is this.

  • If a news event is posted online and some authority takes it down, what is the appeal process to return it?
  • Who is in charge of what I can and cannot see? What makes them an authority on deciding what is true or not?
  • How can I fact check something for myself if the content is removed?
  • And if the content is removed, the authority who took it down can say all manner of things against it and I cannot fact check them. I’m forced to take their word for it and they themselves could be wrong.
  • Whether the censored information is true or not, it gives one-side an advantage. It could be argued, (insert authority here – Facebook, Twitter, etc.) took down the post because they could not handle the truth or, it goes against their agenda. The other side could argue that it was removed for the greater good and their viewpoint is undeniably true. It is a circular reason that can continue ad nauseum.

One very disturbing example of this is something BreitBart reported yesterday. I learned about it after someone forwarded me a video that I will share in a moment. For now, here is a quote…

Facebook has removed a video posted by Breitbart News earlier today, which was the top-performing Facebook post in the world Monday afternoon, of a press conference in D.C. held by the group America’s Frontline Doctors and organized and sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots. The press conference featured Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) and frontline doctors sharing their views and opinions on coronavirus and the medical response to the pandemic. YouTube (which is owned by Google) and Twitter subsequently removed footage of the press conference as well.

The video accumulated over 17 million views during the eight hours it was hosted on Facebook, with over 185,000 concurrent viewers.

Further down the article, it reads…

“We’ve removed this video for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19,” a Facebook company spokesman, Andy Stone, told Breitbart News. The company did not specify what portion of the video it ruled to be “false information,” who it consulted to make that ruling, and on what basis it was made.

After Facebook decided to take it down, YouTube and Twitter removed it as well. This has me wondering, how do I know what Facebook et al have decided was for the greater good? The video is down so I cannot see who the doctors were nor hear for myself what they were saying. I scanned through some of the comments on the article and I found this one interesting.

To purposely prevent an exchange of information
about a matter of public health for the entire nation
seems to represent a new level of irresponsibility.

Perhaps these organizations will share the background
and qualifications of their censors who are designated
to be the controllers of information regarding a
national health discussion.

Those qualifications can then be compared to those
of the speakers who were censored.

This does point out again the urgent need to define the difference between a platform and a publisher.

And I could not agree more.

This is not the first time that a group of doctors have countered the mainstream media’s narrative and were censored by big tech companies.

Check out the video below (before it is removed, which would prove his point) as it goes into more detail concerning this matter. I think his points and personal outrage is valid. Whether the information is true or not, I despise censorship because it is a reminder that someone wants me to think as they do and not have my own opinion. It also invalidates a contrary opinion because relying on silence suggests the opinion cannot be defended once scrutinized.

Oh! And please leave a comment below? Thank you in advance.

P.S. I just found a link to the banned video here. Watch it, research what they say and decide for yourself (along with your doctor) your personal actions.

 

I Miss Watching “The Lone Ranger” with My Dad

Next to my father, the only other man I looked up to when growing up was The Lone Ranger. Silver bullets, a black mask, a white horse and Tonto mean more in the maturity of my adulthood than they did in my childhood, but I always had an appreciation for them (even when I was not totally sure what I was celebrating). Webster defines a manifesto as “A public declaration of principles, policies, or intentions, especially of a political nature.”

If you would indulge me, I would like to explain and evangelize what I call “The Lone Ranger Manifesto” with the hope that it becomes not just a series of amusing observations, but a moral template to live by. | Resources related to this podcast can be found here | Special thanks to my sponsor – Black History Quiz! | Subscribe to the Black History Quiz newsletter now!

Bernell Trammell – A Life That Matters (To Some)

So, someone sent this tweet to me.

I often hear people complain about the media. The assertion is just like above, if a news story does not fit the overall narrative of what a news organization promotes, the story is buried or ignored. Well, after hearing comments like this, I did my own bit of investigation. Who was Brent Trammell?

Brent Trammell supported Donald Trump and the speculation on Twitter and several news reports is that his death was politically motivated. Here is a quote from the website – Heavy.

Bernell Trammell, a well-known Black supporter of Donald Trump who was a community fixture known for his publishing company and long conversations on religion and politics, often delivered from street corners while holding pro Trump and other signs, was shot to death in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Trammell, 60, was gunned down on July 23 near the very spot where he gave a video interview a few hours before explaining why he supported Trump. Milwaukee police are seeking what they described as “unknown suspects.” The motive is not clear, including whether or not the slaying was tied into Trammell’s political beliefs or Trump support. Some news outlets gave the victim’s name as Bernell Tremmell, but he goes by Trammell on social media.

The Wisconsin GOP is now calling for a federal investigation by the U.S. Attorney into the shooting death because of “his well known political activism and the possibility that his murder could be politically motivated,” WISN-12 reported.

At first glance, it would appear that his death was tied to his support for Donald Trump. I think its too early to say for sure. That being said, I would think that this would be a top news story based solely on the speculation. So I did a search [Search performed on: Sunday, July 26, 2020 at 4:33 pm EST] to see how many articles were written on this murder.

I searched Google first and saw this. (41,200 results)

I searched Bing and saw this. (21,000 results)

I also searched my favorite search engine – DuckDuckGo. (No search results count but, lots of data to review).

Okay, follow my logic. The news about #BernellTrammell broke on July 24, 2020. So, as of this writing, its only a couple days old. However, depending on the search engine you are using, there are approximately 20,000 – 40,000 mentions of this person online already; not counting all the tweets.

This seems to me to the hallmarks of a rapidly trending news story which is why the tweet I cited in the beginning was especially interesting to me. Is what “Nichelle” said true and this is a story I would not learn about on CNN? What would it hurt to look it up and see for myself if what she (and others like her) are correct?

I went to the CNN website [Search performed on: Sunday, July 26, 2020 at 4:42 pm EST] and searched for news stories related to Bernell Trammell and none were there. Search results are below.

I did a similar search on the MSNBC website as well because I often hear from the right that certain news stories are suppressed there too. The result was the same – no Bernell Trammell news stories. (As shown below)

I am somewhat proficient in researching information online and as such, I know that sometimes the search function on a website is not as good as Google. So, to be as fair as possible, I used Google to search CNN and MSNBC and again, no news stories on “Bernell Trammell.” An example of how I did that is below. [Search performed on: Sunday, July 26, 2020 at 4:46 pm EST]

Is this evidence of news bias? I’m not going to say that based on one example. However, I think it is pretty interesting on its own.  While I did not find news on Bernell Trammell on CNN & MSNBC, I did find it on Fox News. (See below)

Now, is this story on Fox News because it is a rapidly trending news story or because it fits their narrative in some way? Hmm… I am presently researching the media for an upcoming episode of my new podcast – “Things I Think About.” I will revisit this blog post to see how its covered in various news media and cite my observations on the news media and why I have become so skeptical of mainstream media these days. Stay tuned.

(And while you’re here, subscribe to my blog for more content like this in the future.)

 

This is racist. That is not.

For those who don’t know me, sometimes I am distracted by proverbial squirrels. I could be reading one thing, notice something related to it and off I go down a long rabbit hole. This article is like that. Trust me though, it all makes sense in the end. Just sayin’…

Have you have noticed this increased focus on racism in America? I am, of course, being sarcastic. Racism is being discussed more today than it has been since 2004. It is also the source of much research. Check out this Google Trends chart that shows search traffic on the word- racism since 2004.

IS IT JUST ME OR, IS EVERYTHING RACIST?

And that brings me to this article before you now. I have noticed with increased frequency, how people are using the word – “racist” as a weapon. It seems to me that people are deliberately using it incorrectly to either score political points, to cancel someone they disagree with or, are woefully ignorant of what true racism is. For the sake of clarity, racism is defined this way…

This part of the definition stands out to me the most, “…usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.” This was heavy on my mind when someone brought to my attention recent controversy surrounding the  NMAAHC – “The National Museum of African American History & Culture.” Quite recently, they published a page entitled – Whiteness and on that page was a graphic illustrating “Aspects & Assumptions of Whiteness & White Culture in the United States.” The graphic is below. Do you notice anything unusual about it? I do.

A few points stand out to me. According to this chart, being “white” means…

  • You work for your reward and don’t expect a handout (“self-reliance”)
  • You believe hard work should be rewarded (“autonomy highly valued”)
  • You do not have a victim mindset (“you get what you deserve”)
  • You appreciate traditional family values (“father, mother, 2 kids)
  • You are objective in your thoughts and not guided purely by emotion (“rational linear thinking”)
  • You value hard work (“work before play”)
  • You respect authority
  • You have a religious faith.
  • You are willing to delay gratification for future success (“plan for future’)
  • You have a sense of fairness and not entitlement (“winner/loser dichotomy”)

These are universally accepted values and could be ascribed to every minority in the USA (and beyond) and not just white people. So, why did the National Museum of African American History and Culture frame the conversation this way? Aren’t these traits the basic building blocks for success? Wouldn’t labelling these traits as being part of a white supremacist dogma persuade some African Americans to rebel against them? If so, how does that benefit the African American community or for that matter, any minority community that wants to eschew any hint of racism? And if these traits are being “white” then, are they suggesting that being “black” means you are lazy, dependent on handouts and disrespectful of authority? How does it not?

The spirit behind the chart as well as the language therein, speaks to a bigotry of low expectations. There have been many commentators harshly criticizing it and I am happy to say that the chart was removed from the museum website; although the “whiteness” page is alive and well. Here are a few reactions from social media discussing it.

 

After I stepped away from the web and pondered how The National Museum of African American History & Culture was inferring how one race was inferior to another (hmm… there’s a word for that), something struck me. That chart is somewhat, and this might be a bit of a leap, a recent spin on an old evil – scientific racism. My definition of scientific racism is using anecdotal data and charts to “prove” one race is better than another. However, Wikipedia defines scientific racism this way

Scientific racism, sometimes termed biological racism, is the pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination), racial inferiority, or racial superiority.  Historically, scientific racism received credence throughout the scientific community, but it is no longer considered scientific.

I think I like the Wikipedia version better. Okay, bear with me now, as I go off on a tangent and share  some examples of how “science” has been used to justify racism over the years.

THERE IS NO CURE FOR NEGROIDISM

Benjamin Rush (1745–1813), a Founding Father of the United States and a physician, proposed that being black was a hereditary skin disease, which he called “negroidism“, and that it could be cured. Rush believed non-whites were really white underneath but they were stricken with a non-contagious form of leprosy which darkened their skin color. Rush drew the conclusion that “whites should not tyrannize over [blacks], for their disease should entitle them to a double portion of humanity. However, by the same token, whites should not intermarry with them, for this would tend to infect posterity with the ‘disorder’… attempts must be made to cure the disease.” Despite this, Rush was an abolitionist who wrestled with various contrarian viewpoints.

CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO WHITE SUPREMACY-NESS

Alfred Ploetz’s theory of Rassenhygiene (racial hygiene) made him a popular eugenicist, especially among Nazis. In 1936, he was granted a professorship from Adolf Hitler. His book, “The Efficiency of Our Race and the Protection of the Weak,” promotes the idea of a superior Aryan and that race mixing was ruining society. Ploetz believed that the preservation of the Aryan race necessitated enforced selective breeding and the murder of children with disabilities and a ban on interracial relationships.

THE ORIGINAL BOOTYLICIOUS

In the early 19th century, Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman was a Black Khoikhoi woman whose body was exploited as a display to paying Europeans. She and other Black Khoikhoi women were displayed as the “Hottentot Venus,” a term that became the basis of the theory that Black women were hypersexual and had larger birth canals. Naturalists such as Henri de Blainville and Georges Cuvier believed that Baartman’s elongated labia was scientific proof that African women had naturally wide birth canals, enabling them to give birth with ease. The theory was seized upon by white owners in the New World, who used it to justify forcing Black women to work while heavily pregnant and sending them back to work immediately after giving birth.

U-G-L-Y, YOU AIN’T GOT NO ALIBI, YOU UGLY

In 2011, psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa published a blog on the Psychology Today website that argued that Black women were “far less attractive than white, Asian and Native American women.” He based his findings on a website that asked users to rate random pictures of women. Without proof of sample size or meeting scientific standards, Kanazawa continued to claim that his findings showed that Black women were “objectively” less attractive. He speculated that Black women were found to be less attractive because of high testosterone levels and more manly features. No evidence backed his claim and the blog post has been removed. [source]

As you can imagine, his article caused an uproar at the time. Here is one such example…

 

Any and all pseudoscience that portends to substantiate racial superiority with “data” should be thoroughly denounced, debunked and dismissed as harshly as possible and at every opportunity. The above examples are what I would identify as blatantly racist, no matter how “justified” by science. Conversely, the following “racist” example is not, in my opinion.

BRUH, A TRAFFIC LIGHT IS JUST A TRAFFIC LIGHT. TRUST ME.

I recently read an article that I mistook for satire. At first glance, I thought the article forwarded to me was from The Onion or The Babbling Bee. Alas, it was not. The title of the article was, “The Unintentional Racsim Found in Traffic Signals.” To quote…

A few months back, before Covid-19 kept us in our homes and George Floyd made us take to the streets, I was walking with a friend, her daughter, and my twin sons. My friend is White and I’m not — something I’d never given a second thought until we reached a crosswalk. “Remember, honey,” she said to her daughter as we waited for the light to turn green, “we need to wait for the little White man to appear before we can cross the street.

I realize that White people like to exert control over nearly everything everyone does, I thought, but since when did this literally include trying to cross the street?

Part of my surprise here was a function of age. My boys are a few months younger than her daughter and we hadn’t yet tackled the “crossing the street” component of basic toddler training. But as a Black dad, I was struck by the language at play. How is it possible that well into the 21st century, parents all over Manhattan — well-meaning, #BLM-marching parents — are teaching their children to ask “little White men” for permission to cross the street? And why doesn’t this seem to bother them?

In the article, David Kauffman (the writer), does some research to find the origins of the symbol and discovered that “the little white man” is not actually a man.

A “hominoid” is how the folks at the FHWA initially described him, though later they referred to him as a gender-neutral “Walking Person’”— an icon that actually dates back to the 1940s. At that time, “walk” and “don’t walk” typified traffic signage, but began to be phased out because words could be misunderstood by increasingly globalized populations. “The use of icons instead of words on traffic signs has been a slow but steady evolution for decades because they improve universal comprehension,” an FHWA spokesperson says. “This is not a recent development.”

In fact, the Walking Person’s first major move actually took place in 1971 when it became enshrined in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices — the FHWA bible — as an alternative to the words “WALK” and “DON’T WALK.” For the next four decades or so, our little friend slowly, informally replaced its outdated predecessors until 2009; that’s when the Walking Person finally became the FHWA standard and, as the spokesperson says, “the option to use words is no longer permitted in newly installed signals.” One day soon, every traffic signal will contain the Walking Person, along with its counterpart: the bright red hand telling folks not to walk.

So the “little man” is actually a little person, but that little person is still white. Right?

I honestly thought I was reading a satirical piece up to this point, a daring jab at the woke culture that is triggered by indiscernible microaggressions and perceived racism where it does not exist. However, that changed with the last paragraph.

Nonetheless, that little White man woke me up to the ways that language imparts power and privilege even upon the most banal necessities. And so, as I begin teaching my boys survival basics like riding a bike, waiting in line, and… yes… crossing the street, I’ll work hard to avoid phrases like “little White man.” Obviously “bright light person” rolls off the tongue far less mellifluously, but a bit of extra verbal labor is worth the price of not conceding our power to even one more little White man.

At this point, I honestly reflected on what he had to say, carefully balancing his observations and how the situation resonated inside him enough to pen this piece. It was then I realized that we live in two very different, parallel worlds. In my world, a traffic light is just a traffic light. I am not a victim of a system designed to safeguard pedestrians and drivers alike. In this instance, oppression is not present. Although, in the separate but equal dimension alongside me, I am constantly reminded of the black asphalt on the roads we all traverse; where only the white lines have meaning. Indeed, they divide traffic and serve as borders for walkers to move from one side of the street to the other. What does the blackness of the road contribute?  It is all an unending reminder of the value of order that whiteness brings to us all and the inconsequence of blackness. Hah! I made myself laugh with that last sentence.

All that to say…

Ascribing positive traits to “whiteness?” That is racist.

Using “science” to justify racism? That is racist.

Traffic signs as a symbol of white oppression? That is not racist.

Okay, random thoughts are done.

I’ll just leave you with this…

Snowflakes Make Bad Employees

Do you know someone or, have seen someone, angry over trivial matters? Perhaps, you have witnesses someone go into a rage over a microaggression? If so, would you hire them to work for you? Chances are you would not because instinctively you know that they would make a bad employee. Well, you no longer have to rely on your gut for such decisions. A scientific paper has been published that backs up what you already knew. Snowflakes make bad employees. I  discuss the research in this episode and oh boy, is it good!

Special thanks to my sponsorBlack History Quiz! Subscribe to the Black History Quiz newsletter now!

Resources related to this podcast: