Archive

Posts Tagged ‘race’

Arbitrary Boundaries…Still

TV_watchingI don’t watch a lot of television. If it’s not sports related or about traveling in other countries, I’m probably not second by second current on what’s happening on TV.

However, if you ask how my daughter is progressing in her volleyball career, or how my Honda Nighthawk motorcycle is running, or with which organization I most recently volunteered, I’ll certainly be able fulfill my part in keeping the old conversational ball rolling!.

The main reason for my lack of watching television is pretty simple. For me, television has long outlived one of its original purposes of informing and bringing new information to the masses. Today there are literally hundreds of programming options a customer can choose from, but with such a fragmented market – and everyone apparently fighting for the same minimum customer IQ level – the foremost purposes of television has become to incite fear, promote conjecture, and increase pure stupidity! All wrapped up and made presentable in a nice dress or suit!

Of course I know the broadcasters have a choice to show the types of programs they want, and marketers also have a choice in which shows they choose to support. But, I feel I also have a choice on how many hours of my life I’m going to trade to be involved in all of this television driven madness!

So, continuing to develop my premise that the modern primary purposes of television is to incite and make you watch it – more so even than providing methods for people to discover truth – here is in my opinion a typical start to a typical day in American television and it’s effect on our collective perceptions of the “real” world.

According to a May 5th, 2014 post on their website, Neilsena leading global information and measurement company, that provides insights & data about what people watch, listen to & buy – estimates that there there are 116.3 million TV homes in the USA. Up .4% over 2014. Nielsen also estimates that nearly 296 million persons age 2 and older live in these TV homes, an increase of 0.5 percent from last year. To put that in perspective, a US News & World Report article estimates the entire population of the USA to be 317,297,938.

For arguments sake and to simplify, let’s theorize that  – for whatever reasons – only half of that 296 million number watches any measurable amounts of television. Some are at the high-end, some at the low-end, others are right in the middle. That’s 148,000,000. To make things even more tidy, let’s round the previous number up to 150,000,000.

So, everyday the majority of these 150 million television watching people have real life interactions with each other. Some of our group of TV viewers are co-workers who might sit together in the same cluster of cubicles at work. Other viewers are complete strangers, who might stand in line together in a checkout line somewhere. Some viewers become friends, some viewers find they don’t like each other, some viewers become angry and want to harm other people. Either way, this group of viewers have these millions of unrecorded, unplanned and unrehearsed interactions several times a day. Most of it falls unto the category of just everyday stuff, not exciting. Not plus or minus.

But, take a very select few of these same interactions and run them through the American television poor editing, poor due process, and in many cases poor objectivity machine; and they instantly become subjects that all of the self-appointed intellectual heads have to dissect ad nauseam on every channel for us peasants to digest. Apparently we can’t break things down and retain the information on our own so we need it done for us every hour on the hour!

As mentioned, there are several hundred channel choices and therefore many channel programmers. Apparently, most programmers feel that in order to be viewed as current and relevant to advertisers, they each must show the same highly edited “Breaking News” clips over and over again to keep or gain their share of viewers.

The format is always the same, run the unconfirmed, the pure conjecture, slanted viewpoint stories until the more concrete substantiated information comes out. That way you can create multiple streams of story lines about the same event! And for good measure, make sure to continue to identify people by the unsupported, non-scientific, non-legal “racial” parameters that were assigned to each “group” more than 600-700 years ago. Names, which I like to point out were NOT established by the people themselves!

I think many people forget that the whole purpose of creating these “racial” categories was to position groups against one another so as to take their lands, property, and people. In my opinion, the objective is still the same today with the additional objective of making you feel good about it! (Look at how many “ethnic” looking people are on television these days going crazy over products we don’t need! See how much progress “we” are making as a society?”)

The Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Gardner stories ALL follow this format. The reason these stories keep being shoved to the forefront, when MANY more kids are killed by people who look just like they do – all around the world – is not to help solve any problems, but to continue stirring the pot for ratings pure and simple. Create more shows, have more national debates about non debatable stuff. (In my opinion, the Eric Gardner story is different in that his widow/family should file civil charges against the city, county and state! Complete misuse of force.)

So, each morning 150 million potential television viewers awake to be told what happened last night and what it now means to our society. The stories have to be shown at such a high saturation level so it appears that it is EVERYWHERE and EVERYONE is talking about it! Through shear repetition, television persuades viewers to discard the millions of real interactions they have had with each other and make their decisions about other people based on the short video clips and sound bytes provided by the media.

And of course, viewers don’t get a break at night. My own unofficial review of night-time television yields that same results. The evening viewing line up for one channel with national distribution looks like this: ‘Blackish,’ ‘Fresh Off The Boat’ (Coming Soon), ‘The McCarthy’s,’ etc. Apparently this represents some sort of progress from earlier shows: ‘The Jeffersons,’ ‘All In The Family,’ ‘Good Times,’ ‘Julia,’ etc. Old jokes, old premises for a new audience.

To get back on track, this post is titled ‘Arbitrary Boundaries’ because one reoccurring observation over the 11 years that I have been presenting ‘Other Awareness Project – 95% Guilt & Anger Free!’ and talking about self-identification – rather than race & ethnicity – is that in every presentation just about every topic or example the audience tends to put forth as compelling evidence of how the world is changing for the better – change the world has never seen before – is based on an incorrect idea or poorly supported concept that the people who created all of these “racial” categories put forth as propaganda barriers for each category of people. In many cases physical force or punishments were the tools used to make everyone accept their ideas as fact. It hasn’t been that long ago that it was illegal to teach people to read.

From an early age we are taught completely illogical stuff. These type of people can’t do this. Those type of people can’t do the other. Virtually nothing of any significance happened on earth until the Greeks and Romans came along and became the fathers of astronomy, science, etc.

But, if you make some time to read a few books – books that will never be provided in your American classroom. Or, read articles written by your people – written way before some Europeans started telling everyone else who they were and what they were capable of – then I think you will spend less of your valuable time fighting and living inside the arbitrary boundaries that have been constructed around you for you.

As I say all the time, “The only real difference in people, despite what you think your race or ethnicity is – is that successful people DO NOT let other people define who they are and what they can become!”

You were made to travel the earth and experience everything on it!

Michael James Brown is the writer /producer of ‘Other Awareness Project – 95% Guilt & Anger Free!‘ A now 11 year project that looks at why intelligent people – using current information – still call themselves arbitrary and poorly defined “racial” categories. Categories that are not supported by science, religion, or any legal systems. Categories that a person’s ancestors NEVER called themselves! Are we solving any problems – real or perceived – by continuing this dialogue along these lines? Previous career titles include: Marketing Operations Manager, Creative Services Manager, Director of Operations. In his spare time, Michael rides his motorcycle around to real cities, having real conversations with real people. He is already aware that the OAP presentations and topics do not fit the expected mold and therefore he will never be invited to speak on any national media shows! 🙂 (http://www.otherawarenessproject.com) (http://facebook.com/otherawarenessproject)

Advertisements

Summer Reading Assignment

Nature Knows No Color-LineMy daughter is 11 years old and a straight A student. One of her classes this year was ‘Ancient World History.’ I read the table of contents and downloaded the lesson plan, etc. I think they glossed over a lot of information. In my opinion, she is old enough and smart enough to start supplementing her one-sided and incomplete American public school education with information I want her to also know about. Most of the stuff I now know regarding the history of the world and the people in it, I never learned in school, I had to discover it on my own.

Sure, George Washington Carver was a great inventor, but there are so many other people and topics that aren’t typically covered in American schools, that I think people should know about when they are gathering information and forming opinions of themselves and other people. It is important to tell school administrators what other information should be included, but in my opinion, it is more important to fill in the gaps myself rather than wait on someone else to do it for me.

This summer, her reading assignment will be a book by a not widely known author, journalist and historian Mr. Joel Augustus Rogers. The title of the book is: ‘Nature Knows No Color Line: Research into the Negro Ancestry in the White Race’ (New York: J. A. Rogers, 1952 – 242 pages)

(**The picture on the front of the book is of Charlotte Sophia – Queen of England; Consort of George III of England, and grandmother of Queen Victoria. (Portrait by Thomas Frye) She was a German Princess. J. A. discusses this on pages 93 & 94.)

http://www.amazon.com/Nature-Knows-No-Color-Line-Research/dp/0960229450

The book is only 242 pages long but in my opinion, EVERYONE who wants to be more knowledgeable about human history in Africa, Europe, and the rest of the world, should consider adding this book to their classrooms or collections. (*There is an elementary school in Kansas City named after J.A. Rogers. http://www.kcpublicschools.org/domain/319)

According to J.A. Rogers, the purpose for the book is not to prove who was/is greater. The purpose of the book is to show that Africans have been contributing to societies all over the planet, BEFORE “slavery,” etc. Before it is completely written out of any history books, he wanted to show and document that many Africans were accepted into the highest levels of European society. They married, had children, these were not people who were merely only “slaves.” Throughout the book, he shows pictures of official royal family and European government crests from the 15th, 16th, 17th centuries with images of “Africans” on them. As Rogers explains throughout the book, these images are not on the official documents because they were making fun of the people. In fact, the opposite is truer; these people were on there because they wanted to show their connections to them! In my opinion, the analogy that best comes to mind so people can understand this today, is the habit of wearing sports team jerseys. No one buys and wears a jersey of a player that they hate. They proudly wear the name and jersey of the player(s) they admire, want to emulate.

In this book, J.A. Rogers also goes about the business of showing that the concept of race as it relates to a person’s skin color is a newer, more contemporary concept. He references the work of French anthropologist, Topinard, who noted that neither Aristotle (Father of Natural History) nor Hippocrates (Father of Modern Medicine) ever mentioned the word “race” though both studied anatomy and the then known varieties of the human race. The King James Bible of the 17th century does not mention the word “race.” (page 10)

The best the thing I like about this book – and all of J.A. Rogers other books and research – is that #1 he paid for all of it himself! He did not really ask anyone else to pay for or support his project. He traveled to Europe, visited castles, libraries, museums, etc. #2 when he says something; he has footnotes throughout the book that shows you where he found the information. He is VERY thorough in his notes. You can check his research for yourself if you want to!

J. A. Rogers was a member of professional associations such as the Paris Society of Anthropology, the American Geographical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Academy of Political Science.

If you have never heard of J. A. Rogers, you can begin your research at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Augustus_Rogers

Joel Augustus Rogers (September 6, 1883 – March 26, 1966) was a Jamaican-American author, journalist, and historian who contributed to the history of Africa and the African Diaspora, especially the history of African Americans in the United States. His research spanned the academic fields of history, sociology and anthropology. He challenged prevailing ideas about race, demonstrated the connections between civilizations, and traced African achievements. He was one of the greatest populizers of African history in the 20th century.

Rogers was a meticulous researcher, astute scholar and concise writer. He traveled tirelessly on his quest for knowledge, which often took him directly to the source. While traveling in Europe, he frequented libraries, museums, and castles, finding sources that helped him prove African ancestry and history. He challenged the biased viewpoint of Euro-centric historians and anthropologists.

Rogers articulated ideas about race that were formed by anthropology and biology, rather than social convention. He used vindicationism not as end in itself, but as a tool to underscore his humanist beliefs, and to illustrate the unity of humanity as a people. He discarded the non-scientific definition of race and pursued his own ideas about humanity’s interconnectedness. Thus, although the work of Rogers has often been relegated to the controversial genre of Afro-centric history, his main contribution to African scholarship was his nuanced analysis of the concept of race.

Rogers was a member of professional associations such as the Paris Society of Anthropology, the American Geographical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Academy of Political Science.

After reading the book, maybe your first thought will be; “How come I never learned any of this in middle and high school?” My daughter will never have to ask that question.

Michael James Brown is the writer /producer of ‘Other Awareness Project – 95% Guilt & Anger Free!‘ A now 11 year project that looks at why intelligent people – using current information – still call themselves arbitrary and poorly defined “racial” categories. Categories that are not supported by science, religion, or any legal systems. Categories that a person’s ancestors NEVER called themselves prior to European contact! Are we solving any problems – real or perceived – by continuing this dialogue along these lines? Previous career titles include: Marketing Operations Manager, Creative Services Manager, and Director of Operations. In his spare time, Michael rides his motorcycle around to real cities, having real conversations with real people. He is already aware that the OAP presentations and topics do not fit the expected mold and therefore he will never be invited to speak on any national media shows! 🙂

Website:
http://www.otherawarenessproject.com
Facebook:
http://facebook.com/otherawarenessproject
Email:
mjb@otherawarenessproject.com

Donald Sterling – American Marketing/Media Manipulation 101

 

MJB speaking at police department training seminar.

MJB speaking at police department training seminar.

On Tuesday, April 29th, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life and fined $2.5 million dollars for comments he made concerning a picture of his girlfriend and Magic Johnson. Apparently the suspension and fine were needed to help “make things right” according to Andrew Silver, the new commissioner of the National Basketball Association.

Over that last 11 years via Other Awareness Project – 95% Guilt & Anger Free! presentations  – presentations where I ask, “Why do intelligent people STILL choose to categorize themselves into poorly defined “racial” groups – I have talked with various groups around the country about the continued manipulation of information by American mass media outlets and marketing agencies. My position has always been that the only reason any of this talk about racists and racism, etc. continues to dominate headlines is because certain people and organizations make more money with stories of hints of racism, than stories without racism angles. Even though there is nothing scientific, religious, or legal that supports the idea that people are divided into these “racial” groups, we still have to get subjected to nationwide blitzes of stories that only help cause further division.

This will be a little long, but as we go along, try to remember that because we have so many outlets for information today, ALL media companies are always looking for content – especially content that people will react to – for their articles, features, etc. Advertisers pay a lot of money to have their products & services shown on the channels that produce the greatest amount of return for their media purchases. Marketing 101.

In my opinion, the NBA and pretty much all major sports, have become less about the actual playing of the sport, and more about the selling of the sport and making the games more attractive to casual viewers, thereby making the product more attractive to potential advertisers. To be even more specific, they are looking to attract more advertisers in the consumer packed goods or consumer services sector. This is also Marketing 101 and not “wrong” or anything, just good business the way the game is played today. (Just watch any game and what commercials do you see? There are really only 3 types of commercials that come on during a sporting event: 1) Company A is trying to sell you something to eat. 2) Company B is trying to get you to sign up for their service. 3) NBA public service announcements where they tell you how great and involved the NBA is in your community. The NBA is your friend!)

Another topic I talk about in my OAP presentations is coalition building. Basically, I like to point out to my audiences that people have always made agreements and coalitions with other people throughout history. All people – and corporations for that matter – only make agreements and coalitions with other companies and people because they both hope to profit from the alliance.

Stopping short of calling it some sort of an alliance because I certainly  don’t know all the details, I’m suggesting that the NBA, Donald Sterling, TV stations, Marketing Agencies, NAACP and other organizations, all have an angle on making more money and/or better positioning themselves as leaders in the ‘”bringing people together” movement, while not really solving or bringing adequate resources to help reduce any social conditions whatsoever. Yes, we get a lot of marketing campaigns and press conference announcements out of these type of stories, but very little actual results.

So, in my opinion, the Donald Sterling’s “racist” comments story line dominating EVERYTHING on TV, is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Everyone makes more money by keeping racism in the news. First, by dividing people into arbitrary and completely unsupportable “racial” categories – which has run it’s course for now – then by creating false scenarios whereby organizations or products “magically” bring those same arbitrary and poorly defined “groups” back together again.

Now, let’s look at the components of the story and add just a little internet background research on the organizations and people involved:

1) Donald Sterling has purchased thousands of apartments primarily in Los Angeles over the past several decades. He also owns properties in Orange County, San Diego and Las Vegas and advertises heavily in the L.A. Times. Sterling bought the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team in 1981 for $12 million; Forbes now values the team at $430 million. Mr. Sterling’s net worth is estimated at $1.9 Billion. (http://www.forbes.com/profile/donald-sterling) (He is also a lawyer)

2) Adam Silver, is an American lawyer and the commissioner of the National Basketball Association. He has held this post since February 1, 2014.On October 25, 2012, he was endorsed by David Stern to be the next NBA Commissioner when Stern announced that he would step down as of February 1, 2014. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Silver)

So already we have two lawyers involved in this big drama. two people who completely understand the value of words and their meanings and potential consequences, etc. (A little odd to me, but let’s continue.)

3) Once a struggling also-ran to other professional sports, the National Basketball Association is now a global money machine, thanks in large part to Stern’s leadership on labor relations, drug testing, team expansion and other issues. NBA revenues, which were $118 million for the 1982-83 season, hit $4.6 billion for the league’s 30 teams last year. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2014/01/22/as-stern-says-goodbye-knicks-lakers-set-records-as-nbas-most-valuable-teams)

4) U.S. agency revenue — covering all forms of marketing communications, including advertising, media, digital, marketing services, health care and public relations — totaled $35.6 billion in 2012. (http://adage.com/article/agency-news/digital-media-drive-u-s-agency-revenue/241114)

Total retail sales reached $1.1 trillion in 2012: $568 billion at grocery stores and $530 billion at food service and drinking establishments. (http://www.pwc.com/us/en/press-releases/2013/consumer-packaged-goods-companies.jhtml)

Secretly Recorded Telephone Call

Admittedly, I haven’t followed this story minute by minute, nor do I plan on it, but I have heard segments of information while flipping through channels. To help round out my knowledge of what was said, I clicked on this link: Transcripts of the tape: http://deadspin.com/exclusive-the-extended-donald-sterling-tape-1568291249

So it appears that the secretly recorded telephone conversation is between Donald Sterling & his then girlfriend. (I also read where there they are now broken up and there has been some litigation between them.)

So that no one tries to misconstrue my comments so they appear to be in support of what Donald Sterling said, from what I read, his comments are poorly supported and he could do with some classes on world history. I didn’t really pick up on anything as being mean, just misinformed. But in my opinion, a lot of people have that problem!

I’m not really hearing anything that appears to be criminal, or said with malicious intent, or where it has damaged anyone’s property but his own. He didn’t say he was making these comments on behalf of the LA Clipper organization. I’m not even sure any laws were broken. (Except possibly the illegal recording of a telephone call! California operates under the “two-party” consent law. (http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/california-recording-law) A guy talking to his girlfriend about what he thinks in a secretly recorded conversation is pretty much a non-story…that is until the media gets a hold of it.

A media that NEEDS these stories so they can interject what they think and what they feel into the story so they can appear to be relevant to consumers AND attract more marketing dollars! I would also add an NBA that also NEEDS these kind of stories so they can appear to be relevant and on top of handling any cases of racism, or even cases of perceived racism for the American consumer. (Note: They use the word American when they are trying to show how united and one we all are. However, they use the arbitrary and undefined “racial” categories when they are trying to show how “diverse” they are. EX Eric Spolestra is the first Asian-American head coach in the NBA. (He was born in Evanston, IL)

So, this earth shattering story is released to the media on Saturday, and by Tuesday it has been played and replayed so much that Donald Sterling – a lawyer and the owner of the LA Clippers – is banned for life from the NBA and has to pay a $2.5 million dollar fine! All without the NBA owners even having a meeting! (4 days! That’s a pretty quick arraignment, trial and sentencing! How come people who have broken real laws and killed real people can’t get that kind of justice?) (Quick calculation shows that the fine is 0.013157% of Sterling’s estimated net worth)

Again, I’m not saying anyone was in agreement with anyone else, just showing they stand to profit or get better positioning from  blasting this story all over the news. Although, it is kind of convenient that EVERY station chose to run with it and it’s tidy that they can come to some resolution in 4 days. (If race & racism issues are this easy to handle, the NBA should get out of the basketball business entirely and focus on other issues.)

The NAACP, which was set to honor Donald Sterling as it’s Man of The Year, was so upset, even before proving that he is the guy on the tape, that they canceled his dinner. (But, they haven’t said yet when or if they plan on giving back any of his “racist” tainted money.)

In my limited involvement with the story I have heard a lot of celebrities and talking heads come out to denounce what Donald Sterling allegedly said in the tapes. And again, don’t get it twisted I am not in support of what he said. Any rational person would not be in agreement with the comments attributed to him. And that is EXACTLY where the NBA and the TV stations and the marketing types want you to be! Against race and racism, even though if you know anything about marketing or have spent anytime in an ad agency you will certainly know how just about everything that is bought and sold in this country is broken up into “racial” categories! Don’t believe it? Try talking to a marketing company about selling your new product. The very first question will be “What is the demographic info for your projected market?” BET is a “Black” channel for distribution of thoughts, ideas, and images to that audience. Univision is a “Hispanic” channel for distribution of thoughts, ideas, and images to that audience. Logo is a “Gay” channel for distribution of thoughts, ideas, and images to that audience, and on and on.

What has been accomplished?

Of course this is only my opinion, but in six months to a year from now you will be able to clearly see what the purpose of this non-story dominating the news headlines was all about. Adam Silver will have been established as the new powerful commissioner of the NBA. He will have also accomplished the main goal of why he was hired for the position in the first place, and that is to grow the revenues of the NBA. (I guess the NBA also gets to keep or decide what happens to the $2.5 million dollars as well!) Donald Sterling will still be a billionaire, probably even more so, after the sale of the Clippers to an ownership group made up of people, hand-picked by the NBA, that represents every still outdated and arbitrarily defined “racial” group. The every day marginal fan will love the NBA and buy the apparel even more so because they will feel that “our friend” the good ole NBA has done so much by correcting a “wrong” in our still evil society. The market will be flooded with more “diversity” programs that will seek to build communication bridges across great “racial” divides. And people will still go to bed hungry in the poorer neighborhoods around the country. So, nothing structurally will have changed, but everyone will feel better about themselves, until the next story is thrust upon us!

Michael James Brown is the writer /producer of ‘Other Awareness Project – 95% Guilt & Anger Free!‘ A now 11 year project that looks at why intelligent people – using current information – still call themselves arbitrary and poorly defined “racial” categories. Categories that are not supported by science, religion, or any legal systems. Categories that a person’s ancestors NEVER called themselves! Are we solving any problems – real or perceived – by continuing this dialogue along these lines? Previous career titles include: Marketing Operations Manager, Creative Services Manager, Director of Operations. In his spare time, Michael rides his motorcycle around to real cities, having real conversations with real people. He is already aware that the OAP presentations and topics do not fit the expected mold and therefore he will never be invited to speak on any national media shows! 🙂 (http://www.otherawarenessproject.com) (http://facebook.com/otherawarenessproject)

 

 

11 Years, More Than 1,000 Business Cards!

oap_busCards_0002

On May 8th, 2014 I’ll be celebrating the 11th year of ‘Other Awareness Project – 95% Guilt & Anger Free!

I want to begin a review for the people that are just learning about the OAP, or were not involved from the beginning.

Over the years, many people have told me how hard they think the goals of the OAP are to achieve. In fact, many people tell me it is still impossible. In some ways, I agree with them, but in one major way, I do not. My position is if you continue to get all of your information about and “your people” from one source, or a small list of sources, and not from the very people you consider yourself to be, then yes, it will impossible.

However, if you learn to read and gather information for yourself, then the very question of who you are and what you are capable of becomes a moot point. There is nothing to argue about or explain to someone else. ““How did “we” get to a place where people are asked by our government and businesses to fill out arbitrary and poorly defined forms asking them about their race or ethnicity?” Who made the connection that discussing that “information” is somehow connected to what you can or can’t accomplish in your life?” “What information are “they” using to support that connection and is it still valid?”

‘Other Awareness Project – 95% Guilt & Anger Free!’ is not just one project. It is a series of projects – connected and stand alone – that seeks answers on the one hand, and ask questions more questions on the other hand. Although we touch upon a wide variety of topics, ‘Other Awareness Project – 95% Guilt & Anger Free!’ is not focused on racism or past wrongdoings, real or perceived. It is more focused on today and tomorrow, and helping to discover the best plan going forward, that everyone can support.

This project is about self-identification.

The first approximately 3 years of the OAP was all research and reading. I have read and researched many books for this project. I have talked with many people much “smarter” than I am regarding the subjects we discuss in the project. It is the reason why today I get to speak at a lot of academic institutions and conferences. I do not picket, boycott, or protest anyone. I simply turn in an abstract that outlines and supports what I am going to talk about to a committee. That committee reviews my paper, then decides if I can be a part of their program or not. I seldom am turned away or not allowed to speak. I have made many friends & contacts over the last 11 years in this way.

In 2007, I traveled to various cities around the country. (Long Beach, CA; Austin, TX; Portland, OR; Cypress, CA; Carson, CA; Youngstown, OH) filming conversations with people I didn’t know and who are more intelligent than I am. People, who have been calling themselves any of the completely arbitrary and legally, undefined “racial” categories for 10, 20, 30, 40 years. To see why they still chose a “racial” category, how they supported that decision, and how it has or has not affected their lives.

Everyone answered the same roughly 20 questions, from “Who is Al Sharpton?” to “Where is Caucasia?” to “What is the legal description of a _____ person in the United States?” Not one person knew the questions until we were filming. I did not prep any of the responses. The conversations are exactly as they happened with as little editing as possible. In fact, I gave each person interviewed an unedited copy of our interview and told them that if they did not like the interview, I would not use the footage. Everyone who participated agreed that I could use their footage. My goal in the filming portion was not to try to embarrass anyone, or edit in such a way to make it seem like they were saying something they were not.

Highlights include speaking with Marc Dann, Attorney General for the state of Ohio. Jim Dear, Mayor of Carson, CA, Dr. Joseph Graves Jr., Professor of Biology at NC A&T University, and Rabbi Brian Zachary Meyer Los Angeles.

Since the completion of filming and editing on that portion and those questions, I have spent the majority of time traveling around the country looking for events and places to discuss the results of my project. I have had more than 40 official and varied presentations of the Other Awareness Project – 95% Guilt & Anger Free! The very first presentation was in Carlsbad, CA on 2/18/06 at the Carlsbad Village Theater during a friend’s comedy show.

The picture above is of the more than 1,000 business cards I have accumulated, since then, from business, education, and community leaders around the USA and Canada. I have personally met with all of them to discuss ways to get my presentation, or some the information in my presentation, into their schools and businesses. In some aspects, the current question of focus for ‘Other Awareness Project – 95% Guilt & Anger Free!’ is, “Why can’t we add new or different books/information into the conversation regarding race & ethnicity?” Every year it is the same images and information – now sponsored by corporations – that discuss things related to race & ethnicity in the exact same way, from the same viewpoint. In my opinion, no real progress at all.

Best Foot Forward

403430_10150850173492580_912131900_nJust in case you haven’t noticed some of my recent posts, the NCORE Review Committee has once again accepted ‘Other Awareness Project – 95% Guilt & Anger Free’ for presentation at the 26th Annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education®.

NCORE® 2013 will be held May 28 through June 1, 2013, in Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Two Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130. My presentation is on Saturday, June 1st.

I know many people are unfamiliar with the direction and importance of this conference. Here is a short paragraph from the NCORE® website outlining the scope and purpose of the organization and conference:

The NCORE® conference series constitutes the leading and most comprehensive national forum on issues of race and ethnicity in American higher education. The conference focuses on the complex task of creating and sustaining comprehensive institutional change designed to improve racial and ethnic relations on campus and to expand opportunities for educational access and success by culturally diverse, traditionally underrepresented populations. (http://www.ncore.ou.edu/about_ncore.html)

So, in a nutshell, the attendees of these conferences are experienced educators (Master’s/PHD’s) looking for ways to solve the “problem” of poor academic achievement. They go on to further break things down into what I see as the continuation of poorly defined “racial” categories. As in “helping the Black kids, helping the Brown kids, etc.”

There is no differentiation or categorization in my message. As I tell the kids when I speak at any of the continuation or second chance schools – schools designed to help kids who aren’t succeeding in regular schools – look around the room, you are all here for the same reason, despite what you think your race or ethnicity is! Therefore, whatever you think about your race or ethnicity CANNOT be the cause of where you are now. Besides, there are people who look just like you, who came from the same circumstances or worse, who aren’t here with you now! What’s the difference? Why are they where they are and you are here? (Shortly after this, I also tell the kids, let’s talk more about the real world and less about the world that is presented to you through mass media, I can help you solve your problem. That’s when most start listening and asking questions!)

2013 will be my third and probably last appearance at this conference. (San Diego 2009, San Francisco 2011.) Both of the previous presentations were 3 hours long, well attended and I made many important contacts, gathered lots of information to research and discuss.

This will be the last presentation simply because I think there are more people and institutions more focused on having an NCORE conference next year, rather than focused on actually solving the problem.

(At this point I want to add that although my presentation is primarily focused on why trying to solve any problems based on continuing to use incorrect and poorly defined categories established by people who created them to dominate other people hasn’t worked. I actually respect the members of the selection committee(s) for reviewing and approving my participation at this conference three times! When the attendees find out what my topic is many are amazed that I’m allowed to make a presentation at all! But, after hearing the whole presentation, many of those same people have written or expressing approval of the direction of the project. (Actual follow up and bringing the presentation to their campus or organization has been another thing entirely. But I know the reasons behind that!) Over the past 10 years there have been many groups/organizations who will not even review or research my submissions.)

This year’s presentation is only 2 hours long, with a significant portion dedicated towards highlighting the work of Mr. Joel Augustus Rogers. My focus is specifically his book; ‘Nature Knows No Color Line: Research into the Negro Ancestry in the White Race’ (New York: J. A. Rogers, 1952). (Outdated title, I know.)

In my opinion, this book is quite simply THE one book that I think EVERYONE who wants to be more knowledgeable about human history in Africa, Europe, and the United States of America should read. If one of your goals or tasks is to teach other people about human history in Africa, Europe, etc.; then I think discussion of this book should be included in primary and secondary schools everywhere!

Documentation of information is what makes this book a must read! On every page, starting with the photo on the cover, J.A. Rogers tells you where he found the information! If you don’t “think” or “feel” it is accurate, YOU can do more research for yourself! It helps provide a starting point so YOU can add to whatever education YOU feel YOU didn’t get from the other man!

(There is already a J. A. Rogers Elementary school in Kansas City! http://www.kcpublicschools.org/Domain/32)

I am writing today because I have already sent messages to selected book clubs, groups, and people whose opinions I can respect, around the country, to think about starting the process of including this book in any upcoming discussions. I have even offered to fly anywhere and help moderate/lead the discussions. I am now expanding the suggestions to friends (and frienemies) everywhere.

I know everyone likes to talk about all sorts of unconnected topics, but for this exercise, the discussion will be limited to talking about J. A. Rogers, his research and how he went about his work, and the information contained in this book!

This book is hard to find. It is usually out of stock. I was able to purchase a copy at:

EYERIE CULTURE SHOP
6695 Downey Ave
Long Beach, CA
562-408-1000
(Ask for Z)

It is important to me that you do your own research, but here are a few paragraphs about J. A. Rogers. You can read more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Augustus_Rogers

Joel Augustus Rogers (September 6, 1883 – March 26, 1966) was a Jamaican-American author, journalist, and historian who contributed to the history of Africa and the African Diaspora, especially the history of African Americans in the United States. His research spanned the academic fields of history, sociology and anthropology. He challenged prevailing ideas about race, demonstrated the connections between civilizations, and traced African achievements. He was one of the greatest popularizers of African history in the 20th century.

Rogers was a meticulous researcher, astute scholar and concise writer. He traveled tirelessly on his quest for knowledge, which often took him directly to the source. While traveling in Europe, he frequented libraries, museums, and castles, finding sources that helped him prove African ancestry and history. He challenged the biased viewpoint of Eurocentric historians and anthropologists.

Rogers articulated ideas about race that were informed by anthropology and biology, rather than social convention. He used vindicationism not as end in itself, but as a tool to underscore his humanist beliefs, and to illustrate the unity of humanity as a people. He discarded the non-scientific definition of race and pursued his own ideas about humanity’s interconnectedness. Thus, although the work of Rogers has often been relegated to the controversial genre of Afrocentric history, his main contribution to African scholarship was his nuanced analysis of the concept of race.

Rogers was a member of professional associations such as the Paris Society of Anthropology, the American Geographical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Academy of Political Science.

You can start reading reviews of ‘Nature Knows No Color Lines’ on Amazon.com:
 http://www.amazon.com/Nature-Knows-No-Color-Line-Research/product-reviews/0960229450/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

If you are an educator, community organizer, or just interested in discussing this book, by all means contact me. (After reading the book and doing your own research!) If not, I completely understand. It is hard to step away from the group and do something different.

In my opinion, if this book is not considered for inclusion/discussion by more schools, etc., “we” simply aren’t putting our best foot forward towards solving any problems and “we” will be talking about this stuff for another 500 years!

Thanks!

Michael James Brown
Writer/Producer
Other Awareness Project – 95% Guilt & Anger Free!
mjb@otherawarenessproject.com

Still Waiting…

Michael James Brown

Over the last 7 years I have received many emails from the more than 250,000 people who have visited the Other Awareness Project website. (http://www.otherawarenessproject.com) I have responded to every letter. Between my two groups on facebook there are more than 1200 “fans” of the project. Some people become fans or understand the project right away, others take as long as 2-3 months. Below is an example of the typical exchange of emails that it takes to get people to focus on the questions I’m asking, rather than continue to regurgitate all the wrong information or wrong deeds that anyone has done in the past. I’m still waiting for his response.

Comment to otherawarenessproject.com July 9, 2010 9:31:08 PM

Email: XXXX@XXXXXXXXXXX.com

Comments: Hey, am I missing something?  I’m reading that there’s no such thing as race, but at the same time someone’s saying they’re “biracial“, etc.   And the lengthy discussion of the Mexica, isn’t that all about race?  Or is that discussion not being condoned here?  And the discussion of reparations to African Americans, is that being denounced, since it’s about a race?  Last, I recently saw one of the forensic file shows on tv, and they found out from the DNA that the killer was white, blond hair, blue eyed, which proved to be true.  Isn’t this a racial thing?

Let me mention I’m all for getting the government out of our lives, I think that’s what this country is all about, but are we throwing out the baby with the bathwater?   Please accept my apology in advance if there’s a simple answer to all this.

Paul

MJB response #1 July 26, 2010 8:21:14 PM

Paul,

Thanks for your comments! Sorry for the delay in responding, have been busy scheduling events, etc. I noticed you are in Orange, CA and I’m going to be showing footage and discussing the Other Awareness Project at The MUZEO Museum on August, 8th at 3PM

There is a much simpler answer to all of this ongoing “racial” talk. Real quickly, when people call themselves “bi-racial“, I’m asking what are they still basing that on? I’m not sure what you call yourself when asked what “race” you are, but my project looks at how do you still justify your choice with current information? Some people mention incorrect stuff from the Bible, some people mention old scientific stuff that has been proven false many years ago, other people mention old laws or what people used to think.

My project is about self-identification. If you have friends from other “races”, have been through a couple of diversity programs, why are you still calling yourself any of these arbitrary and completely made up “racial” names? Here is a hint, look at your driver’s license. How come your “racial” information doesn’t appear on there?

Overall, I’m asking people to reevaluate why they still use these names to try and solve problems, and is it working. But, more importantly than talking about what everyone has done wrong, do we need these names/categories to solve problems going forward. If you haven’t done so already, please download my complete media kit and hopefully I’ll see you in Anaheim on August 8th!

Download Complete Media Kit (with letters from Barack Obama, Vernon Jordan, Clarence Thomas and others):

http://www.otherawarenessproject.com/OAP_mediakit.pdf

MJB

Paul’s response #1 July 27, 2010 1:05:55 PM PDT

Michael,

Good to hear from you.   I saw you the year before last in Long Beach.

I was still curious though, because you and I had a bit of discussion on the dna idea, that there was no biological basis for race (hopefully I’m remembering right) but again, on a recent crime documentary, they determined from dna all about the guy, so wouldn’t it at least be fair to say that there is actually a biological basis to race?

And, I was very curious about a handful of links on your site, in which people elaborated A LOT about race this and that, naming specific ones and what “they” need to do, what they did, etc, so I’m confused about your stance on that (are you endorsing those or critiquing them….?)

I mentioned the Bible thing I saw online, because I was intrigued that it seemed to describe what you were saying.  In any case it did not say God created races but that people morph naturally given their environment, something like that. (I’d still wonder if it wouldn’t make sense though, that enough morphs create a “race”)   Also saw an extremely interesting documentary from a guy who researched what he deduces is the path of humankind, starting somewhere like north africa, migrating all over, and says the europeans became that way over time, others migrated way east, and then through the americas, so the native americans are “cousins” of the asians.   You may have heard all this before, but I find it interesting.   It helps to realize or see this kind of thing and see all the commonality.

Dare I inject a touchy thought–the left is way too focused on race and it drives me crazy.

Hope to hear your feedback…..

Paul

MJB response #2 July 27, 2010 5:21:13 PM PDT

Hey Paul,

I’ll go in order:

#1) From many current scientific viewpoints there isn’t any basis for people self-identifying themselves into any of the commonly accepted “racial groups.” Period. I can’t argue about the documentary on a TV show, but like a lot of CSI stuff that stuff is made up. Not accurate science. But, if YOU think there is ANY basis for putting people into various “racial groups” what would it be?

Since my project is about self-identification, I like to be very specific. When you, Paul, are given the option of choosing a “race” which one do you select? In your answer, I would like for you to explain why you selected the choice you chose. Then I would like for you to think of 10 other people who you think or feel might be in your same “racial category” and tell me what you all have in common, that a member of any one of the other arbitrary and undefined groups can’t also have.

#2) It isn’t up to me say because they are asking you to identify yourself, but I don’t endorse people calling themselves “bi-racial.” There is no such thing! If you think there is what is your rational? What other race are you combined with?

#3) You should explore the concept of how scientists use the word “race”, and how they apply it to every other animal on the planet. A lot of scientists and scientific organizations concur that the human race hasn’t been on the earth long enough to have split into separate races. Scientifically, the word race can be interchanged with the word sub-species. In my research I have found that one of the most basic rules of whether something is of the same race or not, is if you can naturally mate a male and female and produce offspring. Humans certainly can! Quick example: A horse and donkey are artificially mated together to create a mule. If you try and mate that mule with another mule what do you get? Nothing, the mule is sterile. Why? Because the horse and donkey are separate races. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mule

#4) Here is just one timeline of civilization: http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0001198.html

#5) Here is a DNA migration map that shows how Homo Sapien Sapien spread across the planet. We are ALL virtual COUSINS of each other! The differences you see are due to diet and environment. Today, in my opinion, they are further accentuated and exploited as “differences” by politics, media and marketing.

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ncscotts/Y-DNA/Migration%20Maps/FTDNA%20Y-DNA%20Migrations%20Map-1.jpg

Conclusion: I assume you mean political left when you say left, but in my opinion, EVERYONE who continues to answer a question about their race with anything other than human is wrong. No matter where anyone is on the planet 99% of their genes are common with everyone else. If you want to make it continental, we are all AFRICANS! The whole reason why it persists has nothing to do with the Bible or science or law. In my opinion, the perception that everyone is dealing with “racism” on this grand scale, exists because it has been determined that people can make more money with it, than without it.

With my project, I’m trying to discover the people who can interact and solve problems WITHOUT going through these arbitrary and undefined hoops and actually spend our time SOLVING real problems.

MJB

Paul response #2 July 28, 2010 11:11:15 AM PDT

Michael,

Thanks for your thoughts, I do appreciate the chance to dialogue.

Let me clarify–I don’t necessarily hold to the idea of bi-racial–I was asking because I see it in a handful of places with your interviewees or online comments, and mainly wondered if you agreed with it, and I appreciate that you’re being consistent and DON’T agree with it.  But….it’s almost funny how the same people are agreeing with the idea of no race and at the same time claiming they’re bi-racial.  I don’t mean funny in a sarcastic way, just to clarify.

Now, CSI is a drama and I would never trust it for facts.   The other few programs are serious documentary, it shows the actual crime dept. involved and interviews actual forensic scientists doing their thing, so I wouldn’t see this as  inaccurate science unless we can know otherwise.  (and then, do I distrust everything on Discovery, The History Channel, PBS?)   It’s not like a movie documentary for example, which normally has an agenda.  In the case I mentioned they figured from the dna that it was a blond haired white skinned male, and the guy saw this on the local tv and turned himself in before they found him (partly since it was a very small town and he figured it was just a matter of time)….so my only point is that SOMETHING about this dna shows physical characteristics–this is the only thing I wanted to mention here, just to be fair with the facts.  If this is due to diet and environment….whatever it is, there’s something.   That’s all.  This fact doesn’t mean conclusions or ramifications about self identifying.

Now, your question about asking 10 people about a category, I really think it would be easy–I think they would come up with basic stuff about our ancestry and its whereabouts, and if that’s all, THAT’S OKAY, isn’t it?   This doesn’t have to imply anything more, but do we need to do away with it…..??    If it’s literally–“hey, my people came from ______ and we tend to have ______as a characteristic, and we typically do ________ ” (as an ethnicity), then is that inherently problematic?    It’s a different issue if we say..”we’re this ______ and obviously our people did this and this, so we’re better or smarter” but the latter doesn’t invalidate the former, does it?

I certainly agree that humans’ dna is distinct, while evolutionists have tried to establish that it’s similar to all the animals.

Now…..if everyone in a society wants to self identify, would there need to be an exact science to do that?    Certainly we use “ethnicity” with no exact science, and I don’t believe it’s inherently problematic, and without question–don’t people all over the planet have issue upon issue over “their” ethnic ways…..?   Maybe it’s more of an issue of human nature, not necessarily official, legal, scientific categories…..?  I really suggest that’s the issue…..

What I was asking about on your site is/are the links–the Mexica I think it was, for example.   Total discussion of this race and that race, so I was just curious if you had an issue with that being on your site.  It seemed like it was going against your whole premise, though I realize there may be other reasons why you have it there (but I’m curious then).

The more I hear the more it seems like there’s no way possible for people to not self identify.   We have eyesight, we look different, and people will identify by class, geography, education, religion, intelligence, body weight, age.  If we eliminated half of those….do we have “unity”?   Even if we can officially and every other way establish that there’s one human race…..we wouldn’t eliminate the ism’s of humanity, would we? I think the problem is really human nature….

Hope you welcome the dialogue….I’m not wanting to be an annoyance…!!

Paul

MJB response #3 July 28, 2010 12:51:34 PM PDT

Paul,

Not an annoyance but respectfully I’m sure you are aware that while I enjoy the conversation, I simply don’t have the time right now to interact with everyone on a one to one basis. Because I get these sort of comments all the time, that’s why I have the group presentations. You should come out to the event on August 8th.

In my opinion, you are trying to “dialogue” about a lot of things that I don’t see where there is anything to dialogue about. Rather than talk about ALL OF THE POSSIBLE sources of INCORRECT INFORMATION that people CONTINUE to use and make reference to draw incorrect conclusions on race etc., I’m looking for you to provide YOUR answers to the questions I asked. In my answer to you I sent links to articles that you can research if you want to, in return, I would like the same.

If you want me to answer about some crime documentary, send me a link and I’ll look it over. Can’t answer abstract observations about an unnamed documentary. If you are saying they found some guy through his DNA and from that DNA they determined that the guy was “white”, I would like to hear their explanation on how they scientifically attached the word “white” to DNA results.

The Mexica link is there because that group is talking about how being called Latino or Hispanic has nothing to do with being called Mexican, or Puerto Rican, etc. The people of Central America aren’t the ones who first started calling people from the region Hispanic, etc.

I’m also going to suggest that it is NOT human nature for people to solely interact or fight with, or marry, or bear children with people who only look like them. You may want to look up the definition of the term coalitional behavior.

By the way, I’m not trying to convince you or anyone else of anything. I’m letting people know that maybe some of the information they are using to continue to answer these type of questions might be a little out of date. When I started the project 7 years ago, I started with the premise that everyone I would speak to was/is smarter than I am. That’s why I spent a couple of years talking to scientists and lawyers, and politicians, and religious professionals BEFORE I started talking with people who draw their conclusions on what they think or feel solely on the basis of information presented to them on TV. I respect your intelligence as well, but I would still like to hear your answers and supporting rational to the questions I asked.

So, when asked the question about your “race,” or “ethnicity,” which choice, of the 7-8 choices possible, do you choose and why? I’ll wait upon your answer, then we can dialogue a bit.

Michael James Brown

Writer/Producer

Other Awareness Project

http://www.otherawarenessproject.com

%d bloggers like this: