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, Neilsen – a 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)
My 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.)
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! 🙂
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
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.
MJB response #1 July 26, 2010 8:21:14 PM
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):
Paul’s response #1 July 27, 2010 1:05:55 PM PDT
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…..
MJB response #2 July 27, 2010 5:21:13 PM PDT
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.
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.
Paul response #2 July 28, 2010 11:11:15 AM PDT
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…!!
MJB response #3 July 28, 2010 12:51:34 PM PDT
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
Other Awareness Project