A Tale of Two Protests…

A rally that was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration for patriots to stand up for Trump on January 6th disappointingly turned into a chaotic event. Scores of people occupied the Capitol building and some stepped over the line into fear tactics, and even violence. When the dust finally settled, 4 died, the National Guard had to be called, a curfew enforced in DC, and several arrests. I think we can all agree this violent mob chaos was a disgrace and does not represent the real patriot or mainstream Trump supporter. Indeed, many prominent conservatives, including our President openly decried and denounced the violence and chaos, reminding every fellow American that no matter what the cause, violence and fear is never the answer to create change in a democracy. Despite the widespread condemnation of the rotten apples who only hurt Trump’s cause and the conservative community, the liberal media is swarming over this as proof of “right wing” domestic terrorism and proof we are dangerous insurrectionists who need to be censored and banned. The left even went as far as to give Trump a permanent ban on Twitter, a heavily left leaning platform! In some ways not surprising, as they were looking for any excuse, and this seems to be the perfect one.

Now contrast the widespread (and justified) condemnation for the behavior shown at the Capitol Building with the BLM riots and “autonomous zones” from this past summer. Violent insurrection? Check. Calling the National Guard? Check. Curfews? Check. Destruction of property? Check. Making people fear for their safety? Check. Arrests? Check. We can go on and on… Yes, the cause may be different, the side may be different, even the scale and duration of events is different. But the chaos? The violence and fear? Nope! Those riots caused for more destruction and went on for longer and with more people in several cities across the country. Did their behavior honestly reflect the simple idea that black lives matter as much as any other life? Were their actions reflective of a movement who only wants equality and justice? No matter what your opinion is of BLM, violent riots, chaos and looting harms volumes more than it ever would help actual black lives.

Yet, there was no widespread condemnation from BLM leaders. They encouraged the riots in the name of “reparations”! The left did nothing to condemn and stop the chaos, and called anyone a racist for criticizing them. Despite it being also within a raging pandemic no one even blinked at the thought of thousands packed in the streets like sardines. As businesses shut down, they were broken into and looted while the business owners could only stand by and watch or face arrest. The famous “autonomous zone” CHAD, CHAZ, or CHOP or whatever else, stood for a whole month before being cleared out! Name a prominent left leaning politician or celebrity or any public figure who condemned the behavior shown over the past summer. Name anyone on the left who said the rioter’s behavior dishonored, not honored, the lives lost to alleged police brutality.

Now going back to the recent events on the Capitol: President Trump decried the violence. Several conservative politicians decried the violence. Fellow conservatives on social media all decried the violence. Even though we all dislike, even hate, the policies of many who work in the Capitol, we never said they deserve violence and to fear for their lives. True conservatives know a democracy and the rights we all have as Americans applies to all, not merely those who we agree with. We are deeply embarrassed and disgusted our peaceful event was corrupted into what it was. Thing is, new evidence is coming to light, (despite being suppressed by the leftist mainstream) that many of the actual rioters and violent agitators were Antifa and other far left groups disguised as Trump supporters to sabotage our peaceful event. Yes, every group has its wing-nuts and we’re no different, but the wing-nuts don’t represent the other 99%. At every other Trump inspired event, thousands of fellow patriots gathered together without incident. This is out of character with the other events led by conservatives for Trump and should have raised suspicions from the start.

Before all this, I watched a video by Vox, a heavily left leaning news site geared towards college age millennials and teenagers that argued that the news coverage of the violence in many cities over the past summer mischaracterized a vast majority peaceful movement. They argued that news often focuses on the outliers, the more extreme ends to sell a more interesting story, violence is more eye catching, and also because it can be hard to capture all nuances of the complex subjects protests can cover whereas focusing in on an extreme helps simplify it for outsiders. It wrapped up by saying not to buy into the media’s mischaracterization and oversimplification of their chosen movements by the actions of a few bad apples. Now, compare that attitude towards how the leftist media has covered this event! The left is blatantly turning a blind eye to violence from their own chosen causes, yet is quick to condemn the actions of a tiny minority within the 75 or so million who voted Trump in this past election. In contrast, as stated before, numerous conservatives including President Trump swiftly condemned the violet actions allegedly done in the name of conservatives and Trump. You can see the hypocrisy in black and white.

No one has the right to use violence and terror to get their way in this country or in any democratic society. This applies to any political party, religion, race, ethnic group, special interest groups etc… I and fellow conservatives have always upheld the rule of law for everyone, including ourselves. We aren’t justifying the violence that happened at the Capitol when we call out the utter hypocrisy of how it’s been covered compared to left leaning insurrectionists and their violence. I don’t care about your opinion on whether the election was stolen, or if BLM is a worthy movement reflective of the inherent value of black lives when you cross that line. Violence is violence no matter who it comes from, so why is one group’s violence covered up en masse, while another’s is characterized as representative of 75 million people of whom 99% are peaceful law abiding citizens? Why are our leaders condemning the bad apples in our barrel while theirs cover up, deny and then attack you for calling out their silence about theirs? Saying we condemn violence done in our name, yet we also condemn the double standards being applied to how it’s perceived compared to the left’s own share of violence and chaos is not mutually exclusive!

Patriots, we must show the country that those who took part in this disgrace were not us. This was never us. And most likely were literally not us!

“Learned Victimhood”: A Consequence of The Left’s Indoctrination

The Left’s emphasis on constant, often ad nauseam discussions on race relations, racial bias and “systematic racism” have been only increasing in recent years, and especially in the wake of the recent turmoil this past summer. Their argument is that these frank, and often heated discussions while cringe worthy at times, are essential and long overdue for highlighting and hopefully addressing the issue of racial bias and prejudice in society. White people are often accused of being the ones who wish to silence such discussions, but I argue that is not the case. Rather, many don’t wish to be lectured and talked down to and labeled a racist and “speaking from privilege” if their views and lived experiences happen to differ and they bring a differing perspective. I wholeheartedly agree we need an open honest discussion on race relations, but one with cool heads and logical thoughts. Not a monologue on how whites are the supreme oppressors and that all views of people of color are to be declared infallible.

Never the less, the left pushes the narrative of the victim vs. oppressor instead of a cool headed rational debate. In doing so, they have set out to indoctrinate the next generation with messages that they are oppressed from birth onward and will never achieve what white people can without working extra-hard, or never even be able to attempt to reach their goals due to a myriad of systematic oppressive forces. Teachers, parents, authority figures, peers, news media, TV shows, movies, books etc… all send collective messages to youth of color that society was designed against them, to oppress and exploit them and that they are viewed as worthless in the eyes of white people who are “privileged”.

This is all under the guise of awareness and “education” and is supposed to affirm what they already know: They’re victims of systematic oppression. Studies the left cites argue they do know from a young age simply by being in society without overt messages, such as a famous doll study exploring children’s preferences for lighter or darker skinned dolls in the 1940’s. The obvious limitation now is race relations have changed drastically since the 1940’s! Even more recent replications of the study are prone to confirmation bias of the researchers and political pressures. Sadly even science is not immune from political correctness these days 😦 Other arguments the left gives for these trendy race education indoctrination sessions is to prepare children for future instances of encountering prejudice, like a birds and bees sort of talk.

At first glance, these reasons seem like reasonable ideas, but looking closer, they have a negative unintended consequence: Children can learn they are “oppressed” and victims of society not by lived experiences, but by external instruction. Basically, for some children, their encounter with a conscious sense of being marginalized is simply adults telling them they are or will be. It’s one thing to address an instance of prejudice or bias when it comes up in direct experience, it’s another thing to prime a child to actively look for signs of oppression, such as trying to figure out if the slightest thing might be a bias incident or not!

I propose we call this phenomenon learned victimhood. This is not the conventional experienced victimhood one might encounter through specific events, but learning to have a sense of victimhood even when nothing has actually happened yet to marginalize or oppress you, but others have told you you are in fact, on the outskirts of society so you must be a victim by default. You can be socially conditioned to believe what others tell you about yourself, even if you don’t experience or feel what they say is true. If everyone I trust and respect tells me something, I’m more likely than not to believe it!

A prime yet very sad example I recently saw was from a TV show: A mom explicitly telling her 5 to 6-ish year old daughter that because she is black, she will be seen as less than by white people, and will have to work 3 times as hard to only get half as far in life. Even if there is a grain of truth to it, to make such a negative blanket statement only primes the child to see her life prospects in a negative and pessimistic light. Rather than a message of empowerment and resilience in the face of adversities she may face, it was one teaching disempowerment and pessimism. Even more sad and disturbing to me was the child seemed to show no previous awareness of a sense of inferiority and oppression, and even didn’t really understand what mom was saying. She thought when mom said the word “disenfranchised” it meant she was a franchise like a business! In real life, this attitude breeds the resentment and divide in this country over race young… Obviously, this is fiction so of course it doesn’t have the same weight as a real life example, but it reflects what I’m sure many “woke” parents are teaching their kids, and the naivete of young children. Also, what about kids and parents who watched that TV show? They too absorb the message that that scenario is a normal and beneficial thing to reenact in real life! We often model what we observe…

This has tangible consequences: Those who believe themselves to be marginalized and an outsider often under perform on tasks such as academics or work. This is called stereotype threat, due to the feelings arising from perceived negative stereotypes and many studies show this is a real phenomenon going on. Now, the left cites systematic oppression from society as the main cause of this, and argues that stereotype threat is so insidious as it is often subconscious. However, could an explicitly taught sense of victimhood and marginalization also cause stereotype threat? I think the answer is an easy yes. Of course you’ll feel less confident and able to do well in school or on the job if you are constantly told people like you chronically underachieve due to forces (ex. white privilege) outside their control! A study by Walter and Cohen (2007, 2011) observed that:

“For instance, consider a Black freshman who had a bad day. Say his teacher criticized him in class or he was not invited to dinner by dorm mates. Already worried about his belonging, he is more likely than a White student to see it as proof that he does not belong.”

Why is he so worried about whether or not others see him as belonging? Yes, it could have been due to incidents where he was excluded. But could it also be because he is constantly reminded of his supposed victimhood and the idea that it is constantly ongoing and systemic by everyone all the time? What would have been isolated incidents of exclusion in his past then would be viewed as being generalized to every instance, not just a few negative experiences. Fortunately with Walter and Cohen’s interventions, in this case diary entries and other activities to counter these perceptions, these feelings decreased.

“Daily diary surveys completed in the week following the intervention showed that, in the control condition, Black students’ daily sense of belonging in school rose and fell with the level of adversity they experienced each day. To these students, negative social events seemed to convey that they did not belong in the school in general. The treatment cut off this relationship—here, Black students experienced similar levels of adversity, but adversity no longer led them to question their belonging.”

Sometimes, people just have an off day and might be short with you. A professor is simply a tough grader and it’s not about you personally at all. You may not always mesh in a particular friend group and be relegated to the outskirts as more of an acquaintance. A negative experience does not necessarily have to have anything to do with you personally, but if you are told to be on high alert for any bias incident or microaggression, or seek out evidence of this victimization others have insisted is true, then you will see it in everything you encounter! Confirmation bias is a thing, people…

I do not deny that there are some actual experiences of bias and prejudice, and even implicit bias, but I do strongly believe that actual prevalence of these incidents are fewer than what the left reports… Not every negative experience happened because of your race or any other identity! We need frank and candid discussions on race, including talking about negative experiences that people think have to do with race. However, telling our youth they are victims from the moment they’re born, unable to achieve in life due to a society stacked against them and a whole race that resents them only breeds a sense of learned victimhood, rather than affirming real victimhood.

At the very least, can we wait until someone experiences an actual incident of prejudice or bias before declaring them a victim for life?

Confirmation bias anyone???

In Times Like These, We Need Resilience, Not Fragility

I’ve covered the lunacy, double standards and childish reactions to this pandemic over several previous posts. However, another major point comes to mind that’s important: Life has to go on and we can’t stop our lives due to panic over this or any other crisis.

Covid-19 has affected much of what everyone does regardless of your political persuasions. The endless shutdowns destroying livelihoods, jobs and our economy cannot go on forever, or until zero cases! The double standards that allow rioters burn and loot businesses in the thousands, yet forbid others from attending worship services, funerals, visiting loved ones in hospitals, playing in the park, having friends over, etc… are enraging. A lot of our objections of Leftist restrictions are not even about the restrictions, but about the fact that the rules “apply to thee but not to me” so to speak. I’ve had to give up so many things due to these double standards, milestones in my education, missed job opportunities, missed time with friends and family for some. These pain me and make me feel stressed and angry just as much as I’m sure it does you. However, I can’t just stop what I need to do because of Covid related stress! We still must go on with our jobs, raising our families, and doing school work if you’re a student. I’m sick of all the meltdowns from people using the pandemic as an excuse not to do their school work or projects for jobs!

Yes, there is a definite need for more flexibility such as with technology and resource availability. More flexible deadlines and flexibility in getting work done is beneficial in times like these where we have to figure it out as we go. Thing is, that does not mean we should lower our standards of performance, or for example, cut out aspects of curriculum on a syllabus, or simply cancel all exams and projects because we’re stressed out! Admit it: We’re always stressed out, whether it be family matters, feeling swamped in projects, obligations and responsibilities to juggle, jobs etc. Covid is unprecedented, but if it weren’t here, another major life stressor would be. I’m not saying Covid is not worthy of any worry and some level of stress. I will dance for joy once this is over! What I am saying though is we must continue to function and do our best at our jobs, school and family obligations in spite of Covid. We can’t control much of what goes on around us, but we can control what we choose to do: Melt down and panic and demand “our feelings” take precedence over our obligations, or do what we’ve always done to function in our lives.

Covid is a disease and is more dangerous for some than others. Those who are more in danger naturally should be more concerned. However, does this mean you should never interact with another person again? What if you’re elderly or have conditions that in of themselves may not guarantee you ever will see your loved ones in person again? My 90+ year old grandmother is attending family holidays in person this year despite her increased risk because she knows every day is a gift at her age and wants to see her family even if it means she might catch it. She is not on some suicidal death mission: She wants to see her family for what may be her last times regardless of this pandemic. Obviously the choice is yours, I won’t tell you hers is the only right way to do things, but at least consider her perspective if you’re in advanced years or in poor health.

As for the strong and healthy among us, it is up to us to keep the world running so the more vulnerable can stay home and decide to self isolate! We still need teachers to teach in classes to develop young minds. We still need grocers, delivery people, janitors, healthcare workers, business men and women in this world for some examples. If you can work from home on zoom great, but we need people willing to do in person jobs without panicking. Also, for both remote and in person employees, Covid is not an excuse to do poorer work! You are adults, and adults work through adversity and stress, not break down like children who demand less work at the slightest hardship. Life is full of adversity and setbacks. Adults persevere in spite of that even in the midst of emotional turmoil.

For those who don’t want to do your jobs: Why are you so special you get to demand endless accommodations or your own safety is worth pausing the world, yet feel no moral qualms about “endangering” others, such as the grocers who have to work in person to get food on the shelves, the delivery people who bring it to your doorstep, the delivery guy from your favorite takeout place etc…? Even if you feel you’re being cognizant of their needs, you need others to help you maintain this lifestyle of never leaving your house thus the results are the same: Their lives are risked for your safety. Yet why are you more worthy of safety and less risk than them? And yes, I realize many can still work efficiently remotely, but some careers are just not the same without in person interaction.

Lastly, for college/grad students, I know intimately the life and challenges of a student in higher education. I know the stress of several term papers and presentations. The late nights. The studying. The professor who assigns way too much every week. The stress of getting a good GPA, good internships, good opportunities such as practical experiences to move on in academia and careers. I know how bad it stings to get one’s internship cancelled due to Covid, or what would have been my first academic conference to present my research and the realization that there wouldn’t be time for another one in my undergrad career. I have lost several academic and social milestones. Like each of you, I deeply hurt for these lost experiences and opportunities. I too, grieve.

However, that is NOT an excuse to let my GPA slide, or demand my professors not give me a normal workload, or omit curricula from their syllabi. I am an adult, who must learn that in the real world, my job won’t stop because my life is in turmoil. Deadlines will still exist even when I hurt inside. When my worries seem overwhelming. When I will have personal obligations other than my career. Does this mean there is no room for flexibility and understanding for others? NO! Self care including taking a breather is important, but part of self care is reaching out to others, even professionals in some cases to get you back on your feet, not hide in the darkness of your mind unable to function for weeks or months on end. A reasonable accommodation is modifying an assignment to adapt to a remote format, or in light of a roadblock one cannot control such as access to databases off campus. Maybe even a more flexible deadline/late work policy. It is not cancelling every single term paper and test and omitting key aspects of your chosen field in the syllabus! We can’t control much of how this pandemic plays out, but we can choose to push forward and excel in the pursuit of our aspirations in spite of that.

For EVERYONE: We need flexibility, understanding and creativity to get through these darker times. That includes accommodating reasonable changes in everyone’s lives. However, that does not mean we get to put the world on pause indefinitely and hide in our basements. We still must do our best every day, work just as hard as you would have, and choose resilience over fear and breakdowns. Imagine our lifetimes were shifted 100 years back: Think 2020’s bad? Try 1914-1918, 1918-1919, 1929-1939 and 1939-1945! (I guess public school didn’t teach you much history if you can’t figure out the significance of these dates 😉 ) Basically decades of war and instability, as well as a global pandemic! They got through their ordeal, we must get through ours. If this pandemic is like a war, the healthcare workers and scientists are like the soldiers at the front, and the rest of us are like the civilians maintaining the home-front to keep our country going!

(P.S. To the person who compared Covid with living through WWII, I dare you to say that to any elder who did live through it!)

The Fear Parade – Grrr Graphics

Biden said there will be a “dark winter” ahead, but through resilience and perseverance in the face of this adversity, rather than panic and fragility, we can still shine light this time of turmoil.