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I was a victim of Racism…many times

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Last year I was the victim of a racist attack. 

Yes, I’m a white-guy, English speaker, American Patriot, veteran Army officer, heterosexual, a senior and…wait for it…a Conservative! Someone read a comment I made on a Facebook post during the summer of 2020 and replied that I couldn’t possibly understand what I was talking about because of my “white privilege.” They demanded that I apologize for commenting (even though my comments were respectful and rational) and accept my permanent privilege handicap. Well, no. I don’t go down that easily.

Since these were colleagues and long time acquaintances of mine, both white and black, I felt compelled to reply. So, I wrote a rather detailed summary of the difficulties and limitations I had to overcome in order to succeed in my career.

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I was a Jim in the Jim Crow South

Having grown up in Little Rock, Arkansas during the 1950s and 60s, I often struggled with racial confrontations and closed-minded people both black and white. I’ve been intimidated, threatened with knives and guns, and surrounded by people who said they might kill me.

My father was a telephone repairman and we didn’t have much money. He was also a National Guard officer and served during the Little Rock Central High School racial conflict in 1957. I had no connections in the community, no college degree, no special skills and no big dreams of success. I expected to be a nice person but an ordinary and unremarkable one. I was not an excellent student, had never been an athlete and didn’t run with a crowd of privileged people. We were working-class folks who knew that, if we wanted anything, we would have to work for it.

Start at the bottom 

Since I had no college degree I worked in warehouses, unloaded boxcars and trucks, drove delivery  trucks, swept floors, shoveled dirt and gravel, cleaned storerooms, stacked boxes, and even worked one miserable day in a factory. I quit that job before it had a chance to reorient me to drone status. I was a bill collector for four years and had to go alone into the rougher parts of town often at night to call on customers who did not want to see me. I had to repossess log trucks in the Ozark mountains too. You could argue that at least I got those jobs and it was probably because of my skin color. Not true.

I got the jobs because I walked door to door and applied for work anywhere and everywhere until I finally found a job. A minimum wage ($1.25 an hour) job in most cases. I was turned away more often than accepted. There were black employees there too and I answered to them much of the time. I was the underling. They were the supervisors.

In one instance my job was in a grocery warehouse and I worked long shifts unloading boxcars and driving a fork lift. My boss was white and my coworkers were black. At night I would have to walk two miles from the warehouse through the East End of Little Rock, an all-black part of town with numerous gangs, to my roommate’s place of work so that he could give me a ride home. I was frequently challenged, threatened and ridiculed during those walks. It was scary and humiliating. We lived in a cheap apartment with a bad roach problem.

When I was in basic training in the Army my training company was heavily black and we few whites were constantly “dissed” and threatened. My platoon sergeant was a black man, who I respected, and he had two associates who were also black. When they spoke, I jumped. It was not OK to talk back. After the Army I worked at the Housing Authority as a low-level clerk whose job was to interview people in distressed housing and help them get rehabilitation loans to fix up their homes. I worked only with blacks in this position. I could go on but I think you get the point.

Now we see who he really is!

The “racist attack” was a pile on through emails, phone calls and social media by a number of people both black and white in my professional association. They were completely enraged by my unwillingness to embrace “white privilege” and apologize for expressing my opinion. They organized discussions about me without my knowledge. They threatened to file ethics charges against me. There were no grounds for such a charge, but for the woke Left, accusation is the same as guilt. Then they can say you have been accused even if you weren’t guilty. The label still sticks. The worst part of all of this was its impact on my professional reputation.

I was informed by friends that there had been a lot of talk about me lately and some people were pretty angry. Nobody confronted me directly, that would require rational thinking and open discussion. My accusers all agreed with the woke point of view and so there was no real “discussion”, it was just accusations and agreement. They said, “He’s one of the big names in our profession, and now we’ve finally found out what he is really like!” Forty years I’ve been active in the field of professional speaking and training, served as the National President of the National Speakers Association, and worked with thousands of colleagues, and now they think I’m someone different?

Not being one who leaves such things unaddressed, I contacted the national headquarters of my association and presented the facts. I also spoke with some woke-sympathetic black colleagues so they could “educate” me as to how I was wrong. But, again, where was my crime or sin or error? All I had done was present verifiable facts that contradicted the popular opinions of that group, and I did so in a respectful way, not as an angry protestor.

“Jim, you didn’t have to have ‘the talk’ with your Dad before you drove your car.” No, I didn’t but I was pulled over and threatened more than once when I was driving through a distressed area. “What are you doing here white boy?”

No, I’ve never been black, but I have also never been confined to a wheel chair, or had much of my skin burned off, or been afflicted with a speech impediment or had cerebral palsy. But that doesn’t keep me from understanding the fears, frustrations and challenges that my friends who actually do have these conditions are facing. That doesn’t keep me from being sympathetic, respectful and encouraging to them. I’m not a racist, sexist, Marxist, Fascist, Ageist, or many other “ist-types”. But I have experienced racism, discrimination and threats just based on being who I am.

Quit your belly aching

Before you interpret the above as whining, let me say this: I am super-blessed! My life has been wonderful despite the difficulties. I live in America, the most race-friendly country in history and the most free country on Earth. Tens of thousands of immigrants come here seeking to upgrade to our set of problems. They say “Let me in! I want what you have.”

My career has been challenging but it has paid off wonderfully. I have a great family, good health, wonderful friends, Intelligent colleagues, and a life that I thank God for every day.

No doubt much of this also applies to you. Though we do have problems in America, we amplify them too much. It’s as if we got free tickets to a great concert but had some taller people sitting in front of us and our chairs were uncomfortable. What about the concert and the free tickets? Stop complaining. Just fix the problems please.

America has acquired a bad habit of whining! It’s time we grew up and got over our discomfort. Sure times are tough occasionally, and for some, almost constantly, but we all have it so good here! Let’s learn to become more appreciative and thankful. Race is not an issue worth fighting about. Let’s celebrate the human race and show the few racists how miserable they are compared to us. We can eliminate racism in America within one generation by simply refusing to consider it a limiting factor. Stop measuring it, talking about it, or fighting over it. Put down the signs, change your marches into celebrations of the good in America. Don’t try to make everyone comfortable, instead make yourself a better person and help others to do the same. Make America Grateful Again!

 

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Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE is an Executive MBA Professor, Author of 21 books, Hall of Fame Professional Speaker, Top 1% TEDx video (2.4 million views), US Army veteran, Singer/Songwriter, and Lifelong Motorcyclist. He is known as "Your Virtual VP" for his Advisory/Mentor work with organizations worldwide. Based in Texas...and proud of it!



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Education

‘Anti-Racists’ are Racist: Do Not Apologize for Being White

‘Anti-racists’ claim that whites, by virtue of their skin color, are detrimental to society

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Ibram X. Kendri, the bigoted professor from Boston University and director of their Center for Antiracist Research, says that whiteness is a problem for all of society, indeed for the entire globe. Who knew?!

Kendri, who was included in Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020, seemingly knows a lot about white people. In fact, he professes to know about every white person in America if not all over the world.

Me? I’m one of those people who merely gets up every day, brushes his teeth, gets dressed, eats a decent breakfast, and goes to work. I had no inkling that in the U.S. and other western nations white people like me had been “socialized to feel that they are inherently superior because they are white.” How naive I have been all these years!

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Now I discover that to be “less white” is a virtue! It requires one to be “less oppressive, less arrogant, less certain, less defensive, less ignorant,” and, more humble, more willing to listen, more willing to believe, and, get this, “to break with the apathy” that white people like me exhibit and “to break with white solidarity.”

Woke Institutions and Brainwashed Authors

White solidarity? Darn, nobody told me about this. Thank goodness it’s all become so clear thanks to enlightened (white) authors such as Robin DiAngelo, who wrote the thoroughly racist and condescending book White Fragility, and thanks to companies such as Coca-Cola which have the foresight to impose programs for its white employees, to be less white.

When there’s a challenge in front of me, I actually do strive to find the right answer, particularly something related to numbers. I will collaborate on occasion, but most of the time I prefer to figure out things for myself, aided by the “all-knowing” Internet.

Am I arrogant, oppressive,  defensive, or ignorant? No one has ever brought this up. Being white, however, I guess I can’t help it! I don’t seek to inhibit the success of others, but I’m now informed that by virtue of my skin color I am detrimental to society. Mea culpa!

The Anti-Racist Racists

With Coca-Cola and other organizations teaching white people to be less white, I’m wondering, will the sequel be how Asians can be less yellow and Indians can be less brown? In America, both groups seem to excel academically. Perhaps only domineering Caucasians, particularly 60+ white males like me, however, are the ones upsetting the apple cart all over society.

Was I given a free pass for the last 40 years? I mean, all the while nobody mentioned my whiteness as a social and cultural problem. My black friends from Little League, high school, various hiking groups, and other groups around town haven’t said squat. So, up ’til now, presumably, I was doing okay. Perhaps they’ve merely been nice to me while whispering behind my back.

Heeding the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I thought our common goal was to live in harmony and to reach a state of color blindness where people were judged by the content of their character and not by their skin color. Hmmm…  I guess that is no longer in play.

I’m wondering, what would MLK conclude about today? Would he speak up against the propensity of the Left to define everybody else by class, sex, or race? Would he be opposed to pitting young against old, rich against poor, black against white, rural against urban, male against female, and all the other phony dichotomies that the Left relentlessly promulgates each day?

Absurd From the Get-Go

Imagine the unending uproar if someone drew up a list of how hundreds of millions of black people all over the world could become “less black.” The  absurdity of regarding all white people, hundreds of millions of them, as having a general set of characteristics, let alone having those characteristics be detrimental to society, is the grand facade of the ages.

How long will “woke” organizations maintain this illusion? Have they been coerced to the point where they’re afraid to say, “This is ridiculous, and needs to stop now”? [Actually, they have been coerced.] Will decades pass before we see the end of this malarkey?

I do not apologize for being a white person, just as no person of color has to apologize for their ethnic background, skin color, race, or religion. If you’re a good citizen who respects the rights of others, that, my friend, is sufficient.

Morgan Freeman, who played God in the movie Bruce Almighty, wishes we would do away with Black History month and merely have history. Freeman also wants us to stop regarding individuals as black and white and simply let people be people. Amen to that.

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Education

To the Left, Even Math is Racist!

The false bill of goods that Leftists peddle will haunt their advocates and apologists for decades

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Picture a young Isaac Newton, Madame Curie, Henri Poincare, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Albert Einstein, Alan Turing, or, for that matter, Pythagoras, Euclid, or Archimedes as newly enrolled in a Portland, Oregon grade school. Exposed to this state’s edict regarding how math is to be taught, would any of them have achieved prominence? Would the world be the same?

Consider the ladies profiled in the movie Hidden Figures, including Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan. Without them, we probably still would have made it to the Moon, but maybe with more difficulty and more delay.

Racism! It’s Everywhere!

The Left relentlessly seeks ways to dumb down education so that anybody, at any time, can get a passing grade regardless of what they know. If black lives truly matter, as well as white lives, shouldn’t students be competitive in the workplace? Otherwise, how are they going to land decent jobs?

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‘Social justice’ warriors detect racism, real or imagined, all day long, everywhere they look, particularly in education. Achievement tests, end-of-grade testing, report cards, and the mere act of assigning letter grades to a student’s performance are all absolute signs of racism according to the Left.

Nevertheless, if a student — any student — has been attentive and diligent and has applied himself or herself, not one single quiz, achievement test, final exam, or end-of-grade test precipitates undue concern. Such tests do not represent a stumbling block for students who have been appropriately taught, been attentive in class, done their homework regularly, and appropriately studied for tests.

Even in ‘poor’ schools, a decent teacher and a motivated student can yield academic success.

Measuring Tools Matter

Those on the Left prefer to cast aspersions on American education, stop all testing, apparently for all students, for all time. So, no more SATs for high school juniors and seniors. No more ACTs. After all, the tests are hopelessly biased against anything but the Caucasian majority. Although Asians seem to do well…

To the Left, testing, academics, and the English language, in and of itself, are merely tools of oppression and must be abandoned – now.

Isn’t it odd that the Left never pushes for more rigorous standards? “Why are tests needed at all?” they demand to know. “Learning takes place on many different levels. Why conform to the white man’s version of what represents academic achievement?”

Let’s assess the ramifications of such assertions.

The Very Long Way Home

How confident would you be driving across a high bridge, over a wide river, knowing that the bridge was designed by engineers who ‘learned’ math in Oregon, or didn’t take any final exams in college? Knowing the academic credentials of the bridge designers, or lack thereof, could change your driving habits.

What if you need brain surgery? Among a handful of brain surgeons in your area, you learn that some never took final exams in medical school, or any exams at all! These same surgeons turned in no college papers, took no quizzes, and perhaps spent little time in class.

Suppose they’re all good surgeons and have successfully operated on others? You’ve got this nagging suspicion, nonetheless, that your best choice would be among the brain surgeons who attended class, did well on quizzes and tests, passed final exams, and proved to be academically superior.

Would anyone find you to be discriminatory? Can we find fault with your decision to seek a formally trained and tested brain surgeon?

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Mechanical and structural engineers, and brain surgeons, do not represent the brunt of society; everyday people do. Whether it’s receiving change at the grocery store, having your car fixed, hiring a masseuse, or any of dozens of other product and service options, as Ghostbusters fans would say, “Who ya gonna call?”

The lifetime economic curse that Leftists advocates bestow upon those who follow their edicts is crippling. Suppose you attend a university, such as Rutgers, where proper English is not required, exams are not given, and graduation is all but guaranteed? Knowing the background of students who matriculated from such an institution, what future employer would choose such students over others who have bonafide academic credentials?

Haunted for Generations

The false bill of goods that far Left groups peddle will come back to haunt their advocates and apologists, not merely for years, but for decades to come.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Based on what the Left deems to be sufficient, anyone who thinks he or she will be able to compete for jobs is in for a lifetime of rude awakenings.

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