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Taalcon

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President Nelson's Call To Action
« on: June 08, 2020, 01:30:26 pm »
I was very impressed with President Nelson's JOINT statement with the NAACP today. Especially these paragraphs, as they presented a very clear call to action:

Quote
"Prejudice, hate and discrimination are learned. Thus, we call on parents, family members, and teachers to be the first line of defense. Teaching children to love all, and find the good in others, is more crucial than ever. Oneness is not sameness in America. We must all learn to value the differences.
We likewise call on government, business, and educational leaders at every level to review processes, laws, and organizational attitudes regarding racism and root them out once and for all."

This is a humbling call to proactive action. A reminder that listening, and revisiting some of one's assumptions or past understandings can play a very important role in this process. One cannot teach what one has not learned, and one cannot root out problems (in oneself or in systems) without first being able to recognize or identify them.

This shouldn't be a partisan issue. And it's shameful that it is. I'd like this thread to be used as a way to share resources that have been helpful for you, and ideas you have had to work towards proactively working towards DOING SOMETHING about these issue in a meaningful way.

I live in a county in Georgia that last had any sort of demonstration for racial equality in 1987. To say it did not go well then is a massive understatement. It is a county that is known for literally violently expelling every single black member of its community, and keeping it whites only for DECADES.

What you see in the link above was in the midst of that atmosphere. It wasn't just the 1800s, the 1950s, 60s, or 70s. It was the late 1980s.

There was a Black Lives Matter demonstration this weekend in Forsyth County that had over 900 participants. It was 100% peaceful. That's huge. My family would have been there, were it not for my wife having a severely compromised immune system and other factors that make potential exposure to Covid-19 extremely dangerous.

There've been a lot of conversations with people wrapping their head around everything. I've found this video by Trevor Noah to be very, very helpful in understanding the perspective of frustration and despair, and how it all boiled together, and how it makes many in the Black community feel. It's 18 minutes long, but I highly, highly recommend taking the time to watch it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4amCfVbA_c

« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 02:16:45 pm by Taalcon »
 
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Taalcon

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Re: President Nelson's Call To Action
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2020, 01:41:45 pm »
A book I just finished reading is Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. What fascinating about this book, is that its goal isn't to paint individuals as racists, but to present ideas that are fundamentally racist, how they became established in the mind and policies and beliefs of America, how they are perpetrated and fought against, and how much progress also came from getting people to accept a different kind of racist alternative to the racist status quo. It's not always racism vs non-racism. This isn't a book that points fingers at any one political 'side'. (Especially once it gets to the more modern era, it'll be very clear that Republican and Democratic leaders and policies both get scrutinized). The book isn't an attack on "White People". It's a very important book, because it almost exclusively focuses on the ideas and the effects of them.

The book's goal is to help recognize why and when an idea is fundamentally racist, and what an anti-racist counter or approach might be. It's already given me a lot to think about, and as I further digest it, I think I'll be getting quite a bit more out of it as well.

 
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Roper

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Re: President Nelson's Call To Action
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2020, 04:46:20 pm »
There've been a lot of conversations with people wrapping their head around everything. I've found this video by Trevor Noah to be very, very helpful in understanding the perspective of frustration and despair, and how it all boiled together, and how it makes many in the Black community feel. It's 18 minutes long, but I highly, highly recommend taking the time to watch it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4amCfVbA_c

Thank you for the link, Taalcon. I really liked how he framed the issue in the context of Social Conract Theory, and how society gets all riled up when black people break the contract by looting a Target store, but how nobody seems to care that black people also sign the contract, only to have it repeatedly broken.

I had a discussion with one of my adult sons about this. I came to the following conclusion:

Is looting breaking the law? Yes.
Should there be consequences for breaking the law? Yes.
Sometimes you have to break things to get people to pay attention.
Every parent who has children understands this.
It doesn't change the facts.
Hopefully, it leads to greater understanding and engagement.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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cook

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Re: President Nelson's Call To Action
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2020, 01:28:07 am »
I think the issue is so complex. First of all, how do you define rasist/rasism? Are we now talking only about black lives or issues many forgeigners in many countries face? Should we be talking only about black lives? Are we now actually speaking about only black lives in the US or all over the world?

It is a tough topic. We all have different experiences. I'm in a good position, I teach children. I do deal with the issue very often. I feel I can influence, not only the children but maybe their parents too. I live in an area where about half of kids in my kids' classes have been kids who or whose parents have come from somewhere else. To my kids, variety is the normal.

In one report where they asked the participants if they have experiences racial harassment, Finland was number one among 12 European countries. It was done some 5 years ago. Couldn't find the questions. It may be true that Finland is a very rasist country. But it would be interesting to see the same questions asked from the been in Finland for centuries people. Would the result be similar? Could it be that when we Finns get drunk, we shout at everyone about anything or that we just simply seem rude, because we say what we think? I don't know. But I do know that I have been very surprised that some of the most rasist comments I have heard have come from other refugees/ immigrants here.

I think the looting is also interesting. We haven't had that in Finland since the Russian armies did that over hundred years ago. But it sometimes happens in Sweden. I get it that they try to get the point heard. But what makes some to do it that way and others not.

As a teacher, I'm curious how much rasism is discussed in your schools? How much time is devoted to Martin Luther king, Rosa Parks etc? Do you discuss Nelson Mandela? AT what age?

While I think it is good that people think about rasism and speak about it, I do kind of dislike how it is in social media all over now. Everyone claiming that now I see, now I'm a better person than before, now I understand that I don't understand. Yes, awareness is great. It is very good when people learn and understand better. But when you claim it publicly and kind of invite others to reach the same understanding, maybe it kind of tells that you haven't actually understood much? I don't know. I fear this is a hype for a few weeks and nothing actually becomes better.
 
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Taalcon

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Re: President Nelson's Call To Action
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2020, 08:30:48 am »
Cook, those are good questions.

Quote
I don't know. I fear this is a hype for a few weeks and nothing actually becomes better.

Something is different this time around. There's been a breaking point in several I've observed. It's more than a hashtag or a profile picture change. People are doing research. Learning. Evalutating themselves, and ideas they've held, and being prompted to DO things.

The United States and its historic treatment of those of African descent is unique because of the systems set in place to specifically regulate and define their role in existence. The end of the institution of chatel Slavery in the US didn't by far end policies, attitudes, and systems designed to disproportionately keep African Blacks 'Below The Whites'.

This doesn't deny or suggest other acts or ideas of racism do not exist. It doesn't mean their communities and problems do not matter. It's specifically a moment of those saying we are done having the systems that perpetuate and allow the racist ideas to be placed into legally protected actions that have disproportionately affected the lives, in diverse ways, of Black Americans right now. #BlackLivesMatter is acknowledging the unique circumstances that have been perpetuated specifically against African Blacks in the US, and vowing to work specifically to address that. One of the major focuses in the limelight right now is the way the US policing systems work, is regulated, and ho it is accountable (or not). Discussions are having in ways that have not happened before about how to actually address that. It's saying while we've declared All Lived Matter, it's time to show that, in seriousness, we really do mean as part of that that #BlackLivesMatter. The declaration of Independance of the United States declared that "All Men Are Created Equal". But the actions, beliefs, and systems set in place very much made clear that that did not include the ideas that "Black Lives Are Created Equal To Whites". The declaration of independence was the original "All Lives Matter" response. It was empty, and rung hollow and cruel.

I can't speak for other countries. There are likely systemic issues in other nations that also dramatically affect other minority and ethnic groups in ways different than they do in the United States.

I think wherever you are, the call is to listen to what is happening. Pay attention. Do research. Find out what is happening to other cultural or ethnic groups around you that are oppressing them in ways that might not have been noticed, because they didn't directly affect you or your family or direct circle of friends.

Again, there is a difference between people who have racist ideas, and state-sponsored institutions that have systemic culture and policy and history that directly encourage and protect racist policies that can target and disproportionately effect minority groups.

It's a combination of a) recognizing personal racist ideas in oneself AS such and b) being willing to understand the regular ongoing experience of others to see how somse systems exploit those racist ideas to lead into ongoing oppression. If you're response is, "Well, I don't see it," that's often the point. The point is to listen to those who experience it, take them seriously, and then investigate with that perspective in mind.

It takes work. But it's the embodiment of mourn with those who mourn, comfort those who stand in need of comfort, and helping bear the burdens of others so that they may be made lighter.

Was reading in Mosiah about the people of Alma in bondage to the Amulonites, and the famous passage about how before they were actually delivered, they received help from God so that the burden wasn't removed, but they were given the grace of having the burden made to feel lighter.

I thought of the current moment, and I thought of those supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement more and more as being hands-on the burden of those actually suffering it, first helping to bear it, and also helping put in motion the discovery of and implementation of the processes that will lead to the burdens being actually systemically removed.

The author of the book I linked above has another book that distills the principles he wanted to illustrate in his history into a "What next?" book. It's called "How To Be an Anti-Racist". While the Black African experience is the key catalyst, the author is very aware that the principles are universal for all forms of identifying racist thinking. I have it coming to me right now. It helps clearly define ideas and identify structures, and to find alternatives that aren't just "non-racist", but "Anti-racist."

The two books are designed to be complementary, the "Stamped from the Beginning" tracing the history of racist ideas and how they were implemented in the United States (with a specific narrow focus on African Blacks), and the "How To Be..." book focusing more on principles and actions to avoid repeating the past, and to identify and give thoughts on how existing systems can be reworked.





« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 08:43:46 am by Taalcon »
 
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Taalcon

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Re: President Nelson's Call To Action
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2020, 09:47:20 am »
Also, as part of this, there's a lot of discussion about the concept of "Defund The Police", which is an incomplete slogan when you understand what is meant by those generally slinging it.

Here's a great video that explains and discusses what those who are calling for that actually mean by it. (Yes, it's on Rachel Maddow, no, I'm generally not a fan, but she's not the one talking - it's Dr. Goff's perspective that is the focus. Listen to him.)

https://t.co/8nJ9MXK9Qm

This reminds me, actually,  conceptually of the ongoing recent restructuring of the Ward so that the Bishop would only be tasked with only those things that he alone can do, and others, who are more on the ground, flexible, and might be able to be more actually able to address the concerns are the ones on the front lines for most of the situations.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 09:49:09 am by Taalcon »
 
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Roper

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Re: President Nelson's Call To Action
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2020, 10:11:29 am »
In 1987, I was a missionary serving in Japan. My companion and I were walking to the subway station one morning when a group of Japanese high school boys across the street pointed their fingers at us and started yelling, "Gaijin! Gaijin!" Literally translated, it means "foreigner." It's often used as a derogatory term against those of another culture--those who don't belong. I had heard it used to describe the Korean workers who came to Japan to work in the ship-building industry. Then the mocking started, "Kami oh shinjimasu ka?" Literally translated, it means, "Do you believe in God?" In Japanese, questions end on a downward inflection, which is opposite of how English works. When the boys were yelling it, they were emphasizing "ka" with an exaggerated up inflection. They were mocking our religion, and the way we couldn't speak fluently. We didn't belong. Then, they began chanting in unison, "Dette ike! Dette ike!" Literally, it means "get out." The command form is used with animals, such as a dog who needs to leave the house.

I began to feel some very un-missionary emotions rising in me. At first I felt shame: Shame that I was different. Shame that I couldn't speak correctly. Shame that I didn't belong. That quickly turned to anger. I wanted to cross the street and show those boys just exactly how Americans had pounded their puny little country into submission during WWII. I took a deep breath. My companion said quietly, "Let's go." We walked away.

That was one time. One time, over 30 years ago. I remember everything in sharp detail--from the way the jackets of their school uniforms were unbuttoned to the hatred in their voices as they chanted for me to get out.

If this is what it's like for our black brothers and sisters on a daily basis--if this is what they live with--feeling like they don't belong, that the way they speak or the way they act is fodder for ridicule, that they should just get out--then we need to examine every part of our society and make fundamental changes in the way we treat each other. I can't begin to understand how being treated like that on a daily basis would grind people down until the only choice left is to fight or walk away. This is their home.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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cook

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Re: President Nelson's Call To Action
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2020, 02:32:26 pm »
Racism is everywhere. One of the reasons for my questions was this -what do Americans think when weon other places say BLM? A friend posted this (I don't know how I could have put it as a link and I'm not sure ifit shows and where it shows...

I had to ask what does that "standing by America's side mean"? I think those protesting here and everywhere else are on the side of "this racism must stop". As far as I know, they don't protest as much for stopping it in America than stopping it in our countries. The protests have little to do with America. They have all to do with racism.

This year I taught the 5th and 6th grade ethics. Here it means they're 11-13 during those terms. We had multiple lessons on equality,racism included. We discussed racism in our country but also about Nelson Mandela and South Africa, we talked about the US, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks and others. That's why I asked about what it taught in schools there and when. If we, in a remote small country know and acknowledge these issues you have, with our kids, how can things like this be a surprise to many over there? We talk about the racism people show and we talk about systemic racism, with the kids.

If the flaws in the police system have been known for years, known even here, with statistics, it certainly it is time to do something about it. I do hope this makes things better at least there, for at least a certain group of people. I just fear I am rather pessimistic.

 
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Re: President Nelson's Call To Action
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2020, 05:11:24 pm »
In the U.S., February is Black History month. At least on the elementary school level, every grade, starting in Kindergarten, learns about Black history and racism. This past year, I taught my 3rd grade students about Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. We even did an experiment in class where kids with blue eyes couldn't sit with us on the carpet and couldn't eat at the same table at lunch. Then we talked about how that felt--on both sides--to be excluded. Kids get it. They understand how it feels. They understand why it's wrong. They're amazingly compassionate and inclusive.

And then they grow up and forget.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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pnr

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Re: President Nelson's Call To Action
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2020, 09:54:28 am »
I'm suggesting that all my friends buy and read "Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning" (a youth version of a book about the ideas that undergird racism) and provide them to school teachers and principals too).

But I'm preparing to march for the schools that serve students who are poor and black be changed so that every one does Structured Literacy, and effective math instruction, has longer school days so that they can deliver the trauma informed instruction and music and arts and gardening and Social Thinking and content in larger amounts with more multisensory work.   If we can get every student who is poor or refugee or black to a proficient level and keep them engaged in learning and school, it will float the boats of all students in all the district schools because the institutional expertise will be there (and some of that expertise will be paid for with IDEA and Title I funds).    I think the single most effective way to eliminate racism is to have great educations in which everyone is educated together including about the way our country was founded (not 1619 version, but original documents and discussions of flaws and biases and greed, but that will never happen so long as schools do not actually teach all students to mastery.   (In my state, students are deemed okay at level 3 so that they can progress and graduate, but the state calls level 4 as proficient.)

As for police, a long time ago I did the planning and training for a new police department.   And then in another city/state, I formed a small police department (we hired 9.)   We didn't exclude those who'd tried marijuana (unusual for the time) unless they denied having done so but had.  We then ran the candidates through training exercises where they had to interact with the public in ways required by the actual job (this was a police job that was mostly about customer service even though we had to be prepared to defend life and property): the teens and college students loved being able to be obnoxious to the candidates with impunity and we paid them which made their days).  All of the 35 candidates who got that far appeared on paper and through extensive background checks and polygraphs to be wholly appropriate for the position.  Each had completed academy.  Several already had jobs at small police departments part time or ones that paid less.   But it took us that many candidates to find the 9 that didn't violate constitutional rights, use hate speech,  or just be dangerous in typical situations over the course of six hours of training exercises.    The process was real expensive which is no doubt why other departments didn't do it.   But it would have been more expensive in many ways for us if we had hired those who were clearly unsuitable except on paper.

  I think in today's world one of the questions on the employment/background form should be to identify up to nine people who are different from the candidate in race, social class, parental education, sexual orientation, ethnic background, religion, city of birth, interests and hobbies, and who have spoken with them about discrimination or hate speech,  who can speak with the recruiters about how the candidates talk and act around those who think/are different from themselves and among their peers.    (If I did this, I would advertise it too in all recruiting materials and in press release, because that should prompt potential candidates who don't have any of those experiences to get them, and discourage applications from those who were racist, sexist, homophobic.)
« Last Edit: June 11, 2020, 10:43:39 am by pnr »
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