"HEARD" MENTALITY


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Do you remember the game of telephone where someone would come up with a phrase, whisper it into the ear of the person next to them, and continue the process until the phrase came back completely changed? That used to be a fun game in grammar school. Today, unfortunately, it’s how our information society operates. We have people on TV, on the radio, and in publishing constantly feeding us information that may or may not be true. And as long as we agree with the worldview that is being promoted, we absorb it and pass the information along without considering the source or its biases.

Media bias itself is nothing new, except for the fact that its biased nature has never been more noticeable. Nothing has revealed that bias more than Donald Trump’s candidacy and presidency, which the mainstream media has outright opposed since day one. The obviousness of the media’s bias against all things Trump introduced the term “fake news,” an insult many outlets have earned by promoting false narratives: Hillary Clinton’s lock on the presidency, the Covington kids scandal, and Trump-Russia collusion to name a few.

Though media companies have always held a certain view because they’re owned by people with their own ideologies, they often did a decent job of keeping things somewhat objective and balanced. They would tell us the story, instead of becoming it. If you went to journalism school a few decades ago, you were taught to keep your opinions out of the story. Your job is simply to report. In the last 20 years, that gradually began to change as globalist ideas came out from the shadows and gradually began permeating the worlds of academia, entertainment, and the media.

Remember when you used to watch cable news and they actually had reporters in the field, you know, reporting? I do. Cable news used to create these segments called “packages” where reporters and their crews would produce well-edited and narrated pieces on important current events. News outlets like Vice still do this today. Whether it was a war correspondent reporting from the front lines or a reporter doing a piece on Capitol Hill, these pieces gave us the news because they let us hear from the people on the ground. Today, however, most cable news outlets are made up of split-screens or panels of pundits you don’t know, who spend an entire hour giving you their opinions. I can experience the same effect at work from talking to my colleagues, but at least those opinions are coming from people I know. I actually care about their opinions because I care about them. Not that I don’t care about pundits. I just don’t care about their opinions. Why should I? Why should you?

To clarify, I’m not advocating that cable news networks completely get rid of opinion shows or pundits. Opinions have their rightful place on a network, but that shouldn’t be where you’re getting your news. That’s not news. Those are views. And no matter what your views are, you’re instinctively going to gravitate to the personalities and outlets that support your ideology. So, what’s the solution? Unfortunately in this day and age because the media has become so biased, the only recourse we have left to form a somewhat objective opinion is to… surf. Surf for information in areas you normally wouldn’t. See what the opposing side is saying and see if what they’re saying makes sense to you.

The truth is, whether you’re on the left, the right, or the center, you have to remember that while one network or publisher might be blue or red, they’re ultimately all about the green. Their job is to stay in business, and the best way to do that is to be as bombastic as possible so their ratings or circulation will skyrocket along with their ad revenues. At the end of the day, news is a business. The term “If it bleeds it leads” is used in the world of journalism for a reason.

So again, how do we find out what’s true? The same way civilization has found truth since the very beginning. By actively seeking it, by keeping your eyes and ears open, by hearing and learning as much as you possibly can, and by keeping an open mind. Start by channel surfing to other cable news networks, or reading articles from news outlets you may not agree with, or listening to podcasts that offer opposing views. Then, move on to more “sophisticated” ways to shape your views, like reading books. I can’t believe I have to call reading books sophisticated, but these are the times. Read books on sociology, philosophy, civics, economics. Read old books to gain an unbiased perspective. Read books on ancient history. If you don’t learn from the past, you’re bound to repeat it. And most importantly, seek out face-to-face conversations with those in your life with whom you don’t agree with. You’ll quickly realize that there is a person behind an ideology, and they may have some valid points.

If you’re genuinely seeking truth—and we should all be doing that—be an adult, swallow your pride, break out of the “heard” mentality, and stop playing the game of telephone. You’re not a child anymore.

#MYWHITEPRIVILEGE


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Last weekend I went on Twitter to find that the hashtag #MyWhitePrivilege was trending. I have given a lot of thought to the meaning behind “white privilege” for years now, trying to understand both sides of the argument. Is this phrase helpful or detrimental?

Privilege is defined as a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people. I was brought up to believe that attributing privilege to a group of people is the very definition of racism. Moreover, is there such a thing as white privilege and should my white friends carry the approximate guilt it deserves? Or, taking it further, should I recognize the privilege of my fair skin though I am not white?

I am of mixed race—black, brown and white. I grew up in a family of different skin shades and it never dawned on me that anyone in my family, or outside of it, was more privileged or more oppressed. I never saw skin color as anything more than a color. No privilege, no damage, no benefit, no disadvantage. You may call me naive or unaware, but what if it was simply that no one told me I was to believe that a person’s skin color played any significant part in their identity?

As a child, I had a very simplistic way of viewing the world: when bad things happened to people, I took them as bad things, and when good things happened to people, I understood them as good things. If somebody was bigoted I viewed them as a narrow-minded idiot, and everyone else was given the benefit of the doubt. There was never a group of people who I perceived as the perpetrators, with an immutable characteristic that I blamed for any misfortunes.

While I understand why some may feel that acknowledging a “privilege” might help those who feel they lack such privilege, I would like to argue the opposite. How would you feel if you are poor and all your rich friends constantly acknowledged their “rich privilege”?

The truth is that we are all born with some privilege, whether we are born in the United States or are born in communist China, whether we live in a safe neighborhood or in a crime-ridden neighborhood, whether we have higher or lower IQ’s, or whether we are welfare babies or trust fund babies. Aligning our privilege with skin color or any other immutable characteristic is nothing but toxic.  

How can we, in clear conscience, suggest that the superficial things about us, such as the amount of melanin in our skin, is somehow the thing that determines our ultimate success in society? I can't think of anything more disheartening than that. Would Oprah be better off were she white? Would Barack Obama have been a more effective president were he white? Would Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos face more challenges were they black? These are questions we cannot answer. They are simply unquantifiable.

Besides the practical challenges such ideologies pose, statistics do not support the idea that race relations improve by taking these measures. Interestingly, when President Obama (a black man twice elected into the most powerful position in a predominantly white country) started pandering to minorities and playing identity politics, the perception of race relations in the US tanked. There are two ways of interpreting such data. The left suggests that President Obama’s sometimes racially charged rhetoric brought to light existing widespread racism. The right suggests his talking points may have exacerbated the problem. Either way, the data seems to show that President Obama tore open the wound of race to exploit resentment for political purposes. But whatever the intentions, the results haven’t been favorable.

How is it at all helpful to look for discrimination and offense everywhere, rather than believing in our own ability to change our outcomes? Even if we do face challenges, don’t we disempower ourselves by blaming things we cannot change?

Another thing that worries me is that it is the white upper class liberals who are pushing the privilege talking point. If blacks rightfully see themselves as capable of taking charge of their own lives, why are white liberals telling them they can’t, due to outside forces and discriminatory behavior? I am extremely skeptical of this. This is what we call in political science “the problem of representation”—a group speaking for another group usually takes more extreme positions than the group they represent.

The reason I cannot accept the “white privilege” slogan, has nothing to do with my personal empowerment or loss. It has everything to do with the fact that by doing so I am telling my black brothers and sisters that no matter what they do, their skin color is a disadvantage, and it will always be. They will always be disadvantaged because they will never be like people like me. And that isn’t something I believe.