50 Shades of Propaganda

I had the misfortune of witnessing the hypnosis of seemingly intelligent people in response to some emotionally cued propaganda. I was frankly aghast at what they were missing, which was glaringly obvious to me. Those little half-truths that make you go “yea, that makes sense” seem pretty innocuous until they have the majority of our population questioning our academic and scientific communities in favor of the ideas presented for mass consumption by anecdotal and emotionally cued messages such as this. So I am writing in response to that, in hopes that it will help to make it clear for anyone who cares to avoid a side step into racist hegemony and stem the tide of the growing popularity of discrediting academic and scientific research in order to sway public opinion.

I guess I should first back up and make sure everyone understands how propaganda works because apparently the lessons of WWII have been lost on a few people. Propaganda is “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view”. This particular piece of propaganda is coming out of the Breitbart camp’s prized antagonist Milo Y whose name encourages the same reaction in me as saying Lord Voldemort did for Harry Potter. There has been notable controversy over Breitbart (where Milo Y was able to earn himself that little blue check) as it seems to stand on nothing more than a platform meant to inflame racial tensions and provide safe-haven for people to expose their bias and fear of minorities, (no, not just minorities, everyone who is not a white male to be more precise) in a cozy group setting with other like-minded white supremacist apologists. (NPR: Ex-Breitbart Executive Steve Bannon Brings Alt-right ties to the White House).

Normalizing racism and hate speech is equivalent to normalizing flat earth and every bit a psyop if you ask me. Sorry, not going to go along with the “racism is normal” or “racism is over” thing even if a black woman says it’s ok and believes I’m racist if I disagree and do not want public figures to spread misinformation to desperate people.

With a critical eye, we can see that what the Bannon/Breitbart camp points to is fairly enlightening from a purely theoretical standpoint. From a political standpoint, what they are doing is dangerous and feeds on the ill-informed and uneducated bias of its readers, using controversy to garner sales and the currency of the age: the will of the masses. They bring up the issue of hate speech and rightly point out that this is not a legal term. But it is a tool that has been employed many times, a mode of warfare that most certainly could bring an angry populace out of the woodwork and accomplish Mr. Bannon’s self-proclaimed mission of destroying everything.

In their attempt to normalize racism as wholly acceptable, they are setting us up in a dangerous game. I have learned through my years studying and observing American culture that wherever you see the smoke of racism, there is a flame rooted in classism not far behind. Our economy has not rebounded following the housing crash of 2008 for the lower and middle class and the decisions we make now as a country should strive to promote prosperity of the nation as a whole, not a certain segment of it because that segment is seen as the best and brightest based on the color of their skin. How very fucking distracting when the majority of intelligent people know damn well it’s actually because of their economic advantage. (You need to spend money to make money – that’s capitalism in a nutshell, which makes it pretty hard to compete when some people start out with a million and the right side of racially motivated propaganda and some people start out with less than zero and we make no efforts to control for multi-generational poverty).

Tell me how a country as multi-cultural and diverse as ours is supposed to come to intelligent and fruitful agreements and address economic inequalities when there is an ideological standpoint of one race being superior to others in the mix and contrary to any rational or scientific evidence? Especially when this ideology is being promoted from the highest visible office in the land? This is the same classic argument that was used in support of slavery and the genocide of indigenous people, “they are genetically flawed, lazy, heathen, uncivilized and we are not responsible for their inability to assimilate into our “superior culture” and achieve economic success”. They like to hold up poster children who were able to achieve wealth and popularity as the proof that the dominant culture’s ways (colonization) works best. This isn’t just a racial issue, it is an economic one that points to something even more dastardly, the call to quell dissent and encourage public reproach of anyone who does not agree with the status quo and normative middle-class American values.

So, why is this video propaganda instead of just a fellow human speaking her mind? Because it is being propped up on Milo’s little social media pedestal, cherry-picked with boxed quotes that reinforce the subliminal messaging and most of what she said is not only inaccurate, it reinforces stereotypes I thought most of us were smart enough to see through. It would be awesome if we could require a little credibility on the content that public figures can push. When you are branding yourself and commodifying your platform, I’m not certain freedom of speech should be the defense we embrace. Maybe that is the discussion we should be having. Just one woman’s opinion, you want to live in a cess pool where it’s totally fine for grown men to demoralize other grown men and fund someone who attempted to normalize pedophilia without caring enough to tell them they’re being shitty humans, whatevs.  For the moment, let’s focus on why propaganda is dangerous.

“Democracy is good, but it is not good for an uneducated dogmatic society. Often, that society does not know how to choose wisely” (Debasish Mridha).

“The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men” (Plato).

“It is simplicity that makes the uneducated more effective than the educated when addressing popular audiences” (Aristotle).

It is also important to point out that where we have disagreements politically, the more division that can be mustered, the easier it is for people to accept the authority of a supposed savior to the mix as they become exhausted from the inability to come to rational agreements (because your emotions are being fucked with, need I add?).  If you are feeling exhausted by the rhetoric, may I suggest cutting back on processed foods, the television and fluoride, and adding time in nature, laughter, and meditation in its place.

So, let’s look at this piece of propaganda a little more closely. Far too many people missed the many gross inaccuracies so I have provided an example of the research that contradicts the bias and misleading information presented. Propaganda works best if the outright lies are coupled with some truth so when people like me point out these lies, people who only focused on the half-truths that reinforced their stereotypes will question me rather than the content. The strings of cognitive dissonance being played at it’s finest.

And because I know this is very important to some people, let me address my political leanings, (if this has not been made clear by every single post I have written). I am neither Republican nor Democrat, not a deplorable nor a libtard, I am a sovereign and critical thinking neutral party who despises bureaucracy. What’s the name of the party that defends that? They don’t exist until we get rid of the propaganda arm of our national discourse so that people can actually utilize the facts in front of them and come to reasonable and rational agreements based on them (leaving room for new information as it becomes apparent). “Science literacy is a vaccine against the charlatans of the world that would exploit your ignorance” (Neil deGrasse Tyson). Feel better now? Cool, let’s forge ahead then to dismantling that infected arm of our shared reality, shall we?

Propaganda works by appealing to your emotional state rather than facts. It is, effectively, a means to bias you against facts that would have you question decisions from political leadership that are contrary to them. I am not going to pull out every piece of evidence available here, just enough to get you to see where to look and how to look at propaganda in the future. Hopefully, together, we can silence the misinformation or slow it’s spread and educate others in how to think rather than what to think.

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NOPE ~ White privilege (or white skin privilege) is a term for societal privileges that benefit people identified as white in Western countries, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances. If it was defined as she suggests, she might have had a point. Unfortunately: propaganda (aimed at distorting academic research on racism).

The first piece of anecdotal evidence she presents as an argument for why white privilege doesn’t exist is law enforcement interactions. This is a hot button emotional issue with several triggering cues. She points out that whites are also harassed and she “being a black woman in Texas” has never felt harassed. During a time when we are seeing many examples of police misconduct and a demand from citizens to address the issue, suggestions that there really isn’t a problem here is going to swiftly undo the public pressure on these institutions to provide reasonable standards of equality and accountability from the enforcement arm of the government.

“As the authors wrote: “In nearly every one of the 100 departments we consider, we find that black and Hispanic drivers are subjected to a lower search threshold than whites, suggestive of widespread discrimination against these groups.”

Specifically, the study found that police decided to search black drivers based on a 7 percent certainty that they might be hiding something illegal. If an African American driver looks nervous, for example, police might interpret the nervousness as a sign of possible guilt and insist on a search.

For Hispanics, the search threshold was 6 percent certainty. But police in these 100 North Carolina cities wanted a 15 percent certainty before searching the vehicles of white drivers. The threshold for searching Asians was about the same as for whites.” (link to Stanford study this was taken from)

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Pretty classic logical fallacy being used here. This is an attempt to employ anecdotal evidence to make sweeping generalizations that should not be extrapolated or used to negate the countless anecdotal reports of Black Americans who have expressed fear of police brutality or harassment. For the record, as a person who has experienced police harassment, let me point out that I still feel safest (experience fewer symptoms of the PTSD I have as a result of that harassment) from the gang in blue while riding in the car with an older white woman.  Yes, police harassment can happen to anyone and yes some people may never be exposed to it, but that it happens at all should still concern us all.

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graph showing Incarceration rates in Texas

(source here)

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This is treading on same dangerous territory that should not be taken lightly or read without an understanding of the historical bias and socio-economic context Black Americans have been living with. This is a tactic pulled straight out of the 90s when the primary source of information White Americans received about Black Americans was coming out of Hollywood and main stream media. It was employed then because our society was beginning to integrate and in order to keep the mental and emotional segregation up where physical segregation was down, a series of “black man as violent” imagery was fed to a hypnotized populace. We are just now healing from this mindfuck which makes propaganda like this very important to stay critical of. That little bit of fear and discomfort you feel when you see a group of black men walking? That is the result of thousands of hours of subliminal messaging directly affecting your hard wired response system. In other words, brainwashing.

Keep this in mind for the next few frames we examine:

“Stereotypes are “cognitive structures that contain the perceiver’s knowledge, beliefs, and expectations about human groups” (Peffley et al., 1997, p. 31). These cognitive constructs are often created out of a kernel of truth and then distorted beyond reality (Hoffmann, 1986). Racial stereotypes are constructed beliefs that all members of the same race share given characteristics. These attributed characteristics are usually negative (Jewell, 1993).” (please review the whole source here and educate yourself -if you have not already- on the effects of stereotyping and confirmation bias, there is literally tens of thousands of scholarly articles on this subject)

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Let’s throw in a few more stereotypes just for fun, eh Milo? In the video, the speaker makes the claim that her black single mother did not feel safe in her predominately black neighborhood.

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The strategy here is to undo the connection between poverty and crime and point you in the direction of race. It is highly based in stereotyping and implies no violence or theft occurs at a trailer park because even poor white people know how to “not act like savages”, right Milo? It couldn’t have anything to do with their white privilege could it?

“After World War II, a fundamental shift in the demographics of the traditional mobile home resident occurred. Instead of housing mostly transitory workers and retired people, mobile homes became a means for younger, less educated, less affluent individuals, who may have been excluded from the conventional housing market, to obtain housing (French and Hadden, 1968; Marsh, Thomson, and Collins, 1982; Wallis, 1989). (….)

Mobile homes still represent a viable and popular form of housing today. According to the 2000 Census, 8.8 million mobile homes have been installed in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). They represent 8.4 percent of the owner-occupied housing units and 4.3 percent of the renter-occupied housing units in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). To clarify the perspective of these figures, mobile homes comprise the second largest percentage of all housing units in the United States after single-family detached units (U.S. Census Bureau, 2003).” (source here)

Why does this matter? Because home ownership has a statistically significant effect on crime rates. (source here) And Black Americans have historically been affected by discrimination in the banking and mortgage industry. I grew up in an America where people would respond to the presence of new minority neighbors with “great, now our market values are going to go down”. Racial steering is still a method employed despite being made illegal by the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

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Nothing at all wrong with not feeling oppressed, but it should not be used by the likes of a shmuck like Milo Y as a means to negate the voices of the millions of people who have been, currently are or to ignore and discount the obvious historical relationship that brings black people to America in the first place.

Next the video highlights why her personal experience proves that we should all get over the idea that Black Americans need to demand equal hiring and educational opportunities and encourages the viewer to believe that this demand for equality is harmful to white Americans.

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“Black and Hispanic students are still vastly underrepresented at these colleges overall, and they fare even worse in states with bans on affirmative action. Black students are underrepresented by at least 20 percent at 79 percent of the country’s research universities; only two research universities in states with affirmative action bans have at least the same proportion of black students as the state’s college-age population, and one of those, Florida A&M University, is a historically black college or university (HBCU).” (source here)

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And next we will see a gross distortion of the term “privilege”. In the video she makes the claim that wealth is the true measure of privilege. She makes the claim that if someone is able to get a job and a mortgage they are not privileged, but the fact that she can have a baby and go on welfare points to her being the truly privileged. If that doesn’t confuse you and point to the rhetorical writing on the wall, I don’t know what to tell you. The conservative agenda has long included the vilifying of the poor.

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AGAIN ~ privilege does not mean that an individual cannot find success, it is the proportion of that success in relation to the general population due to systemic biases in education, finance and employment which have roots in racial disparity that is less than a hundred years from any attempt to correct. Our system is based on a false meritocracy and encourages class and racial distortions of ability due to lack of equitable distribution and access to resources.

“Two studies and 2012 BLS statistics reveal that when job qualifications, education and incarceration are accounted for, racial job discrimination appears to remain.

For a 2004 study, University of Chicago economist Marianne Bertrand and Harvard University economist Sendhil Mullainathan sent fictitious resumes in response to help-wanted ads appearing in Boston and Chicago newspapers. Resumes were randomly assigned white-sounding names, such as Emily and Greg, or black-sounding names, such as Lakisha and Jamal. White names received 50 percent more calls for interviews than black names, although both types of resumes presented similarly qualified candidates. Even when black resumes were doctored with better credentials than white resumes, the fictional white applicants still received more employer responses. The researchers discovered that this racial gap was uniform across occupation, industry and employer size.

A 2003 employment audit by Princeton University sociologist Devah Pager revealed that white entry-level-job candidates who had been incarcerated were more likely to receive calls in response to their applications than black candidates with prison records.

“The ascendant American narrative proclaims that we have transcended the racial divide,” Hamilton said, adding that blacks “are asked to ‘stop playing the race card,’ ‘get over it,’ and ‘take personal responsibility’ for the persistence of racial inequality.”

“It is a rhetoric that absolves public responsibility for the condition of black America. While the realities of structural racial inequality persist, [blacks’] agency to resist their economic condition will diminish and their willingness to accept the status quo will enhance.” (source here)

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The speaker implies that white men are denied welfare but black women aren’t. Let’s check the facts, shall we? “Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) Most SNAP participants who can work, do work. SNAP rules require all recipients meet work requirements unless they are exempt because of age or disability or another specific reason.” (source here) You do not get housing, cash or a great life handed to you because you have babies and ask the government for it. Nice story though, we heard this one quite a bit in the 90s too. I guess they’re revamping the distribution of this rhetoric for the millenials. If you are on welfare and become pregnant, your child will not qualify you for an increase in benefits. Everyone is required to meet participation requirements which includes weekly hours of verifiable and documented job training, searches, applications and interviews that are equivalent to full-time hours of employment.

Housing subsidies are not funded or administrated through the same department as cash and food stamp programs and most major cities have a 5-6 year wait list for housing voucher and other subsidized housing programs. This is coupled with a severe shortage in affordable housing in areas where jobs are actually available, hence the homeless epidemic and one of the highest rates of child poverty in the “civilized” world. It is impossible to thrive on the support given by welfare programs but it is an important safety net for people experiencing disabilities, the elderly and those looking for assistance with job training because our public education system is severely lacking in that area. Do I really have to point out that it is a necessary component in a capitalist society unless we’re all just going to be cool with killing off those who are unable to continue to feed the machine by neglecting to provide an alternative source of access to basic necessities like food, water and shelter (which is also part of this free-market game) for those who are unable to earn a living wage?

She continues to vilify the term “white privilege” by attacking the people who would point out it’s continued presence in our societal structures.

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Read: If you think this system is unfair, the problem is with you, not the system. But there is more to the story here, science has also started linking the effects of trauma to genetic changes and this points to a more sinister agenda in my book. If you have even a small understanding of what kind of havoc cortisol alone can cause on normal human development, it should behoove us all to examine the effects our social values and economic decisions are creating long term.

“The researchers studied the number and kind of microRNAs expressed by adult mice exposed to traumatic conditions in early life and compared them with non-traumatized mice. They discovered that traumatic stress alters the amount of several microRNAs in the blood, brain and sperm — while some microRNAs were produced in excess, others were lower than in the corresponding tissues or cells of control animals. These alterations resulted in misregulation of cellular processes normally controlled by these microRNAs.

After traumatic experiences, the mice behaved markedly differently: they partly lost their natural aversion to open spaces and bright light and had depressive-like behaviours. These behavioural symptoms were also transferred to the next generation via sperm, even though the offspring were not exposed to any traumatic stress themselves.” (source here)

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Yep, that’s right black people, if you are angry at the years of slavery and continued oppression your ancestral lineage has afforded you in America, it’s cause of the media. Now you know. This is actually called blaming the victim, it’s used in rape cases too, just to make that connection crystal clear. For the record, I agree that it is time to put the victim card away and embrace your natural and endowed right of sovereignty, I do not agree with ignoring, dismissing or vilifying the desire for anyone to examine and discuss the reality of inhumanity and torture that may need to be acknowledged in order for full and compete healing.

In the next few frames, we get bombarded with messages meant to alienate white people who would seek to align with people of color for racial and economic equality which we will be much more equipped to address if we work together.

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The enormous amount of economic inequality in our society needs to be addressed. We are going to have a much easier time doing that if we are working together so propaganda aimed at affecting our dialogue surrounding race and class is fucked up.  And in the next few frames we find out who this woman believes are the real oppressed people in our society: white men. How many hours of distraction and confusion will this little nugget of nonsense impart?

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I have to interrupt here and point out that not all politicians are Jewish, they are sitting at about 6%. They also “generally” vote Democratic and considering that Milo and his gang are conservative, you can see where they may have an ulterior motive in disparaging Jewish political engagement. Financially, however, there is clearly a larger issue to address and at play. This is that distorted kernel of truth that makes propaganda so dangerous.

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READ: If you don’t agree that white men are the true victims in our society (at the hands of Jewish people) it is because you are ignorant.

And in the next few frames we’ll take a look at the propaganda aimed at normalizing racist rhetoric which anyone who has already come across Breitbart, Bannon and Milo are well aware of. I find it interesting and relevant that she points to “if you don’t want your kid to play with a particular group, that’s ok” in light of the criticism Bannon has received due to his ex-wife making the claim that he did not allow his children to play with Jewish kids. This, above all else, points us to the fact that this little video which seems so much like just one Texan gal’s opinion, is actually a product of propaganda and a highly sophisticated one at that. It’s not main stream media so it can be consumed without the facts needing to be checked. But it’s influence has repercussions, so facts must be checked, my friends.

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Not great. I would actually prefer to live in a community where the Black Americans I come across don’t have to wonder if I secretly hate them or lack the will power to think beyond the stereotypes. I’d like people to grow up to the fact that racism was taught to you and the continued use of this vile rhetoric is counter productive to anything that is actually beneficial to society or humanity at large.  Love your neighbor as yourself should not be discounted just because a segment of our population would rather destroy that which causes them discomfort.

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Some more emotional cues for you: if you want to have a nice life in America, and be served, have access to nice things, you have to be like me and be ok with a few racist elements in our leadership and social systems.

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Quite a bit different when you slow down the video enough to actually hear and process the messages it contains.  Racism isn’t about someone not liking you. Racism is a deep hatred and bias based on absolutely nothing except decades of cultural engineering to that end.

And if I may add one little piece of “conspiracy theory” (deductions based on knowledge of human behavior, drive, motivation and psychology when actual evidence and proof is not made available or transparent) cause I just can’t resist. What do “anti-semitism”, “anti-mulsim”, “pro white male” and “pro black stereotyping” all have in common… besides Steve Bannon? Our economy (the collapse of the petro dollar, banking industry, questions about gold backed currency and Depression level unemployment rates). There is a whole lot of jockeying for position as they use us to bring down their enemies which I promise you they are only doing to put themselves in that place instead. So choose wisely and consider all of the facts and evidence, not the thing that makes you feel good momentarily. That’s MY advice. Here’s Malcolm’s.

malcom x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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