Friday, August 14, 2020

Whitmer Imposes Implicit Bias Training on State Workers

This implicit bias stuff is mythology. No doubt some sort of unconscious bias is possible in some people but the claim that you can detect it and combat it is a mirage.

It all arose from the use of a test -- the IAT -- that claimed to be able to detect unconscious bias.  It has never been validated as being able to do that however and there is much evidence to say that it is not valid

I summarize some research on it here
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has built a pandemic-related reputation as one of the more arrogant and capricious politicians in the nation, has further burnished those dubious credentials. Last Wednesday, after declaring that racism is a public health crisis, the governor signed an executive order requiring all state employees to undergo “implicit bias” training.

The order itself is a paean to the institutionalized victimhood progressives have foisted on minorities for decades. “Racism has existed in America for over 400 years,” it states. “From the genocide of Indigenous peoples upon the arrival of the Europeans, to chattel slavery beginning in the 1600s, to the Jim Crow era. Even today, through inequitable outcomes in the criminal justice system, achievement gaps in education, disproportionate results in health and infant mortality, and job and housing discrimination, racism remains a presence in American society while subjecting Black, Indigenous, and other people of color to hardships and disadvantages in every aspect of life.”

First, racism has existed for thousands of years among people of every country and culture. Fear of “the other” is a hard-wired biological reality, and thus the notion that racism is particularly American, or that white people are the sole perpetrators of it, is nonsense. Moreover, no country has made a greater effort to atone for its racial shortcomings than the United States.

Yet, as Whitmer’s order makes clear, none of it matters. If “Black, Indigenous, and other people of color” are the sole victims of racism, while whites are the sole perpetrators of it, one can reasonably assume the governor subscribes to the odious aspect of progressive ideology declaring that only whites can be racist because they control the levers of power.

That worldview may be somewhat problematic among white state workers whose “power” largely consists of showing up for work like everyone else, and who are now being forced to undergo what amounts to a proscribed level of self-abasement as a condition of employment. As for non-white employees, one suspects there might be more than a few who resent being subjected to a categorical assumption of victimhood as much as some of their white counterparts resent being automatically labeled as privileged.

Unfortunately, demagoguery prevails, and bias training is only part of the equation. Whitmer is also creating a Black Leadership Advisory Council that will identify “state laws, or gaps in state law, that create or perpetuate inequities,” serve as a “resource for community groups on issues, programs, sources of funding, and compliance requirements within state government in order to benefit and advance the interests of the Black community,” and promote “the cultural arts within the Black community through coordinated efforts, advocacy, and collaboration with state government.”

This is not Whitmer’s first effort to force-feed her worldview on state workers. In July, she announced that the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs would require healthcare providers in that state to take the same implicit bias training as part of the licensing process.

“This is not alleging that people are racist,” Whitmer insisted. “It’s recognizing everyone has biases, from where we grew up or how we were raised. It’s just a fact and that’s why we’ve got to acknowledge it and seek to address it.”

Address what, exactly? A curriculum on “Institutionalized Racial Superiority for white people” developed by the Civil Rights Office for the city of Seattle may provide some insight. It asked white participants to explain how they benefit from “white supremacy,” how their “white fragility” “shows up at work,” or if they’re aware of their “white silence.”

In short, a white person is guilty of racism until proven otherwise. And in Whitmer’s world, there is apparently a government standard of acceptable groupthink that is necessary to implement because “where we grew up or how we were raised” is, like America itself, an inherently flawed proposition.

The arrogance is breathtaking. Those who wish to remain on the government payroll must subject themselves to the contemptible notion that any judgment one makes about anything, no matter how well reasoned, is “biased.” Even worse, workers must assume that wholly unconscious behavior evinced by whites and minorities automatically aligns itself with the progressive worldview that all whites are oppressors and all minorities are oppressed.

And that’s “just a fact.”

Thus, if one is white, one is either a progressive or a bigot. And if one is a minority? Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden succinctly explained that his or her choices are equally limited. “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump,” Biden said, “then you ain’t black.”

As for defining racism as a public health crisis, reveals the pernicious mindset behind such assertions. “The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed, confirmed, and highlighted the deadly nature of pre-existing inequities caused by systemic racism,” it states. “For example, in cases where race and ethnicity is known, the rate of reported COVID-19 cases for Black/African American Michigan residents is 14,703 per 1,000,000, compared with 4,160 per 1,000,000 for white residents, more than three times higher. And the rate of reported COVID-19 deaths for Black/African American Michigan residents is 1,624 per 1,000,000 compared with 399 per 1,000,000 for White residents, more than four times higher.”

That such data ignore other health problems exacerbating the effects of coronavirus is telling. For example, black Americans have greater levels of high blood pressure and higher rates of diabetes than white Americans. Lifestyle choices count as well, but when U.S. Surgeon General and black American Jerome Adams suggested that blacks “avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs,” he was excoriated for undermining the systemic racism narrative that insists the entire society must be reordered to ensure equal outcomes for all — even in terms of equal infection and death rates from disease.

Yet if Whitmer et al. were being honest, they’d acknowledge it is the elderly who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. As of May, an astounding 42% of all coronavirus deaths took place in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Moreover, Whitmer herself deserves a substantial portion of blame for elderly deaths in her state. Despite evidence that made even a progressive stalwart like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo backtrack on his own order to place infected people into state nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Whitmer actually vetoed a bill on July 31 that would have moved elderly coronavirus patents into separate facilities.

In other words, after the catastrophic data from New York were available.

Nonetheless, in a letter explaining her decision, Whitmer asserted that her veto was based on “the false premise that isolation units created within existing facilities are somehow insufficient to protect seniors.”

That 33% of the coronavirus deaths in her state were nursing home residents or employees? The establishment of an Elderly Leadership Advisory Council — as in the requirement that state workers take “elderly bias” training — will not be forthcoming.

Instead, Michigan workers will be subjected to progressive indoctrination sold as spiritual enlightenment. Yet what about Whitmer herself? A search of relevant stories reveals nothing about whether the governor will participate in the same training. Shouldn’t she lead by example? Or are some state employees — or maybe just one state employee — “more equal” than others?


The Left Cracks Down on Dissent Both Large and Small

For all the talk about our “democracy” being at risk, there’s very little being said by those same people when government officials actively retaliate against those who dissent from their preferred policy positions. That’s because Donald Trump isn’t doing it. No, for perhaps the most obvious example of this abuse of power, we need look no further than Albany.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his attorney general, Letitia James, have made retaliation against dissent commonplace in the Empire State, and two recent stories prove the point. The first is James’s effort to dissolve the National Rifle Association. James ran on the platform of attacking this largest and most effective defender of the Second Amendment, labeling it a “terrorist organization” during at least one media appearance.

Now, the NRA has long opposed gun control. And it runs advertisements, urges its members to write lawmakers, speaks out on legislation, supports and opposes candidates for office, and donates money to its preferred candidates (at a fraction of the amount given to Democrats by teachers unions, we’d add). All of these activities are protected by the First Amendment, and none of them even remotely resembles terrorism.

Thus, this is just the latest politically punitive move by the tyrannical Cuomo-James regime. Cuomo has waged his jihad against the NRA — and it had an effect on political races in 2018 and 2019. While some of the NRA’s spending decisions clearly have been controversial, the fact remains that the real “crime” has been its stand against laws that would punish millions of law-abiding Americans — particularly sweeping Australia-style gun bans like those pushed by Representatives Eric Swalwell and Beto O'Rourke, among others.

One doesn’t have to be a nationwide group to be a target, however. Just ask Abby Ehmann. The owner of Lucky, a bar in Manhattan, found herself suddenly visited by state liquor authority agents. Shortly after their visit, her bar’s liquor license was suspended. Other bars in the area had not been given that treatment.

Then again, Ms. Ehmann had started a petition to loosen menu restrictions that Cuomo imposed less than a week prior to the fateful inspection. Petitioning for a redress of grievances — which is exactly what Ehmann did — is, again, explicitly protected by the First Amendment. Yet once again, New York retaliated against the dissenter, a small-business owner, for merely exercising that constitutional right.

Sadly, this is part of a larger pattern, not just from New York but from the Left in general, especially since the eight years of the Obama-Biden administration. Numerous instances exist of government abuse targeting dissenters from the progressive agenda, and this disturbing pattern points to an increasingly totalitarian Left weaponizing the powers of the state against average citizens.

Yet as bad as it is now, it could be much worse. Does anyone think that a Biden administration would protect conservative groups from the Lois Lerners of the world? Would Treasury Secretary Elizabeth Warren lay off the NRA, or would she sic the IRS on it? Would Attorney General Kamala Harris not seek to crush dissent, especially given her earlier crackdown on crisis pregnancy centers?

The actions of the Cuomo-James regime in New York are perhaps the most blatant effort to make it illegal for grassroots Patriots to engage in political discourse. Arguably, the only thing more worrisome than the actions of that rotten regime is the silence of the mainstream media — precisely those who purport to be our guardians of democracy and norms.


How gender-neutral language excludes women

Do women suffer from cervical cancer or do ‘individuals with a cervix’? It sounds like an easy question to answer, but not for the American Cancer Society, which has unwittingly kicked off a row over its latest guidance on pap smears when it recommended that ‘individuals with a cervix initiate cancer screening at age 25 years’.

Cervical cancer has a very real impact on women’s lives. Women need to be able to speak meaningfully about it. But when the medical language around the issue doesn’t match up with the reality of their lives, they can’t. This attempt at gender-neutral language, while trying to be inclusive, can be alienating for a lot of women who would never refer to themselves as ‘individuals with cervixes’.

The phrasing is odd, as it implies that anyone can have a cervix. As Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, asked sarcastically on Twitter: ‘How do I find out if I have a cervix? Do I need a scan? Or is there some sort of general concept that identified individuals with a cervix?’

There is also the fact that female biology was taboo for many centuries. Menstruation and lactation – key aspects of women’s health – were not discussed openly and were often shrouded in superstition and pseudoscience. Perinatal mental health has historically been an underfunded area of medicine even though postnatal depression and anxiety in women is very high (affecting somewhere between 10 and 20 per cent of women).

Things have changed, of course. We now speak more openly about these things and a great deal of care and attention is taken over women’s health by medical professionals. This is precisely why feminists in particular have been so outspoken about the specific use of the word ‘women’ in relation to pregnancy, menstruation and cervical cancer. If we just stop referring to women directly, it risks reversing decades of progress in taking women’s health issues seriously.

How do trans men feel about this issue? It is difficult to generalise, but some research by the NHS has found that trans men who are no longer living as women experience trepidation over the process of cervical screening. Perhaps they should be targeted with advice about cancer screening in a way that is relevant to their lives? It is important because their experience is unique and needs to be better understood in order to protect them from cervical cancer. But I doubt highly that trans men describe themselves as ‘individuals with a cervix’, either. Nobody speaks like this in the real world.

We need to get rid of this managerial mangling of language and be more authentic about how people really live. The non-specific, gender-neutral approach to being inclusive is way too impersonal and should be more empathetic to be truly effective and to serve different people’s needs well.

The discourse around trans rights and women has become unbearably zero-sum. A lot of this is to do with the fact that the debate has largely been conducted on Twitter where point-scoring and a mob mentality prevail. It’s always posed as ‘us vs them’ and very few people want to enter the discussion for fear of threats, boycotts, even the loss of work. As a result, much of the argument has stagnated and hasn’t moved forward at all.

It is a real pity in this instance, since regular cervical cancer screening is so important. That point has been lost in all the furore.


Democrats Losing Decades-Long Grip on Young Black Voters

Young black voters have a shocking message for Democrats: We’re just not that into you.

Perhaps following the lead of Kanye West, who abandoned the Democrats years ago, younger voters have grown tired of broken promises and white Democrats’ sense of entitlement to their vote.

Writing for The Conversation, academics Sam Fulwood III and David C. Barker report that black voters “over 60 remain among the most reliable of Democratic voters, and those between 40-59 are still pretty locked in as well, those under 30 (whom we oversampled to comprise half of our sample) are anything but.”

The numbers come from their recent survey of 1,215 African American voters in key battleground states like Pennsylvania and Florida.

At our sister site RedState, Brandon Morse adds:

It would appear that the black youth in America has become disillusioned with the Democratic party’s attempts to kowtow to them, and as such, their willingness to vote for Democrats is at an all-time low. In fact, most say that they feel the Democrat party takes them for granted. It expects their vote but does nothing to earn it besides claim that it’s “less racist” than Republicans.

I would add that Trump was elected by Obama-to-Trump voters in the Rust Belt and Upper Midwest. They were largely white, working-class voters who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, but felt like he ignored their concerns once in office.

BLM Is So White

Something similar might be taking place in the minds of young black voters. Barker and Fulwood’s research showed that

Only 47% of [under-30 black voters] say that the party is welcoming to Black Americans, and only 43% say they trust Democrats in Congress to do what’s best for the Black community. Perhaps most strikingly, unlike their older counterparts, only half of those under 30 view the Democrats as any better than the Republicans on these scores.

While hardly good news for Republicans in the short term, changing attitudes could provide an opening for savvy GOP candidates in the future as those younger black Americans grow older — and more likely to vote.

Also affecting voter attitudes is decades of Democrat condescension, especially pronounced with alleged Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

In just one of many similar instances, Biden told radio host Charlamagne tha God, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

Biden quickly apologized, but if a 77-year-old rich white guy was hoping to motivate the black youth vote by appearing on Charlamagne’s show, he blew the chance.

Young black voters are still black and still mostly Democrats, but they sure aren’t Biden Democrats.

Barker and Fulwood write:

Only 47% of those Black Americans under 30 years old that we surveyed plan to vote for the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden. That’s roughly the same percentage who have anything positive to say when asked what “one or two words come to mind” about the former vice president.

Those same younger voters told Fulwood and Barker that Democrats expect their support but don’t “do anything to deserve it other than claim to be ‘less racist’ than the alternative.”

Along that same line, Shay Hawkins wrote on Wednesday for Fox News that “White Democrats feel deeply entitled to the Black vote. This summer’s unrest has deepened that sense of entitlement, not checked it.”

Flipping that around, it might be closer to the truth that Democrats are well aware of the softening support from their most important voting bloc, and ginned up riots in order to bring black Americans back into the fold.

Will it work?

Progressive Democrats, mostly white, have used the ongoing unrest to push defunding or even eliminating the police. Biden recently said he wants police to get more money, but given that a President Biden would likely be little more than a figurehead for the far-left progressives who have taken over the party, what Biden wants probably means very little.

Democrats Defund the Police

However, Gallup just released numbers showing that “a large majority — 81 percent — of black Americans want the same or increased levels of police presence in their neighborhoods.”

Emphasis added, because WOW, what a losing issue for the Dems. Overall, Americans are opposed to #DefundThePolice by “only” 64%.

That means there are an awful lot of rich, white progressives who think they know what’s best for American’s black communities.

If the GOP can’t make hay out of that, then stick the proverbial fork in them.

Finally, I leave you with this riddle.

Question: What do you call a Democrat who wins 85% of black voters in almost any contested election?

Answer: The loser.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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