Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Racist elephants

We’re going to talk about elephants. Not the GOP kind of elephant, but actual big-eared lumbering wild African elephants (loxodonta Africana) living in Africa, as African elephants are predisposed to do.

The elephants in question are living in close proximity to two different African tribes; the Maasai and the Kamba. The men from these tribes differ in dress, language, and, more importantly, how they treat the elephants. Maasai men sometimes kill the elephants. It seems the Maasai don’t particularly appreciate the elephants attacking Maasai tribesmen and their cows. The Kamba men, on the other hand, are gentle farmers who live among, but do not threaten, the elephants. Perhaps they don’t own cows.

Please understand that the Maasai men do not attack the elephants every time they encounter one, and some Maasai men, perhaps the majority, will never find cause to try to kill an elephant. The elephants know, however, that a greater threat exists from Maasai than from Kamba.

So, how does this affect elephant behavior?

Maasai men like to wear red robes. Kamba men do not. So when the elephants see men in red robes approaching they react defensively. Usually they flee, or they will form defensive perimeters around their young. When the Kamba approach the elephants seem to be completely unconcerned and just go about their business.

The elephants don’t just notice the difference in dress. They’re also tuned into to differences in human dialect. The Maasai and Kamba have distinctive vocal and dialect differences … at least distinctive enough that these elephants can recognize them. The researchers played a recordings of Maasai and Kamba men saying “Look, look over there. A group of elephants is coming.” When the elephants heard the recordings of the Kamba men they took notice but exhibited no untoward fear or anxiety. When they heard the voices of the Maasai men the reaction was different. The elephants fled and once again moved to protect their young.

Karen McComb, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Sussex in England explained the elephant behavior upon hearing the recordings of the Maasai and Kamba. “Cognitively, they know what they’re doing, she said, “and they adjust their reaction to exactly what they’re hearing.”

OK … what’s going on here? We have elephants altering their behavior when encountering different African tribesmen. Sometimes the elephants go into a defensive mode based upon a visual clue, the red robes, or speech patterns. Other visual and aural clues cause them no distress whatsoever.

Has it struck you yet? Come on, folks. This really isn’t that difficult. These elephants are PROFILING! They’re basing their reaction to encountering different groups of men based on past experience. Members of one group are more likely to be dangerous to the elephants than members of the other, and the elephants react accordingly.

I’m afraid that to get through to the irrational mind of a liberal, I have to state the obvious here.

There is no real difference in the elephant’s negative and defensive reaction to the red robes of the Maasai than a person’s reaction to someone wearing a hoodie or gang apparel on the street. There is no real difference between an elephant’s heightened sense of alert upon hearing a particular speech pattern over our reaction to hearing dialects identifiable as coming from inner city gangster culture. Skin color? Not a factor. In case you don’t already know this; the Maasai and the Kamba are both black.

Experience instructs. People -- and elephants -- learn.

When elephants exhibit this behavior in the wild it’s an occasion for marveling at their intelligence. When humans exhibit this behavior in high crime areas, it’s called racism.


Mollycoddled kids 'grow up as narcissists': Psychologist warns growth of play dates supervised by adults is creating generation of children who cannot empathise

Parents who hover around their children while they play with their friends risk turning them into narcissists, a leading psychologist has warned.

Dr Peter Gray said ‘free play’ - where children are left to their own devices, undirected by adults - is the primary means by which children overcome narcissism and build up their capacity for empathy.

He claims that the rise of ‘play dates’ and structured activities where there is always an adult present, and the decline of unsupervised neighbourhood play, is storing up problems for the future.

‘By definition, free play is an activity that any player is free to quit at any time. Children know that. Their very strong drive to play leads them to behave in ways that reduces the chance that the others will quit, and that means paying attention to the others’ needs and wishes,’ he said.

‘To play with other children you must please them as well as yourself, and that means that you have to get into the others’ heads and figure out what they like and don’t like.  ‘That means overcoming your narcissistic tendencies – tendencies we all have to some degree.’ 

Narcissism refers to an inflated sense of the self, and a relative indifference to others.  ‘Those high in the trait readily trample over others and are generally incapable of forming deep, meaningful, lasting relationships with others,’ said Dr Gray, a professor at Boston College in the U.S. and author of the newly published book Free To Learn.

‘Free play is how children practise taking charge of their own lives.  It is how they learn to make their own decisions, solve their own problems, negotiate with others as equals, see from others’ points of view, make friends, and manage risks. 'It is also how they learn to control fear and anger.’

But if a parent is hovering nearby and steps in whenever someone gets upset or angry, they deprive children of the opportunity to learn to control these emotions themselves.  ‘When children are continuously managed and directed by adults, they don’t develop an internal locus of control,’ he said.

He blames the ‘schoolish’ view of child development – the idea that children gain more from doing what adults tell them to do than from their own self-directed activities - as a key reason for the decline of free play.

‘Even out of school children today are far more likely to be in adult-directed activities and less likely to be playing with other kids on their own than was true in the past,’ he said.

‘As a society we have lost touch with the meaning of childhood.  We no longer think of it as a time of play, but increasingly think of it as a time of résumé building.  That is a huge mistake.’

Additionally, fears about safety mean children are often no longer allowed to play in their neighbourhoods without adult supervision.

Dr Gray advises that, where a ‘play date’ situation is unavoidable, adults should make themselves scarce as much as possible.

‘It depends on the age of the children, but for children aged four and older the parents should, to the degree possible, vanish. Even if they are present with no intention to intervene, they may not be able to avoid intervening.

‘When adults are present, children in our culture look to the adults to solve their problems rather than figure out how to solve them themselves.

‘If an adult can’t literally leave, then she or he should be very busy with adult things – too busy to be interrupted, and should not allow interruption.

‘Trust breeds trustworthiness. Children are far more competent – far more able to take responsibility for themselves and one another – than most of us give them credit for, but they need the freedom to practise that responsibility or else it atrophies.’


NYC homosexuals griping because St Pat's day parade is non-political

They want to use it to promote their own cause

There is a whole lot of shamrock green on full display this weekend, as cities around the country hold their annual St. Patrick's Day parades. But several high profile regulars have decided to sit out the events because of a ban on gays marching openly as a group in the parades. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is one of those boycotting his city's events, which will be held tomorrow.

For more, we turn to Peter Quinn. He's a former speechwriter for New York Governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo. He's now a novelist who writes books about Irish America. He joins us from New York. Thanks so much for being with us, Mr. Quinn.

PETER QUINN: Thanks, Rachel, for having me.

MARTIN: So, first off, can you just tell us a little bit about what the New York in Manhattan parade is like and what it means to march in it?

QUINN: It's a pretty astounding event. I think people who come from outside of the city or from Ireland are kind of incredulous of the sheer size of the. It, you know, stretches for blocks. It's 200,000 people march, maybe a million watch it. So it's pretty spectacular event as far as parades go - ethnic parades. And it's, you know, been a traditional assertion of Irish identity and Irish presence in New York, especially for the immigrant community which came here and felt that it was very unwelcome.

And there was a whole nativist movement in America to turn around. So this was, in the beginning, it was like we're not ever leaving, we're here to stay and, you know, we're proud of who we are and we're continuing to go into America. And this parade is symbolic of that. It's as much an immigrant event, I think, is an Irish event.

MARTIN: And what about this particular ban? There are gay rights groups who have been protesting this ban for years. But, as I understand it, it's not specific to gay rights groups. This is a general blanket ban against any kind of politically aligned group of people marching in the parade, right?

QUINN: Yeah, it's a complicated thing. You know, it's not a ban. It's not like if you're gay you can't march in the parade. You know, there's many gay Irish people as there are gay anything. It's about identifying themselves as gays marching - which, I for one, have no problem with especially because of the way they were treated and made to feel outcast.

You know, the parade is about inclusion. I think that was in the beginning, about immigrant communities trying to find its way in. And I think that immigrant community should be inclusive within its own borders. Times have changed.

MARTIN: What is the church's position been on this particular ban?

QUINN: The general attitude of the Catholic Church towards gays in general, which seems to be changing under the present pope - you know, that that's an unacceptable lifestyle, that homosexuality itself isn't a sin. You know, I only get into theological elements of this because I think that's not what this parade is about. It's about an ethnic identity. It's a celebration. And I don't think it's that hard to solve.

Actually, the chaplain of the fire department who died on 9/11, Michael Judge, was a Franciscan priest who had come out of the closet. And he was gay man, a Catholic priest. You could have a gender equality banner under Michael Judge, so they could march in the parade. I wouldn't, you know, I wouldn't think a lot of people would have any problem with that.

MARTIN: You were the grand marshal of an alternative parade that's held in Queens called the St. Pat's For All Parade. And there are several of these alternative parades. Can you describe that particular event? What's that like?

QUINN: Well, that was founded to say if we can't march under our own banner in Manhattan, we'll march in Queens. And the parade seems to get bigger every year. And some people just march in a parade. Other people just march in the one in Manhattan. And other people march in both.

And, you know, this hurling excommunications at each other is, I think, just useless in the end. And my own suspicion is that within 10 years, there'd be one parade again. And 20 years, will people looking back and until say, you know, I don't really know what that was about.


Finally: Mississippi to Start Drug Testing Those Receiving welfare 

It looks like Mississippi is taking the right steps to reducing fraud when it comes to government assistance. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) will now require new applicants to submit a questionnaire that will evaluate the likelihood of substance abuse.

Residents who apply for this temporary assistance from the state will have to submit to drug testing if the state deems they are likely substance abusers from this questionnaire. Testing positive once would require a TANF recipient to undergo treatment for substance abuse. For testing positive a second time, the recipient would be kicked out of the program for 90 days. A third positive result would remove the recipient for up to a year.

Governor Bryant said, “The TANF program is a safety net for families in need, and adding this screening process will aid adults who are trapped in a dependency lifestyle so they can better provide for their children.” The state will be using federal funds earmarked for TANF to administer the questionnaires and testing. They estimate the cost of testing will be only $36,000 each year.

There are currently only 9 other states that have passed legislation requiring TANF applicants to be screened for drugs. And there are at least 24 more that are looking into this type of legislation too.

This seems like a great way for the state to spend a minimal amount in order to save the system a lot of money. What many people will think here is how Republicans hate poor people and how we don’t want to help them, but in all reality we want to help those who really need it and aren’t abusing the system. The governor of Mississippi and his legislature have figured out a way to do this, and I say “kudos” to them!



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, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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