The lasting impact entertainment has on society
Hollywood is known for its long list of liberal social justice warriors. You hear the speeches at every awards ceremony. Actors, directors and artists demanding racial justice. Demanding an end to anti-gay bias. Shouting for environmental protection. Worthy causes, no doubt.
Yet we're left scratching our heads why movies, television shows, cartoons and the like still after all these years include imagery that too often portrays Black and Brown people in a negative light. When so much of our after 5:00 p.m. space in life largely are people who only look like us, we are left to mass media to fill our unconscious hearts and minds. And it is precisely these images that create unconscious bias.
Part of loving one’s country is wanting to redress its wrongs
Rapper Pitbull again said that anyone who criticizes America should think about moving to Cuba and see how much they like it.
But Pitbull misses the point. Our standard for a great America isn't whether we're better that North Korea, Iran and Cuba. It is patriotic to want true history to be taught to our children. It's patriotic to critique America so it can improve its ways. It's patriotic to fight for social justice for all of its citizens.
This essay breaks this down.
Untangling the images that shape our thinking
This essay uses the backdrop of comics and superheroes to highlight how we our unconscious bias has been form through childhood images. When people took to the internet to criticize the new Black Batwoman, it reminded me how we had green superheroes and a dog before we had a popular Black superhero. This essay explores how that harmed us and provides us tools to undo that impact.
Blacks and Jews once modeled a path to end racial distancing
To escape the horrific racism and systemic oppression in the South, beginning in 1916, millions of southern Blacks migrated north and west to places like Chicago, East St. Louis, Compton, Oakland and Baltimore. And to Harlem, which at the time was home to a sizable Yiddish-speaking Jewish community, also trying to make their own way in a still challenging America. Blacks and Jews were each other’s neighbors, customers, and employers.
One result of that was Black men and women becoming Jewish cantors. Cantors lead the Hebrew (and back then Yiddish) prayer songs on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. This odd entry into Jewish religious life presented an opportunity for Jews and Blacks to get to know each other and end what I call racial and ethnic distancing. This essay explores that fascinating time in our history.
Why everyone's so scared
A primary tenet of critical race theory is the oft-ignored reality that racism is ordinary and normative. It’s not a few nut cases. It’s not aberrational. It’s not individualized. It’s you. It’s me. It’s our systems. It’s part and parcel of society.
Racism, according to CRT, is deeply part of our American psyche, affecting all of us.
The result, which is why so many are in uproar, is that every person would not only need to critically examine the country we were taught was the champion of freedom. But that we must look inside ourselves. At our biases. Our attitudes. Our behaviors.
This essay explores CRT in an intellectually honest manner and outside of the extremes and distractions.
The stars and stripes of racism
Independence Day for me as a kid was always a joyous occasion. Beautiful red, white, and blue flags everywhere. Burgers and hot dogs. Lighting sparklers. Sitting on blankets in a field watching fireworks. Columbus Clippers baseball games.
But for some people, it wasn't all picnics and barbecues. This essay delves into systemic racism and how we can begin to heal.
How to use personal trauma to practice empathy of others
Most of us, Black or white, have experienced some trauma in life. Whether it’s an awful childhood, a bad parent, an abusive partner. Severe financial hardship or divorce. Disability. A scary illness. Yelling and screaming in the house. Extremist religion. The death of a parent or child. Or if you’re Jewish, Muslim, Asian, Latino, gay, trans or in some other marginalized group, you’ve undoubtedly dealt with xenophobic-laced challenges. There are few among any of us who haven’t experienced impactful trauma.
This essay dives into how we can use our own trauma to practice empathy for others.
It's about understanding and trust
Do-gooders have come out of the woodwork since the tragic murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others.
For most of us fighting for social and racial justice, it’s a welcome and long overdue awakening. Black and brown people have waited years for a national outcry like this. For people to take to the streets. Protest. Speak up. Vote. Never in the United States’ two and a half centuries of existence has there been this level of simultaneous compassion and outrage. It’s a great renewal of the civil rights activity of the 1960s.
The Challenges of Intersectionality
So many people wear different hats in society, bringing with them different types of challenges and privileges. This essay breaks down the challenges of intersectionality and how we can start addressing those unique experiences.
In this deep and hard hitting poem, activist Jeffrey Kass gives us powerful pause to think about how society has treated its Black and Brown citizens. This is a must read. Breathe as you digest.
JEWISH LESSONS FOR COMBATTING OPPRESSION
Passover is the story of the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. From brutal oppression and harsh conditions, the Jewish people were able to cling to their identity, help their fellows and connect with allies in their journey from bondage to freedom. Jeffrey uses the lessons of the Jewish story as a blueprint for our modern race problems, borrowing from his years of learning ancient Jewish texts with renowned rabbis in Israel, New York and St. Louis.
AN ANTI-RACIST MODEL FOR WHITE PEOPLE. BE MORE LIKE ALBERT
Albert Einstein is of course known as arguably the greatest scientist of all time, but what most of us don’t know was Einstein’s work towards a more inclusive world. Einstein worked tirelessly to eradicate racism and unjust systems. He used his position of power to speak out in support of his Black and Brown fellow citizens. He wrote for publications advocating significant change. He befriended and treated as equals many Black men. Einstein was even known to go for walks in Black neighborhoods to do some of his best thinking. Einstein was an original anti-racist. Author Jeffrey Kass shares Einstein’s beautiful life and actions as a guide for us today. This particular essay was read over 4,000 times and shared by major online influencers. It’s a must read.
DOLLS MAY SOUND TRIVIAL, BUT IT’S THINGS LIKE CHILDREN’S TOYS THAT HELP FORM UNCONSCIOUS VIEWS OF OURSELVES AND OTHERS
Images form much of our unconscious bias. And unconscious bias is what us humans base most of our decisions on. Like it or not. Whether it’s an untreated childhood trauma. Bad experiences in relationships. Or even race and gender. The images we are fed from early childhood form our unconscious views. Jeffrey Kass uses the history of Black dolls in America to show how these images can negatively impact not only how white people view Black people, but also how Black people view themselves. It impacts self-esteem.
HOW ABOUT ALL YEAR ROUND
Black History Month obviously is an important time to learn about the challenges and contributions of Black people in America. But those contributions are far more than just the civil rights movement. Black Americans have been far more involved in America’s advancement than most of us have been taught. This essay dives into why Black history needs to be taught as part of American history and not just in one short month of the year.
DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT BILL GATES, FAUCI, THE ROTHSCHILDS, AND THE MARTIAN?
Society has become obsessed with conspiracy theories and blame games. Intelligent well-meaning people are even spreading bizarre theories. When COVID hit, it was 5G and intentional virus spreading. Then it was Bill Gates controlling the world population through dangerous vaccines. The theories spread so fast, you can’t keep up with them. But the effect of all these Y2K type theories of the day is that we ignore what really ails this country, especially when it comes to race. Author Jeffrey Kass calls it a convenient way to avoid confronting racism. This essay explore this issue in more depth.
This is an interview conducted by Megan Marini. Megan helps high-achievers, who know that there is untapped potential within, face what holds them back and bring their mind/body back into balance, so that they can operate at peak performance.
Below is Megan's unedited version of her interview!
And for more on Megan's podcast or coaching head over to our HQ: www.meganmarini.com
LET’S FIND A BETTER BALANCE BETWEEN SAVING THIS COUNTRY FROM SEDITION AND ANOTHER CIVIL WAR AND ALLOWING PEOPLE TO SPEAK THEIR WARPED MINDS
So many people these days are expert on everything. Climate change. Epidemiology. And yes, constitutional law. Author and lawyer Jeffrey Kass digs into what types of speech are kosher and what types of speech are not protected by the First Amendment. As America recovers from the attack on the Capitol, Kass picks apart the balance we need to strike between allowing people to say dumb or even racist things against not allowing speech that is designed to encourage violence and insurrection.
BLACK LIVES MATTER, VERSION 20.21
This essay uses the Netflix show The Good Place as the backdrop for discussing how our society likes to present itself as The Good Place when, for far too many people of color, it can often be a bad place. Rather than point fingers, Author Jeffrey Kass asks readers to just practice empathy and hear what types of things hurt and ail much of the Black community. To listen to others’ pain. To understand why people embrace Black Lives Matter.
STORMING OF U.S. CAPITOL IS THE FINAL WARNING
Extremism is on the rise at a rapid pace. It’s reminiscent of the militias back in the 1990s. But we know what happened then. It rose so much that it eventually led to Timothy McVeigh and others bombing the Oklahoma City Building. The anger and disdain in 2021 parallels that dark time in American history. This essay is the warning to learn from our past and not return to domestic terrorism.
VACCINATING AGAINST UNCONSCIOUS BIAS
Diversity trainer and author Jeffrey Kass has developed a method for ending racial strife with a method he calls End Racial Distancing. It involves creating space in our after 5:00 p.m. spaces and more intimate spaces in life for people who are different than ourselves. We can’t possibly learn and respect each other on a deeper level if we don’t start integrating our homes. If we don’t end racial distancing. This is the key to ending unconscious bias that plagues so many of us.
READING THE ESSAYS
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