Learning from Stereotypes – Good and Bad

Go Lean Commentary

“Tell them about the dream Martin” – Prompting by Gospel Singer Mahalia Jackson.

“I have a dream that one day … children will be judged by the contents of their character and not the color of their skin.” – Martin Luther King (MLK) @ March on Washington August 28, 1963.

The movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean has asserted that the country of the United States had a long way to go to reform their societal defects – racism proliferated every aspect of society. In a previous blog-commentary about lessons learned from 75 years ago with Japanese-American relations (Pearl Harbor) it was explained how America double-downed on their bad community ethos (the underlying attitude/spirit/sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices):

Japan’s aggression was a direct result of their community ethos that honored Samurai warrior and battle culture. Men would walk the streets with their swords, ready for a challenge. On the other hand, the US (and Western Europe) community ethos of racism was so ingrained that the natural response in the US, post-Pearl Harbor, was to intern Japanese Americans in camps.
All of these bad community ethos were weeded out with post-WWII Human Rights reconciliations. – Go Lean book Page 220.

This day – February 19 – is special; this is the Day of Remembrance of the bad episode of American stereotyping their own citizens, Japanese-Americans following the Pearl Harbor attacks. This is the 75th anniversary of then President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s (FDR) executive order that allowed this open discrimination against Japanese-Americans. This was just 2 and a half months after the Pearl Harbor attack and the American response was to stereotype all Japanese. See this portrayal in the historic account here:

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The internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration in camps in the interior of the country of between 110,000 and 120,000[4] people of Japanese ancestry who lived on the Pacific coast. Sixty-two percent of the internees were United States citizens.[5][6] These actions were ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt shortly after Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.[7]

Japanese Americans were incarcerated based on local population concentrations and regional politics. More than 110,000 Japanese Americans, who mostly lived on the West Coast, were forced into interior camps, but in Hawaii, where the 150,000-plus Japanese Americans composed over one-third of the population, 1,200 to 1,800 were interned.[8] The internment is considered to have resulted more from racism than from any security risk posed by Japanese Americans,[9][10] as those who were as little as 1/16 Japanese[11] and orphaned infants with “one drop of Japanese blood” could be placed in internment camps.[12]Source: Wikipedia.

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In effect, the America of 1942 was declaring that if one Japanese person could attack America then all Japanese people could attack America. They were judging the Japanese people based on the “color of their skin” (and slant of their eyes) rather than the “content of their character”. This is so obviously wrong.

Did America learn from this 1942 experience?

Unfortunately, the experience continued as “more of the same”. Martin Luther King echoed his dream 21 years later after lamenting the continuous bad experience of blatant racism against Black people. Even today, prominent Japanese-Americans are decrying the “more of the same” parallel that America is demonstrating; see George Takei’s comments here:

Every year, on February 19, we Japanese-Americans honor this day as Remembrance Day, and we renew our pledge to make sure what happened to us never happens again in America. I am always amazed, and saddened, that despite our decades long efforts, so many young people today are not even aware that such a tragedy and miscarriage of justice took place here.

And I grow increasingly concerned that we are careening toward a future where such a thing would again be possible.

A few months into his campaign, Donald Trump refused to outright reject the policies and fears that underlay the internment. Instead, he suggested that it was a tough call, and that he “would have had to be there” in order to know whether it was the wrong one.

CU Blog - Learning from Stereotypes - Good and Bad - Photo 3Trump ignored the inconvenient fact that not a single case of espionage or sabotage was ever proven against any internee, and that the military itself admitted that there was never any evidence to support their sweeping policy. A few months later, a top Trump surrogate went on television and suggested that the internment might actually serve as a “precedent” for another Trump policy — the registration of Muslim-Americans in a database.

I cannot help but hear in these words terrible echoes from the past. The internment happened because of three things: fear, prejudice and a failure of political leadership. When the administration targets groups today, whether for exclusion from travel here on the basis of religion and national origin, or for deportation based on their undocumented status, I know from personal experience that these are not done, as they claim, truly in the name of national security.

Source: Posted and retrieved February 19, 2017 from: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/18/opinions/george-takei-japanese-american-internment-day-of-remembrance/index.html

Despite the 75 years since FDR’s racist decree and 54 years since MLK’s lamentation of blatant American racism, we find “more of the same” in this society, though now it is considered politically incorrect to be blatantly racist. Under the tenants of the law, this type of behavior – 1942 internment – is now fully recognized as being unconstitutional. The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 officially acknowledged the “fundamental violations of the basic civil liberties and constitutional rights” of the internment.[7] Many Japanese-Americans consider the term internment camp a euphemism and prefer to refer to their forced relocation as imprisonment in concentration camps.[8]

The movement behind the Go Lean book asserts that despite the legalities, the foundations of institutional racism in America have become even more entrenched. This movement campaigns that it is folly for the Black-and-Brown populations to leave the Caribbean for American shores. Racism is in this country’s DNA as the Naturalization Act of 1790 restricted naturalized US citizenship to “free white persons”.

Considering the reality of the Caribbean demographics (Black-and-Brown), it is no wonder that the American world consider Caribbean people and society as “Less Than“.

This is the problem with stereotypes. There is an art-and-science associated with the subject of stereotypes.

Consider the photos here and this AUDIO Podcast:

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Full Podcast – Playing With Perceptions – http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/358360814/playing-with-perceptions

AUDIO – Why Do We Create Stereotypes?

Posted February 14, 2017 – Where do stereotypes come from? Why do some perceptions persist, and is there any truth or value to the assumptions we make? In this hour, TED speakers examine the consequences of stereotypes.

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The planners of Caribbean empowerment, the Go Lean movement assess that America is a “frienemy” for us! We are trading partners; we are aligned; we are allies; many of our Diaspora live in America; studied in America; but we have to compete to dissuade our young people from setting their sights on American shores as a refuge and destination of their hopes and dreams. So the Go Lean book challenges Caribbean society, positing that “we” cannot prosper with a high abandonment rate – reported at 70% for educated classes. Therefore we must battle” against the “push-and-pull” factors that draw so many Caribbean citizens away from their homeland to places like the US.

This is the quest of Go Lean…Caribbean. The book and accompanying blog/commentaries advocate learning lessons from other societies, from history and the present. Examples are provided from as far back as the patriarchal Bible times, to best-practices today employed by communities around the world that have successfully turned-around their societies, such as post-World War II Germany and Japan; and post-Apartheid South Africa. The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This roadmap seeks to reboot the region’s economic, security and governing engines; to employ best practices to impact our prime directives; identified with the following 3 statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines and mitigate challenges/threats to regional Justice Institutions.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean book relates that 29 of the 30 Caribbean member-states (“St. Barths” is the only exception) have a majority Black population. So the roadmap pushes further on this subject of racism, positing that it is easier for Caribbean citizens to stay home and effect change in their homelands than to go to America – and other countries – to try to remediate other societies. This consideration is one of technocratic stewardship of the regional Caribbean societal engines, not ignoring the realities and historicities of race relations in the New World. This point was pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 10 – 14) with these acknowledgements and statements:

Preamble:  As the history of our region and the oppression, suppression and repression of its indigenous people is duly documented, there is no one alive who can be held accountable for the prior actions, and so we must put aside the shackles of systems of repression to instead formulate efficient and effective systems to steer our own destiny.

xi.   Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

xxxiii. Whereas lessons can be learned and applied from the study of the recent history of other societies, the Federation must formalize statutes and organizational dimensions to avoid the pitfalls of [other] communities.

The Go Lean book stresses the key community ethos that need to be adopted and the societal defects that need to be “weed out”; plus strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies necessary to transform and turn-around the eco-systems of Caribbean society. These points are detailed in the book as follows:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification – African American Experience Page 21
Economic Principles – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Principles – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Governing Principles – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Manage Reconciliations – South Africa’s Model Page 34
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Confederate all 30 member-states/ 4 languages into a Single Market Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Build and foster local economic engines Page 45
Tactical – Ways to Foster a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Growing the Economy – Post WW II European Marshall Plan Model Page 68
Tactical – Growing the Economy – Post WW II Japan’s Turn-around Model Page 68
Tactical – Separation-of-Powers – CU Federal Government versus Member-State Governance Page 71
Implementation – Assemble All Regionally-focus Organizations of All Caribbean Communities Page 96
Implementation – Ways to Better Manage Debt Page 114
Anatomy of Advocacies – One Person can make a difference! Page 122
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – Single Market / Currency Union Page 127
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Planning – Ways to Better Manage Caribbean Image Page 133
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices – Minority and Human Rights Page 134
Planning – Lessons Learned from the previous West Indies Federation Page 135
Planning – Lessons Learned New York City – Managing as a “Frienemy” Page 137
Planning – Lessons Learned from East Germany – Bad Examples for Trade & Security Page 139
Planning – Lessons Learned from Detroit – Turn-around from Failure Page 140
Planning – Lessons Learned from Indian Reservations – Pattern of Ethnic Oppression Page 141
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Justice Page 177
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218

There are other lessons for the Caribbean to learn from considering the history of race/ethnic relations and the effects on stereotypes; see the following sample blog/commentaries:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10216 Waging a Successful War on Orthodoxy
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10170 Obama was a ‘Reconstruction’; Trump is the resulting ‘Redemption’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=9214 US Race Relations: Spot-on for Protest
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8724 US versus Marcus Garvey: A Typical Case of Racism
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8200 Respect for Minorities: Climate of Hate
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7221 Street Naming for Martin Luther King Unveils the Real America
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5527 American Defects: Racism – Is It Over?
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2809 A Lesson in History: Economics of East Berlin
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2480 A Lesson in History: Community Ethos of WW II
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2297 A Lesson in History: Booker T versus Du Bois
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1020 Europe Desperately Battling to Weed-out Last of Racism
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=789 A Lesson in History: America’s War on the Caribbean

The Go Lean roadmap does not seek to reform or transform America; it is out-of-scope for our efforts; our focus is only here in our Caribbean homeland.

The stereotypes in America are based on a false premise: White Supremacy. The everyday consequence of this bad foundation is White Privilege. This is why it is better for Caribbean people to stay in the Caribbean, to prosper where planted here at home. But we have defects too. However it is easier to reform our defects in the Caribbean than to try and fix the American eco-system.

We urge everyone in the Caribbean to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap. It is the heavy-lifting we need to effect change in our region’s societal engines.

Yes we can … make the Caribbean region a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


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