I read an article which said that what some political pundits had given as a reason why people who might have originally voted for President Obama switched to vote for the candidate in the other party in 2016 was wrong. The study showed that the reason for the switch was wholly tied to racism. The actual line was “It finds that these voters tended to score highly on measures of racial hostility and xenophobia — and were not especially likely to be suffering economically.”

Prawny / Pixabay

The funny (not so funny) thing about the results is that the only people not surprised by the finding were minorities. Most of us have been saying and believing it since the day after the election. Unfortunately, most political pundits aren’t minorities, so they dismissed it out of hand by saying “if they voted for Obama they couldn’t have been racists.”
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Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2018 Mitch  Mitchell

Some years ago we saw an example of bad behavior from a college basketball coach. The coach shoved one of his players when there was a time out and the players were coming off the court. He yelled at the player, saying “Do you want to play this game?”

by jLasWilson via Pixabay

It wasn’t a hard shove, but it was a shove, and you could immediately see two reactions. One, the coach seemed to be surprised that he did it. Two, the player started to lose control, and had to be held back by some of the other players initially, then calmed down by other players away from the bench while the game was still going on.
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Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2018 Mitch  Mitchell

I recently had the opportunity to watch an older documentary that was produced by Ozzie Davis on the life of Malcolm X. I’ve read the autobiography, read some other biographies, and of course saw the wonderfully brilliant movie starring Denzel Washington that should have won an Academy Award, as should Washington.

Malcolm X
Thomas Hawk via Compfight

I wasn’t old enough to have a true opinion of Malcolm at the time he was alive. I formulate my ideas as a teen when I read the book and, truthfully, they come out as a mixed bag. That’s because he himself was kind of a mixed bag. He was also a guy who, once he grew in spirit and demeanor, was a man of conviction and strong ethics; even if sometimes his conclusions were a bit stark.

I thought the most interesting part of his life was when he was on the outs with the Nation of Islam, looking for a direction to follow, and was invited to take a pilgrimage out of the country to the Middle East. He saw other people he got to know as Muslims instead of Black Muslims, and that they came in all colors and backgrounds. He realized that belief in one thing didn’t mean one had to be against something or someone else and that one didn’t need an enemy to get people moving in the right direction. He went from using the term “white devils” to realizing that everyone has certain goals that are similar, and if more people worked together positive changes were easier to make for all.

It was a major change for a man who had an interesting background and history that had similarities from two totally different sides. As a child his house was firebombed by the KKK because of his dad’s “radical” beliefs of equality and black people learning to take care of themselves. As an adult his house was firebombed by black Muslims because of his telling the truth about Elijah Muhammad and basically taking the steam out of their movement for a time. White racists killed his father; black radicals killed him.

He was hated as a kid, first because his family lived in a white neighborhood (kind of, they were farm folks so they lived apart from everyone, but it was considered “white” property), then when his father was killed and his mother institutionalized, he was made a foster child of a white family, went to a white school, and was hated there for being both black and brilliant.

He was hated as an adult for being the voice of an organization that actually advocated the same thing white supremacists advocated, telling his brand of truth that went further than where the Nation wanted him go; how’s that for irony? Yet, at the end of his life he’d reconciled it all within himself and with many others. He was becoming stronger politically within his own neighborhood and the nation and it’s possible that he would have ended up doing a lot of good for a lot of people. More people were being drawn to him from everywhere, regardless of race or religion; contrast that with what’s happening these days.

Sometimes we overlook the lessons history teaches us. Either we’re not paying attention, we don’t want to see it or we feel like we can’t learn anything from the past that can help us now or in the future. Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali were probably the only two people who could have taught us a very valuable lesson if we’d only pay attention.

When we, as diverse humans, come together we have a chance to make this country and the world a great place to live. We can accomplish so much by acknowledging and embracing our diversity than being encouraged to go our separate ways.

Sometimes we come with baggage that’s hard to get rid of; people wanting to kill you is pretty big baggage as we’ve seen happen often. Most of us don’t come with that type of thing sitting on our shoulders, thank goodness. We need to learn the lessons that everything else can be overcome and we can produce magic if we could just learn to get along. Frankly, I don’t see it happening, especially when I keep coming across stories like this.

I really believe diversity is a good thing; check out this video:


I’m trying to stay hopeful; who’s with me?

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013-2018 Mitch  Mitchell

I like to go to the local casino, even if it’s about 45 minutes away. My game is no-limit poker, but I’m not close to a card shark. I also don’t like to lose a lot of money if I’m not playing well, so I play the game that cost the least amount at the start. I got a seat at a table immediately and had a pretty good time for a few hours; only pretty good though.

white dogs
zen Sutherland via Compfight

That’s because there was a guy to my left who had problems controlling his temper. To say he wasn’t having a good day would be an understatement. He was mainly losing to two guys who were, for the most part, dominating the table. When I sat down he warned me about the luck of these two guys; that’s a rare occurrence.

So I had to deal with temper tantrums and a lot of cursing. He also kept up a continuous diatribe that, if I wasn’t sitting next to him I might have been laughing out loud. After about an hour I finally to put on my earbuds and listened to a recorded book on my smartphone, as it has noise cancelling properties and basically blocked him out if I wasn’t in the hand.

As much as he was fussing and cursing and behaving badly, it was all his fault. Poker can be a dicey game, one where if you’re cautious you’ll sit and watch, possibly draining your money without playing any hands, and that’s a big part of poker. If you watch tournaments on TV it looks like these guys are playing lots of hands but in reality there’s a lot of sitting and watching.

Not this guy. I can’t think of a single hand he didn’t play, and only a few times he’d throw his hand in early. He was one of those guys who thought that if he kept betting he’d push people off a hand and pick up enough pots to keep him solid as far as his money went. That’s normally a risky strategy, but one of the guys who kept beating him kept doing the same thing, only his luck was good that day. On another day he’d probably lose $500 quick and be home pretty quickly.

This isn’t a post about poker; it’s about behavior. It’s about losing control and how others perceive it. I knew this wasn’t a one time thing for the guy who kept losing. This means that every time he leaves the house to go play poker, other players beware. The best thing for everyone is that this wasn’t one of those big guys who might decide to confront someone physically. Still, you never know right?

(001/365) Who are you & what have you done with my MOM!?
Daniel Norwood via Compfight

If you think this kind of behavior is abhorrent you’re correct. If you think it’s a rare occurrence you’d be sadly mistaken. I’ve seen many managers act like this, and it’s intolerable. Many employees are scared of managers like this because they worry about confronting them and losing their jobs. They worry about going to human resources because word will get back to management, which it always does, along with who made the complaint; many human resource departments haven’t quite figured out how to handle this type of thing.

Why is it that many people don’t learn from the past, even if it’s not their past? We hear all the time about confrontations that occur in the workplace and end up with someone being killed, and almost always it’s someone in a leadership position who was the catalyst.

No one has the right to yell at anyone else at work; no exceptions. Even if you own the business, you need to check yourself. If it’s an employee consistently acting like that, they have to go.

The only time I ever remember behavior like that not impacting work is the 1972 – ’73 Oakland Athletics, whose players were constantly getting in fights with each other. Yes, they still won 2 championships, but within a couple of years they were all on different teams because they couldn’t stand working with each other anymore.

No one wants to be around someone acting like this all the time. The guy I was sitting next to had a few moments where he was a decent guy. But only a few; if I didn’t have my smartphone and earbuds with me I might have asked to move to a different table. I got lucky eventually; he finally hit his tolerance limit & left the table. Oddly enough, my game improved as soon as he left, and he wasn’t even mad at me. 🙂

Do you exhibit behavior like this, even if it’s not on a constant basis? If so, it’s something you should think about before that option is taken away from you in one way or another.

At least he didn’t yell at me when I beat him out of some hands. 🙂

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2014-2018 Mitch  Mitchell

I’ve been told that I’m a strange kind of consultant and businessman. The reason some people say that is because I have a certain level of decorum that I expect people I’m going to work with to adhere to. It’s not anything hard like watching their language, or dressing a certain way. As a matter of fact, this one thing should be such a minor thing that I can’t figure out why people can’t do it.

shocking truth

That one thing? Following through on what you tell someone you’re going to do. That’s it; expecting people to do what they say they were going to do. How hard is that?
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