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In this NLP Neuro Semantic article, Michael Hall talks about pseudo words using 'systemic racism' as an example - and offers some insights from NLP & Neuro Semantics making particular reference to the NLP Meta Model. Phone 07 5562 5718 or send Abby an email to book a free 20 minute telephone or Skype session. NLP, Hypnotherapy and Medtation, Gold Coast, Robina.
By L. Michael Hall, 2020 Neurons #30 June 8, 2020
Thinking for a Living (#15)
"Alfred Korzybski warned that there are pseudo-words— terms that do not refer to anything real or actual. He warned that pseudo-words undermine the scientific attitude and prevents the discovery of truth because it misdirects people. He illustrated that with the word “heat,” the word “unicorn” in zoology, and the words “time” and “space.” New scientific discoveries arose when the language was corrected. I added Pseudo-Words to the Meta-Model in 1997 in the book, Communication Magic. You can read about it there and in Science and Sanity by Korzybski.
When we think critically about the term “systemic racism” that is now being tossed around, we find several significant problems. First of all, the phrase is comprised of two vague, non-specifying nominalizations. Each sounds like a noun, but neither is a true noun. In each there is a hidden verb (that’s what a nominalization is— a verb masquerading as a noun). It is part of hypnotic language and a great way to hypnotize people.
Racism as an attitude of thinking yourself as superior to those of another ethnic group, and they as inferior, and then acting on that prejudice is a particularly toxic attitude. It discriminates between people based on one or more traits, usually on the most superficial things— skin color, hair, facial features, family of origin, etc. Opposite to racism is an attitude of treating all people as people, as equal human beings, as valuable and precious persons.
Our legally system announced from the beginning that all people are “created equal by their creator” ... and it has taken centuries to fully incorporate that sense of equality into our laws. The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s primarily led to making that happen. Once the laws are in place, the next step for making it real lies in getting everyone who is a part of the legal system to live and practice those laws.
Now this system involves something conceptual (the law, the rules, the procedures) which we can write down, publish, and use to inform people. The system also involves human beings who are by nature imperfect, fallible, biased, and who suffer from incompetencies in actions and cognitive distortions and fallacies. As a human system with great ideals (the law) and fallible humans (the people) we have a situation that will always be imperfect. Yet however imperfect, it is to our glory that we work to make it a “more perfect union.” That’s the ideal and the vision.
So what is this thing that’s bantered about, “systemic racism?” Those who use it assume that the whole system is corrupt and flawed, that no white person could possibly understand the plight of any black person. Then to deepen the problem they say that the “systemic racism” is “unconscious.” That allows them to now engage in circular thinking so that if someone says “I’m not prejudiced against X” they can say, “Well you are, you are just not conscious of your racism.” Now the person is forced into a corner, assumed to be prejudiced, and there’s no way to escape the accusation. Of course, all of that is fallacious thinking.
To Meta-Model this and gain specificity and precision in understanding, we have to ask questions around the two different aspects of justice and equality. One has to do with our conceptual mapping of these things. The other has to do with the hands-on practice of the ideal.
1) The Conceptual Aspect. Where in the system is the racism? Is the law unfair to anyone? If so, let’s fix it. Are the rules out-of-balance and discriminate against some people? If so, let’s fix that. Once we clean up our concepts of equality so that “justice is blind” and operates the same way with everyone, then we can talk about the human part.
2) The Human Aspect. Is X-person showing favoritism to one person or a group? Then let’s address that person. Is X-person discriminating against some people and not giving them the same break that he would give to others? Again, let’s address that person.
In the end, this demystifies the convoluted and unspecified pseudo-term, “systemic racism.” The idea of an unconscious conspiracy of “systemic racism” is a myth. All racism occurs in some person —individually or as a representative of an organization. When you know that you know how we can fix this problem. It enables us to know precisely where to focus our attention and energy in order to bring about a “more perfect union.” Now we can do something specific and concrete when we find injustice and discrimination.
Discrimination itself is not the problem. Marin Luther King Jr. argued that we should make distinctions based on a person’s character, not color of skin or other superficial things. Finally, if we note where the protesters are protesting and calling for those in charge to hear them and respond to them — they are predominantly in Democrat cities and states. If the so-called “systemic racism” is the cause— how is it that cities like Baltimore are racist when every public official is an African American Democrat? Does this mean the Democrats are not and will not listen to the call for equality under the law?
- New York — Governor is Democrat, Mayor is Democrat
- Minneapolis – Governor is Democrat, Mayor is Black Democrat
- L.A. Ca. Governor is Democrat, Mayor is Black Democrat.
- Chicago IL Governor is Democrat, Mayor is Black Democrat.
- Seattle WA Governor is Democrat, Mayor is Democrat
- Wash DC Governor is Democrat, Mayor is Black Democrat.
- Boston Governor is Republican, Mayor is Black Democrat
- Baltimore Governor is Republican, Mayor is Black Democrat.
The statistics facts also do not show any systemic racism. In 2019 a total of 47 unarmed persons were shot by police. Of those 47 persons— 9 were black and 19 were white. And in the same year, 89 police were shot on duty. If in 2019 there were 9 shootings by police, there were approximately 5,000 shootings and killings of black people by black people. Where is the outrage for that? Where is the racism when black kill black?
Reference: The Myth of Systemic Police Racism" __ Michael Hall
If you would like to improve your communication skills then take a look at the NLP Peace Mapping Model. It combines a number of NLP tools and language patterns to help you map out a conversation, get on the same page and track the conversation - and most importantly giving you tools to explore the topic from various angles and find peaceful outcomes.
You are also welcome to join Abby Eagle's NLP language patterns practice group on Facebook. Click here: Facebook NLP & Hypnotherapy Group.