From the Civil Rights Act to Ferguson — Bernhardt Writer

Recently, our nation has had several high-profile cases where black men have been killed by law enforcement officers or neighborhood watch members. Any death is tragic. We should remember all those who were cut down by violence whether or not their deaths were televised or otherwise recognized in the media. Each of them has left behind mothers, father, brothers, and sisters.

Recently, I was privileged to watch a lone voice speak out on the things I feel but have no right to voice. Fredrick Wilson II gives us straight talk on Ferguson, Travon Martin, you and me. His video channel is named: I’m Just Saying. Please be aware, he expresses some things coarsely.

In the video, Mr. Wilson speaks about events that took place fifty years ago. So what happened back then?

President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) sums up the situation in his 1965 voting rights speech before Congress:

But voting rights were only part of the story. Here’s a history of events leading up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This is the text of President Kennedy’s Civil Rights speech. Unfortunately, he was assassinated before his legislation was enacted. It was intentionally stalled in Congress. It took a Southern Democrat and former Senate Majority Leader (Johnson) to ram it through the Congress.

In my essay: The Revolt Against the Masses – A Review (Part 1), I told the story of my origins. I was born in a Harlem hospital, raised in Inwood, moved up to the East Harlem public housing projects, and then, after moving again and through hardships my mother took on, had access to good schools outside my immediate neighborhood (Manhattan Valley on the Upper West Side just below Morningside Heights).

Seen as privileged because of the white shirts and ties my mother dressed me in, I was discriminated against in the ways preteen children often do. Ours was a multicultural intermediate school (Nee junior high) before that term was fashionable. It was fed by several schools serving low, middle, and upper income families.

My mother made sure I had friends from all economic classes. Now, I wish I did again. We’re all stratified by where we live, work, and shop. Even our churches are mainly homogeneous by economics and race. This is sadly true even in the black community. I see the situation as a particular failure of the churches in America. It shouldn’t be this way. That’s why I was drawn to Mr. Wilson’s video. He spoke from his head and heart. I imagine he spoke from an upbringing like the one I had. Actually, it seemed better, because my father was often absent.

Greta Van Susteren also speaks on our common predicament. Please watch her video:

VIDEO: A Reminder to Charlatans Who Like to Demonize All Police …

— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) December 6, 2014

I want the nation to be racially and economically reconciled. But that isn’t some abstract thing that happens. It happens one by one on the ground where we live. All I can say is let it start with me.

PreCrime in America

For all the tragedy and folderol in politics, one thing for which I consistently credit the left is advocating civil rights. Here’s just the latest example from someone who went to Bernhardt’s high school. I may not agree with the entire speech but here’s an excerpt anyone interested in individualized and equal justice can appreciate:

Here in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, legislators have introduced the concept of “risk assessments” that seek to assign a probability to an individual’s likelihood of committing future crimes and, based on those risk assessments, make sentencing determinations. Although these measures were crafted with the best of intentions, I am concerned that they may inadvertently undermine our efforts to ensure individualized and equal justice…

Criminal sentences must be based on the facts, the law, the actual crimes committed, the circumstances surrounding each individual case, and the defendant’s history of criminal conduct. They should not be based on unchangeable factors that a person cannot control, or on the possibility of a future crime that has not taken place. Equal justice can only mean individualized justice, with charges, convictions, and sentences befitting the conduct of each defendant and the particular crime he or she commits…

Of course, we all know about PreCrime from the movie: Minority Report, which was loosely adapted from Philip K. Dick’s short story: The Minority Report.

Bernhardt will continue his review and commentary of Professor Fred Siegel’s book: The Revolt Against the Masses in the weeks to come.

Dr. Cosby’s Reading Secrets

Ever since we were able to buy comedy albums, we’ve laughed with Dr. Bill Cosby.

Bill Cosby Far from Finished 2013  about 2 hours 34.5 minutes long (~90 minute show, 50 minute interview, and 10 minute behind the scenes).

Dr. Cosby earned a Doctorate in Education in 1976 from University of Massachusetts Amherst. He wrote the article ‘How to Read Faster’ that taught three methods to speed read with improved comprehension: preview, skim, and cluster, which appeared in the November 1979 issue of Ebony magazine on page 86 and in the March 1980 issue of Ebony magazine on page 72.

Here’s how to preview lengthy material:

  1. Read the first two paragraphs of your reading material.
  2. Next read only the first sentence of each of the following paragraphs.
  3. Then read the last two paragraphs entirely.

You get the gist of the text so you can evaluate it. Then you know whether it’s worth the time to read the material in-depth.

I urge you to use Dr. Cosby’s preview technique when reading anything time-consuming (for instance, the posts on this blog).

Thank you, sir, for speaking out. I think you’ve been speaking out for decades but people weren’t listening very well.

Happy 77th birthday.