Talking Cultural Diversity

a discussion board for cultural and diversity issues by Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis

Mind Games

By Jean Mavrelis - 11.30.2010

There are mind games being spun– that play on fear.

Why not leverage mind games that play on our better natures?

Since the civil rights era, spin-doctors have insidiously campaigned on programs like “the war on drugs” and “tough on crime” as code for “protecting” whites from minorities: “us” vs “them”.

There were also racial/class implications underlying the different penalties for use of “crack” –a lower-class, “street” drug — and those for use of cocaine: an upper-middle class social past time.

Guess which penalties were more severe.

In fact, Reagan’s “war on drugs” came before crack ever hit the streets, and when drug use was at a low point.

The racism and class hatred behind those messages was subtle and hidden. But it didn’t take much digging to see what was underneath the surface.

Fear mongering continues today with anti Islamic and anti immigrant rhetoric.

A representative from Oklahoma is actually trying to pass legislation that protects people from Islamic Sharia law.

This is ridiculous.

Catholics have canon law, Protestants, the Bible, and Orthodox Jews Beth din, but those underpinnings to religious observance don’t undermine the law of the land.

It’s another fear mongering tactic.

And now the Republican supreme court has allowed that corporations can spend as much as they want on campaigns – calling it free speech – when in fact it is license to be more effective controlling what people hear during election time.

If this is the game, big money buying our hearts and minds with fear mongering, then we need another campaign that values social inclusion and promotes the benefits that accrue to our society because we are different.

The diversity of the U.S. mirrors the diversity of the world.

That fact impacts not only our greater understanding but, knowing our enemy, our greater security.

Take our diversity and make it our safety, not our demise.

9 Responses so far

Hey there,

I agree that the war on drugs is crazy and almost pointless, but I don’t think that it is subtle racism. Methamphetamine is the biggest problem regarding drugs in America that is VASTLY used white people. About the Sharia Law thing, if there are women out there in America that actually want to live like the women in Saudi Arabia; not allowed to drive, not allowed to work, not allowed to wear “normal” clothes, and all that stuff about not being able to leave the house without a male relative or a note from hubby, not to mention the “moral police” (how long do you think it will take for them to want that too?), then they can knock themselves out, but nobody should be forced to live like that, which I think is why that law is needed. I do think you are right on about the campaign funding, though, it’s just buying future favors as far as I’m concerned. I like your blog, even if I don’t agree with most of what you say.



Thanks for writing, Andrew, I agree that Sharia would be stifling for the likes of me, and so is fundamentalism of any kind. My point is that there are many religions with beliefs that many of us wouldn’t espouse personally, but separation of church and state allows for people to be who or where they are within the government of the U.S. That’s a beautiful thing. I don’t want to see it distorted by an artificial suggestion that one religion threatens that separation. It’s just not the case.

If you think about it is racist because weed and crack is mostly brought and sold by minority , where as you can get caught with a pound of weed or a 8 ball of crack and only get 6 to 10 years for having or selling. As person with cocaine and or acid which is mainly carcasin use drug, will serve more years than a person who killed someone. I didn’t think it will pass to be a law because of freedom of speech, religon. If this how thay chose to live that is on them like always and no laws in place to force the subject, this is what I think.

Thanks for this revealing information. I went to this website: and was
horrified by the information.

It would seem that people are more effectively motivated by fear than truth.

Regarding Islamic Law, I think that the solution here is simple, and it is not blaming people for being anti-Islamic. The solution is to prohibit the use of overly religious law in any secular court decisions. Religion belongs to the home, the church, the mosque, or the temple — not to the courthouse.

This link puts into perspective the relationship in the U.S. between religious and constitutional law. We already do prohibit the use of overly religious law in any secular court decision. So to make a point of singling out Sharia Law, and not Talmudic Law or Canon Law is more about fear than reality.

Laws like the ones in Arizona only help to perpetrate this us vs. them mentality. To blame a culture or religion for actions that a few radicals participate in is simply blanket racism. Our culture feeds on stereotypes that fulfill themselves due to our expectations. By demonizing an Islam and then invading and occupying an Islamic state, we simply prove the radical’s point and help fortify those beliefs. Additionally, when we force immigrants into hiding to avoid persecution, we further segregate our society. None of these actions have positive consequences. Instead, we would do well to consider the fact that immigrant workers are responsible for a large portion of our agricultural output and thanks them every time we sit down for dinner.

I’m glad Obama talked about undocumented children who grow up here in his address last night. I’m surprised we didn’t hear more about it today.

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