What is racism?

Racism3Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire, commented that with the sad recent deaths of unarmed blacks in Ferguson, Chicago and Staten Island at the hands of police, the word “racism” has been tossed around like a salad bar. Every talk show rumbled on about it with little attempt to define it.  Odd since racism is such an important and emotionally loaded word.

Racism appears difficult to exactly define, since every source consulted reveals various differences and nuances.  A feature that seems common to most ‘official’ definitions invokes discrimination or prejudice, often based on stereotyping, aimed at a race or other identifiable group, and usually with a motive to gain power or control over the group.  While untidy, this definition seems one with which most people would generally agree.  The problem for me is in the application.  The Rev. Al Sharpton has no such problem, apparently, since he sprinkles every public pronouncement very liberally with the word.  He sees racism virtually everywhere he looks.  And his confidante, Barack Obama, seems to share his beliefs, though is somewhat more inhibited with his public judgments.

So, what about the three aforementioned incidents and racism?  Our president and the reverend have both proclaimed all to be examples of discrimination intentionally wrought by white cops on black citizens.  But what is the discrimination?  Are the white cops really making assumptions about blacks in general, and then predisposed to shooting or choking them to death?  I don’t know the answer to this question, but would suggest that neither does Obama or his friend Al.

Could the three incidents cited above be explained not by racism, a desire to dominate a sector of the population, but rather be explained by facts?  Much more crime of all types is committed by blacks per capita in the US than by any other race.  By far, more violent crime is fomented by blacks on blacks than by whites on blacks (which is actually exceedingly rare).  There is no doubt that black neighborhoods tend to be much more violent than equally impoverished white neighborhoods (but can poverty really be an excuse for violence?)  Given all this, are cops not to be more careful in patrolling a black neighborRacism4hood?  They would be idiots if they weren’t.  So could it be that most cops, white or black, invoke assumptions (dare I say prejudice?) about crime and likelihood of crime, in neighborhoods they enter?  Throw into this scenario the fact that more blacks are raised in fatherless families, cannot benefit from such a relationship, and is it any wonder why black youths may have less respect for law enforcement or other authority figures?

The more our nation mulls over the recent highly unfortunate events, the more it will conclude that these events were not so much, or at all, racially motivated but motivated by grim realities…realities that black America needs to formally recognize, and remedy.


About Dr. Michael J. O'Connell, New Hampshire
Dr. Michael J. O'Connell of Barrington, New Hampshire, has forged a distinguished career spanning over three decades, as entrepreneur, physician, businessman, philanthropist and healthcare consultant. As former owner, administrator and CEO of a 225+ employee multi-specialty medical practice, Dr. O'Connell has dedicated his entire professional life to helping patients with family medicine and especially those experiencing chronic pain and all aspects of addiction. Since selling his family of healthcare businesses, he has never once contemplated retirement despite his rich and fulfilling journey, but instead has turned his focus to consulting in an industry starved for courage and creativity. Having weathered many political, technological and legal challenges, there is hardly a storm he has not confronted, a tempest he has not quelled, an urgent need he has not met. While the talking heads and self-proclaimed experts in the field have assumed the conventions and standards of the times, Dr. O'Connell does not believe in merely reflecting the herd mentality, but rather in leading the charge. Eschewing political correctness, Dr. O'Connell says and does what needs saying and doing, and not what the mindless masses expect. In addition to the continual education afforded by his variegated life experiences, Dr O'Connell earned his BS in Biochemistry at the University of NH in 1975, his Medical Degree from Dartmouth College in 1981, interned at Walter Reed Medical Center in 1982, Residency/Fellowship at UCSF in1986, and finished his Masters in Healthcare Administration at UNH in 1995. Dr. O’Connell enjoys many outdoor activities, including rock climbing, snowboarding, hiking, and golf. Through the decades Dr. O'Connell has supported many non-profit charities to include the St. Charles Home in Rochester NH, the Tri City VNA and Hospice, Hyder House, and Cocheco Valley Humane Society. To the latter organization alone Dr. O'Connell has donated over $180,000 and pledged another $250,000 in the “Bring-Us-Home” campaign for a new building. His “Matching Donations Christmas drive” has generated over $175,000 in charitable giving from the community. In addition Dr. O'Connell has participated in many dozens of other volunteer and donation efforts locally as well as in Africa and the Dominican Republic. For a listing of how I gave back to the community during my career and continue to do see: https://michaeloconnellmdnh.wordpress.com/

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