Science and Perspective.


September 2016

Even if I want to?

I recently heard a black female student proclaim that “Black people can’t be racist”. I took the counterpoint and prepared to engage in an interesting and thought provoking discussion on the issue. She announced that she “can’t handle this, today” and left the area. Then, I was able to participate in a quite interesting discussion on #racism, who is #racist, what racism means, who can be racist and the ability to be racist (or perform racist acts without being seen as racist) as a form of privilege with self-identified Caucasian, Latino, differently abled and Black students.

I posted to my facebook account the following prompt: “#FacebookFriendsAssemble Black people can’t be racist. what do you think. my thoughts come tomorrow.”

Obviously, this prompted some discussion. Self Identified, Black, White, African American, mixed race and other friends joined in.

Here is my take on the topic, informed as it is by a mix of personal exploration, academic research and experience. I am sharing on my blog primarily so it will be more accessible for my followers.

First I will break down the statement into its constituent parts and acknowledge the definitions, published, academic and common use as I understand them. Then I will discuss the impact of the statement itself.

“Black people cannot be racist.”

Black (Google definition) having dark skin, especially of African or Australian Aboriginal origin.

People (Google definition) The men women and children of a nation community or ethnic group.

Cannot: Are unable to. do not hold within the realm of possibility.

-I imagine most people can agree on these three definitions. So that’s that. But, racist…ohh racist.

Stay with me for a bit.
To be a racist you have to participate in racism…
Racism is a form of prejudice that is based primarily on the perceived race of the object.
Prejudice is a preconceived opinion of a person object or situation without factual or reasoned support.

So racism is a preconceived opinion about a person based on their race without (or with limited) factual or reasoned support.

My facebook friends had a few arguments regarding that black individuals could be racist. These primarily focus on individual ability and personal experience. Black children for example using racially charged epithets for white family members, Black people using racially charged epithets for Hispanic, European, Asian or other Black groups.

Several of those that indicate black individuals could be racist also acknowledged the difference between individual and institutionalized racism. The institutionalization of racism was an essential element of most of the “Black people cannot be racist argument”.

Institutional racism is a pattern of social institutions — such as governmental organizations, schools, banks, and courts of law — giving negative treatment to a group of people based on their race. (Google again)

Those that use the institutionalized racism argument focus on white supremacy and the impact on black people through slavery, systemic persecution etc. The argument is that black people have never had sufficient power in white dominated society to oppress another group and so they cannot benefit from a system of racism.

Now these google definitions are published and accessible in various locations. Academia influences them greatly and somewhere within Academia this is being discussed right now… but here’s the thing, this discussion started in the Office of Diversity Affairs at Miami University. The Miami University Campus is a predominantly white institution but you can see more about the campus demographics here. And the campus is within the City of Oxford demographics here.

Here’s my soapbox.

  1. I admit: Yes racism can be institutionalized. So it can be fed and supported by social structures, laws, economic history etc. (guess what, on some of my government forms I self-identify as white, can I be racist now?)
  2. But, racism impacts individuals and it is perpetuated by individuals. When we come to a point that we equate a black individual’s propensity to be racist with white society’s power to be racist we make a logical error. The two should not be compared.
  3. Race is a bogus classification system. There is no objective standard for race classification and with the globalization of cultures interracial relationships etc. who is black and who white anyway? So we are basically saying that the amount of melanin in your skin determines whether or not you are able to engage in a fairly complex set of overt and subconscious behaviors. No. (but my eyesight might make me smarter because I wear glasses)
  4. Racism is comparative IMHO. You do not perceive a race as bad in racism, you perceive it as less fit compared to some other race. This is essential, because without others to compare it to there would be no basis for discrimination-Prejudice. therefore when you classify people into multiple races starting with black and white, they can have a dynamic between them. A is less or more intelligent, kind, rhythmically inclined than B. What about when we compare Blacks and Asians, Latinos, etc. have you ever heard it said “White men can’t jump?” “White people can’t dance?” who are they being compared to?
  5. Black people are traveling more than ever and visiting other countries where they may cross a boundary that places them in a majority position, compared to Whites. This statement may or may not hold in those places.
  6. The majority of the cannot argument predicates on the mostly USA based experience of white supremacy and black oppression. I know that in the Bahamas people of all non black races can be discriminated against. So not all Black people have this lack of power and privilege.
  7. In the end, any statement/decision you make about a person based solely on their race, is wrong,
  8. Finally, if I want to be racist, I sure as hell can… I won’t, but I can.










Leno’s life lessons

No matter what you look like, what you do, where you are or who you are with, some people cannot, will not or won’t see you. Sept. 22 2016.

I am a six foot tall man wearing a cowboy hat and a baby, walking a 55 pound yellow potcake and a 4.5 pound Chinese crested mixed with Yorkshire terrier. Still, today a woman clearly more concerned with getting somewhere before 8:30 am sped up to and across the pedestrian crossing. I stood there watching her approach from the previous corner and up the hill with the dogs sitting on the sidewalk. She was so focused on the turn she wanted to make, we did not matter. Let’s focus on mindfulness today people. Go for your goals, but think of whom you have to cross to get there today. Much love.

Ancilleno Davis, PhD. Candidate
Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology- Miami University, Oxford Ohio

Perspective, Prejudice, Pride

Okay, I get it, we are tired of talking about these things.
The thing is, we don’t talk about these things because in my opinion no one has explained what exactly they are. So this is my little summary. Then we can have a real discussion.

Perspective the situation and angle from which a view is taken.

This has lots of facets for example, the situation… Single mother of four. These mothers may be of different races, socioeconomic status, nationality etc. which all changes their perspective based on the environment. Example two Single black males making 30,000 a year. One of these guys may go clubbing every weekend while the other banks his money preparing to invest in a business venture and the future. One compares himself to high school friends and one compares himself to the CEO of the company. They have different perspectives because of the direction they look in. at the same time, people on the outside looking in can never share your perspective. so the guy saving may look poor to his friends that never see him spending money. The club hopper appears rich because he flaunts his money. The mothers in the previous example may be respected in some communities and ridiculed in others.

Prejudice an idea that has been conceived without evidence to support it or before evidence has been sought out.
The key is, these ideas have to be made before or without evidence. Example one: teachers that say "The Chinese [or any race or ethnicity really] students [insert behavior here]". This has a few prejudices here. 1: they are implying that they can distinguish Chinese from all other Asian races. 2: that all Chinese students act similarly. 3: the students they interacted with are Chinese. 4: that the issues they describe do not imply to their race or other races. When measured, all these assumptions are usually found to be false.

Often subsequent "studies" or interactions may be created that seem to support these statements but are flawed. For example a "Chinese" student panel may highlight issues the Chinese students face. However, without involving other Asian, international and even domestic students, it is impossible to determine that these issues actually impact ALL students. So the anti-Chinese prejudice is perpetuated. Another part of the prejudice is that students are the problem. Also not true. The academic system is built by teachers administrators and *sigh* lawyers. This equates to blaming the customer for poor service in a restaurant. Again evaluations that focus only on students and where administration is never evaluated start from a biased perspective, driven by prejudice against the intelligence and autonomy of the student.

Most prejudice boils down to: "we are better than everyone else" (sounds like academia to me); "people we know well are better than those we do not" (all racist, classist or ethnic prejudice); and "if you look different you must be different".

Pride a feeling of high worth based on a personal (perceived) accomplishment or attribute.

Here some people have a prejudice to their own group. Their nation, skin color, language, accent, neighborhood, high school, field of study etc. Some pride is independent, objective and self reflective "I graduated!" "Our country made women’s rights a priority!" "We finished a puzzle!". Other sources of pride are comparative. "I am the fastest in my class!" (does this mean everyone else is slower than you?), "America is the greatest nation in the world!" (does this mean every other country is inferior?).
The other side of the coin is statements of low self worth. "I am so fat"; "I am so ugly", "I am so stupid". How does this appear from the perspective of someone who has a higher body mass index, receives fewer compliments or gets lower grades than you. Does that mean they must also be fat, ugly and stupid?

Where do you fall? What are your perspectives? Where do you have prejudices and pride? how do your statements of pride and prejudice affect those around you?

"Those who are incapable of committing great crimes do not readily suspect them in others." -Francois de La Rochefoucauld, aphorist (15 Sep 1613-1680)

Ancilleno Davis, PhD. Candidate
Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology- Miami University, Oxford Ohio

What’s the worst that could happen: number 2

So yeah, I posted before about what’s the worst that could happen.

So today, Alma had the beautiful idea to let #LeonardoDavis feel the freedom of nudity.

What’s the worst that could happen?

So diaper free Leo is just got a little emotional while playing with his toys. So, I am wiping down the toys with a Lysol wipe and figuring… We should have seen this coming.

A few pieces of poop on the carpet and the bathroom floor…yeah. So happy his digestive system makes “neat little” poops.

Some things change… some don’t

I am cleaning up my hard drive to make room for the data I am using and thought I would share this set of talking points I made for myself in 2010.

Minister Neymour reduced his home energy bill by 30% after an energy audit (free from BEC) everyone Call BEC 302-1000 before september.

Eat a lionfish- they taste good, they are abundant. They eat all many other important fish, grouper, grunt, snapper, even octopus and crawfish.

Catch and release fishing- anglers spent 27 percent more than regular visitors per visit. 17 percent more per visitor night. Nearly 141 million dollars annually to Bahamian Economy(Bahamian flats fishing alliance.)

Coral reefs about 25% of all marine fish species spend some time on the reefs.

The burning dump cost nearly $500,000 to put out Tribune March 1, 2010.

COB held an environmental fair on April 9th, 2010. BNT, TNC, DEHS (Vector Control) and SOSA man were there.

Visit a park:

Bonefish ponds National Park is officially opening today April 22nd 2010. Harold and Wilson Ponds National Park, The Retreat village road, Exuma cays Lands and Sea park, Rand Nature Center in Freeport, West Side of Andros, and the Blue holes National park.

Donate a trash can to a School. Put your trash in a trash can. Lock up your trash cans.

One Green Prison in Seattle Washington saved government $35,000 annually, on landfill fees by recycling, not to mention fuel and labour costs.- USA today April 21 2010.

Conservation efforts save the Pentagon (US) 1.6 Billion dollars.

California company plans to cover 1.5 Sq. Miles of roof space and that can power 162,000 homes. –USA today April 12th 2010.

192 NATIONS will participate in Earth day this year. 1000 churches from 50 countries have signed up to participate.- USA Today, April 21 2010

After Katrina, homes are being rebuilt in an eco-friendly way. Lower cost to owner over lifetime.

April 20th Michael Digiss and Associates (Bahamas) used their office to allow others to view a Global webcast on creating value through sustainability.

Walmart is changing parking lot lamps to LED’s 1000 watts to 200 watt LEDs. Imagine if BEC converted the street lights to LEDs? All the lights. BEC absorbs that cost. Who is the end user? Plus less blown bulbs= less maintenance. More even lighting means you do not have a blazing glare in your eye then pitch black between streetlights.

Ancilleno DavisFounder-BEINGS
(Bahamians Educated In Natural and Geospatial Sciences)
Director at Large – BirdsCaribbean
(formerly The Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds)
Doctoral student- Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

Who’s paying?

Everything is paid for or must be paid for, so every ounce of energy not paid for from your electric company comes out of someone’s pocket. Or it comes out of our future. Check the government ministries, schools, ministers past and present… If they haven’t paid, you can be sure the rest of the country will or already has… I’m just saying

Ancilleno Davis, PhD. Candidate
Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology- Miami University, Oxford Ohio

Before the PhD

Before you can complete the PhD, you need to complete a PhD project, but first you need to ask the most glorious question science ever heard about your topic and consider how you can answer it scientifically.

Ancilleno Davis, PhD. Candidate
Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology- Miami University, Oxford Ohio

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