Conscious Bias, Unconscious Bias and Racism

Happy Friday … Yay!

It’s TGIF time, right?!  You should join me to boost the positive vibrations!!!  There is enough negativity going around and we’ve got to keep it positive. So, TGIF!

One lesson I hope that we are learning from “the current state of world affairs” is that … ” … we ain’t fooling nobody … except ourselves …”.  It seems that “the Universe” is challenging “humanity” and our so-called “world leaders” and values to a showdown.  The Universe is cautioning each and every one of us … fools included …  “Get all your tanks and missiles, money and material wealth as we call it, lies and cheating, hatred and racism, greed and plain old egotistical stupidity … and you will meet a “virus” to bring you down …  The Universe will not tolerate the divisiveness and destruction of a once beautiful Planet … so … die and kill yourselves off with greed and illusions and games of destruction … ”  Are we listening?  ALL of “us”?!  Do we understand?!  I hope enough of us do!!

And all of that is just the bottom line.  Those of us who were raised around a “racist dinner table” where conversations often sought to elevate the race of that family were simply lied to and misled.  And, those members who allowed themselves to be brainwashed were literally “taught” to dislike others who are NOT the same color as them!  How primitive a level of existence to choose for your family!  How ignorant a concept to choose to make friends (or enemies …)  … while ignoring the many more positive characteristics of humanity!  We are supposed to be “the human race” … or is that too difficult an idea for many of us to fathom?  Why not??  Is racism the mental illness you seek to raise your family on?  What happens when they find out “y’all” were wrong!!?  Some people are too ignorant of obvious truths and want to “train” others to do the same … thusly, the foundation is laid for “institutional/systemic racism”!

Keep in mind, humanity’s elements have more in common than is different.  Don’t be a fool.  If you’ve been miseducated about the evils of racism, “you” will be the one bringing it to your institutions … wherever you work.  Now the challenge is to “re-educate” YOURSELF away from that ignorance for in fact, you have allowed your humanity to become diseased … on purpose.  Great diagnosis, right?!? NOPE!  “Get well soon!”  Now, there are some people raised around that “racist dinner table” and racist homes who were conditioned to be … stupid and ignorant!  Is that you?!?  Do you like being stupid and ignoring the facts that all humans are created “equal” in the eyes of their Creator … who ain’t you!?  So, get with the program.

It’s a tough job to figure out “who you are” as we ALL are doing so don’t mess up my progress with your “stupidity”.  We here at Educational Excellence advocate that you “Be the BEST that you can be!”  Don’t settle for less …. none of us should be doing that!  “Know Thyself!” … that’s enough to get started!  One could write another book on this topic but this is just a “word to the wise”.  Besides, we should be able to figure it out from here!


John I. Cook, Director

Is THIS What You Signed Up For?

Yes, my Friends … It’s Friday again!  So, uh … lets TGIF, then!! Everything is alright, right?!  Nope!?!  Imagine …

A US Navy veteran felt he had the right to peacefully protest in Portland.  He wasn’t touching a Federal building, was unarmed AND big … and “white” by the way.  Upon asking a federal “soldier” if he felt that he (the soldier) was following the constitution regarding “peaceful protesters” … he was struck multiple times across his body by the soldier with a baton!!!  In shock, the Navy veteran didn’t respond … until he was pepper-sprayed DIRECTLY in his face … and finally retreated with his hands up!  Oh yeah, he was initially presented with an automatic weapon in his chest and face by one of the “soldiers” which he said was another reason he froze initially!!  He lived to tell the “story”.

Educator Wendy Sherman, director, at the Harvard Kennedy School for Public Leadership has some interesting observations of the current administration’s ability to handle challenges using a successful “leadership style”.  She is also the author of the book entitled, “Not For The Faint of Heart”.  She addressed the inconsistencies in leadership regarding when a city in the States has asked for help from the Federal Government.  Once, she mentions, a city did ask for Federal “investigative” help in Kansas City where the “black on black” crime rates was too high.  The local leadership wanted the Federal government to help find out WHERE ALL THE GUNS WERE COMING FROM!  What a concept!!!  Of course, the “ball was dropped” by the Feds and the crime sprees continued in cities like Chicago, New York, Philadelphia … all the places where guns are manufactured, right?!?  Nope!  I said this a hundred years ago:  someone … with strings … has been allowing … I said ALLOWING GUNS to enter these major cities!  Where else are impoverished “black youth” with few or no options in “the City” going to find such an array and supply of weapons on their streets?!!  Kansas City got NO HELP from the Feds.

In these “pieces”, I simply try to illuminate certain situations that are taking place in the States and the rest of the civilized (?) world.  I am not an anarchist nor a fool!  So when you come at me, come straight, ’cause that’s how I’m going to send you home … STRAIGHT!  I don’t like nor “tolerate” racism nor racists … I remove myself from “their” presence and hope that they don’t follow me.  I taught “history” for many years in New York and saw some incredible textbooks that left out half of the real history of the North American continent and how “the United States of America” plowed its way from “sea to shining sea” acting as if the original inhabitants were NOT there.  Who does that?!  Maybe … greedy, insensitive and barbaric people disguised as “humans”?!?  How does the world view the manner in which “45” is “draining the swamp”?!?  This mofo IS “the swamp” … and everybody and everything he touches becomes part of his freaking cesspool!! 

Does anyone have any idea how much money “45’s” family has made in his three to four “lost years” with no salary?!?  They are “winning” … with additional new patents from China, new hopes for the Trump Towers in Moscow, use of “45’s” country clubs and resorts … WORLDWIDE!?!  Maybe I should ask how much YOUR family “made” during the same time period.  Now, I am sure many folks have “excuses” for a grown a$$ man who lies through his teeth every chance he gets just to see how many of “the lost” will follow him … into the cesspool of history!

In my writings, I present a case for humanity … not one race, no particular income bracket … but for EVERYBODY!  “We could ALL be having so much fun!” like the lyrics in the song by Frankie Beverly and Maze, “We Are ONE”, proudly states!  Leadership should UNITE people … not divide and incite hatred amongst the people of the same nation … and ultimately … the same PLANET!  Now if you find something wrong with my passion to spread spiritual love and intelligence and to uproot evil wherever it comes from, so be it!  You do you … and I’ll do me … hopefully, we can meet somewhere in a peaceful place!

Both teams’ players in the first Major League Baseball game showed a lot of support for the “injustices” in the “land of the free, home of the brave”!  Each player from the “Nationals” and the “Yankees” took a knee as the National Anthem played …  I am sure that some people still have problems with a “person” doing what he feels is right … as long as “the person” is not hurting anyone else.  What a concept!!!


John I. Cook, Director

Where Do We Go From Here?!?

Happy Friday, Folks!

Let’s do this … together, okay … TGIF!  It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it!

Well, first off, I want to thank my only child – Ayanna Lynne; and my only grandson – Caleb Isaac .. for one of the best birthday video calls a Man could have.  He’s 4 going on 14 and she’s 38!  They even sent me a nice photo of the two of them on Monday!  Nice touch, “Kid”!  Thank you Both!

It’s nice and important to see corporations like Nike and Starbucks “picking up the slack” and contributing to programs to enhance opportunities for people of color!  Come on!  It’s overdue.  To me, it’s a great form of reparations.  It’s clear that the Black Lives Movement does indeed have a point!  For example, when did you ever hear of an Italian or catholic church being blown up while children were playing inside in an effort to frighten Italian Americans from voting?!?  When was the last time you saw a say Polish woman being followed around a store as soon as she entered?!?  NEVER!  The stigma associated with skin color helps identify a target.  It’s clear that sports teams both here, like in Washington DC to change the team’s long time racist inspired mascot … ” a redskin …”; or the European futbol teams support by wearing the logo “BLM” on their jerseys as well as “End Racism” – pick one – get the message!  There was even one European futbol coach who SAID: (paraphrased) “We should be embarrassed about the way we have treated black people in the world for the past 400 years.  We should say we are sorry …”

It is a turning point in American and World history, folks.  While many “whites” have benefited from the imaginary “white privilege”, I am sure less of them would be willing to say “I’m sorry …” because THEY personally did not do anything to hurt “people of color”.  This is where a willingness, maturity and a general desire to do “good” come into play.  Is that in the hearts of the multi-racial groups of young people standing side by side and often leading the peaceful protests?!?  You bet it is!!

I wanted to end this rather long and poignant “message” by reminding “folks” not to “blame the victim”!!  This, too, requires maturity, a desire for unity and peace, and a review of the real history of slavery and racism in the world!  It is WRONG and of course “all lives matter”!  So stop instigating the killing of “blacks” because of their skin color. Once again, the States has the opportunity to lead the way in a long-needed radical change.  END RACISM!!  Once the nation’s capitol gets cleaned of the lying filth that occupies so many “positions”, we will have a better chance!  Choose wisely – chaos or community?!?


John I. Cook, Director

“If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say . . .”

It’s Friday again!  I’m sticking with my plan to be grateful with a “hearty” TGIF!  Done!

Well, my Dad’s birthday was July 4th … somewhere around 1910.  I learned a lot from him.  He never graduated high school ’cause growing up on a farm in North Florida didn’t allow for it.  He was the middle son of three brothers – there was Uncle Sammy, the eldest; my Dad; then Uncle David , the Miami Pastor (RIP, Men!). Big Ike always wanted the best for me and was very strict, but tough loving: he didn’t spare “the strap”!  It had become an extra security system when I wasn’t clear on which choices I should make – it worked … and does to this day!

This is my birthday weekend, which has been shortened from the usual “birthday month”!  I had to learn to shorten it as my body can only stand so many festivities!  My Dad and I never had that “conversation” about what it means to be a “black man” in a country suffering from its racist origins.  “We” become the scapegoat for anything wrong and the workforce for anything that needs to be done.  Historically, it is clear that the USA was a country built through pure pilfering and terrorism, taking part in the Atlantic “slave trade” that provided much of the colonies’ “human power” at every level of the spectrum – for FREE!  So, I am a descendant of these folks by a couple of generations.  My grandmother was a “half-breed” and my grandfather, Robert, was a little boy when manumitted.  I never met or spoke with him though I was my grandma Mattie’s favorite grandson who smuggled mints for her into the convalescent unit at Grasslands Hospital in Valhalla, NY where she spent her 104th birthday …  So, I am connected at a few places!

The stories “Big Ike” told about growing up in the country of Central/North Florida usually involved something like this … “The white man showed up on our porch talking some “negative” stuff.  He was holding his rifle, David had his inside of the house and Sammy had a pistol on his lap.  My Dad was the biggest so he told the white man to get off of the porch that he wasn’t invited to …  A few words were exchanged, the white man’s armed friends peeked through the woods to see if they were needed.  Realizing that “The Cook Boys” were ready, the white man followed my Dad’s instructions, and the conflict was avoided …”  Nowadays, with the “evolved slavery system”, they actually have what is called police who have evolved from “slave catchers” in many respects. (No point in calling them … the police …)

I’ve always had an interest in “social psychology” ever since learning that Pres. John F. Kennedy was murdered while I sat in my trombone lesson at Rochambeau Elementary School in White Plains, NY. When I asked if this was a country where they kill the presidents, my parents couldn’t say it with a straight face – “he was trying to help folks like us, John …”.  With the picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. hanging over the compact dining table in the eating section of the living room, they both offered their own style of parenting: my Mother with relentless love, and my Father with quiet but clear and stern discipline.  With all of the “breaks” I had gotten like attending a boarding school in New Hampshire on full scholarship, then on to college at Princeton with a four-year package including “work-study” and a hefty scholarship I received, I had my work cut out for me.  I had graduated “cum laude” from St. Paul’s (with honors) in English, Spanish and Religion and had to maintain a “3.5” GPA (grade point average) in order to keep my scholarship package at Princeton which included mopping floors in the dining rooms after meals.

I pretty much had to figure out that “conversation” that fathers of men of color have to have with their sons … and nowadays daughters!  But once I got it, mixed with Momma’s Love and Dad’s Discipline, I’ve been rolling along pretty cool lately.  I count my blessings that I am here in Puerto Viejo even though we have some “Americans” and others who haven’t quite embraced “the lesson” of equality.  I am prepared to have that intellectual conversation with anyone capable …

Peace and blessings,

John I. Cook, Director

I Don’t Know What To Say Anymore . . .

Happy Friday, Yaaay!  I’m in it today … TGIF, y’all!

Are you familiar with that feeling when you finally HAVE to admit that “things” are already bad!!?  How much worse can “things” get?!?  What do I do now?!?  And what can I say that will make a difference?!?  There are a LOT of tough conversations that need to be conducted regarding some VERY SERIOUS ISSUES . . .  Are YOU ready?  These conversations can’t be “rants” like the world has heard coming from the current occupant of the White House.

It was three years ago from tomorrow – The 4th of July – and I had gotten off a bus with a friend from France, Alex …  We had been staying in the same hostel as he sought to establish a French restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale.  I had already decided to retire abroad based on personal issues, not to mention social issues … and the fact there was something “criminal” that had found its way into the White House.  I had two weeks from the date my flight was to depart from Ft. Lauderdale to Barcelona.  Traffic on the beach was so congested that one had to leave your car a few miles from the beach and take a shuttle to “The Strip”.  Or, as in me and Alex’s case, take a bus from downtown that would let you off ON “The Strip” which was full of “4th of July” celebrations. There were metal barriers on both sides of the street to keep pedestrians from crossing in the middle of the street – you had to walk to the crosswalk to go to the other side.  After we had pulled the cord so the bus driver could let us off, we both stepped off the bus and into a bicycle lane.  At that moment, a motorcycle officer sped by us yelling, “Get out of the street!”  Being in a festive mood, somewhat wise-cracking mood, I replied in a soft tone, “Where are we supposed to walk?!?”  As I looked at Alex and we chuckled together, I saw the motorcycle cop do a u-turn in the bicycle lane to come back directly to me.

He immediately demanded my identification and told me to sit down on the street’s curb that we had just passed!  Of course, I asked him why was he detaining me and asking for my ID.  He refused to answer, turned beet red under his helmet in the midday heat of the 4th of July in Ft. Lauderdale where the beaches were full of anxious celebrants, partying like “rock stars”!  Again he said, “Give me your ID and sit down!” as he pointed to the tiny curb on the side of the bike lane.  I braced myself and spoke: “Sir, I can’t sit down there.  I have arthritis in both of my hips and cannot sit that low.”  He angrily snatched the metal barrier separating us from the bicycle lane and the wall that decorated the beach and told me to sit on top of the wall.  I again asked the officer who had still not removed his helmet why he was detaining me.  I stated that I am a teacher and had a right to know.  He said, “If you’re so smart, why didn’t you remove the barrier and sit down here then?!?”  He accepted my drivers license and walked angrily away, ordering my friend Alex lo stay away from me.  A small crowd had gathered from the hundreds of celebrants near A-1-A and Las Olas Blvd.

This is a common practice for the police when they want to see if you have any outstanding warrants, complaints, unpaid parking tickets or child support.  They need something to arrest you, and, getting off of the bus in a bicycle lane was not a crime.  After 20 minutes of scouring my “background” in which he found a few but “settled” incidents, he returned with my license and gave me a ticket for “not using the sidewalk when one is available …”   Need I say more?!  I fought the ticket, filed a complaint against the officer and an internal affairs complaint about “racial profiling”.  I had a few visits to the internal affairs office of the FLPD but could only think about “retiring abroad” …  Two weeks later, I flew to Barcelona.  When I came back, I had to pay for an appellate court to hear my case, which I lost but didn’t win … and had to pay $80.00 in court fees in order to KEEP MY LICENSE, which had been suspended while I was in Europe. I took care of it upon my return, saddled up and headed to San Jose, Costa Rica …  The rest is history!

Any more questions about this creature and the harm he has done to the already troubling image of “America … the land of the free the home of the brave” would have to be answered in November 2020.  I can hardly listen to more discoveries about “governmental mismanagement”, inconsistency with the pandemic and horrifying handling of the racial unrest in the country … and the WORLD!  Hey, y’all … let’s have these conversations in a civilized way, seeking to learn and know the truth about ourselves and each other.  We can do this … TOGETHER!  It’s a golden opportunity to “come together”!


John I. Cook, Director

%d bloggers like this: