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Archive for March 19th, 2008

John H. Bryant writes:

Behaviorally speaking, what happened when Barack Obama spoke on religion yesterday?For some, like the way I approached the speech and later his presentation, Obama’s speech might have seemed to be about religion… or perhaps the American Black experience… or perhaps the generational tug of our past with what is important to us today. Well, it wasn’t about religion as much as we might think it was.

Yes, we’ve into a shift in religion (Religious Shift in America 2008), energy, globalization, business, etc.

I know what I heard but I noticed something else. My conclusion is there is no Hope for an undefined future condition called ‘a better America’. It has arrived.

What I heard was a shift and a loss of cues that we all have depended upon for so long. Behaviorally they are called SDs or “S – Ds” and stand for ‘discriminative stimuli’. You know, the things we recognize, the brands, the terms, the words, the stimuli out in the environment that we come to recognize as meaning good and bad, smart and dull, etc.; anything that allows us to discriminate one thing from another. While reading the speech that came out in the AM prior to the Barack’s presentation, I couldn’t tell who was speaking. We saw a difficult subject handled without acrimony: race.

Barack Obama speech laid waste to more of the SDs that we’ve all depended on but that are no longer dependable. What are we going to do now if we can’t depend on those old stereotypes? (SDs)

  • We lost the inflamatory rhetoric SD of White, Jackson, Farrakhan and others
  • We lost the ‘done me wrong’ SD
  • We lost the ‘one cause’ explanation for 300 years of bad behavior SD
  • We lost the ‘good guy – bad guy’ dichotomy SD
  • We lost the ‘quick fix’ remedy in my term claim SD
  • We lost the government can make it better pabulum SD
  • We lost the SD of when to have the gut wrenching sinking feeling

I’m a pretty smart guy so I need to figure out the consequences of losing my SDs.

  • How is this going to work if Barack Obama speaks and says things that are not purely Democratic, Republican or Washington centric?
  • How is this going to work if Barack Obama speaks and you can’t tell if he favors those that are white or black?
  • How is this going to work if Barack Obama speaks and he doesn’t instill fear of the future?
  • How is this going to work if Barack Obama speaks and he doesn’t try to make you mistrust those who want him silenced?
  • How is this going to work if Barack Obama speaks and you think he is talking directly to you rather than in lobbyist code?
  • How is this going to work if Barack Obama speaks and you can’t tell why he knows what you value?
  • How is this going to work if Barack Obama speaks and you don’t hear that government knows what is best for you?

Wow, this election is getting complicated. I am going to have to make other associations with Barack Obama when he speaks and that’s hard work because it involves changing my stereotypical SDs.

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