Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Successful Native American Businesses Have Evil Intentions, Says The Buffalo News

The Buffalo News just ran a two-part story about how a new Seneca Casino (Native American owned business) in down town Buffalo will be a clear and present danger to other, existing businesses throughout our community. Now…this is when and where folks have to be careful. It is easy to get drawn into the philosophical debate about whether a casino is good or bad.  I will not engage in this debate. What interests me about this week’s story and a past story about the same topic, which my response can be found HERE, is one very important message that The Buffalo News wants to convey to its readers:

When a legal, Native American owned business succeeds in its business model, the supposed superior majority reports that it does so with advantages and a hostile threat to others!

Dimetrios Georgios Synodinos (AKA: Jimmy the Greek) was a kid from Ohio who moved to Las Vegas and became a bookie. His weekly pro football book-making activities resulted in him working for CBS’s Sunday morning show, The NFL Today. This was in the mid-1970s.  During this time African Americans were better able to play professional sports after many years of being denied the opportunity to participate. Once the larger public was exposed to more and more African American athletes, and as they began replacing the supposed superior majority, a theory seemed to appear in order to explain this unnatural occurrence. Jimmy the Greek had a hypothesis why African Americans were excelling in football and was given the chance to explain it during an ESPN interview. He stated:  

“The black is a better athlete to begin with because he's been bred to be that way, because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs and he's bred to be the better athlete because this goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trade'n the big… the owner… the slave owner would, would, would, would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have ah, ah big, ah big, ah big black kid see…

When more fears began to surface, that, not only would African Americans become the majority in professional sports, but also dare to become coaches, Jimmy conveyed another message. His 23 second video is here. This would be the last of ole Jimmy’s viewpoints on this subject!

Words Matter

When American businesses/people are successful, it’s considered to be healthy, prosperous, and progress. When minority businesses/people are successful, it is believed and stated that they do so as the result of unfair and/or immoral advantages.

Let’s take a look at the headline that The Buffalo News decided to use regarding a legal Native American owned business: “Casino expansion plan a threat to businesses, professor warns.” The word “threat” is defined as, An expression of an intention to inflict pain, injury, evil, or punishment. 2. An indication of impending danger or harm.

An expressed intent to inflict pain, injury, evil or punishment?! I will leave it to the reader to evaluate the message sent by The Buffalo News’ headline. I’ll also do the same with Jimmy the Greeks’ message regarding African Americans playing professional sports.

Proof of Intent

It would seem that if a large news organization, like the Buffalo News, would print a story indicating that a legal Native American business has evil intentions they would ensure that the story is well supported with scientific research and facts. To accomplish this important task, The Buffalo News exclusively relies on the opinion of one local teacher. Mr. Steven H. Siegel who has taught at Niagara University for 30 years uses his past experience working in a hotel and obtaining a MBA to postulate the evil intent of a Native American business.

Please let me remind folks that Mr. Siegel is not a researcher, documents no past research training, documents no peer-reviewed funded research, and documents no peer-reviewed manuscripts on the subject. He does provide in The Buffalo News article two reports. They can be viewed HERE on the left under “Related Documents.”

In the one document titled: Steve H. Siegel’s Report on Urban Casinos, on page 2 in the first bullet, he states, “Research shows that for every…” To indicate where he received this “research” he cites two people, John Kindt 2001 and himself 2008.

I emailed both of these men requesting more information. For instance, I am unable to find any documents online with these dates. I did see some of Mr. Kindt’s recent writings on the subject of gambling but they are reports and books. Both of these type documents are not peer-reviewed making them opinions of the author. If you want to see some of the titles of Mr. Kindt’s documents they are HERE.

I am also unable to find Mr. Siegel’s 2008 document he cites to support the “research.”

Again, Words Matter

If Mr. Siegel indicates that research shows something, then it is up to him to clearly show where he got that information and that it is in fact research. If Mr. Siegel cites his own research showing something, then he had better conducted some research on that subject which was, at a minimum, peer-reviewed. Anything less that peer-reviewed – is total opinion.

If The Buffalo News allows a horrid headline statement to be read by its community members, then those readers deserve the most appropriate, highest level of proof supporting that statement. If they take the chicken-shit stance that they were just reporting what some teacher said, which they did the last time I asked them, then that is just what it is – chicken-shit!

Again, this is not about if casinos are good or bad. This is about a community’s major news source, The Buffalo News, publishing an article that allows the opinion of a teacher to be arranged as though it is based in science, when in fact it is not.  If The Buffalo News is interested in what science says about casinos, then use information that results from the standards of scientific enquiry – mainly peer-reviewed research studies and manuscripts.

If, on the other hand, The Buffalo News wants to use their words to frighten folks and based solely on personal opinions, then they need to go the way of Jimmy the Greek. I’m sure Jimmy could have found a teacher who had a similar opinion about slavery and breeding practices by slave owners. The truth is, Jimmy the Greek’s opinion is not based on any science (e.g., facts).  And, if Mr. Siegel or The Buffalo News wants to be viewed as something other than emitting fear and bigotry, like Jimmy the Greek was doing, then they should support their words with science.

I’ll be sure to update everyone if I hear back from any of these folks. Peace, DAP

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