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It's a bit surreal to see this class on systematic racism, especially considering just last week, Texas lawmakers passed a series of bills that basically amount to further voter suppression. One of the bills allows the secretary of state, who Abbott appoints, to remove any local election officials for "good cause." These bills combined target "large urban areas," which mainly are intended for Harris county that has a large non-white population and has turned blue in recent years. I think it's sad that when a number of amendments to the Constitution entitle ALL of us to vote, we're still fighting to make that a reality. And when the voices of some of its citizens are so easily silenced, it's no wonder we have inequality and resulting racism.

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It’s how communism begins. Abbott and DeSantis are trying to divide the country up further than Trump. Don’t let them!

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It's evident society can't deal with everyone being equal, for some reason it seems people need a teared social system in order to feel good about themselves, one in which there exists a level beneath the one they occupy. I call it the blame level, a group that catches all the flack for the negatives experiences by the more fortunate groups. Its a shameful trait that has existed since the beginning of time, and we seem to revel in it.

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Donald, my only additional point to you would be that…enough people in charge are able to get followers to support them by keeping others down. If we didn’t have such a corrupt election system (gerrymandering, electoral college) then most of us would make this a better place. There are more of us and I must remind myself of this to keep my hopes in place.

We are also now battling a corrupt SCOTUS. They are religious extremists and should not be sitting on the bench.

It really is up to all of us. Having traveled to 21 countries, I see that it is certain governments, religions etc that get in the way of uniting the world. The people..citizens.. are always a pleasure to meet.

Greed -money hoarding is out of control

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Seeking--It's evident you are in complete control of your facilities and it's a pleasure to connect on this level. The electoral college has to go, that's a given, it's a ghost that has walked through enough walls in its day. A positive attitude is a must in our time and changes are long over due, now it's up to the people to elect officials capable of affecting the necessary corrections to make the system a fair and honest way to elect our leaders.

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We got here over 40 years of letting the republicans slide on crimes. (Not that Democratic presidents are faultless) The most egregious violations of laws & ethics come from the persistent fascist elements that have been alive & well here since post WWII.

Yet, we feared the impression we would give to arrest a former or sitting president. And now I wonder if these people realize how damaging this is to international opinion of us now! Like Trump, they indulge in the delusion of one-sided greatness. I applaud the good things the US does and has done, but I will never support the wrongs.

We have not had a war, post WWII, that was fought for OUR “freedoms”. 🤦🏻 It is in order for us to take what is not ours, eg., (United Fruit), or to punish an entity that has not invaded our land. This twisted terminology should be stricken from any speech from a US politician.

And I’m not even getting to CIA “activities” that we use to avoid illegal military interference.

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It's called a pack society, a basic way animals organize themselves. It accounts for both tribalism and religion (think of religion as a form of tribalism). The key feature is the alpha male at the top (God) and everyone else in an obedient hierarchical structure below. Those outside the pack are the enemy, to be vilified.

If you look at the Ten Commandments, abut 5 relate to respecting the alpha male and the other five are about not doing what the animals do (stealing, lying, cheating, killing, etc.) so represents the first step in modifying the pack structure. But the structure remains.

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Michael--Especially when the God particle is represented by Trump.

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Speaking of the Evangelical propensity for amnesia, I was interested to read today that Evangelicals have boycotted Chick fil-A because the CEO was recorded washing the feet of a black man - you know, kind of like the sort of thing Jesus did to the outcasts of Palestine.

This CEO, by the way, is a serious Christian, so serious that all his restaurants close on Sunday, one of the best days of the week to make money.

Evangelicals remind me of Victorian Christian hypocrites. They're not Christian at all, merely pack animal racists.

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Michael-- Now, now lets not be bitter, even though you have a right to be. Trump reminds me of a massive chuck of bitter sweet white chocolate. If there is such a thing. Speaking of Trump, he just got caught with his hand in the top secret document jar, and the powers that be don't care about his fictitious ability to declassify documents with just a thought, they want this one on Iran back.

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"Thou shalt have no other Gods before me." Also one of the Ten Commandments. Funny how quickly the evangelists forget.

Trump has driven a truck through every one of the Commandments, but at least it was a truck, and not some namby-pamby SUV.

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Michael--That's one man that deserves no right of way.

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Writing personally and not on behalf of my organization, most of the time, when you see evidence of greed, money hoarding, power collecting and consequent abuse by those who exercise such behaviors, it's evidence of a much deeper insecurity that strikes st the heart of those involved. Pick any leader who is (legitimately) accused of abuse of power and you will see a social vulnerability, crisis, or at the very least, weakness, at the root.

Trump didn't just come out of nowhere. He made several attempts at political office before he was successful. He was successful once the economic devide between wealth and poverty became so extreme that it began to impact not just white senior citizens but now, white men under 40.

No one addressed that vulnerability in society. They have a certain level of power as white males so they formed behind an outspoken media personality who gave them a platform. He uses them, of course, to further his own agenda. But, he gives them comfort in knowing they aren't forgotten, that they are seen, that they do have value, that they are "loved."

The model repeats over and over in history. Unless we make sure that the least of us are able to keep up when we all go for a run, we build a collective of fractured runners who have no problem complaining that they feel they are being mistreated. They eventually, take over the race when given the opportunity.

The marginalized usually stay on the margins. They can often band together enough to protect themselves, but rarely do they have the opportunity to take power. And when they do, it's particularly difficult to maintain ethics.

What caused this vulnerability, this feeling of outward worthlessness and sense of being undervalued in our society? You can point to dozens of reasons from economic inequity and access to racism, climate change and Elon Musk. But ultimately, that part of society responsible for ensuring everyone is valued has failed to do its job. As a consequence, the institution is shunned, rightly or wrongly, with nothing to replace it.

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founding

"But ultimately, that part of society responsible for ensuring everyone is valued has failed to do its job. As a consequence, the institution is shunned, rightly or wrongly, with nothing to replace it." Is this institution the church/religion/Christianity?

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I'd suggest that that's too narrow a definition, although organized religion certainly plays a part.

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founding

I don't know of an institution that has had more influence on our hearts and minds. On our willingness or unwillingness to chose love over selfishness and in determining what 'neighbors' are treated as ourselves. Religion allowed slavery, Jim Crow and has most recently been used to position Obama as the antichrist, and Trump as the savior!

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The tendency to blame our fellow travelers is a lack of developing a spirituality, humanity or humility. It takes real work to develop those “muscles.”

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Margie--It's time for some of us to hit the gym.

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Donald, we are all equal. Some of us are just more equal than others.

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OFWG--I agree with you on the equality issue and I double down on the more than others part as well.

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Wait you lost me here im not equal my daughters are not equal so how is it you see equality and I see anything but equality? Ask any black woman how equal she feels and you will hear truth and sadness and strength.

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It was a joke. Sorry if you didn't catch the sarcasm.

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Sorry, but we don't have a landed aristocracy in this country. People have a Constitutional right to be treated as equals. False assumption.

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Daniel-- Tell that to the people that feel left behind. I'm not questioning their constitutional right to equality I'm just stating a fact. The upper levels of our society look down on those economically beneath them.

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Daniel--If you still don't believe me look into a black inner city neighborhood and count the wealthy white residences, if you can find any. Aristocracy or not you can call it what you will but the division exists.

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More faulty logic. In reality fools and idiots are played like musical instruments to the tune of racist demagogues.

Blacks are ubiquitous everywhere in the south. I lived in DC and Baltimore. In 2023, slums are a business opportunity for real estate speculators. You don't know what you're talking about. "Development" = gentrification.

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Daniel--I'll admit I'm not the smartest apple in the barrel but where did the fools and idiots come into this innocent discussion? We're talking about systemic racism and the economically deprived. I grew up in Detroit and I was a teenager all during the 60s, what I experienced I feel more then qualifies me to make statements concerning our topic. Lighten up, anger will get you nowhere.

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Donald and Daniel - I think you two may be arguing past each other — We DO all have Consitutional rights to be treated equally. That is de jure.

De facto, on the other hand, has shown and is showing now that some are “more equal” than others — The word play meaning they are advantaged by birth or wealth to get away with stuff most of us could never get away with.

For reasons of “influence” our “optics” or whatever false “justification” for it, it is real.

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Removed (Banned)Jun 5, 2023
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Patricia--Finally a statement that makes sense.

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Our government continues to promote systemic racism in our country. The laws which are enacted are to protect the upper echelon of our society. In the past, the United States condemned apartheid laws in other countries. Even though the U.S. condemned these laws, apartheid was happening right here in the U.S. I believe one of the reasons is we as a country have never come to grips with our racist past. One way the U.S. became an economic power was through the use of slave labor. In fact, slavery as we now realize was legitimized by the Constitution and the Supreme Court. Texas which someone wrote about has never abolished slavery in the state. Now, as we look at the lecture being given in one of the most elite schools in the country. In a sense, isn't Berkeley part of the racist system. What is ironic is it took a president from the South, Texas even, to promote civil rights in our country. We need to leave the theoretical or abstract and create concrete laws to destroy racism in our country once and for all. As with the Germans who confronted their Nazi past, we need to confront our past of immorality as well. How can we ignore a past in which over four million people were enslaved and were treated worse than the animals on the Southern plantations.

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"I believe one of the reasons is we as a country have never come to grips with our racist past."

Exactly, and this is why racism still exists.

Imagine if you had a neighbor who one day walked into your garage and took your mower and refused to give it back. Every day he'd mow with it while pretending it always was his, refusing to give it back. Over time you moved on, bought another mower and he was still your neighbor. Even if you found a way to put it behind you -- you have a life to live -- that he still refuses to even acknowledge it really belongs to you, and that he took it, let alone apologize, would always be in the forefront of the relationship. As for the neighbor, every time he was in your presence he'd feel guilt, and would be dependent on you to assuage that guilt to make him feel better about himself. And having to do that (rather than just acknowledge and apologize) would make him angry. Obviously, atonement and asking for forgiveness is the answer for the guilt the neighbor feels, but he's invested at this point, and the need to avoid responsibility outweighs any benefits of atonement at least in his mind.

That's what its like for black people in this country. Instead of just acknowledging what was done and the history of it, and the impact it had on blacks, and whites for that matter, we get everything from pretending history didn't happen, to hostility for refusing to engage in pretending an ugly past is but a fiction that will go away on its own if we pretend hard enough. Or the enlisting of other black people to tell feel good, fact-free fictional stories to make them feel better about themselves when they way they feel is due to the fact that they keep pretending rather than owning up.

Racism will ALWAYS exist in this country as long as we don't acknowledge our racist past, and the impacts that past continues to have on the present.

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founding
Jun 6, 2023·edited Jun 6, 2023

WOW! That was such a good example! I recently had a discussion with family that centered around forgiveness (preacher's kid). What I was compelled to emphasize was that, yes, you can forgive for your own peace, but there can be no reconciliation (the relationship cannot be repaired/restored) without REPENTANCE-

- acknowledge & confess the wrong

- asking forgiveness

- turning away from the wrong (discontinue)

- restoring the wrong that was done (make it right; fix it)

Borrowed this- “You have acted wrongly. Your action has harmed your wife and you have disobeyed God. Now renounce the wrongdoing, decide to act differently, repair the relationships, and be free.”

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I wonder if all the energy we waste thinking some are better than others were put to helping and acknowledging others, how great the world would be

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It started off with African Americans, then, other immigrants, then finally people like my self with disabilities. And I am still feeling the effects for Christ sakes!

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William Dolan- This is such a true statement. I’m in healthcare, and that thought process comes into every decision I have to make. It’s a challenging balance. This statement is very true. Human lives all in the balance. Our constitution needs some updating to get with current times. We need the Country to keep turning towards a better democracy for All.

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It is denied by the cult who practices it daily but systematic racism is with us and is alive and well . It must be confronted in all aspects but as long as the republican cult survives they will practice it. We will suffer.

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Some systemic racism is unintentional (more or less), but the kind Dr. Reich is talking about in Texas (& in Florida & many other places) is clearly intentional & getting worse in recent years.

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They're hard at work making de facto racism de jure.

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This class as it did on the first time I saw it a few years ago always made me feel uncomfortable. And as Robert Reich has said it is better to be challenged than to talk with people who always agree with you. We can't have a discussion about wealth and inequality without talking about systemic racism and how it stays entrenched in society. When there are macro aggressions (no health care, forced to work benefits, anti abortion, mortgage discrimination, tax discriminafion, school funding discrimination) against black and brown people going on it allows the little microagressions (anti union/pro child labor, no time off) against individuals to flourish. I see quantifying and dealing with systemic racism will benefit all people. If we dont stand up to the big bully we will have no chance against the small ones. Thank you for bringing this speaker on.

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Robert, I haven’t had a chance to see the last few classes due to my schedule. Thank-you, thank-you for giving us all the links. I’ve learned things from your classes and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being a virtual UC Berkeley student! This is information I now get to pass on to friends and even to my co-workers as I volunteer in an alderman’s office in Chicago.

The book ban will fail, we are getting the information we need thanks to you and so many others. Hugs to you!

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Thank you, dnkarr. I do not suggest that words be banned. I do not suggest that much of anything be banned. My point was about marketing and messenging. In my experience, Mr. Reich does not speak simply to speak, but his goal is to be heard, to make a difference. Preaching to the choir isn't going to move the needle. Make sense?

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I become enraged at people who claim that to recognize systemic racism in our culture, we have to make all POC “victims” and devalue them as persons. That is a nuanced bit of illogic that is hard to refute in just a few words [but most people don’t want a lecture, so they won’t listen to a discussion], and it resonates with too many people who WANT to keep their racism alive and kicking.

But that attitude turns reality on its head — It’s not pointing out racism that devalues people; it is denying it while practicing it that devalues people.

To point to one successful POC, or several, or even a great many, and say they disprove that systemic racism exists is so flawed an argument, but people who don’t analyze reality are prey to that illogic.

They see it as like a single horse in a race that can, by it’s own effort, run to the head of the field and win, so there’s nothing keeping all the rest from winning except their own unwillingness or inability to get the job done.

But the problem with systemic racism is not about any single member of the group. It’s not a statistic that applies to any ONE individual at all, because that is not how statistics and averages and demographic patterns work. It’s about hobbling an entire group, historically, systemically, and continuously, over many generations. DENYING THEM A CHANCE TO EVEN COMPETE. And it is measured by how well that group is now doing, and what patterns {individual and systemic} of behavior are at work still. And don’t kid yourselves — POC feeling like they are stuck and don’t have choices is not just because, today, they are being called victims and told that racism holds them back.

They too often feel stuck because they have gotten the systemic message for generations that their people are second rate and deficient. And they’ve been de facto and de jure excluded from many benefits of being US citizens. They don’t always buy into the myth of inferiority, and I applaud that, but it’s still hard to shake off the feeling of not measuring up when you are out and about and trying to live your life, and all around, you are devalued and disrespected and left out. And it’s tougher when your entire demographic has been economically sidelined, so some are successful, sure, but, more struggle day to day on a smaller slice of the national pie.

Don’t tell me it’s up to individuals to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. It’s up to all of us to stop standing on other people’s bootstraps.

You can SEE the racism in regard to individuals. Even Nikki Haley and Tim Scott talk about their experiences of it, and tout their ability to rise above it. And you can try to deny it is systemic because they succeeded. But that does not disprove SYSTEMIC racism. It just proves that resilient and talented POC can still make it, even though they are swimming up-river in our system.

Looking at the demographic is where one sees the SYSTEMIC racism — seeing how our culture in practice, and often by law, has disadvantaged the whole population of POC vis-a-vis white citizens. Seeing how their entire demographic is disadvantaged by systemic racism is clear and apparent.

But how do you get people to see that, to NOT embrace it and allow it, to NOT feel personally guilty for it but still feel personally responsible to help end it … ?

Education. That’s how.

And the racists are attacking education right where it could take hold — little by little, kid by kid, in schools where we SHOULD be telling our kids the truth, so they don’t need a long discussion or lecture when they get older — they’ve already learned our real history and understand it.

Egad. Oy, vey.

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I see the great success of certain individuals of certain races in various fields as showing how certain strong-willed individuals can overcome odds & rise to the top of their fields, & how, given an even playing field, a lot more people can excel in the fields of their choice. Systemic racism keeps down a lot of Americans who otherwise could rise to positions whence they could contribute a lot more to the economy & society.

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founding

Thank you for that! It is so true. When those that want to keep us divided (wealthy & powerful few at the top who benefit from our division like in Hunger games) saw the coalition that elected President Obama, and then saw the protests following the death of George Floyd (where whites outnumbered blacks) and when young white kids took to social media to call out their parent's racism!!! They had had enough and realized they had to try and stop this swell of solidarity. Some is education (so yes they are attaching it), but the rest is due to the selflessness of the younger generation, who has grown up with POC, LGBTQ, various religions, and various cultures. They have real relationships with different groups of people. They can't be swayed by the news that disproportionately shows crime as a black problem, or the misinformation about POC, LGBTQ, etc., because they know and love people from all walks of life and they are in solidarity with one another. In addition, the wealth gap (inequality) is affecting more and more white ppl that used to have an edge. Profit/greed driving actions like outsourced jobs, automation (technology), etc. are putting more and more of us in the same boat. Again, young folks are not falling for the divisive messages like "blaming immigrants", that can't employ themselves and who are taking jobs most of us would rather not have. They know who the culprit i,s as demonstrated by "occupy wall street", and the current uptick in union activity/worker empowerment. They saw what Titans of Industry gave their parents in exchange for loyalty... diddly-squat! Those that want wealth and power at our expense, see this too. That is why more policy is being passed to cripple power in large/diverse cities... voting power, political power, financial power. That is why they are using super majorities to pass legislation that the MAJORITY disproves of- Minority Rule. That is why they are all in on voter suppression, gerrymandering, deregulation, unlimited money in government, creating division and chaos via culture wars and giving everyone access to guns to protect them from their perceived enemy. They want to retain their wealth/power by any means necessary... the rest of us be damned! Create a structure that supports minority rule and cripple/disable the mechanisms that could be used to overcome minority rule.

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Sadly, that is a clear picture, too.

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Why are we seeing those “text me” messages that look like notes from Prof. Reich. I’m always quite leery of such things!!

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301is western MD, I don't intend to text

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A Solution: The lessons on inequity we have all heard and been taught, those same historical lessons which are now being attacked by the mainstream right, no longer far right, must be continually taught. But what is truly missing is the lessons of inequality are the lessons of equality. Equality 101. Has anyone every had a class on the unity or Oneness of us or everything. Some might think it Eastern philosophy or mistic, but sadly therein lies the flaw in us all. We are taught to measure and divide everything rather than being taught the opposite, the true equitable nature of all things.

We are what we are taught. If we are taught to measure and divide everything, then that is what we are. On the other hand, if we were taught the truth, our universe including ourselves would be seen as One, and those false divisions would desolve into simply the truth. "Free at last".

It is that simple. Equality not inequity is the lesson we need most. =

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founding

There is another lesson that would facilitate equality. That is the lesson of selflessness= loving thy neighbor as thyself= doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

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Also Get rid of Elon Musk! He's a racist too!

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I think racism is the second main reason there is economic inequality. It's the old South and the Right wanting to bring back slavery.

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Horrific and residual, yes. But, professor, I think that the use of the word "shameful" plays into the hands of those who would use your language to accuse you of heaping shame upon the living, especially poor innocent school children, for the sins of the dead. I know you understand propaganda tactics. Your voice is a megaphone for truth. Thank you.

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Paul: Yes -- it's pretty damn shameful when the word "shame" cannot be used when it is the appropriate word. How many words will we have to ban from our vocabulary when they have been misappropriated by the far-right faction of society? How many words can we now use because they are acceptable to that same group? I give you the n-word as just one example. Interesting how the discussion has inadvertently veered into a realm of descriptive linguistics that proves its contemporary relevance.

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I’m so glad I found you. I have understood a lot more at 71 than I did at 20. Thank you for your lessons. I’ve shared two with family.

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Interesting and informative And thoughtful Opinions based on carefully researched material.

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Very enlightening. I'm happy to have embraced Liberal Progressiveness my entire life. This class reinforced my personal beliefs

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