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Pick Your Numbers – Pick Your Focus – Don’t Panic

Pick Your Numbers – Pick Your Focus – Don’t Panic

Dave Derosier

I recently wrote about Ethnic Thoughts, where I shared some of my own feelings about prejudice and discrimination today. In the end I referenced a situation where five Democrat lawmakers from the US Congress had accused the COVID-19 virus of being racist.

The basis for their accusations were statistics about how the African American and Latino communities had statically more cases of and deaths from COVID-19, more in relation to their share of the population.


Based on numbers from the CDC website, as of April 28th 2020, the African American population represented 13% of the population in USA. On that same date, African Americans represented 21% of the COVID-19 deaths in the USA. That’s a 70% bigger share of COVID deaths than of the population. More racism!!!

This became a hot point for the media and rapidly spread through the country – like the coronavirus itself. It was all because of racism – perpetrated by the white community over centuries and that’s what has caused all the hardship on these protected classes of people in our country.

As noted in a previous article, I am neither African American nor Latino. As a result, perhaps I have no right to criticize the use of the race card when it comes to COVID-19.

NOT SO! I am a senior citizen. That puts me in a special class when it comes to COVID-19. Why? Because, from the same CDC website statistics, on the same date, 80% of the COVID-19 deaths were to people aged 65 and older.

I’ll tell you what, when 80% of the deaths are to people over 65 and only 21% of the deaths were to people in the African American community – I think any discrimination is against seniors a lot more than it is people of color. But who can seniors blame? God? Mother Nature? The Devil?

This is a great illustration of how “Figures don’t lie, but liars do figure.”


The CDC website mortality tables referenced above show the number of recorded deaths from COVID-19 as of 4-28-2020.

The age group from birth through 24 years old indicates less than 50 deaths…out of tens-of- thousands! That is a miniscule number. It doesn’t mean that age group doesn’t catch the virus, only that it doesn’t kill them (statistically).  So why are all the schools closed????

If we take the total deaths (USA) from the virus and subtract those age 65+; and we then remove those who are under age 25 because the number of deaths is miniscule, we are left with a population group from age 25 through 64, and that represents only 20% of the deaths from the virus.

When we are talking about re-opening the economy, we should be looking to isolate, one way or another, the most vulnerable people – those 65+ (80% of the deaths). We should not be overly concerned with the school-age kids (all the way through grad school) because even if they get sick from the virus they recover.


The most important portion of the population to focus on is the 25 to 64 age group. Those are the people to be tested. When tested they could fall into four classes:

  • They have underlying/pre-existing medical problems that put them at high risk;
  • They have no signs of COVID-19;
  • They have the disease currently, with or without symptoms, and are contagious;
  • They have already had the virus and have antibodies to protect themselves,

Once tested, let’s get back to productivity, without a doubt:

  • Place Class 1 people under the same umbrella as the protected seniors;
  • Class 2 needs to take preventative measures (masks, social distancing, etc.) and continued testing until/unless they move on to either Class 3, but in the meantime, they should be able to return to productivity;
  • Isolate Class 3 until they progress to Class 4 with antibodies;
  • And send Class 4 back to work.

With that strategy, the economy will start to regenerate, some people will still get sick, but almost all of them will get over it, and we are protecting the most vulnerable people – who are 65+ or have medical problems that put them at high risk.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?


I guess it’s all in how you pick your numbers as to how the focus goes. Instead of choosing the numbers to pass the blame, let’s encourage our leaders to choose numbers that help us to move forward and do what Americans have always done – meet and beat the challenge.

Please go and tell your elected leaders at all levels how you want them to lead us forward in the face of the COVID-19 challenge. It’s up to you to influence the leaders to do the right thing.

[The CDC website for the data in this article is https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/index.htm.  It is regularly updated by the CDC and the numbers may have changed since May 1st 2020.]

J David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info

This article was first published in The Orange Leader on May 6th 2020.

Ethnic thoughts

Ethnic thoughts

Dave Derosier

Some of my earlier opinion pieces may have given you a few ideas about how I think. Maybe some of you have even developed a mental image of me. Let me give you a few more tidbits about me as a person, and then identify one of my hot-buttons for you to ponder.

I live in Texas, but I’m from New England. In between I have lived in Europe and Canada. I have worked or just visited all 50 states and 49 countries. I was born in Rhode Island, the smallest state; and I’ll die in Texas, the largest state (or will be when global warming melts the ice in Alaska).

Both of my grandfathers were of French Canadian descent (Canucks). My maternal grandmother immigrated from Salt Hill, a small town next to Galway in Ireland. I never knew my dad’s mother, nor was she spoken of.

My wife’s mother was a Cajun. The Cajun French came from Nova Scotia (means “New Scotland”) in the late 1700s when they were deported by the British. Most ended up in Louisiana. In contrast, the Canuck French migrated from La Nouvelle France (primarily today’s Quebec) to New England for economic reasons.

My wife’s dad was from a Danish family living in Birmingham. I remember meeting her dad’s mother there once, she was a true “Southern Lady”. Once, while in Denmark, I looked up her family name in the phone book…and there were three pages of them.
I grew up in Rhode Island. Most of my friends were either Italian or Portuguese. When I say that, I mean that’s the language that their parents spoke – as immigrants.

Most of the Italians came from Sicily, in the south. The Casa Nostra (Mafia) was an integral part of the Rhode Island culture. The Portuguese came from the Azores off the coast of Africa (“Black Portuguese) or from the mainland (White Portuguese).

Immigrants tended to live in their own ethnic communities. Even today, many parts of New England have their ethnic equivalents of Boston’s Italian North End or the South Boston Irish.

So, here I was, growing up through high school with a French-Canadian name and strong Irish heritage, living alongside Italians and Portuguese.

Did I learn new, non-English, words and expressions? Yes. Did I learn to make judgements about people because of their heritage? Yes. Is that natural to do? Yes. For example, to this day I still associate Italian with the Mafia. I still associate being Irish with beer and hot tempers (and maybe red hair).

After high school I went away to college, Boston College in Chestnut Hill, about 40 miles from home. Ever heard of BC? It’s probably the 2nd best known Irish Catholic university in the US, following Notre Dame. It’s run by the Jesuits and sits smack dab in the middle of a well-established Jewish area of Boston. I learned a lot more non-English words and sayings from our Jewish neighbors.

Throughout my early years, ethnic influences have permeated my life. I’ll bet they have yours too.

Did I make ethnic judgements? Yes. Do I think those judgements are still valid today? Some.

A while back I wrote about Hypocrisy in the Anti-Discrimination rules in this country. In that article I defined a few words for clarification of my thoughts:
Stereotypes are oversimplified ideas about groups of people.
Prejudice refers to the beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and attitudes someone holds about a group.
Racism is a type of prejudice used to justify the belief that one racial category is somehow superior or inferior to others
Discrimination consists of actions towards a group of people. Keyword here is action.

Sticking just to ethnic judgements for the time being, let me tell you how my early life relates to these four words.

STEREOTYPES: Yes, I have cultivated ethnic stereotypes, I’ve already talked about some of these, like the Italians and the Irish.

PREJUDICE: This is prejudging a group based on stereotypes. Yup, I have a tendency to still do that on occasion.

RACISM: No, I do not look at ethnic groups as being superior or inferior to others. After decades of international business and living, in order to be successful, one had to live by, “It’s not better or worse, It’s different.”

DISCRIMINATION: No, I do not discriminate against groups. Yes, I DO discriminate between individuals, based on my knowledge of them. I suppose you could say I put people into groupings such as friends, acquaintances, not-friends, and unknowns; and I discriminate by treating them accordingly.

I have two good friends named Debra. Both are women. One is black and one is white. One is active in the bigger public community, the other is not. One is white collar; one is blue collar. They each have lots of differing attributes.

When I think about either of them, I think of her as an individual, as a friend. I do not think of her as a black friend or a blue-collar friend, or any other of her attributes. And, just for the record, I use the word “her” out of respect for her gender, not as a sexist thing.

I’m so sick and tired of all the polarizing that is going on today, especially how easy it is to refer to enemies as being racist – in what I hear (broadcast as well as discussions), in what I read (newspapers and the internet), and in what I see happening especially in the government. Just last month, five Democrat lawmakers even accused the COVID-19 virus of being racist.

Anyone out there have any ideas on how get the rhetoric down to what’s right? And stop blaming the “other side” for what’s wrong? There is no reason to have winners and losers.

Throw the race-card out and let’s all just treat people as individuals, as equals, and search for win-win solutions instead of trying to pick winners and losers based on ethnicity.


J. David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info

This article was first published in The Orange Leader on April 22nd 2020.

Do anti-discrimination laws have it wrong?

Do anti-discrimination laws have it wrong?

Dave Derosier

A few days after this article gets published, I will have another birthday. This is a major birthday. I suppose it could be compared with going through a change of life, but then, that it would be sexist to say that.

Think about it. According to most definitions, being sexist is discriminating against females. And discrimination, by definition, is bad – right?

Somehow in my aging mind, I don’t think that comparing my state of mind to something that a person of another gender might be going through is inherently bad. It’s merely recognizing a unique characteristic of that other gender (assuming there are only two) and respecting it.

Actually, if you go to most dictionaries, you will find a second meaning for discrimination. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it is “the ability to judge the quality of something based on its difference from other, similar things.”

I guess the English language can be real confusing, eh?

I think our anti-discrimination laws have gotten it wrong. They define protected classes, whose members are protected from any kind of negativity.

Most folks have heard of the phrase “all men are created equal”, as written in the second paragraph of the American Declaration of Independence. Being right at the top usually means its real important.

Why not protect ALL classes of people? Why do some need to be protected while others have to fend for themselves? Sounds like discrimination to me.

How did we get here just by talking about having a major birthday? ‘Cause it got me thinking, which is not always a good thing.

Let’s take a look at three current items in the news – and maybe you can ponder whether there is discrimination involved, or whether everyone is created equal, or whatever.

Democratic Candidates

In their regular course of qualifying candidates for the 2020 nomination for office of President of the United States, the Democrats have had 29 candidates, at least 7 considered persons of color. Fourteen candidates have dropped out and 15 remain.

Prior to starting the process, the party set rules for qualifying candidates for the big national debates. The qualifications were based on the candidates demonstrated support -number of donors and public polling numbers. Only seven of the remaining 15 candidates currently have enough support to meet the qualifications for the debates. Only one of these is a person of color.

So, out of 29 potentials, only 7 have enough public support to make the cutoff. Even worse, 6 of the 22 candidate that didn’t qualify were persons of color. Whose fault was that?  The losers, who did not get enough public support, are calling this discrimination. Calling it racist!

What ever happened to treating all people equal? Does being in a protected class mean you don’t have to live by the same rules as the others?

Conflict of Interest

The House of Representatives has passed articles of impeachment against President Trump. One of the charges against him is that he involved a foreign government (Ukraine) in supporting him against a political rival – Joe Biden. The issue of whether or not an inquiry by a foreign official for potential corruption in his own country by an American was justified on its own merits does not count; as a political rival, it appears that Joe Biden is in a protected class and not to be treated equally.

Mueller Investigation

The Special Counsel investigation was an investigation of suspicious links between Trump associates and Russian officials, and Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Obviously, it is a no-no for there to be intergovernmental involvement in foreign elections.

In February of this year, NY Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke for 45 minutes on the phone with Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK Labour Party. No transcript of the call seems to have been prepared, however Mr. Corbyn tweeted afterwards, “Let’s build a movement across borders to take on the billionaires, polluters and migrant baiters, and support a happier, freer and cleaner planet.”

In April, they had conversation on Facebook. And this month, just prior to the UK elections, she tweeted, “The hoarding of wealth by the few is coming at the cost of peoples’ lives. The only way we change is with a massive surge of *new* voters at the polls. UK, Vote!”

Perhaps as a woman of color and a Democrat, AOC is in a double-protected class and intergovernmental foreign involvement is OK?

What do you think?

Can you see a distinction between the two definitions of Discrimination? Personally, I just can’t get over the feeling that if we only treated everyone equally, we would be much better off. The good news is, if you agree, you don’t need new laws, just do it.

It’s so much fun getting older.

Merry Christmas to all

David Derosier consults with small business on planning and marketing issues, and provides web design and hosting services through OhainWEB.com, an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau that is rated A+ by BBB. He can be reached at JDAVID@Strategy-Planning.info

This article was first published in The Orange Leader on December 18th 2019.