My Story of Being Misidentified as a Romanian Gypsy
When my eldest brother died and my family was tasked with the responsibility to bury him, my family had become pigeonholed by a stereotype. The people at the funeral home who were handling my brother’s arrangements, Brenna-Cellini funeral chapel, though we were part of an extraordinary group known as Rom Gypsies for perhaps what was due to the owner’s perception regarding my family’s “unconventional lifestyle.” I was 29 years old at the time of my brother’s sudden and unexpected death, but the administrators at the funeral home would draw a conclusion, an opinion based on a stereotype of personality trait found in my father’s personality profile. My father had a tendency to flatter, cajole, and charm the ladies, an obvious strategy many people use to influence others and win their approval. If perceived as shallow and transparent these personalities may be perceived as “lickspittles,” characters found in Dostoevsky’s novels who were represented as scoundrels, rascals, the unvirtuous, dishonest toady.
“The devil take it all! And what need was there for it? And what was the particular necessity that admitted of no delay! My goodness! The devil has made a mess of it! Besides, he has such a character, too, he’s of such a playful, horrid disposition — he’s such a scoundrel, he’s such a nimble fellow! He’s such a toady! Such a lickspittle! He’s such a Golyadkin! (Dostoevsky, 1846)”
Interestingly, many different people utilize the strategy of flattery, but when it is empty and transparent, they descend into stereotypical Evil. When it is genuine and true, they are perceived as Angelic, honest, virtuous, mild-mannered, free from malice. Interestingly, many utilizing the strategy of flattery, and many are very commonly found in roles of leadership, both in politics and business, but because my father came from the lower-middle-class subdivision, and being an uneducated man, he was perceived as a toady Rom Gypsy, an Evil character out of one of Dostoevsky’s novels. “The Rom are not known for their leadership qualities . . . a drawback to Gypsy leadership is it tends to be fragmented (Zellner, 2001, pp. 127).”
Our group misidentification may have been based on a variety of character traits such as “these dark-skinned strangers, indifferent to the rest of the world, mysterious in their comings and goings, traveling the open roads . . . their life of perpetual insecurity . . . due, no doubt, to their economic and occupational handicaps . . . met by hostility and discrimination . . . several writers have noticed that Gypsies tend to become obese as they age (Zellner, 2001, p 98–139).”
After these Gypsies immigrated from Romania to the United States during the 1880s, many were met with financial crisis and the new challenges of assimilating into a culture that didn’t understand nor embrace their ideologies and rituals. They were confronted with obstacles. In opposition to this lower class, poor, uneducated “unconventional lifestyle,” there is the phenomenon of the “successful psychopath.” The snake in a business suit, a Jeffrey Epstein. While there may be differences in social class and class refinements, personality can be found in all classes, races, and ethnicities, genders, and cultures. For me, as a student of psychoanalysis, it reduces down to this one point. Personality and identity. What makes one person like my father different from say a Bernard Madoff or Jeffrey Epstein? Social position and the person’s level of intelligence and level of education.
The growing financial crisis and new dimensions of cyber misbehavior like the recent billions of dollars cryptocurrency theft, white-collar crime, and criminals like the Enron scandal and the case of Bernard Madoff have caused a growing interest in identifying relevant characteristics and personality traits that promote problematic decision-making processes of employees and problematic workplace behavior. “Researchers and clinicians have claimed that people with specific undesirable characteristics related to the Dark Triad achieve higher positions more often than others (Babiak & Hare, 2006).” Thus, the phenomenon of the successful psychopath in the workplace has been postulated (Lykken, 1995). Jonason et al. (2012) examined different leadership skills used by employees with high levels of the Dark Triad and found that high levels of these traits lead to hard, aggressive, and forceful tactics of social influence. The conclusion drawn by the researchers said it seemed that employees holding such Dark Triad traits do not respect or consider any boundaries in order to achieve their aims and could therefore be relatively successful in some occupational areas. With the rising level of cyber thefts, the latest ways of stealing identity and money, combined with the quickly advancing field of technology, a new level of crime is unfolding around us.
To me, the lack of moral judgment and Dark Triad traits that do not respect boundaries are similar to a parent’s “tough love” approach where the ends satisfy the means. Do people in possession of Dark Triad traits believe in a “tough love” approach to their management style? Is this “tough love” suppose to “help” the employee reach his or her fullest potential? I don’t think so. I think “tough love” is a term used to justify violence, hate, and a “the end justifies the means” approach that violates personal boundaries, the likes of which promote actions we most recently observed in the storming of the U.S. Capitol. Unsurprisingly, many of the Trumpsters that stormed the U.S. Capitol probably practice techniques of “tough love” on their kids. Questions of moral judgment competence come to light. Moral judgment competence is a person’s capability to decide and behave according to moral ideals. Kihlberg’s (1964) theory describes that cognitive and affective mechanisms of moral judgment competence cannot be separated, although they are distinguishable from each other. The affective component captures the affection for moral principles and ideals, the cognitive aspect of the model describes the ability to reason and act according to these ideals and principles (Lind, 1985). “An adequate measurement of moral competence should assess both the affective and the cognitive mechanisms and should be sensitive to positive changes as a function of moral learning and intervention or to downward changes as a function of competence erosion (Lind, 2002).”
Similarly, we can look toward the phenomenon of electromagnetic frequency torture and assaults as reported by the Targeted Individual and look to the answers from questions, “To what causes do we owe the manifestation of such phenomenon?” And, “To who does the responsibility belong to ensure that certain principles and ideals are properly being followed within the laws of the United States?” “Does this phenomenon significantly deviate from the ideas and principles put forth in the U.S. Constitution?” “Is this phenomenon resulting from legal, quasi-legal, or illegal “business” activities?” I believe the answers to some of these questions belong to the examination between the relationship of Dark Triad personality traits like psychopathy or narcissism and moral judgment capabilities (Amernic & Craig, 2010; Cleckley, 1941; Galperin, Bennett, & Aquino, 2010; Hare, 1999).
How does an extraordinary minority group’s quasi-legal and illegal “business” activities different from white-collar criminals quasi-legal and illegal “business” activities? In the paper The Relationships Between the Dark Triad, the Moral Judgment Level, and the Students’ Disciplinary Choice: Self-Selection, Indoctrination, or Both? The researchers cited works that pointed to the fact that “before someone is able to pursue a successful career in the economic occupational area, the person usually has to go through the business and management education system. Therefore, there has been growing criticism concerning the academic business and management education system because it has “obviously failed to instill in their students the ethical values and norms that would have helped them to conduct their professional activity with a due sense of responsibility” (Elegido, 2009, p. 16). Likewise, when one is born, they are born into a family that may or may not promote moral judgment competency. A solution to indoctrinating young students to moral judgment competency has been found through the selection of religious pursuits and the study of religious virtues and values in religious-based educational systems, although this was not a factor in the scope of the paper’s research study.
Wilson and McCarthy (2011) analyzed the relationship between university students’ major and psychopathy and found that students majoring in economics had higher levels of psychopathy than students from other areas. The authors conclude that economics might attract students with higher levels of psychopathy because of the possibility of achieving powerful positions in the future (the so-called self-selection hypothesis). An alternative explanation is provided by proponents of the so-called indoctrination hypothesis which proposes that unethical, selfish, and immoral behaviors are more prevalent among business and management students because of the academic training received at the university (Elegido, 2009). For example, Davis (1987) reported that nonbusiness students experience significant moral growth during their years in college, while business students did not become morally more competent or even regressed.
It is important to note that gender plays a significant role in Dark Triad traits because women usually have lower scores regarding this personality constellation than men.
The aim of the paper’s study was to examine the relationships between the Dark Triad, moral judgment competence, and the students’ major subject as well as their amount of studying experience (novice vs. advanced). “The results show that after controlling for social desirability business and management students score higher in Dark Triad traits than students of other subject areas but both student groups did not differ in their moral judgment competence.”
“With regard to the Dark Triad, the self-selection hypothesis could be supported because previous studies have suggested that business and management students with comparatively higher levels of Dark Triad traits may be attracted by the opportunity of potentially powerful positions in the business world (Elegido, 2009).”
In addition, “the findings of the present study are in line with a previous study published by Wilson and McCarthy (2011) who pointed out that students majoring in commerce have higher psychopathy scores than students of other areas.” As far as narcissism is concerned, the present results are also in accordance with those of previous studies that have investigated the role of narcissism in the entrepreneurial personality (Mathieu & St-Jean, 2013). “Studies about the relevance of Machiavellianism in the economic and occupational system revealed that this personality trait is associated with abusive behaviors at the workplace (Kiazad, Restubog, Zagenczyk, Kiewitz, & Tang, 2010) a focus on power and manipulativeness (Kessler et al., 2010), and reduced commitment toward colleagues and employers (Zettler, Friedrich, & Hilbig, 2011).” And as Cleckly (1941) asserted certain psychopathic traits are conductive to managerial functions.
Another key point of this research study found no evidence that those in possession of Dark Triad traits (beginners and advanced students) were more likely to increase in their Dark Triad traits. That is to say, the level of psychopathy for managers rather represents what existed before the course of studies began and course of study nor occupational career boosted the level of Dark Triad traits. In addition to the concern regarding moral judgment competency, this research study could confirm neither, self-selection nor the indoctrination hypothesis. In other words, even if business and management students have higher levels of Dark Triad traits, they do not necessarily differ in their moral judgment competence. With regard to the relationship between psychopathy and decision-making in moral dilemmata, previous research yielded somewhat contradictory results with some studies reporting that psychopathy leads to a utilitarian bias in moral judgment processes (e.g., Bartels & Pizarro, 2011), whereas other studies have shown that there is no negative influence of psychopathy on moral decision-making capacities (e.g., Cima et al., 2010). Other research findings indicate that higher levels of psychopathic traits — particularly if associated with affective deficits — were related to a greater proportion of utilitarian responses only if the moral dilemma tasks included questions targeting a choice of hypothetical action (e.g., “Would you . . . in order to . . . ?) instead of questions which focus on abstract judgments only (e.g., “Is it acceptable to . . . in order to . . . ?), higher psychopathic traits influence the moral choice but not necessarily the moral judgment (Tassy, Deruelle, Mancini, Leistedt, & Wicher, 2013)
With regard to these findings, it can be hypothesized the phenomenon of the Targeted Individual is most probably due to some groups “business dealings” as there exists the opportunity or potential for gaining power and position over the targeted individual either in the form of economic resources (e.g., property rights) or material/consumer goods (e.g., access to commodities and consumer goods, by utilizing advancing new technologies) or it is the result of a criminal group who is interested in controlling and micromanaging a “territory” or the “territory of a single human body”, most likely in the pursuit of this group’s or individual’s resources. A form of targeting and “grooming” through manipulating individuals in the interest of controlling the sexual economy of a person’s body (e.g., sex and the female body) has been observed on college campuses (see Van Brunt, Murphy, Pescara-Kovach, & Crance, G., 2019).
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