Sep 16, 2021

Over the past several weeks, I have participated as a guest on a number of podcasts. I find this in to be a very interesting and effective way to reach people especially in these times of restrictions due to Covid. These podcasts allow discussions on various topics that could be of interest to a large number of people from various parts of the country.

The first one I did was for a podcast called “Determine Our Future”. We talked primarily about bullying in schools, and specifically about how school bullying can be racially motivated. I was able to provide many examples of racially motivated bullying that I had to deal with during my school years. We also discussed the fact that there are many other reasons that can prompt a bully to torment other children at schools.

The next one I did was for a podcast called “Puberty Prof”. This podcast focuses on discussions primarily for parents about various issues impacting teenagers. Here we talked about bullying and mental health, and the fact that many teens do not want to open up and discuss their mental health issues with their parents. Following many of my speeches at schools, I often received emails from teenagers who shared their mental health issues that they felt uncomfortable in sharing with their parents. We felt this was a very good discussion for any parents with young children.

The last one I did was for a podcast called “Anxiety Asset”. The focus here was on various anxiety disorders and specifically on the fact that anxiety disorders can also be an asset, especially if it can be kept under reasonable control. I found this very interesting – trying to look at the positive aspects of a mental health disorder.

I look forward to participating in more similar podcasts in the near future, with the possibility of communicating my messages to various different groups of people.

Sep 10, 2021

In my latest book titled “Minority viewpoint – my experience, as a person of color, with the American Justice System”, I have included discussions about the fact that people of color are at times not treated fairly in various situations. Some of those discussions are as follows:

I believe, albeit speculation, that some of the small town police were quicker to judge me poorly because of my race and color. Even the judge up north herself – who unlike the MN Court of Appeals judges attributed no fault at all to the hotel employee – might have been influenced by my race, color and ethnicity. 

The fate of being treated as different doesn’t appear to change over time. It seems to remain a heavy burden which we minority people must carry – in both big ways and small ways – day in and day out. Though I did not prevail in court, I am grateful that I was able to show everyone that there are folks who will stand up and fight for their rights honestly and ethically! Hopefully the hotel employee never again will commit such a similar kind of act.

The point of this lawsuit was to teach someone a lesson. Let us hope that the lesson was learned. I hope that my story will motivate others to fight for their rights as well.

Along with the blame on my defamer, the hotel employee, I am also tremendously ashamed of the person(s) in charge of running the Country Inn Hotel in Deerwood, Minnesota at the time of this lawsuit. And they too ought to be tremendously ashamed of themselves!!!

Sep 03, 2021

Whenever I speak to adults around the country about bullying and mental health, one of things I try to point out is that all adults and specifically parents have a significant role in eradicating bullying from schools.

First of all, parents really need to understand the possible devastating impact bullying can have on a person’s life. And then, it is very important for them not to downplay the impact being felt by their children. It is not appropriate to tell the children (who are being bullied) that “these things happen”, or “we just need to learn to accept it”, or “we need to learn to fight back”, or “just suck it up”, etc, etc. Instead it is very important for the kids to know that their parents totally understand what they are going through and are trying their best to support them.

The next thing they need to do is to try and work with the school staff to make sure the school is doing their utmost to stop this. Most schools these days have put together systems and processes to try to eliminate bullying. So parents should not hesitate at all to go to the school staff and tell them about what’s happening and ask them to try and stop the bullying. Most schools will likely cooperate and do their best to improve the situation.

Parents of children who are doing the bullying, also have a significant responsibility in this matter. If they find out (primarily from schools) that their child is acting out as a bully in the school, they should not just ignore the matter. They also should not just punish the child. In most cases the bully child is likely dealing with some other difficult issues in his or her own life and is acting out as a bully in school. It is necessary to talk to the child in a supportive manner to try and figure out what’s going on with him or her. And often, it might be very useful to get the child to see a therapist.

In summary, parents have a significant role in minimizing bullying in schools and they must do their part.

Aug 26, 2021

In my latest book titled “Minority viewpoint – my experience, as a person of color, with the American Justice System”, I have included discussions about the fact that people of color are at times not treated fairly in various situations. Some of those discussions are as follows:

Although it is all too often staring us in the face, we never like to focus on the issue of race and its possible role in such negative situations as the one in my true story. As mentioned in Chapter One, my status as a dark skinned ethnic minority has haunted me throughout the course of my life. With the epidemic of racism still rampant across America as of 2020, I know that stories like mine are far too commonplace.

Though I have no concrete proof to say that my race/color was a factor in the hotel employee’s mind, I certainly harbor my personal opinion that it played a role in her vindictive behavior. It doesn’t stretch the imagination to presume that the employee might have felt especially irked that a man of color had the gall to demand respect from her at the pool and then later to criticize her job performance in great detail to her employer. Clearly, her apparent dislike for me upon our very first interactions supports the idea that my race/color was a factor.

Though it may qualify as speculation, I do not feel I would have been treated nearly as poorly by this employee had I been white, as she was. One merely needs to look at her dislike upon first glimpse of me, her unprovoked rudeness, her questioning of the kids (instead of asking me as the paying adult guest), her behavior at the pool and then her false report months later to the Deerwood police. I felt treated as a second class citizen by her, right from the start and throughout. Common sense leads me to believe that she does not treat most other guests in these ways!

Aug 19, 2021

My book titled “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer” describes a true story in order to provide useful guidance for both employees and employers. The main message is that a workplace can and should be peaceful and positive.

Bullying and harassment in a workplace simply cannot be tolerated. Any organization (large or small) hiring employees to work on their products and/or services, is responsible for providing a reasonable environment for the employee to do his or her job. In fact, it is important for the organization to provide an environment that is peaceful, positive and rewarding.

Everyone agrees that employees must receive appropriate feedback if their performance is not satisfactory. But the feedback does not have to be in the form of bullying and harassment. Any organization hiring employees must set up an appropriate performance management process. Even a small organization can set up a simple process that allows evaluating an employee’s performance and providing appropriate feedback with a development plan if needed. A process like that will allow the company to terminate an employee if performance does not improve over time. Employees typically cannot complain if they are aware that a process was followed. However, if a process does not exist, then it can lead to bullying and harassment.

Similarly supervision of employees is a critical task, but this too must not involve bullying and harassment. Most employees work better if directions and advice are given in a positive and encouraging manner. If employees do not respond to positive supervision, then the performance management process must be utilized. But there is no need of using bullying and harassing tactics.

Aug 12, 2021

The purpose of my book titled “Father Figure – my mission to prevent child sexual abuse”, is to tell a captivating true account story that provides a lot of information to parents, children, caregivers, and to the general public that is not always readily available and that will be helpful in preventing child sexual abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse is an extremely serious problem in the United States. It is clear that we must do everything we possibly can to prevent child sexual abuse and protect children who are dependent on others for their protection. It is also clear that parents and day-to-day caregivers have a lot of responsibility in this regard. However, we cannot eliminate this problem if we don’t look at what every one of us can do in addressing this serious issue.

The purpose of this book is to point out that in addition to the parents and the caregivers, even an ordinary bystander can and should take a proactive role to minimize and/or eliminate the risks of potential child sexual abuse. The purpose of this book is also to demonstrate how we can work with our existing systems in preventing risks of potential child sexual abuse. Even one single episode of child sexual abuse can scar the person for the rest of his/her life.

We must always try to get involved and prevent possible sexual abuse, even if it seems personally difficult and inconvenient to do so (what every ordinary citizen can and should do to protect vulnerable children in the community). Every child deserves that utmost protection and all adults should be ready to help whenever possible.

Aug 06, 2021

My book published in Dec 2020 titled “Minority Viewpoint – my experience, as a person of color, with the American Justice System” describes my experiences (along with my comments and opinions) about interactions with and observations of various components of the justice system such as police officers, lawyers, law firms, judges, and the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board (LPRB). Here are some of the questions that truly puzzled me:

  • How do lawyers get evaluated for how they performed in a specific case? How does a law firm evaluate one of their lawyers? Can a firm truly evaluate a lawyer’s performance without any feedback from the client?
  • What really is the role of a Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board? Is the board supposed to try and understand a client’s issues or is the board there basically to defend a lawyer? Isn’t it important for the Board to make sure clients feel somewhat satisfied with the Board’s evaluation of a complaint?
  • Isn’t it critical that police officers take utmost care when talking to one individual about another individual? Do they understand that what they say about someone can be misunderstood or misinterpreted possibly causing significant issues?

Probably the most concerning are the issues and situations described specifically about interactions with the legal community. What I experienced here with the legal community is something that likely happens every day all over this country. That is why it is not surprising why the general public often express negative opinions about lawyers and law firms. Why is it that the legal community of lawyers, law firms and boards are okay with this negative image of lawyers? Why are they okay with being known as one of the most untrustworthy professions in the country? Specifically, why are the “professional responsibility” boards across the country okay with this image of the profession?

Jul 30, 2021

My latest book titled “Minority Viewpoint – my experience, as a person of color, with the American Justice System”, describes an actual defamation case and how it got started and what happened and everything learned that can be extremely helpful to many average Americans. The story includes several different matters that bring up questions about where things are in terms of our justice system. The book describes the author’s experiences (along with his comments and opinions) about interactions with and observations of hotel employees/managers, police officers, lawyers, law firms, judges, and the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board (LPRB).

It all got started when I submitted a complaint to a hotel regarding what I considered to be unprofessional conduct on the part of an employee of the hotel. I have worked for hotels before and I am aware that hotels are typically extremely concerned about customer satisfaction – a guest is always encouraged to bring up any issues to the hotel management. So the question is: does the hotel management do anything about a complaint or just ignore it? Most hotels, I believe, take any complaints seriously and follow up on it and make appropriate recommendations, if necessary. However, in this story, it appears that a complaint to the hotel manager might have been the thing that got everything started.

This hotel employee eventually complained to the police against me most likely because of the complaint I put in against her. It would not have bothered me a lot if she had complained about any valid concerns, but she had included some untrue statements (as per the police report) and that cannot be acceptable. However, is there anything one can do to fight back against this? Well, that is the key issue in this latest book.

Jul 22, 2021

In my latest book “Minority Viewpoint – my experience, as a person of color, with the American Justice System” I talk about my utmost surprise at the way my lawyer and his firm viewed the summary judgment loss. They did not want to take any responsibility at all – instead they believed that the judges (i.e., the trial judge and the 3 appeal judges) were all wrong. Here is an excerpt from my book:

I find this very interesting. This is like a football game when a referee makes a call – the coach does not like the call and challenges the call (which is like an appeal) – the referee then reviews the replay in association with other senior officials and comes back to confirm the call – but the coach and the players continue to blame the officials for losing the game for them!

They really need to move on from blaming the officials and start looking at themselves to take some responsibility for the loss and figure out what they did wrong and what they could have done better to win the game. It was clear that neither my lawyer nor his firm was going to take ANY responsibility for the loss. My lawyer was not only a part of my team, he was the leader, but yet, he was not going to take any responsibility for losing my case.

We thought that the managing partner of the law firm will take some responsibility for not being able to help me in this lawsuit. We were not expecting that he would say that “we screwed up badly”. But we were expecting that he would say something like, “I am really sorry that we were not successful in this lawsuit. We really felt that we had a reasonable shot, but in the legal world, pieces don’t always fall the right way. Maybe there are some things that could have been done differently, but I can assure you that we did our best in trying to win this for you. Sometimes there are judgment calls involved and it’s not always easy to predict how the calls will work out”.

Some comments like that would have given us the feeling that at least they were taking a measure of responsibility. Instead what we got was an extremely strong defensive stand and that was disheartening”.

Jul 09, 2021

In my book “Minority Viewpoint”, I talk about my experience with the Minnesota Lawyers Responsibility Board. The following is an excerpt from my book:

“Around the end of February 2019, we received a letter from the Board informing us that the appeal was reviewed and it was determined that no investigation will be done on this matter. It was noteworthy that this letter from the Board was a very short one – only 3 or 4 sentences long.

The Board Member, who evaluated our appeal, was Virginia Klevorn. Virginia was a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, representing District 44A. She basically stated that there was no clear and convincing evidence of a violation of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct and therefore they were closing the Board’s file on this case. It was interesting that they did not want to get into any kinds of details about why they thought my complaints and further clarifications did not provide the necessary evidence for the Board to initiate an investigation.

For example, it would have been useful to know why the information we provided supporting our views of my lawyer’s performance on this case is not regarded as “clear and convincing evidence” by the Board, or why the details we provided about the information (such as summary judgment issues) that I needed to know before giving my consent to move forward with the case is not considered to be important enough by the Board to have violated the MN Rules of Professional conduct. I believe that it was reasonable for me to expect some explanation, but their short letter did not include any of that“.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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