Monday, June 29, 2009

Well actually they are out there

I got pointed to this (via this) piece on how people should not be trying to dig gender based trench lines using the current economic situation as shovels.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

This is part of what I mean

A day or so ago Renee did a post in response to the resolution passed by the House to apologize for slavery and the injustices of the Jim Crow era. I have to agree with her on this that while an apology sounds great in the soundbytes and headlines unless there is at least some sincere effort to make up for it then the apology is ultimately empty. From there I started to wonder, "How exactly could reparations be calculated and distributed?"

For the last several years I've heard a lot of people say that reparations should be paid to Americans of African decent but other than just a lump some of money I've rarely heard anyone recommend exactly how to figure the calculations and distribution method. I want to take a moment to look at money as a possible method of compensation.

A. Who would get it?
The most direct way of returning what is owed. Let's say the government were to distribute large sums of money. First who would get it? (Because we all know the government isn't just going to hand this money over to anyone claiming ancestry.) Would they include anyone who has even the slightest amount of slave ancestry? That would take some method of verification that would take years (You'd be checking upwards of 200 million people). And then there are the people who have no way to tracking their family lines back that far. Would simply being "black enough" suffice to warrant them a cut or would there be a whole hell of a lot of people being informed that since their heritage could not be verified they do not qualify? And finally would those who descended from slaves that left the country (such as those who made it to Canada via the Underground Railroad) and never returned qualify?

B. Where would it come from?
Money doesn't come from nowhere (well it does but it shouldn't). Once it is sorted out who will receive monetary compensation this compensation has to be funded by something. Many would insist that the only people affected would be those that really didn't earn their money. How the hell do you determine who "really earned" their fortunes (however big or small) and who is riding the coat tails of unearned advantages? I'm going to go ahead and say it, no you can't just blanketly assume that all white people owe their fortunes to unfair advantages and to do so would be a serious slight against those who did work for theirs (yes you can say it would not be as bad as the slave trade and Jim Crow but I don't think "an eye for an eye" is the answer). And remember, this country isn't just black and white. What of the millions of tax payers whose ancestry had absolutely nothing to do with it?

Now I'm not trying to jerk and imply that the difficulty of calculating and distributing repayment is justification for not going through with it but I am saying there will a lot more to it than just writing a few million checks. Shoutout to Renee for bringing this up.

Friday, June 19, 2009

So we're still shocked by it eh?

If you recall the town of Tracy, California was shocked when the main suspect in the murder of Sandra Cantu turned out to be a woman and not a man. Well it seems that the people of Mars Hill, Maine were caught off guard by the possibility of a bad woman as well.

Child Sex Charge Against Mom of Four Leaves Small Town Reeling

Julie M. Carr is facing charges of gross sexual assault and felony exploitation of a child for allegedly webcasting the assault of one of her four children (who all range from appoximately 18 months to 5 years) over the internet. A disturbing and horrifying crime indeed but just like the people of Tracy folks seem to be having a hard time with fathoming the idea that a woman can commit a violent crime or at least allow a violent crime to occur.

"It's just unbelievable that something like that would happen in this town," she said. "It's a shock. You usually hear about men doing stuff like this to children, but a woman? No, that's beyond even thinking about. And then to find out that it's her own child, that's just beyond anything someone could think about."

More of the standard, "Oh my god I can't believe a woman would do such a thing!", routine.

It would do us all a lot of good if people would take women down from this pedastal and quit acting as if women cannot do terrible things. Its assumptions like the woman above made that lead to investigators wasting resources on looking for men instead of looking for a suspect.

I Know Your Name But Excuse me "Ma'am"

For the last day or so people have been all buzz about Senator Barbara Boxer's correction of Brigadier General Michael Walsh to address her as "Senator" instead of "Ma'am" during a session earlier this week. Some people think that she owes him an apology for the "dressing down" (as Fox News calls it) she gave him. Some people think that she was simply politely asking him to address her properly. Me? I'm kinda in the middle.

First off if Boxer wants to be addressed as "Senator" instead of "Ma'am" there is nothing wrong with making the correction and I hope the people who are clamoring for an apology realize that making such a correction does not warrant an apology. However they may be talking about what she said when correcting him.
"You know, do me a favor," a clearly agitated Boxer said. "Could you say 'senator' instead of 'ma'am?"

"Yes, ma'am," Walsh replied.

"It's just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title, so I'd appreciate it, yes, thank you," she said.

"Yes, senator," he answered. (emphasis mine)

This to me seems like upon being called "Ma'am" she instantly decided that he was trying to undermine her authority and disrespect her when I highly doubt this was the case. Now I'm sure that there are people and bloggers out there that will see the people calling for an apology and assume that such people are trying to paint her as an uptight bitch or something and I'm also sure that those people will claim that she was being polite when asking him to address her properly.

Its understood that it is military protocol to address a woman higher in the chain of command as "Ma'am" so its pretty clear that he did not intend to disrepect her hard work in achieving her position. At the same time Sen. Boxer perfers to be called "Senator". In the end I would say that while the fact that she corrected him was proper she went a bit overboard with mentioning her hard work. An apology may not be the fix but she could have corrected him in a more respectful manner than she did.

(In case the title looks odd its a play on the Chris Brown song "Excuse Me Miss" in which one of the chorus lines is "I don't know your name but excuse me miss...".)

52 Weeks (and 200 Posts) Later

Well its been one year since I setup shop here. In the last year I've taken the time to think about and share my perspective with other people in hopes of hearing what other people think and to get my own thoughts straight. So far I think its been good that I did open up my corner here. Yeah I'm not exactly full to the brim with regular readers like other blogs but hey maybe that is the penalty of saying things people don't like and those people not wanting to talk it out.

A lot of the things that I've posted on in the last year are subjects that other people have already been milling over for years but like a Jedi I think its arrogant to think that one can actually outgrow the basics. Whatever happens in the next year I hope to raise my level of consciousness as well as keep my feet grounded in the basics.

(BTW you'll notice that I shortened the name to "Danny's Corner". I didn't change the url so there no need to update links.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

She is not a feminist

Throughout the world various people take on various titles and labels. They claim said titles/labels because they identify with the values, beliefs, traits, etc... of that title. However when measuring ones own beliefs against the various titles of the spectrum and notice that while they closely align with some of the values of a specific title the differences are so great that they cannot take on that title something happens.

Some people like me will choose to take on no label in an effort to avoid the negatives of them (namely people who use labels as a quick way to identify someone they don't like, no matter how wrong the reason is, in order make themselves feel good about dismissing them). Some will take on a title that is a slight variation of that label they closely align too. This is where you get Moderate Republicans, Radical Feminists, and so on. And some will take on a separate title altogether. This is what Renee has done.

Having decided to no longer put up with the racism that she has seen in feminism (somewhat similar to the sexism that I've seen) she has left the title behind to embrace the title of womanist. Go check Wiki for a start. To people like Renee the current landscape of feminism is so white female-centric that voices of color are being left out in the cold. For such people womanism has become the banner under which they operate. A banner that gives voice to the women of color that have been left silent by white feminism.

Now don't be cheap and just read this post here without taking a moment to at least check out Renee's place and Wiki I linked to. How are all of us different groups ever gonna get on the same page if we don't take the time to get to know each other?

Friday, June 12, 2009 still an -ism

This has been on my mind for quite some time and today I think I finally have my thoughts straight to put down on paper...well electronic paper anyway.

When it comes to -isms, privilege, and power people seem to like to point out how their group is powerless and some other group is powerful. Once that line has been drawn people can then "call people out", tell them they are "blind to their privilege", and so on. Now this is not to say that there are no imbalances between different groups that exist on this planet that need to be addressed however some people use these terms as a beat stick to shut out anyone that does not agree with them or as a shield to protect themselves from criticism (and there's some really crafty ones out there that use it as both). One way of beating or blocking is insisting that when someone commits an -ist act their institutional power must be gauged in order to determine if it actually -ist or not.

That's some ole bullshit.

I see this alot from women's advocates so let's go there. A lot of people like to link to Feminism 101 for its definition of sexism. If you would read the first paragraph of that page:
Short definition: Sexism is both discrimination based on gender and the attitudes, stereotypes, and the cultural elements that promote this discrimination. Given the historical and continued imbalance of power, where men as a class are privileged over women as a class (see male privilege), an important, but often overlooked, part of the term is that sexism is prejudice plus power. Thus feminists reject the notion that women can be sexist towards men because women lack the institutional power that men have.

As you can see this definition of sexism hinges on institutional power.

Institutional power you ask?
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at why feminists make a distinction between sexism and gender-based prejudice when the dictionary does not. A running theme in a lot of feminist theory is that of institutional power: men as a class have it, women as a class don’t. Obviously the power dynamics do shift around depending on the culture and the time period (not to mention the individual, the other privileges that the person does/does not have, etc etc), but ultimately the scales remain tipped in favor of men in general (if you disagree with that statement, please go read the Why do we still need feminism? FAQ entry first before proceeding).

What this imbalance of power translates to on an individual level is a difference in the impact of a man being prejudiced towards a woman and a woman being prejudiced towards a man. While both parties are human, and therefore have the same capacity to be hurt by the prejudice, whether they like it or not, the men have a whole system of history, traditions, assumptions, and in some cases legal systems and “scientific” evidence giving their words a weight that the women don’t have access to.

I think the problem I have with this is that something that is as painful, offensive, and wrong as an individual -ist action is being weighed on the global scale (the scale being the balance of power between the groups involved in the action) to determine if its -ist or not. As we all know when it comes to -isms the very words themselves are charged/loaded as they should. Racism, ageism, sexism, and so on are powerful words that invoke a lot of emotion when used or when their corresponding actions occur. To me it seems a bit dismissive to tell the target of an -ist action that because the person that committed the said action against them belongs to a group that "for the most part" does not have any power said action was not -ist.

Now I bet you're thinking something along the lines of the disclaimer feminism101 used:
Now, before I say anything else, the obligatory disclaimer: When feminists say that women can’t be sexist towards men, they aren’t saying that women being prejudiced against men is a good thing, or something that should be accepted. Prejudice is bad and should not be accepted. (emphasis theirs)

If that is so then why the desperate need to claim that one is -ist and other is not?

Another reason I don't like or agree with this criteria to determine an -ism is because it gives a small shred of credibility to the notion of "reverse -ism". Let's get exact for a bit by filling in the "-" in -ism.

By their definition sexism can only occur in the instance of male vs. female due to men as a class having power over women as a class (which after the last year or so I'm not so sure about but that is another story for another day). As we know reverse is the opposite of the standard. This would imply that reverse sexism is indeed female against male. To imply that one form of sexual discrimination is the norm and other is the deviation serves to minimize the one that is portrayed as the deviation.

As a man if a woman commits an act of sexism against me the fact that I share gender with most of the people at the top has nothing to do with whether or not what that woman did was sexist and it doesn't mean that her sexist act is a deviation from the norm of sexism.

Firstly men as class are not a monolithic entity therefore judging an act based on the power a subset of our class has is unfair. Yes I share gender with most of people at the top but that does not change the fact that they do not think, speak, act, or anything for me. So why is their power the sole weight used to measure whether a sexist against me actually is sexist? When you do that you are selectively upgrading Average Joe to Elite Joe for the sake of your argument just to have him fall back down to Average status when it doesn't suit your argument anymore.

Secondly women as a class are not a monolithic entity therefore judging an act based on the power a subset of their class has is unfair. Yes a woman judge does not share gender with most of the people at the top but that does not change the fact that she does not think, speak, act, or anything else for all women. So why is the power of those women who are not at the top the sole weight used to measure whether a sexist against she commits against a man is actually sexist? When you do that you are selectively downgrading Elite Jane to Average Jane for the sake of your argument just to have her rise back to Elite status when it doesn't suit your argument anymore.

So I'm sorry but trying to measure your ________'s (gender, race, etc....) power in relation to who is at the top sounds like an attempt to create a loophole to excuse one's group from the emotional charge that is associated with the -ism in question.

An attempt to re-label an -ism by any other name...

(Disclaimer: Now this is not to say that this does not happen with other -isms as well but I've just seen it happen with sexism so much I chose to go with that one as my example. I don't like this happening in regards of race, religion, etc....whatever subject of discrimination you can think of.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Being a man

So I'm doing my daily reading of Pelle Billing today and I come across this. It is a post by a guest by the name of Eivind Figenschau Skjellum. Eivind is one of the brains behind Masculinity Movies.
I am still reading the site (hey I just found it) and so far it seems that they are are on to something.

Their site is dedicated to their own approach dispelling the untruths, lies, and myths that plague the meaning of manhood brought on by various sources like the government, feminism, and men themselves. They want men to be able to wash away that nonsense and redefine masculinity. What I find interesting so far is the approached employed by the site. In a move that I have not seen before the minds behind Masculine Movies uses words and movies (hence the word movies in the title). Now I haven't had time to fully go over the site but it does look like its worth a read through.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

One more thing about hair...

I was reading ireport today and started reading about people of color (would like to have heard from more men of color though) and the hair issues they face. One thing I kept seeing was the mention of using natural hair products and I'm curious them. I'm currently using SoftSheen Carson Optimum Care Shampoo, Conditioner and Daily Flake Control Gel but they are getting hard to find so I better find something new soon before they disappear. For anyone (regardless of color or gender) reading this what type of hair products do you use? Who knows someone may tip me off on something good.

Stand your ground

Last month a new company president was hired and will be taking over in a few weeks and as with any changing of the guard people are concerned. You'll have upper management kissing ass to get on the good graces of the new boss in hopes of maintaining their dominance. You'll have mid and lower management kissing ass to get on the good graces of the new boss in hopes of climbing the corporate ladder. I on the other hand have a more personal concern, my hair.

For the most part the only people that will be seriously concerned about making sure their appearance is proper for the president are the people that are going to be around him most and that would be the people working at corporate headquarters. Our corporate headquarters is two buildings with about 50 people. Well the other 49 can all be divided between black woman, white man, and white woman. Yes that leaves me, the only black man out just not corporate headquarters but out of all 250+ employees across 28 offices and branches, as the odd man out.

That means there is absolutely no one else in the whole company that has my exact combination of hair issues. Currently I keep my hair in an afro that I'm damn proud to have for my own reasons. Don't get me wrong I don't mean to shrug off the people who started the style but I wear my afro because I like it. Along with it I have thin sideburns that lead into a goatee and mustache that just quite can't connect on my top lip. It stays neat and trimmed and I really don't see any reason to remove. On the other hand I've been told that this new president is a very formal person as in he only owns suits and tied formal. Now I don't want to assume before even meeting him that he would have a problem with my hair however having heard so many stories from men of color about how others problems with their hair has interfered with their careers I'm worried.

I don't want to start off on an ill note with this guy (through my own fault or otherwise) however if he pulls some racist shit over my hair this might get ugly and I'm about certain I would not have a job by the time the smoke clears. Yeah about two weeks ago I probably would have cut it depending on how he went about requesting it but now I'm pretty sure that no matter how he goes about trying to get me to change my hair it will not end well (and it also helps that my brother is a paralegal).

Perhaps I am the one that needs to teach him that there is no correlation between hair style and work ethic (meaning afro/braids/locs don't necessarily mean thug/gangsta/degenerate). Perhaps it won't matter to him as long as I handling my responsibilities. Perhaps I'm getting worked up over nothing. But what I do know is that I'm going to stand my ground on this.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Have you seen this boy?

Oh shit.

Okay yeah they are trying to ride the curtails of the Transformers 2 hype which is fine I suppose but this is really cool stuff.

It would seem that the military is working on something that is called "programmable matter". The purpose of this matter is to allow the user to command the mass of matter to take on the form of whatever simple tool is needed at the moment. Imagine having a small container of this stuff instead of having to make room for small tools. Going to work on something screws but don't know what head or size they are? You can command the mass on the spot instead of trying to carry enough screwdrivers to cover all possibilities. Sounds cool right? It is until you think about the T1000 from Terminator 2.

Yeah I know you recall Robert Patrick as the liquid metal terminator that could shape his body into whatever simple tool he needed (usually blades). Now imagine if this stuff were to go Skynet on us and develop intelligence and start to think and act on its own and for its own? Yeah its all fun and games until a few million people are dead, the spirits of humanity are crushed, and machines run the planet.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Men's Health Month? Never knew about that one...

In an environment where its is just assumed that men have everything this post I found via Toy Soldiers makes me feel a bit better.

When it comes to men's health things are not doing so well but at least the people in Cambridge are trying to do something about it by celebrating Men's Health Month. Claude-Alix Jacob, the city’s chief public health officer and director of the public health department says that “American men are experiencing a silent health crisis." have higher rates of death than women for heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and HIV/AIDS. They are also more likely than women to die in a car crash, commit suicide, or suffer a fatal workplace injury.

But despite how bleak men's health may be it would be easier than one thinks for us to turn things around.

Three things that Jacob mentions that could help us improve our health. The age old advice to include more exercise into daily life would help. The next bit of help would be to eat better. We see all these ads on tv about "man food". These products are usually notoriously unhealthy being loaded with calories, fat, and preservatives. Avoiding them would certainly improve the quality of our lives. The biggest piece of advice is also a bit of a touchy subject with men. Due to the conditioning we get from society men are of the mindset that a trip to the doctor is not needed unless a body part has been severed, something is broken, or there is so much blood it can't be cleaned up with a paper towel. This has to change.

For years we men have been denying ourselves medical treatment and preventive checkup and all for what? Working just a little bit longer to ensure the futures of our partners and children? Putting in ungodly long work weeks in order to get that promotion? Of course it is important to take care of one's partner and children and it is important to do the best you can in your career but what good is it to literally work yourself into an early grave if you aren't there to enjoy it with your partner and/or children?

It is important to stay healthy not just for our family's sake but for our own sake as well and this month is a good time to start. And if you're a woman or a child reading this then its a good time to encourage the men in your life to start making AND keeping doctor's appointments and not expecting aches, pains, and other abnormalities to just go away.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm not so sure I like this

A man is a suspect ,or person of interest if you will, in the beating and rape of an 11 year old girl in Philadelphia, PA. He had not been charged or brought in for questioning yet so a group of upstanding citizens decided to do the grunt work and bring him in for the police.

To make things even more interesting when the police arrived they not only arrested him (on an outstanding warrant on unrelated charges) but police commissioner Charles Ramsey has decided not to press charges against the mob, yes I said mob, that assaulted him. And his attitude is a bit disparaging.

First we have this:
"From what I've seen so far, we have one victim and that's an 11-year-old girl," Ramsey said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Now of course the young girls that was attacked is indeed the victim but to be able to overlook the fact the suspect was beaten by a small mob reeks of selective enforcement. I wonder how selective he would be if the guy had fought back and injured a few members of that mob that attacked him.

Next we have this:
"These people saw him, he attempted to run and they caught up with him," Ramsey said. "If the injuries had been severe, maybe we'd have to rethink it."
So a man can be charged, tried, convicted, and in some cases executed for a crime that he did not commit with no witnesses around while at the same time a man can be chased a beaten in broad daylight on tape and be seen by the cops (because apparently they noted that the assailants stopped when the police arrived) and the ones that beat him aren't charged.

Oh but here is where the Ramsey assures us that he does not condone vigilante justice:
"I think you have to take into account the emotion. I think you have to take into account the severity of the injuries," Ramsey said, adding that he does not condone vigilante justice. "It's unfortunate that we didn't find him first."
Awww damn. You see he does not condone vigilante justice but due to the emotion of the situation and injuried that the girl suffered its okay for an angry mob to chase down a suspect and beat him up but not too badly. And of course he expresses his regret that they did not find him first.

Now don't get me wrong I'm not saying that he should not be investigated and charged if there is enough evidence however allowing a gang of people to beat up the suspect and then not only not charging them but paid a cash reward to members of the mob is just wrong and it sends out the wrong message.

Edit: I was reading a post on this at feministing and one of the commenters pointed to this article in The Daily News that says the man is in critical condition. Hold up Ramsey was quoted saying "If the injuries had been severe, maybe we'd have to rethink it.". If the injuries were not severe then why is he in critical condition. I personally don't like the idea of criminals suing but in this case I kinda hope he sues the people that beat him, the commissioner that didn't condone it but rewarded the assailants, and the police department for not arresting the assailants. Problem is he would not get a fair shake because people would assume he's a rapist and say he deserved it.

And think about this folks. Being called a person of interest is enough justification to beat a man into critical condition. No arrest. No trial. No verdict. This is that stigma I mentioned a while back. Yes I know there has been mention of physical evidence but that doesn't mean we can skip straight to the excution phase.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Musing in My Corner while thinking about Race and Gender

So I'm out walking this evening and listening to the bi-weekly Womanist Musings podcast and the hostesses Renee, Monica, and Allison McCarthy were mainly talking about race and feministing (there's a long story behind their interactions with Jessica Valenti of feministing that makes this cast much worth the download) but the main thing that caught my attention was something that came later in the show.

Not sure who brought it up but the topic came to the question of how does one go about calling things out when the ones being called out generally refuse to listen?

Specifically the hostesses of the show were talking about how, as women of color, they speak to the white women who dominate sites like feminsting and get called "angry" and other silencing language white women use on women of color for their trouble. Usually these silencing tactics are a result of not wanting to listen to said women of color (WoC from here) while at the same time wanting to benefit from their precence. By this I mean they want WoC to embrace feminism under the banner of sisterhood while putting WoC's issues on the back burner with a promise to address them later. By this I mean they want to flaunt the street cred of being "allies" (and anyone that has read stuff here before knows I don't like the current frivolous use of that word) yet only do so with the bear minimum of mention in the form of quicklinking, a form of lip service that involves simply linking to someone with only a few if any words of mention (almost like you didn't actually read the post you're liking to). By this I mean they are all for WoC being around as long they make sure they don't get "angry", "out of hand", "hostile", or whatever.

(Everything after this is a tangent of my own sparked by their podcast. They talked about a whole lot more than what I'm mentioning here so you really, really, really should go listen to it. It's 90 minutes well spent.)

This struck a bit of a chord with me and got me to thinking about the problems I have to deal with in human rights discourse from my own perspective. Now most of what Renee and Monica were speaking about was from the perspective of women of color (African decent to be exact) so as a man of color (African decent to be exact) my problems are not quite the same.

Currently two of the largest human rights issues on nearly everyone's lips are race and gender.(disclaimer: I am by NO MEANS saying that sexual orientation, religion, economic class, weight, ability, etc... issues don't matter just saying race and gender come up most often.) Generally the way it goes is to pretty much assume men are the haves and women are the have nots in terms of gender and whites are the haves and people of color are the have nots in terms of race. So according to common perceptions that puts me in the position of being both a have (male...) and a have not (...of color) with the other side of the coin being white women. So I get quite the mixed bag.

Being black in some ways gives me quite the bit of latitude some of which is deserved some of which is not. On one hand when I point out racism to white people there is a chance that they may apologize, announce their ally status, then wait for me to reciprocate. On the other hand they may get hostile as Renee and Monica have experienced. There have been quite a few times I've been called "angry black man", asked "Don't I have a liquor store to rob?", (let's not get into the abandoning children remarks) and other silencing remarks. As a side note its almost as if people think that I am not capable of committing racism. Well I can but some people to try to throw in "institutional power" and say that I would not be racist in said situation if I was targetting a white person. Yeah it seems that whether or not something I do is racist depends on the race of those I target but that is a-whole-nother can of worms for another day.

Apparently some people (i.e. some female feminists) like to think that as a man I have this stack of privileges over them by virtue of being a man. Many of the items they try to bootstrap to me don't apply but that doesn't stop them from making the claim and here lies the problem. (And never mind the notion that with "institutional power" in the mix if a woman does something to me because I'm male its not sexism.) These assumptions make gender discourse a bit difficult. When speaking in gender discourse they like to think that as a male I always have privilege on my side therefore anything I say besides apologizing and pledging to be an ally is assumed to be suspect at best and a display of privilege at worst.

It is quite the disheartening and frankly aggravating experience to be called names simply because I have the audacity to not agree with something said by a feminist. I don't agree with the outlandish notion that "men don't have to worry about...."? Then that must mean that I'm blinded by my privilege. I don't agree with the claim that "women are the real victims of..." despite having mountains of male victims (that they push to the side and ignore)? Then I must be a troll. I dare to point out that lumping all men together with the elite few at the top that are causing the problem is an incorrect and gross generalization? That has to be because I'm crying "It's not me!" Point out the hypocrisy of claiming to care about all people while at the same time ignoring the issues of any who do not fit in a narrow concentrated group? Then it has to be an attempt to derail.

What I'm getting at is how can you expect to talk to much less work with a group of people who have already decided that because you are of a certain class of people you are some demon that cannot be trusted and should be cast out at the slightest hint of dissent?

Now I'm not saying that I should be taken at face value but at the same time if my trustworthiness, credibility, likability, etc... are being determined solely by one part of who I am how can I contribute to making the world a better place? Well that is part of the reason why I created this place so that I can speak just how I want without worrying about a few feminists crying foul because I'm not acting quite how they want me to. This works for now but it causes more separation which is the exact opposite of the unity that needs to happen.

Going to have to come up with a better way...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Are you the Key Master?

I'm sure just about anyone reading this recalls the name of Arthur Freeman. That would be the man that threw his daughter from a bridge in Melbourne, Australia earlier this year. The child died as a result of the injuries from the fall. Now I remember this being all over the place when the story broke so I wonder if the actions of Amanda Jo Stott-Smith will ring just as loud.

Amanda Jo Stott-Smith has been charged and indicted with murdering her four year old son and attempting to murder her seven year old daughter, both by forcing them off Sellwood Bridge in Oregon. Now as you can see CNN has a small write up on it but if you look at this you see that CNN, and probably most of the mainstream media, might be missing a big part of the story. Possible motive.

It would seem that Stott-Smith may have gone to such an extreme as a result of the divorce and insuing custody battle she was going through. At the time of act her husband had custody of the two children and she had visitation rights. Since this just happened there may be more to this but at first glance this may be a case of gatekeeping (If I can't have my children no one will). This would not be the first time that a parent has gone to extreme lenghts to make sure the other never sees their children again and I doubt it is the last.

Say it with me now...

A short while ago I tossed my hat in the ring on this Men in Power organization at the University of Chicago. I pointed to a piece on the organization at the University of Washington's web site. The term reverse sexism came up and I said I would get back to it later.

It's later and I'm gonna be blunt.

Reverse sexism is a loaded term. Loaded with bullshit.

Most of the people that use the term buy into the idea that by default sexism is male against female and it is not. I don't care how much you whine about "institutional power" and try to say that female against male sexism isn't really sexism because women don't have power (nevermind the fact that they must have had some sort of power if they were able to commit the sexist act to start with) sexism is about treating someone a certain way because of their gender.

If I fire a woman from her job because she is a woman that is sexism. If a woman fires me from my job because I'm a man that is sexism. Our levels of institutional power have nothing to do with it. It has to do with the fact that we were treated a certain way because of only our gender.

That is the type of stuff the idea of reverse sexism pushes. Hell if you look at the fact that sexism is to treat someone a certain way because of their gender the reverse of that would to...not treat them a certain way because of their gender.

Imagine that.

So folks say it with me, "Female against male sexism is NOT reverse sexism. It is simply sexism."

Through a New Looking Glass: The Power of the Y

Okay I've been a bit out of it the last few days (major car trouble + sucky financial situation) so I know I'm a bit late on this whole Men in Power student organization that has started at University of Chicago. This just screams for me to compare my past perception of such a thing to my current perception.

Yesterday's Perception: Up until about 3 years ago I would have shrugged this off in disbelief. I mean really why do men need a student organization that focuses on their issues. Just one look at society would show you that men pretty much run everything. Most highend politicians are men. Most high end corporate positions are held by men. In short men are in control. Why on this good green Earth does there need to be an organization dedicated to men when the default of nearly everything is male?

Today's Perception: The answer to the question I would have asked 3 years ago is that the other things I would have said would only make sense if the male gender were a monolith that all talk, think, act, experience, etc...the same. But we aren't. Has anyone stopped to realize that just because there is a men's organization starting up they maybe, just maybe, actually have issues to address that are NOT being addressed by those male politicians, CEOs, and so on and they don't necessarily have the intent to hurt women? Contrary to what some may think we are not all connected by our Y chromosome and have the ability to just call up a man in high office and just tell him to fix a situation and we aren't all trying to oppress women. There are plenty of men's issues that need to be addressed that people are not talking about either because they don't know about it or because they don't want to acknowledge it and some of us are just trying to help ourselves out a bit.

So as you can see my perception has changed a good bit in the last 3 years and frankly they have changed for the better. However there are those that refuse to move beyond my old perception. Check this out. Its a small article from the online new site from the University of Washington. It would seem that some of the women on campus have already decided that such a group is unnecessary at best and misogynistic at worst. (The article also mentions "reverse sexism" which I will get to later.)

Chicago student Jessica Pan, president of the school’s Women in Business club, finds the club’s mission entirely unnecessary, telling the Chicago Tribune she wasn’t “sure [the campus] really need[s] another student organization that focuses on pre-professional development for men.”

Ali Feenstra, a third-year student and member of the campus group Feminist Majority, agreed. “It’s like starting ‘white men in business,’” Feenstra said. “There’s not really any purpose.”

The first quote is problematic due to the woman speaking goes with the assumption that the "other" student development organizations are dedicated to specifically men when they are not. Sure many of those organizations may end up being overrun by SUBSETS of men but just like any other organization they do not actually represent the entire gender. In order for Pan's comment to hold true those other organizations would have to actually be focused around men instead of assuming they are like she does.

The second quote fails. Feenstra invokes racism and sexism by trying to say that being white and male is some magical key to the kingdom that makes all of one's problems go away. I'm not white but I can say for damn sure that being male doesn't guarantee success as much as people may think and I've known enough white males to know that being white and male is not the magical key either. By making this statement Feenstra is trying to say that white males don't have issues and that is not right. I'm male and I for damn sure have gender specific issues that would not be wiped away if I were to suddenly become white.

Now I'm sure there are feminists somewhere tripping over themselves to get in a "what about teh menz?" cheap shot but if they would quit assuming that males have it made they would notice that we don't. I'm not saying they have to donate resources to men's issues I'm saying it would so them some good to stop thinking they already know everything about men's issues and the male perspective.