Friday, October 25, 2013

So I guess "shopping while black" is real

College student Trayon Christian decided he wanted a belt from Barney's (a luxury item store located on New York's Madison Avenue) and he did what most people do when they want something but don't have the money right away. He saved up for it. Nothing wrong with that right?

Trayon saved up the $350 for the belt and in April made his way to Barney's to purchase it. From what I can tell he didn't have any problems at the store but rather his problems started once he left the store.

About a block away an officer stopped Trayon and questioned him about his purchase, wanting to know "how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt" according to Christian's lawsuit that he is filing against the city and Barney's

Why a lawsuit? Apparently showing the receipt for the transaction (and ID) was not good enough for the officer and he was cuffed and taken to a police station while cops contacted his bank to confirm his identity and that he was the owner of the account.

Eventually everything checked out and Trayon was released. But the damage has already been done. The young man has already returned the belt to the store and it taking legal action.

Obviously the police were out of line. The officer went way beyond reason when checking his identity. While the store has released a statement claiming they had nothing to do with the situation that makes me wonder exactly how the cop knew to stop Trayon and question him about the belt. There are a few plausible reasons but they would be speculation at best.

Fact of the matter is this is story of a black man that couldn't even go buy a blasted belt without being reminded that he is a black man.

So much for a post racial society.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

To my fellow MRAs: Justice, Not Revenge

There are a lot of people from all walks of life from all sorts of groups trying to make the world a better place for everyone. Now yes there are times when the definition of "better" is up for debate however one thing is clear. For the record while I'm still on the fence about what group I stand with I guess you could call me an MRA. I see a lot of what they are saying but at the same time I don't agree with some of the things they say.

For one (despite being a Scorpio) I know that revenge is wrong and I don't want to support. Well it seems there are MRAs out there that think otherwise. They seem to think that taking revenge will correct the ways in which men are oppressed, harmed, and mistreated.

Revenge won't level the playing field.

Revenge won't resolve the injustices.

Revenge is not better.

Case in point the Men's Business Association's own Naming and Shaming Women Services.

The voice behind the video is Peter Nolan. Its a pretty long presentation (and I haven't had a chance to watch it all) but there are some things that need to be worked out a bit here.

From what I've seen its a service that is tasking itself with reporting and posting information on women who are accused of crimes and bad behavior. Also there is something in there about promises to serve on juries. I'm still trying to figure that one out.

There is no arguing that there are women out there that engage in bad and criminal behavior and there is no arguing that women are often treated with kids gloves when they do so.

I also know that there are sentiments and attitudes that support doing what this service proposes to do to women to men.

However what this naming and shaming service is doing isn't leveling things out, its escalating them to another level. A dangerous level. This service is turning revenge (and possibly scare tactics) into a business.

And with his pitch being so dangerously seductive, it could be quite a lucrative business.

A lot of the things that Peter says are true (but nowhere near all of them). Yes there are ways in which men are mistreated and ways in which women are privileged however none of those things justify building a business model based on publicly destroying people.

Even though Nolan's service sounds like it will be keeping things legitimate (which includes doing research on claims, investigating those that sign up for the service, and collecting dues) it will only serve to drive the wedge between men and women further.

I can understand why men would want to create something like this and I understand why men would want to sign up for it. But in the end not only will not not solve the problems that men face but will actually create other problems and prove to be counter productive. It will just result in a bunch of people trying to find wants to shame others on the internet like Don't Date Him Girl and Register-Her have done before it.

What is helpful is stuff like sharing the stories of abused men and calling out Temple University who, as far as I can tell, have not reinstated a male student that was kicked off the football team, stripped of his scholarships, and expelled over rape charges that have since been dropped.

But encouraging people to strike out against women in retaliation for such mistreatment? No way.

Thankfully so far the guy appears to not have much of a following and the bit of chatter I've seen among other MRAs is that he is going off the deep end and he has gotten into conflict with Paul Elam and GirlWritesWhat.

That's not justice, that's just revenge and revenge is not going to fix the collective messes we are in.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Depending on how you tell the story....

(There's a small bit of violence here so tread carefully.)

If you are into football I'm sure by now you heard about what happened after the NY Jets vs New England Patriots (Jets won) game this past Sunday. Take a look at a portion of an altercation that involved a man punching a woman. The hit is shown from two different angles and in slow motion so be sure to watch all the way through.

With that in mind take a look at how the NYDaily News covered this incident.

First off they title their coverage as, "After extremely tight Jets victory over Patriots, male Jets fan punches female Pats fan in face". This completely ignores the fight between two women at the stadium, which is where all this started (according to a quote at Deadspin). Then in about three paragraphs the man is called a goon, a punk, and a coward. Also there is lamentation about why security didn't go after the guy and finally the last 2/3rds of the article is about the game itself.

(Edit: And to add insult to injury The Daily News has run a follow up article where they mention his name in the title, have several photos of him, and then turn around and say they decided not to disclose his name. Yeah....)

What did Deadspin have to say about it?

"What do you expect from a jamoke in a Wayne Chrebet jersey and green camouflage pants?"

Here is the Huffington Post quoting a fan saying they hope the man is held accountable for his actions.

The NY Post ran its own article simply saying, "Jets fan socks woman in the face".

And here's a writer at ending by saying, "Coming off a week of poor sportsmanship by multiple fan bases, this goon hitting a woman continues to display the devolution of our dystopia."

Did you notice something?

The majority of the coverage on this is being billed as, "Man punches woman." when its actually a case of, "Woman attacks man, man punches back."

Why the spin?

In this age when we are supposedly so progressive are we really still uncomfortable for holding a woman responsible for her actions or at least calling her out when she is wrong?

If you look at the stories I linked to only a few of even acknowledge that (as the video shows) he was being dragged away when she charged at him and swung first and THEN he punched her.

So why is no one calling for her head? Why is no one calling for her to take responsibility for her actions? Why aren't news outlets rushing to publish her name and photo?

At best you could argue that this is mutual violence and MAYBE argue that he shouldn't have hit BACK (and that back is important) but I think this it is entirely unfair to say that he is the one in the wrong.

Don't think this has nothing to do with gender. Some of the commentary around this incident has been about how a man shouldn't hit a woman and how a man hitting a woman is a sign of bad times and all that. If that's the case and a man should not hit a woman then why was no one doing anything to protect this guy from that woman to start with?

After he punched her back one of the guys in the crowd suddenly stepped up and swung on him. Where was this courage a few seconds earlier when she was swinging at him?

That's what it all comes down to. Even so called progressives have no problem with the female privilege that woman just exercised in being able to strike first and STILL be treated like the victim.

I guess "....being held accountable for one's actions." isn't a part of the radical notion that women are people.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Open Letter to a Frat Brother on the view of masculinity

(No folks this is not an official return. I wrote this post today and while I'm waiting on a response on having it published at Good Men Project I decided to run it here. Enjoy.)

Dear Frat Brother,

By now I'm sure that you have noticed that the email you recently sent out about “Luring your Rapebait” has gained quite a bit of attention and quite a few responses.

As others have said there is a lot going on that's unhealthy when it comes to dating and having sex with women. And while that's true I noticed something in the very first paragraph before you even get into conduct with women at the party.

I'm talking about what you said here:
“Alright chods, some of you could use some help on how to mack and succeed at parties. Mostly pledges do, but some bros could use a review. For anytime throughout the party… If you are standing by yourself at any point, YOU ARE OUTTA HERE!!! If you are talking to a brother of your pledge brothers when there are girls just standing around, YOU ARE OUTTA HERE!!!"
What I see here is something that has been treated like a part defining pillar of masculinity for a very long time and (I think) serves as a basis for the things that follow in the rest of your email.

You're holding your pledges and brothers to a condition that they must be there with the express purpose of finding a sex partner. You even threaten to kick out guys that do so much as stand alone while women are around or talk to a pledge/brother while there are women around.

Why do you feel the need to hold them to that condition?

Why must they be on the constant search for a woman to get together with in order to justify their presence at the party?

I can understand that sex is a desirable thing but I worry that you, just like many others, place too much priority on having sex with women as being a necessary part of masculinity.

Have you considered what affects this pressure can have on guys, namely guys who are in a position where they need to gain the approval of others? Don't you think that pressure can lead to them doing things that range from immoral to illegal in order to gain favor and approval?

Yes, you can say that "They choose to do that stuff." That would be true. But why do you exert such pressure in the first place? Why expect those pledges to be on such a vigilant lookout for sex partners? Why not just let nature take care itself and just throw a party and if people want to get together they get together on their own rather because they might get tossed out of the party and shamed for not looking for women?

The thing is the view on masculinity is quite chaotic these days and things like what's in your letter are contributing to the chaos. And it also doesn't help a lot of the discourse on addressing it is centered around women. While that's important I think it has to start with us, with men. With that in mind I have to say that one of the biggest things to get clear is that how sexually a man is with women shouldn't be used as an indication of how much of a man he is. Let the pledges be when it comes with their sexuality, because when you get down to it---exactly how does their sexuality factor into the roles and responsibilities they are taking on as members of the fraternity?