Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Clearing our vision

Yesterday I neglected to mention that neither white nor male privilege make your lives perfect or even easy.

I suppose I think it should be pretty obvious, but it is often used as an argument that privilege doesn't exist: I am still poor, or picked on, or downtrodden.

That should be an excellent reason to think about whether our society and government is really set up ideally. Even though it is easier for a white man to get hired than a Black man with a college degree, and he will get more pay, and the only thing that makes him less acceptable is a criminal conviction, but crimes are pursued at unequal rates among different races, and that even legal things like open carry are treated differently depending on your race, this will not automatically make your life good; it just takes away some of the obstacles.

That a man is more likely to have his ideas taken seriously than a woman, and that he will get paid more and promoted more, and that if a woman tries to emulate his behavior in asking for parity she will be looked down on as pushy, and that the industries that recruit women tend to do it so they can pay less (like education), and that if a man rapes a woman that not only will she have to deal with that trauma but it will be compounded by people wondering what she did to deserve it, that doesn't put the fix in for all men either.

White women are hired and listened to and paid better than women of color, and it tends to let them be them stunningly unaware of the worse things that happen to women with darker skin, and often super obnoxious about it.

Apparently the natural instinct is to only care about the injustices perpetrated on you, and sometimes to care about additional issues when awareness is raised, but still, a lot of the attempts to raise awareness just bounce off. That could be convenient, because when you do take it all in it can be really overwhelming, but it maintains the status quo in a way that ensures an endless supply of pain, some of which is bound to get on you.

So, if you do - by virtue of your color and gender - occupy a somewhat higher rank, and know that you still have many difficulties, there is that previously mentioned opportunity to really think about it and empathize and possibly consider course corrections that you can support via volunteering and voting and maybe even running for office.

Oddly, what usually happens is a high sensitivity to criticism that gets perceived as persecution even though it really isn't.

Therefore we have people complaining about witch hunts and the stifling of creativity and the women just doing it for fame, even though none of that holds up logically.

Harvey Weinstein might get charged, but it hasn't happened yet. Kevin Spacey lost one season of a show, but he took down every other person who could have had that season with him. Adam Venit, Terry Crews' assailant, no only definitely isn't getting charged, but his suspension was rescinded. William Morris is still making money off their former client Crews, and Crews is the one who is going to have to have his mental state evaluated, even though no one seems to dispute that the incident happened.

(Reminder there that male privilege does not rule out sexual abuse or harassment, in the cases of both Venit and Spacey. That being said, intersectionality could make some good points about vulnerability based on age, color, sexual orientation, and organizational power.)

Some careers are changing, but generally for people who already had quite a bit of prestige and wealth. Otherwise, the main impact for most of the men is that some people (and not even everyone, because there are a lot of people who refuse to believe women) think less of these other people who are used to having respect.

That's a long way from Salem or HUAC.

On the other side, how many women are benefiting from this? Rose McGowan is getting a docu-series, and that seems to be it. The interesting thing about that, if we are looking at rewarding abuse, is that she has kind of been the worst throughout this, being highly critical of how others have handled their own situations and possibly contributing to her ex-manager's suicide.

Otherwise, for all the stories that have been told about abuse, how many names do you know? Which ones are more famous and richer now? Also, we may not know them, but when people are spouting off about it being their fault for not coming forward sooner, or for coming forward at all, or for being stupid enough to go places and talk to people, do you think they don't feel that? Do you think the women who haven't come forward yet don't hear that?

Especially after hearing some talk radio, and through various encounters with other people, I feel that we are becoming a very reactionary society, where we have quick emotional response to things that we don't think through.

I promise you that nothing good will come out of that. So let's change it.

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