Category Archives: Social

All about the people.

Rage Against the Machinery

In light of IDAPB, I thought I would share some of my thoughts and feelings about the intersection of people and systemic oppression.

They are somewhat complicated.

I myself have been an “instrument of the machine” (and still unavoidably play some part within it), as we have each likely been in big and small ways. In recent years I have become much more conscious of the world around me, not the least of which including a burgeoning understanding of human psychology and social systems. I simultaneously feel culpable for supporting oppression as I have prior to this awareness (and do not simply absolve myself ethically), yet fully understand the deterministic nature of the universe and its impact on me.

This is to say that in a quantum mechanics kind of sense, I am merely a product of my life situation and experiences (and other “random” events). Yet, I take on the onus, not because I believe that myself or anyone else can exist outside of cause and effect by sheer will or completely self-determined moral character, but because it is practical to do so from the perspective of human experience.

It’s a practical matter.

It is practical in that it guides my thoughts and actions toward ethical self-improvement and self-awareness: a mindset of ethical responsibility. If I’m not invested in the experience of others with respect to my actions, but only the defense of my own character, then by definition defense of my character is all I will accomplish. I will not change my character, nor the experience of the other person.

It is also practical in that it offers the greatest possibility of communication and restoration. The process doesn’t need to be about figuring out who’s to blame, explaining away and justifying (rationalizing), in an effort of returning to status quo. Instead, I can take responsibility for my actions (even if I feel that there was no way I could have done differently given what I knew at that moment), have empathy for the other person’s experience with respect to my actions (regardless of my experience or good intentions), and cooperatively strategize ways of avoiding unnecessary hurt. If needed, you can explain what you’re doing and ask for reciprocation. The best way to ask for it is by simultaneously showing that you’re willing to do it. Focus your efforts on those who are willing to reciprocate because it needs to become reciprocal in the long term for progress to be sustained; It’s also part of maintaining healthy boundaries.

UR doing eet wrong!!1!

This stands in stark contrast to the now typical, violent defensiveness exemplified by people trying to externalize responsibility, defend their character (ego) and avoid any resolutions which require personal effort, self-evaluation or change. I’ve seen many people (including myself in many past and even recent occasions) react to another’s expressions of experience and feelings, with anger and dismissal. The argument is often that they could not have done any differently (which as a matter of determinism may actually be true). “I couldn’t have known that my actions would hurt you, therefore it’s not my fault, therefore I’m not a bad person, therefore you should not be feeling that way towards me” (so stop feeling that way or you’ll be to blame for this continued conflict). It is a desperate act of self-preservation driven by the conscious or subconscious idea that others are out to destroy your character. You might want to investigate your own life experience to see where this pattern has come from.

Not just for lovebirds.

It should be obvious that this relates to interpersonal relationships. These words probably conjure up thoughts of happy (or not so happy) romantically involved partners, but I want to stretch that definition a bit. As I’ve alluded to above, I view relatively simple human interactions expanding into complex social systems. The product of this effect is called an emergence. To affect the complex system you need to somehow affect the individuals and their basic interactions. I believe that this failure to resolve rather than blame is one of the basic units of interaction that create or at least support structures of oppression within society.

Fallacy? How Humerous

There is a kind of is-ought fallacy that says, “Because I will not always be able to avoid offending or hurting you, I can not be held to such a standard of behaviour. Therefore your expectations are unreasonable”. Or in other terms, “I am this way, so you ought not to ask for me to change.

Now, taking this idea of deterministic social behaviour and applying it to other people I see the enactors of oppressive behaviour in a similar light. They are absolutely the products of their situation and experiences as much as I am. That is to say that in a given snap-shot in time, they could not have been anything other than exactly what they were at that moment, given their collective experiences and situation. This is not an ideological justification that it ought to be this way, but a mechanical explanation of why it is this way. In this light I simultaneously have a kind of empathy (though more like sadness and frustration at the unfortunate reality), and yet unwaveringly denounce their actions given not only the immediate emotional pain they cause, but also for their part in the social mechanism at large.

A wrench in the gears.

I do this because I perceive myself as a potential cause that may be able to affect them. Sometimes do this by holding their feet to the fire. Other times I try to be a friend and gradually influence them. It depends an their apparent willingness to self-evaluate.

I don’t wholly demonize anyone, since it doesn’t make sense from my perspective. However, there are limits to the personal effort I’m willing to put into specific scenarios, or with specific individuals. My emotional resources are limited, as is my ability to carry out my own philosophy in this regard (though I continue to work at growing that capacity). I have very little patience when I perceive that someone is hurting someone else, either directly with words and actions, or with harmful ideologies that they are presenting as ideal or as normal (and therefore ideal: another is-ought). I am far from perfect (I hope that my ability to see this is not a surprise to anyone). More often than is likely obvious, my anger is motivated by empathy for others, though this doesn’t absolve me of responsibility for all of these actions. Let me not commit my own fallacy.

Hey, I’m a pass-a-fist!

As an aside, in a broader political sense I am also not necessarily advocating for pacifism since the collective mentality borne out of situation and experience (including systemic dogma) may be so fixed and on such a large scale as to be untouchable by any practical means of persuasion. Sometimes there are creative strategies that can be attempted beyond this point, but if the system becomes tyrannical enough, sometimes it is the only way. We who have comfortable lives can be easily prodded into gasps, jaw drops, and “oh dear”s when told about things like the Black Panthers or riots in the street and totally miss the oppression that instigated it. It wasn’t just buses and drinking fountains, nor was it MLK and his cheek-turning philosophy that did all the work (though he certainly had an impact). That’s another topic for another day.

The burden of love.

It seems to me that the most meaningful and practical understanding of reality sometimes takes a mental flexibility that stretches us beyond our original programming. I look at it as the joy of figuring things out. Actively seek out accurate observations. Be determined to build ideology that’s congruent with those observations regardless of personal cost and effort, up to your capacity. Be willing to un-learn your assumptions about your own motivations and those of the people around you. Strive to be aware of your own psychology: your automated emotional reaction to people and ideas. This can be simultaneously very difficult, but also very rewarding. Not only for you personally, but for the kind of world you will be fostering around you.

I leave you with this brilliant quip by Tim Widowfield over on Vrider:

Empathy is about seeing things from another person’s perspective, not imagining yourself in somebody else’s situation. The former is the first step to understanding others; the latter is a kind of naive narcissism that does more harm than good.

Cross-posted to The Winnipeg Skeptics

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Gender Fender Bender

Would you know it? International Women’s Day comes around and as always, the sexism crawls out of the woodwork. I got into a debate on my brother’s facebook wall and decided to share the more constructive part of it here:

Working in tech support, I hear a lot of callers talk about the abilities of people. I often hear women (of all ages, but especially ones under 40) say “Um, ok, I’m a woman; I don’t know what that means.” or “I can’t do this; I’m a woman.”, and female tech support representatives often get asked by other women if they could speak to a real/male tech support representative; the number of men who make the same request of them is significantly lower.

If this has taught me anything, it’s that efforts in promoting gender equality need to focus a lot more on empowering other women, rather than guilting and persuading men to change pay and hiring policies.

That being said, the vast majority of tech support representatives are male, and the vast majority of billing and sales representatives are female. The people in sales and billing positions do get a somewhat lower pay. It’s not due to their gender; it’s due to the fact that they get commission for every sale that often pushes their average hourly income well past that of tech support representatives. The hiring is done simply through an analysis of personality and who applies. The simple matter is that there are less females applying for tech support positions, and less males applying for billing and sales positions. The same happens in many other places, depending on what industry it is. Few women are the CEOs of extremely successful engineering companies because there are less female engineers because there are less females in engineering programmes in universities, and their admission to the programme has nothing to do with gender.

In summary, I find that a huge amount of the “evidence” showing differences in pay between sexes is a gross distortion of statistics, entirely ignoring any information that is a non-sexist explanation for the difference. I’m not saying that there isn’t a difference in pay between men and women for their positions; I’m saying that people need to take a better look at the data to see where the difference comes from, and why it’s totally reasonable and not sexist at all.

Also, I must add that I AM AWARE that there are SOME businesses (especially smaller and private ones) that DO explicitly pay women less for the exact same job, but these are far from a majority, and they’re not even the kinds of jobs that are mentioned in this propaganda.

I get what you’re saying. But the general idea that those who are trying to tackle these issues are simply “guilting and persuading men” is in itself an oversimplification and misunderstanding. Certain men will be called out for certain words and behaviour, but from everything I’ve seen the overall ideology in feminism is much broader and more nuanced than that. In fact I dare say most of the vitriol against men is not that the focus is to target men as sole culprits, but because we men (and some women) are so violent in their dismissal whenever the topic is brought up. We as men feel we’re being attacked and try to disarm and shut down the entire issue with “it’s not just my fault” defensive rhetoric. It comes complete with misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the issue(s), ad hominem attack, strawperson and anecdotal argument, and straight up bullying. We may feel we are simply defending ourselves, but in fact we are perpetuating the very oppression that is being called out by throwing the baby out with the bathwater. This doesn’t mean we should roll over and do everything we’re told and accept every assertion fired our way. I want to address this, but I need to lay some groundwork first…

It is no surprise to any serious or well versed feminist that women can be and are often complicit with gender norms and even inequality, nor that empowerment of women is a necessary goal. People follow norms. There is little more basic or fundamental about people (in this kind of society model at least). As a feminist and generally socially aware person I get that to pick out one person or group as a culprit for some pervasive social problem is the height of ignorance whether it’s feminists, men, MRAs, minorities, “the 1%”, you name it. Society in any sense is a massively complicated web of thoughts, words, and actions where everyone plays a part. One of the greatest misconceptions of our time is that we are the masters of our own minds. There is a belief that if we act in accordance to some societal norm, that we are ideologically complicit with it (women choose subjugation). The flip side is that by having a certain ideology (I support equality) that our actions and especially the effects of our actions necessarily follow our intentions. These are both largely false to varying degrees. The less we are aware of our cognitive biases, our emotional reactivity etc, etc, the less congruent our ideas and actions can and will be.

So the first thing is to realize that just by listening and postponing our reaction to what we hear isn’t weakness, but merely the process of bypassing our cognitive biases and presumptions in order to process the actual information. It’s also perfectly reasonable to listen to the whole thing and be undecided. This is infinitely better than dismissing it. You may be listening to someone who is very passionate, or even angry. They may even be well justified in that anger. Hell, they may even be upset that you are not coming around immediately. It doesn’t mean that they are any more “hysterical” (look up the origin of that word if you want to learn something of our gendered history) than you are. Nor does it mean that such expectation on their part is above reproach or that they are beyond criticism. And, it certainly does not mean that their understanding of the reality of gender in our culture is flawed. It means that they’re human.

But the fact is that if you want to be intellectually honest with yourself, you need to suspend disbelief and try harder for the sake of truth and greater good, if not for the specific individuals you are hearing. Most forms of oppression in history are not simply perpetuated by evil people twisting their mustaches and thinking about how they want to screw over those people they hate. It’s mainly perpetuated by generally good people born into a culture that supports not just harmful, oppressive ideas, but general misconception, and ignorance. Consider the plight of black people in America. Polls taken in the 60s at arguably the height of racial violence showed that the average American had no idea why blacks were so damn upset. You saw the same rhetoric about measures for equality “going too far”. I’m not trying to equate the present state of gender inequality in North America (though it does relate more closely in other parts of the world) with present or historical oppression of blacks in America (which is not over BTW), but merely the similar societal mechanics that support them. We are all cogs in the wheel of this mechanism.

If you allow your focus to be limited to evasion of blame, and your scope limited to policies and rules, then there are enormous swaths of issues and people being swept under the rug. As an example slightly exaggerated to make a point: if you had an entire racial group that for reasons of systemic historical abuse, currently has a failure of imagination to perceive themselves as being able to do anything more than janitor work, do we say “that’s fine” because we are no longer “forcing” people into submission with policies and rules and because we’re not racist so it’s not our fault? This is essentially what is happening with a lot of gender issues.

Big, Fat Assumptions

So I get this cold call style message on facebook from an author named Bill Lauritzen trying to promote his book (which I’m not going to promote for him here). I have no idea how he got my name but I decided to check out his page.

The first thing I see is this picture of him on the beach sucking in his gut and puffing out his chest with seemingly great effort. To the right is the following text:

“Some of my friends tell me I am SO thin, and I eat SO healthy. The trust [sic] is that they are FAT and they eat a lot of CRAP!”

How noble of him to be so self-flagellating in support of “pro-health” dogma. Accompanying the above text was the sub-text question “Thin or Fat? What’s your Perspective?

The following is my attempt on facebook to address these messages and ultimately answer his question.

I think the weight/health thing (which are NOT actually synonymous) is just another basically arbitrary focal point in a long line which we use to socially categorize and judge each other. This is an age old social exercise that has more to do with establishing group identity and pecking order which includes a self-defending (and inaccurate) mechanism of explaining itself in terms of concern and caring.

If you engage in the exercise of relinquishing your own biases, you can observe the nature of these patterns including not only the surface meaning of words, but also the emotional reactions and value judgements that coincide, you may begin to see what I’m talking about. The acceptance or rejection in these categorizations often has less to do with the actual body size of the individuals, and more to do with whether they support the judgmental dogma, which is generally thought within these groups to be very thoughtful and accepting. Much like how it works with most other “isms” (racism, sexism, classism etc)… think “I have a friend who’s ____ and they support me, so I’m not ___ist”

What’s especially odd is the apparent fervor in defending the above according to the notion that if we do not, “they’ll just think they can get away with it.” The sentiment being that we must shame people for their own good. It’s truly absurd.

So, I guess the short version is “who cares” and the question “are you happy?” This is apparently a radical stance.

Trickled Pink

(This post sprang out of comment posted on the blog of a lovely couple I know, which you should read for context)

I myself came to the same epiphany a few months back. I was thinking about technology and how we’ve had so much advancement in technologies that are designed to simplify and speed up many of our tasks.. and yet we’re busy as ever. Then it occurred to me how markets always re-balance (if you can call it balance) by means of competition.

So for example, if everyone suddenly has a new dishwasher giving them more time and energy in the evening, these can become more resources which some will put towards competing in the job market. If not with hours of work, it will go toward more education. Sounds fine, even natural doesn’t it?

Except that the more educated people there are for a particular job, the more it gives employers the advantage to be selective and choose those who are most willing to put themselves out and further degrade their quality of life. We convert this concept and couple it to a righteous emotion, summed up with the descriptor “hard working”. This can be in terms of working more hours, taking on more stress and even taking less pay. It’s not only a theory that for some people. For some, life has become a death march.

Some people are working so many hours, or with so much pressure/health issues/etc that they are losing their faculties, their health, and especially their children in the process.

It becomes exceedingly difficult to nurture your children in such circumstance,  and we can see all too readily the social breakdown around us or in our own lives. We can scoff at the “bad parents” who neglect their children, and while there is such a thing as personal responsibility, everything has a cause and in this case it’s a systemic one. People don’t just randomly “go bad”.

Enter religion.

Regardless or conscious design or not, this is where religion has the effect of glossing over these systemic flaws and turning our thoughts to moral conjecture in place of investigation and understanding. People are behaving immorally, so they must either convert to the very dogma that serves to undermine them, or be judged and written off. It also helps to keep us unaware. It gives us a sense that if we’re doing well, we’ve earned it, and that if we’re not it’s purely our own responsibility. It blinds us to the myriad of factors that may have benefited us; from our birth into our parents’ socio-economic status to the invisible benefits of our racial identity, religious identity, gender identity, mental health, physical health and everything that those things have afforded us.

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that there’s a one to one relation where religion tells us that poor people are bad. In fact it may tell us that they are blessed. It also tells them not to complain or get too angry. More importantly though, it turns our social and ideological lenses into a binary scope of good or bad where everything is framed in terms of the relative morality of individuals. Even those who have divorced themselves of religion tend to retain this framework. I could go on and on with other intersecting issues and ideas, but I digress.

So in this way what really happens is not “trickle down” of wealth, but instead it’s people’s lifeblood and effort (which is essentially what money represents) trickling up to those with the means to create demand through their actions in the pursuit of wealth (greed). This is the true nature of the “magic hand” of capitalism. All of us, even those in the 1%, seem driven blindly along with dogmatic ideas that don’t lead us into happiness or fulfillment , or even match reality.

Again, it’s so nice to know people who understand! 😀

I applaud you!

Artificial Dissemination

At a social event with the Winnipeg Skeptics this week we ended up talking about religious people and the religious right among other things. We were marveling at how some of the Republicans in the U.S. can be so far off the deep-end with their beliefs. It reminded me of an article I’d read a couple months ago, for which the connection may not be immediately obvious. Hopefully I can explain.

In my personal obsession with psychology and sociology I’ve tried to understand how people think and why they do what they do. This article describes how we tend to operate by personality archetypes (specifically those relating to gender) and how they affect the way we think about ourselves; and by extension, how we think about others. The focus of this article is arguing against the idea of gender based essentialism, and that most of how we behave is according to how we think about ourselves and is passed on socially. I don’t at all want to undermine the profound revelations to be made on just this issue, but I think that these findings also have vast implications for every arena of our lives.

During that discussion with the Skeptics I was reminded a family member, which I related to the group. I explained how she identifies as a conservative and repeats many of the standard truisms that go with that, yet when I asked to explain her views she actually breaks to the left. How could this be? Most of the extended family is conservative, her local community is very conservative, and lives with a staunchly conservative partner. She even votes conservative! Why is there such a mismatch in her views versus her identity?

Like the subjects in the article above, I believe that most people adopt cookie-cutter identities in an attempt to fit in with their social circles. This is something we do in many aspects of our lives, and not just with gender or sexual identity. We do it with our politics, our jobs,  in our romantic relationships, with our families and friends, and with our children. In essence, we wear many different hats. It’s a basic mechanic of social grouping and we apply it to almost everything. With it we sometimes even adopt beliefs that are not our own, though we may wear them loosely.

Now, moving further towards the point embedded in the title: we don’t just do this to ourselves. We do it to others. Often, we do it oppressively. We repeat little truisms about other groups. We make presumptions about who other people are without actually knowing, based on nothing more than a projected and/or perceived group identity. We reinforce our position within some groups by advertising how we treat other groups. Other times it’s simply and subtly implied in our choice of words or the tone of our voice. In all these ways we project on others our subliminal (or overt) message about who they are (especially in comparison to us), and what we think their value and purpose are.

Side-note:
Whenever harsh words like oppression or privilege are used, I think there is something embedded in our neuro-linguistic vocabulary that implies ill-intent. Let me say it explicitly: bad intentions are not required to create oppression. For us it may just be learned patterns and we may not even know the message that we are conveying! As such, sometimes all that is required is ignorance (lack of specific knowledge, not to be confused with stupidity). Language is full of traps like this.

When we operate within the world-view and norms of our social group without bad intentions, and someone comes up to us and tells us that we’re oppressing them with our words and actions, it’s easy to think of them as being deluded. After all, what they’re saying is completely outside of what we know to be normal, natural and obviously true. We know our intentions are good (or at least not intentionally malicious), so obviously they are full of it, right? I mean, it’s not hard to believe. We have so many daily examples of people complaining about things that don’t make any sense to us and some who are indeed obviously deluded.

Here is the birthplace of the concept of “Political Correctness”, where the hidden motif of that other person is to stifle our very being, and sanitize all of existence into rainbows and kittens and everything nice. The belief that their group thinks that way in comparison to ours fits well with our understanding of how things are and they just confirmed it for us. More importantly, they’re in our face telling us we’re bad, and we feel threatened! We need to make it stop, and stop now! Our emotions appeal to our little problem solver upstairs, and it gives us an answer that makes the bad feeling go away.

But why?

Millions of years of evolution have given us this handy fight-or-flight mechanism to protect us from threats, both to our body and to our carefully nurtured, albeit tenuous sense of self. But as we ought to know, evolution is not perfect. Especially when in just a few short years (historically speaking) our world has gone from small communities and tribes with similar values and identities to a global society of remarkable complexity and conflicting values. It’s no surprise that our instincts could misfire. What’s really going on is usually more complex than whatever scenario our brain comes up with in half a second and with almost no meaningful information.

We feel more than we think.

The problem is that many of our socially absorbed views and behaviours are demonstrably false and counter-productive to our proclaimed goals. On the whole, we don’t think to find the truth. We rationalize to preserve our identity. Without deliberate investigation into ourselves and our world, and decoupling from these pre-canned identities (or at least being aware of and working around them), we will continue flying blindly on autopilot, and our greater issues will never be solved.

Won’t evolution fix everything eventually?

Evolution is just the explanation of how we got here. It doesn’t magically give us what we want. It doesn’t deal with our wishes for happiness or camaraderie. It doesn’t deal with things working optimally at all. It is merely “survival of the good enough.”

However, we have a brain that is capable not only of rational thought, but also of deep introspection. We have it because it was the advantage we needed to survive. We can leave our future to the magic of death and suffering to select some better genes, or we can use the tools we have proactively and figure out how to get what we want through greater awareness. Our evolution has not yet brought us to fully rational thinking or conscious social function and as the social world continues expanding through advances in social technology, the pressure to get there will also increase.

So I ask you now, who are you? And more importantly:

Who do you want to be?

Cross-posted to The Winnipeg Skeptics Blog

Commensuration

A friend of mine recently posted a link to Schrödinger’s Rapist on Facebook appealing to men to read and pass along.

*pause*

Can you guess the result? Actually there were a few decent comments, but predictably it was largely a “I’m not aware of my privilege”-apalooza. And also not surprisingly, the topic drifted towards privilege and then to equal opportunity.

It’s been my perception that privileged people only pay attention when things start to affect them, and as long as they operate this way it will always feel like they’re being “underprivileged” when you start to correct the problem.

In this case, it was an anecdote about not being eligible for certain scholarships due to the phallic appendage between his legs. His awareness of privilege apparently sprang into existence the first time someone else got something, seemingly due to their type of junk they sport.

His solution to the problem of inequality?

“You cannot equalize by giving differential rewards and benefits to ANY group over an other group for any reason. This sends the message that institutionalized differential treatment is something good. The only way that we will every get lasting equality is by treating everyone the same, at all times.”

Sweet Fluffy Jesus! This isn’t the third grade and we’re not dealing with who got the bigger lollipop! I’d almost be inclined to laugh at this, were it not so tragic. We’re talking about women’s livelihoods. Food, clothing, and money to support children, money to go to school. Women who without these changes have more difficulty getting jobs, making the same income, not just wages per hour, but money per year (mat leave, family leave). I wonder where all the men were with this warm sentiment when the whole issue of pay and employment equity first entered the public forum. Sitting comfortably and feeling very deserving I’d imagine. Pretending that sexism doesn’t exist is not un-sexist. Without some kind of fixes in place (cludgy though they may be at times), things don’t just fix themselves auto-magically.

Now, male privilege isn’t just about written laws and instituted policies that say “men should get this and women shouldn’t get that”. It’s also (and more pervasively) in the subjective decisions making. For example, let’s take a common argument: “With affirmative action, we can’t hire the  “most fit” person. Our ideas about who is “most fit”, are usually not drawn from rationality. Even with the most basic understanding of psychology we learn that human beings make snap decisions, first referring to their emotional core and gut feelings, and then rationalize their decisions afterward.

http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/05/28/representative-heuristic/

This is where “gut feel” decisions are made that bypass or conscious, logical processes; where feelings of “she’ll just cause drama and complications” or “he’ll just fit in better with the crew” override the decision.

Check this out:
http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/05/26/the-perils-of-introspection/

When left to make subjective decisions, our biases colour everything. When asked to explain we made the decisions we did, we think about the implications of the possible answers. We appeal to ideas of what we want to believe about ourselves and what kinds of reasons fit with the kind of good person we know we must be. Thus we don’t know what people are talking about when they cry “sexism!”

I’m going to share an anecdote. It’s not to being offered as proof, but it does give some context to the scenario. We do after all need stories to centre our empathy and add the human element:

http://www.copyblogger.com/james-chartrand-underpants/

If you need proof that equality exists, go find it yourself. Personally, I don’t find it hard to believe that this happens because the more I’ve delved into this, the more I’ve seen this kind of prejudice in my own thoughts and reactions, and that at my worst I was never entrenched in it as some apparently are, men AND women.

The right to vote and policy changes on paper (even those are far from being closed up, and in fact getting worse through some legal atrocities in the U.S.) only do so much when there are still gaping holes in the subjective processes of society, not to mention the limitations imposed by internalized messages of inferiority and women’s place in societal hierarchy from almost everywhere.

He told me that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that we should just be more patient, as though the changes thus far have been with anything less than huge effort. I agree to a point; that you can’t make people stop being sexist overnight. What he neglected to mention is that it also didn’t build itself. We can’t eat your wishful thinking for breakfast, my friend.

What gets me most of all is how people people like him love to take shots at the perhaps imperfect nature of equal opportunity policy, but then have no alternative. I have to admit that it’s a fallacy to say that if you can’t think of a better way, then this one is obviously the best. But I’m not saying that, and he’s not even trying to offer any alternatives. In fact, all he has to say is that  there is no real problem, so just make it equal on paper and *poof* it’s magically equal! Besides, there IS no real inequality at work anyway and never was…and look over there! See!? There are bigger problems in the world like starving kids in Africa or something so STFU! And you’re stupid, and you just like being angry! *rasp*

There are always bigger problems, but this isn’t a zero-sum game, dood.

Men, closing your eyes and wishing upon a star does not equality make. The world is unfair, and you benefit from it. That’s not the same as your life being easy. That’s not the same as saying you’re a bad person. That’s not the same as saying women hate you. But, it is what it is.

None of us stand alone. None of us are truly independent. We are interdependent. You can do anything you want, but the kind of world you want to live in starts with you. Your partners live in this world. Your mothers live in this world. Your daughters live in this world.

You live in this world. So, what are you going to do about it?