Friday, June 21, 2019

I don't understand why a lot of people think that minorities achieving equality is a zero sum game.

My Facebook is probably just like yours, only smaller scale. It fills up with all kinds of posts, and some of them are upsetting, while others miss the mark, and some are actually helpful. Go figure, right? One that I saw recently was of the "upsetting" variety. It had to do with an acquaintance of mine, and his younger brother who lives in Idaho.

My acquaintance put up a feminist post showing a woman being called to by some rednecks in a roofless Jeep. These three men had a unanimous piece of advice for this young woman: "You'd be more attractive if you smiled more." And the woman actually reacted to it in a way that is very antagonistic. Something akin to, "I'm not interested in being attractive to you. How would you like it if strange men whistled at you and made suggestions to help you be more attractive to them?"

Anyway, the point of the thing was this: if you are a man, stop behaving like this toward women. They don't enjoy it, and it makes them feel harassed. Well the younger brother who lives in Idaho (I want to add that he is a U.S. Army veteran, so he may have some issues regarding toxic masculinity and PTSD) had strong things to say about "snowflakes" and "pc culture." The brothers got into a full-blown argument, neither one meeting on any common ground. In the end, they just stopped talking and moved onto "Agree to disagree," and that kind of thing.

I actually hate "agree to disagree." It isn't helpful, and it means that both parties dismiss the other in favor of keeping the peace. No viewpoints are changed, no minds are settled. It's the ultimate stubborn "dig in your heels" move, and it makes compromise and communication completely impossible with regard to this one thing. The more of those things you "agree to disagree" with that happen within the context of a relationship, the more the relationship deteriorates as a whole.

However, what's troubling about the whole exchange I witnessed second-hand, is that the younger brother clearly thought that feminism had gone too far. It was infringing on a man's right to compliment someone...infringing on a man's right to make suggestions on what would make a person more amiable and approachable. For him, it meant that it was no longer safe for men to be men. The very idea of being a man in the United States was under attack, and he was going to have none of it. "If someone is offended, that's on them," he said. "Being offended is a choice. Make the choice not to be offended, but don't cut off anyone's right to say anything. We have Freedom of Speech fought for by brave men and women." And on and on and on he would go.

I don't understand why he though that this woman being treated as an equal, instead of being a punching bag for a man's words, was somehow taking rights away from a man. And this is just one example. In Kearns, Utah here recently (it's just a few miles from where I live) some high school students burned a Gay Pride flag on a Snapchat video and declared that all gays should just die. As a gay man, seeing this is disturbing. Seeing that no one really cares (other than to take the high school students who were behind the event and kicking them off the football team) is also disturbing. But it's a comfortable cloth that gets draped on our gay shoulders...this idea that someone needs to be the punching bag for someone else. "How dare you stand up for yourself! If we can't pick on you, then who's it gonna be!" Those are the words that I hear when I see acts like the video I've described.

Why is America so uniquely cruel? Why is our society based on punching down on someone? Why do people think that minorities achieving equality is somehow going to rob a person with privilege of some of that privilege? We live in a country that others see as rich, yet we have millions of citizens that have to crowd fund to take care of medical bills. Our students medicate themselves for depression and anxiety. Public shootings are so commonplace now, that the news barely reports them anymore unless the death count is really high. Why are people so angry that gays are finally getting rights? Why are men so angry that women want equal pay for equal work? Why do people think having healthcare for all somehow means that your healthcare will now suck? Getting rights, respect, and living a good life should be available for everyone. But it's clearly not, and I think it's because not enough people actually desire equality.

I guess what I'm saying is that a majority of people actually desire inequality, and I don't get that. If this is true, why are we this way?

Do any of you have thoughts on this topic you'd be willing to share? I look forward to your comments.


  1. America isn't that bad compared to China or the Middle East where you can be jailed or stoned to death for standing up for yourself. You'd be dead if you lived there or Russia or some other places. But thanks to Trump we've taken a lot of steps backwards.

  2. If I respond, my response might be longer than your post.
    But, really, I don't have a good or satisfying answer for you.

  3. I tend to believe that most men (including rednecks) wouldn't say something like that, but there's always going to be a few immature idiots out there. Most men aren’t that rude. I’ve also never heard a man say anything against equal pay for women, but there have been cases where it was proved it happens. Although the trend I see is that most businesses want diversity, and it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female because there is a pay scale. As for equality, people don’t have equal intelligence, talent, determination or strength. That makes things difficult for equality. One of my teachers told the class that the world doesn’t owe you anything. As unpleasant as that sounds, should that be changed?

  4. So many thoughts...

    A vast majority has been brainwashed by fear. Those on top want to keep the majority of the populace down, so they've invented cracks that everyone should fight over. Because if we realized it's the rich and powerful who are the ones keeping us down, we might unite and overthrow them. This is their biggest fear.

    As for equality... People need to feel superior to someone. Well, the weak minded do. If you don't feel comfortable enough in your own skin, you need to have someone you feel is "inferior". Whether this be waitpeople at a restaurant, gay people, fat people, female people...

    I like to think that as a culture, we've reached a turning point. A lesson point. Some people need things to get this bad before they can "get it".

  5. Liz has a good point about fear making people react badly. I have never known a mentally and emotionally balanced person who needs to be cruel in order to feel superior.

    As for our health care system: it's a disaster. We're the last developed country that does not have a national system, and the result is injustice, cruelty, and even death. The Washington Post just today ran a long article on the temporary free clinic that opened for a weekend in Tennessee. Hundreds of people waited literally days in line to get desperately needed care. It was the kind of scene that isn't even seen in any other civilized, first world country. And why don't we have a national health system? Because of greed and indifference to human suffering. This must change.