A Special Kind of Minority: O’Reilly & Jones

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There is power in being oppressed.  Power in being a victim.  Power in being the David, who slays the giant.  And as such, some have usurped the cloak of the small man to their advantage, such as Bill O’Reilly and Alex Jones.  They claim they are the minority and are the ones being mistreated.  What this allows for is the anger they spew and the fear-mongering they spread like a disease.  When they label themselves as the outsider, they are allowed to be angry and upset at the imaginary giants that they are fighting.  They become the oppressed, and the oppressed are allowed to voice their opinions.  When this occurs, they have shifted the dynamic and to acknowledge reality would be to shift the dynamic back, and as such, they cannot live in facts.  Everyone is allowed to live in their own world, but when their voice is the voice that millions subscribe to, it becomes a dangerous message of perceived inequality.

I once read Yahoo comments, where casual commentors asked the Muslim community to prove themselves to ‘real’ Americans.  One man in particular, who identified himself as Muslim, went to great lengths to try to prove his loyalty, and all it got him was a comment saying it wasn’t enough.  There is no logic in the game of control and power, for that is where the real fight lies.  When you usurp the cause of the down-trodden and call for change when you don’t really own the cause, there is no end to the thirst for your kind of justice because your justice has always been skewed.  Those who subscribe to such views spouted by these two men are looking to gain power over those who they perceive have taken their power.  It doesn’t matter how much the other party is willing to give in, because it wasn’t a real fight to begin with.

Power and the greed for power and control can do viscous things to people.  And for those who are constantly accused of being the oppressor, the next best move is to set yourself up as an oppressed minority that is in search of the truth, but the truth never satisfies.  Having power means owning the ability to tell someone who is different than you to prove their loyalty and never accepting what they offer because you simply don’t believe them.  Power is muting the voices of those who march against you because you don’t believe in their cause.  Power is shutting down a movement because it does not affect you or the people you know.  For if you can’t win the oppressed, you may as well join them as the ones the oppressed oppress.  That’s a special kind of minority.

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A Dissenting Voice in the Crowd

Just because you’re right doesn’t mean that’s the right way of going about it.

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You’ve probably been in a situation where you know you’re completely right so you aggressively push your view because you know you are right. Well, that’s probably not the best way to handle a it.  A lot of times, those who are right really try to assert their positions because they know they are right.  And then there are those who believe they are right as well and try to assert themselves, but that’s another story.  The two are intertwined, but not synonymous.  Personally, I have a pretty logical thought process, so when I know I am right, I tend to refuse to listen to other voices of dissent, which can work to my detriment sometimes.  Once, I had a discussion with a coworker who was not familiar with a process that kept insisting they were right when I knew they had no clue of what they were talking about.  Because I knew I was right, I tried to show them how to get to my line of thinking, but didn’t really take into consideration their feelings.  Because I didn’t do that, the person tried to sabotage me later because they felt as if they weren’t properly listened to.  This is what happens when you try to steamroll people without listening to the opposition even if you are right.  It will come back to bite you.  What I failed to recognize was that the person absolutely hated to be wrong and called out for it in public, which caused them to hold on to their hard feelings and try to ruin what I was working on to satisfy their own feelings.  You can say that people shouldn’t do that, but that doesn’t stop them from being human and acting out their feelings.  A lot of times in academic , political, and work settings, people don’t really assess feelings and how they play into situations, but when you don’t assess them, they will topple you as in the recent election.

Many intelligent people went into the election on the soundness of the polls, but never took into consideration how people felt.  A lot of working-class Americans were fed up with the state of government.  Democrats who fought for Bernie Sanders felt slighted and were not properly brought back into the fold, causing them to vote third party or not at all.  A lot of Republicans didn’t like either party and decided not to vote, and then the political elite wondered where they went wrong.  A lot of times, things are rolled out in government that aren’t properly explained to people and as such, the people resent that and question why the programs were implemented in the first place.  One of those projects is Affirmative Action.  I’ve heard white people express dismay at it because they see people of color who seemingly had the same socioeconomic level as them surpass them and only know that it was due to the color of their skin.  Programs such as this are worthy, but if they are not explained to the masses, they will face opposition because those in the elite know it is right, but think there is nothing more to do because they are right.  It even took me a long time to come to understand the purpose of Affirmative Action.  To summarize, everyone is biased.  Each race is predisposed to favor their own based on cultural, social, and economic cues.  That does not mean it applies to everyone and every situation, but it is prevalent.  Look up race blindness, where someone can recognize those within their own race, but have face blindness when it comes to other races different than them.  There are all sorts of biases out there that may or may not benefit you.  As such, if you are one race and go to an employer who is the same race, you may have a slight advantage over others who are not the same.  Now imagine that on a large scale where the majority of employers are white.  The results are going to be the same, but on a larger scale.  There is no racism involved, but slight biases do exist that no one ever noticed.  AA tried to correct this, but it cannot work if it is not explained.

On a personal and social level, this attitude can lead to the failure of things that are completely righteous and well-meaning, but just because they are right doesn’t mean it can be forced on others without considering their feelings and opinions.  Recently, I’ve watched videos of the  Black Pete, a blackface figure, from the Netherlands and how the people there have vigorously fought against the political correctness of this long-held tradition.  Those who are agitating for change are correct in their estimations of the character being a racist emblem of a time gone by, and they are correct in protesting it, but they must also think about the opposition.  When you question the validity of this tradition, these people take it as an assault against their heritage and who they are.  When they feel assaulted, they will fight for what they feel is the disintegration of their people, when in actuality, it is just one racist aspect that can easily be changed.  How it should be handled is not an easy answer, but it is easy to see that you need to take into consideration the feelings behind the character and what it means to the people.  So the next time you know you’re right and the other party is completely in the wrong, try to consider not their position, but their feelings tied to their position instead.  You don’t have to change their minds to see the rightness of your way of thinking, but you just have to acknowledge their dissent and how they are feeling.  That is enough to open an honest dialogue of what is really operating beneath the spoken words and actions that you do see.  Because it’s what you don’t see that will kill you.  Am I right, Hillary?

The Media Apologizes For Election

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If there’s one thing this election has unified, it’s the perceived intellectual and political pundits such as Bill Maher and Glenn Beck.  Surprisingly, you can watch videos of both apologizing for their antagonizing stances on former political opponents in the past.  Beck even goes so far as to admit his role in building up a right-wing base that was pretty baseless in their attacks. More than anything, you can see the role that news and media played in this election, and their genre was especially successful because they made sensationalized and hyper-focused assumptions about the other side, while pandering to their fan-base without giving differing viewpoints.  That’s the world we live in:  we want to listen only to those whom we agree with and as such, we refuse to even believe in the validity of other sources because they differ.

The media has a lot to be sorry for, but in the end, it comes down to us, and we label ourselves as Republicans and Democrats and assume each side is more right than the other.  I have to admit that I am a Democrat, because not admitting that wouldn’t be fair to this article.  The one thing I’ve heard that resonates with me is when Republicans ask why Democrats don’t care if they are supposed to have such bleeding hearts, and I have to admit that this is true. Most, but not all Democrats will fight tooth and nail for the rights of those who are under represented, but they will refuse to listen to voices of opposition, going so far as to label the opposition idiots, which causes them to hate them in turn.  Democrats tend to fight for ideals, but they sometimes forget about the individual and the individual is more complex than just a set if ideas.  Republicans tend to be more respectful with individuals, but not broad ideals, not realizing that these ideals do impact people who are different than them.

In no way am I saying one side is better than the other, for they both have arrived at the same impasse.  As a Democrat, I realize where I stand, but I see now that I also cannot forget about those who have a different voice than I do even if that voice is intending to enact legislation that I don’t agree with.  What we do instead is shout over the other and call the other side names instead of just respectfully listening.  And my message to fellow Democrats is “you are right in what you believe, but just because you believe it doesn’t make the people who disagree with you go away.” Oftentimes, when you believe you are truly on a righteous path, you refuse to listen to the rhetoric of others because you know you are right, but knowing you are right doesn’t make you a compassionate person.  Compassion for those who you do not agree with is what we should ultimately embrace, for we certainly cannot continue living in our own segregated bubbles.

 

 

http://money.cnn.com/2016/11/16/media/bill-maher-trump-apology/

Election Aftermath Thoughts

In my humble opinion, I believe this election was won by anger and fueled by fear. I think people on both sides were angry at the choices they were forced to contemplate and decided to vote 3rd party or not at all.  Secondly, those who were on the fence were afraid of change, which I don’t blame them for, and they choose the safer and more well-known route of a presidency.  I hope this election will galvanize us into a nation that cares about each other and not particularly what we stand for. The truth is, we all care for this nation on either side, but accuse the other of not caring in the way we want them to.  If we can just acknowledge this one truth, we should be able to understand each other better.  Also, we as a whole need to listen to racists, sexists, homophobes, and others because their voices deserve to be heard as well.  I’m not calling everyone who voted for the President this, because they exist on all sides, but this is what happens when you pretend to live in an insular intellectual world that you believe is right without acknowledging the dissident voices that exist in the crowd.  It’s time to come off our high horses and embrace those that we do not agree with.

I woke up to this reality today and know a lot of people are afraid and confused, but some people also feel more confident about the direction their nation is heading in. I see a lot people who are rightfully angry lashing out at others and calling them names, but they don’t realize the implications of what they do.  They are adding to the divide in this country and also demeaning the very people they are calling out.  The very people we are accuse of being racist include minorities.   Those who we say are sexists are also women.  There are people who are against immigration who are 1st generation immigrants.  There are Black people who certainly don’t agree with the Black Lives Matter movement.  That’s what’s great with this nation: you can have any opinion you want and it can be defended.  I watched a short video on Facebook before the election that had Keith Olberman chastising women who would even think of voting for him.  I think things like that were counter-productive because you can’t shame a group of people into your way of thinking.  There was a lot of shame and humiliation in this election and people were able to overlook a lot of it to vote for their candidate for what they believed was the greater good.  And here is where we stand.

I think the media will need to really look at how they covered this election and how much air they gave to sensationalized news. I think both parties will have to do soul searching on what their parties stand for and who they are catering to.  I think White Americans are tired of having things taken from them without having anything explained to them.  I think minorities in America are afraid of speaking up for what they want now.  For the longest time, the dialogue in our country has been that of heated debate and passionate fervor without any understanding for the other side.  I think the time has come for us to try to have a different dialogue, one that shows respect for our opponents while disagreeing with them.  I think it is this passionate opposition that has fueled this presidency, because people are tired of not being heard even if their views are not politically correct.  Those who are in the intellectual elite tend to bypass this mass of people because they think these feelings will simply dissipate with reason, but that is not the case.  They have proven that they are a force to be reckoned with and should be treated with respect, and I must agree.  It is a time for change and change comes in strange ways.  We can continue to despise and ignore the other side, or we can choose to work with them.  Most importantly, we must acknowledge the importance of people’s feelings as opposed to their logic, for that is what guides people’s votes.

In Defense of Donald J Trump

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It’s the shot heard around the around: “Grab them by the pussy.”  Just let that statement sink in.  It’s vulgar.  Distasteful.  And definitely sexist.  Hell, even the Republicans who cheated on their wives are shaking their heads, but is it defensible?  Of course it is, because a large segment of society will continue to vote for him.  People will still go to his rallies.  They will still buy hats that say ‘Make America Great Again!’ And they will commend him for being a billionaire even when he was born into his riches.  Obviously, I’m biased against Trump and wanted to clearly state that, but I’d like to try to defend him.  His comment was atrocious, but I believe what is said behind closed doors should not hinder a person’s public persona. He’s actually got enough public gaffes to condemn himself already, but I digress.

I believe someone’s off-the-record comments should be treated as private.  If they are made public, there is no choice but for us to judge, but we should take it with a grain of salt because we don’t know the context of what it was said in.  When Duane Chapman from Dog the Bounty Hunter was recorded by his son for saying racist things against Black people, his show was put on hold.  Although I don’t believe in the things he said, I believe he had the right to say them in a context that he presumed was private.  However, I also believe the A&E Network had the right to terminate him if they wanted.  I did not agree with that decision as it was based solely on one private conversation, but they also had the right to terminate for whatever reason they saw fit.

Don Sterling, the owner of the Clippers, was also secretly recorded saying racist diatribe while owning a mostly Black basketball team.  When the recording came out, he was forced to sell his team based off that private statement alone. I fear that we live in a society where your ownership can be forced to be sold because of a private statement.  Then, there’s Ray Rice, who was let go from the Ravens for having a video recorded of his wife being brutally punched out by him.  I certainly don’t agree with these things, but I also find that it’s a slippery slope that they are able to be fired for things they did in their personal lives.  This creates an environment where those who live in the public sphere must always watch their private lives in fear of being condemned for it.  I quite remember a time when Hilary Clinton was snapped by photographers drinking beer and there was public outrage over the incident.  At what point are private actions and comments made accountable for the public persona?  Although I don’t agree with some of these men’s actions, it makes me uneasy to think of the probabilities it holds for social accountability.

However, it is two-fold because we are judgmental people and these things have been made public, so we will hold the person to their statements.  I feel I can judge the person based off their comments, but I refrain from judging their public persona.  As a man, I think Donald Trump believes he can say and do no wrong.  That comment shows that he grew up in an insular world where no one challenged or rebuked him for anything.  He’s like a 13-year-old boy that stayed that way because no one told him to grow up and act decently.  He wasn’t 21 and ignorant when he made that comment, but he was 59.  If he hasn’t grown up by now, I’m pretty sure he he’s going to keep on being 13.  And petulant 13-year-olds make awesome presidents!  He believes he can treat women like sexual objects because the women that have come before him have let him and no man has said the opposite.  He thinks it is his star power that allows him this freedom, when in actuality, it’s his money.  He has traded on this belief for so long that it is ingrained in him, and he makes no apologies for it as when he called Rosie O’Donnell a ‘fat slob.’

Furthermore, this mindset can be detrimental when combined with hanger-ons like Billy Bush, who feed into Trump’s logic.  He feels he has the right to comment on a woman’s body and to take it if he desires it simply because he can. A person such as this can never see a woman as his equal and loves to sexualize them to put them on a level lower than him, but they cannot see them as the same.  They demean women on the bus and when they get off, Bush feels as if he has the right to ask the woman to hug them.  If they hadn’t had such braggadocio talk, perhaps he wouldn’t have had the balls to ask for such a thing.  Such talk encourages the sexualization of women and the complicity of men in the act.  That woman in the video might of thought it odd at such a request, but had nothing to substantiate her fears, so she hugged them, but when the video as a whole is watched, you can see how women become sexualized and participate in their own sexualization because they do not want to be perceived as a stuck-up bitch.

For that is the refrain they hear a lot when they don’t comply with cat-calls, whistles, and put-downs on the internet: you stupid fat cunt! Go back to the kitchen.  Men feel as if it’s perfectly fine to say these things to women because we as a society have accepted this ‘locker room banter’ for decades.  I understand what locker room banter is, but what Trump said is not that.  It is the demonizing and demeaning of women as a whole, and it allows for men to think that they are free to exercise that right.  So if the President of the free world can call a woman a fat slob and try to grab them by the pussy, it sets a precedent for other men that it is perfectly fine to continue their diatribe against women. We are all responsible for these actions and if we don’t all condemn them, we are also contributing the the problem.  I don’t condemn the public persona of Donald J Trump, but I certainly condemn the private man that is Donald J Trump.

 

 

To burkini or not to burkini

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The burkini has been in the news lately and if you don’t know what that is, it’s a garment meant to cover a woman’s entire body when she is at the beach at the behest of her religion.  That lovely name joins burqa and bikini into a catch phrase that the media loves to flaunt.  Lately, beaches around France has made headlines about banning the article of clothing because it infringes on people’s rights.  I hate the idea of the garment because it bends to religion.  It uses religion to dictate what a woman should show in public, and that is something I can’t agree with.  However, I agree that those who choose to wear it have that choice.  I may not agree with everything you do, but you have that option. That is what religious freedom means.  I also don’t agree with what Utah Mormon women are forced to wear, but that’s their choice.  To blame the individual religion is nonsense, for any religion that denounces what women wear should all be treated the same.

And on the non-religious side, a school teacher named Paris Monroe has been reprimanded by social media for her clothing choices.  She is a very curvaceous woman who enjoys dressing up, and some people find it inappropriate that she dresses herself in that way in front of children.  I myself have been on the receiving end of glares from women and men when I wore things that a person who didn’t have curves would have no issues with.  I have gone through that and sympathized with her, but I also thought one of her clothing choices was somewhat inappropriate.  Despite what I felt, I also know my feelings still had no bearing on this woman’s right to choose what she wanted to wear on a daily basis.  As humans, we’re going to always judge, but that doesn’t mean the other party has to heed what we believe.  I can judge all I want, but I will also defend these women’s rights to dress their own body.  When it comes down to it, the freedom to choose is more important than the pressure to conform.