The news is fairly short today. I'll be following it with a little bit of a rant. (WARNING: CURSE WORDS AND POSSIBLY UPSETTING THINGS AHEAD.)
-- The "Occu-Pirates" are under attack by the Parks Department, after a resident took his boat out in the Hudson River in protest. Tom Fox owns the sailboat, named Druid, and says that he cleared his activities with the Coast Guard. Fox received an angry phone call from the Parks Department demanding he cease his protest actions, but Fox has no intention of doing so.
-- Here's more background information on the increasing protests in Russia, including the detainment of opposition leaders, and the opinions of those marching in the rallies.
-- Police are turning to a popular social media outlet to increase transparency. More and more departments are putting their own videos up on YouTube, for multiple reasons. One department even put up a video of an officer punching a woman, to show why he was fired. It seems they are looking to establish credibility by showing their side of the story.
-- A New Haven High school Class President will not be giving the graduation speech she thought she was, and she believes her connection to Occupy may be the reason. While the girl admits that Occupy has not been mentioned, she finds it odd that steps taken previously were not taken with her. She was not informed of a deadline to submit her speech, and not contacted, as her brother was when he was President back in 2010. What's going on here? Find out more at the link.
Now that the news done, I have a small rantish-type-thing for you.
My wife and I had a bit of a discussion the other day, and it stuck with me. She asked me an interesting question, and I had a hard time answering it. Now, the rant has a lot to do with Democrat v. Republican, but it means much more than just those two groups. It can be applied to anyone who has these views.
There were actually multiple questions that I talked through concerning several things. Here are a few of them:
Why is it that most Republicans don't want pay equality for women/minorities/special interest groups?
Why is it that most Republicans don't want equal protections for women/minorities/special interest groups?
Why does it seem that most Republicans are unaware of the major inequalities for these groups still in our society today?
Now, like I said, this doesn't apply to only Republicans. There are many types of people that see things this way, regardless of their political affiliation, race, gender, etc. There are multiple theories as well to why these people think this way, and I'm going to discuss them a little bit. This has been weighing on my mind for a little while, and I feel the need to get it out. In the words of Ray Bradbury, "Don't talk about it... Write."
So, of course, there are people who really don't want these types of equality for others. There always has been. Ethnocentricity and racism and sexism and homophobism still exist, and for most of us, there is no denying that. We see it. We feel it. Some of us deal with it on a regular basis. As a child, I was warned by my great-grandmother on her deathbed to keep my Roma heritage a secret. I did for a very long time, but as I aged, I became proud of my Gypsy lineage, and no longer afraid to share it. I have lost friends and (most likely) chances at jobs because of it, but if they can't accept me, they don't deserve my companionship, right?
However, I refuse to believe that the majority of the people who attempt to deny equal rights do so because of their prejudices. I simply don't think it's so, at least not for all who see things that way. I'm going to give you a few reasons that some people see things the way they do, then go into detail on them a bit.
1. They believe in the American ideal of "Anyone who works hard enough can achieve their dreams."
2. They believe that these problems do not actually exist, or that ignoring them will make them go away.
3. They believe that we have moved past the need to protect others. I call this having a "futuristic mindset."
Each of these ties in to one another. Each of these represent a big problem with the views of the people that believe them.
1. They believe in the American ideal of "Anyone who works hard enough can achieve their dreams."
This is not always wrong, but it is far from being always right. What many people do not realize is that this mindset only works if we all actually have the same set of circumstances, opportunities, and experiences in our lives. We don't. If you grow up a poor, Black man in inner-city Detroit, you are not going to have the same anything as a Middle-class white man from the suburbs. The inner-city child will more likely attend a school that has a poor student/teacher ratio, have a home in a violence-ridden neighborhood, and may even have an absent parent for one of many reasons, which can cause financial instability. The suburban child will have a better-funded school, a safer neighborhood, and may have only one parent, but likely has two. Is that the same? Do you think that these children could turn out to be successful? Of course they could. But it's going to take a lot more work and luck on the part of one of them, don't you think?
The American Dream is all about working hard to get what you want/need. The sad thing is that for some people who don't get the right opportunities, working hard may NEVER be enough. Circumstances can change so much in a person's life. Take one of my good friends for example. I'll just say his name is R. R works hard, a 90 hour week sometimes, caring for people at a home for the disabled. He's good at his job, and makes good money. R had to drop out of high school after it became more troublesome than it was worth, as he was being targeted by the administration because of his attitude and living situations. He lived with his mother and much-younger brother for years until he finally got up enough emotional strength to move out. R's mother counts on him for everything, as she can't work to support the family because of several debilitating illnesses. Even though he has moved out, he still pays many of the bills for his family. He can't give the money to his mother, as she'll just use it to buy marijuana for the pain, so he pays the bills directly. When he gets off work, he goes to his grandfather's house to care for him. R's grandfather is very ill, but R feels responsible for him, and won't put him in a home due to the poor levels of care he sees in some of them. R wants desperately to return to college, but can't forsake his family to move away to school. R's job also pays him too much to allow him to qualify for aid, but R uses that money to support THREE households- himself, his mother's, and his grandfather's. Is that equal? How should he move on? Can he? Could you?
R would be very upset if he saw that I posted this about him. If you are reading this, oh best friend of mine, I want you to know that your story matters, and that I am here for you. You have my support, and likely the support of many of my readers.
2. They believe these problems do not actually exist, or that ignoring them will make them go away.
This is a serious issue in our society today. One example can prove it wrong, but most people who feel this way will exclaim, "It's not the same thing!" But it is. When America, as well as many people outside and even inside Germany, turned a blind eye to what was happening, did it go away? Obviously not.
Pretending that a problem isn't there doesn't rectify the situation. For every one of you that says, "but if we ignore it, it will go away," there is someone else out there going "great, they're ignoring it. Now we can turn against these people." It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but sadly, it isn't. Racist groups take advantage of turned heads to make things harder on the people they hate. Only the most rabid group will make an attack while people are watching. Look at it like a coyote. If you have food sitting out, and you face away from it, a coyote may sneak up and ravage it. It knows you aren't looking. Only the most rabid or desperate coyote will attempt to take it while you stare at it.
Really looking at the true statistics are all you need to understand that racism is still prevalent in our society. A little while ago, a scientific study was done to determine how strongly racism still existed. An equal number of students were selected to participate in the study. All were male. All were given the same qualifications and told to apply for jobs. Half of the potential candidates were White. Half were Black. The students were divided up again. Half of the White candidates and half of the Black candidates were told to write on their applications that they had a felony on their records. All went out and applied for the same jobs.
How does this story end? Well, if you are aware of racism, you already know. The White candidates WITH FELONIES were twice as likely to be called back for interviews as the Black candidates WITH NO FELONY. It didn't matter what they had done wrong. White men were more likely to get the job. Sad, don't you think?
3. They believe we have moved past the need to protect others. I call this having a "futuristic mindset."
Of course, this is a problem as well. People who believe this may say things like "We don't need an equal pay protection clause for women. Women should just be paid equally regardless," or "Why do Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Trans individuals require protection to prevent them from being fired for their Orientation or Identity? They shouldn't be getting fired for it to begin with."
These people have the right idea, but they are too far ahead of their time. When it comes to protection, we need it now. We may not in the future, but we haven't progressed that far yet. These individuals believe that, as a society, we have gotten far enough that everyone should just be doing the right thing.
If we all did the right thing, we wouldn't need protection. Not everyone does the right thing.
If employers care as much about people as they did profit, we wouldn't need unions. Not everyone cares about employees.
If people didn't see color, we wouldn't have racially-motivated crime. Not everyone is color-blind yet.
If sexual orientation/gender identity was accepted, I wouldn't be afraid to go out to the bar with my wife. I'm terrified.
If we all cared about others as much as we do ourselves, we wouldn't be IN THIS GODDAMN FUCKED UP MESS TO BEGIN WITH, NOW WOULD WE?!?!
Humanity pisses me off sometimes. Stop being blind. Stop being selfish. Stop being douchebags who just want to hurt others, make money, take things that aren't ours, make others work for us so we can profit from their loss, take homes that people should have a fucking right to, make a profit off the illnesses of a sick and poor population. STOP EXPLOITING OTHERS.
For the sake of whatever God may be out there, if you do any of the few things I just listed directly above this, piss off.
Thanks and Solidarity,
P.S. Please don't write to me about how Democrats are stupid too, or how Republicans aren't really like that, or how blah blah anything like those things. I know that. I said in the beginning that this could apply to ANYONE that holds those views. K? Thanks.
Love you guys.