Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Class appears to trump sexism in interrupting

How to Get Ahead as a Woman in Tech: Interrupt Men has this observation about the women with the most seniority in the study: "Not only do these three women interrupt everyone, gender- and level-agnostic, they represent three of the four biggest interrupters in the study. Their rates of interruption/hour are, respectively, 35, 34, and 32, with one male colleague in Level E coming in at 34 and literally everyone else in every level showing a lower rate."

ETA: This really isn't a new phenomenon. Anyone who read or saw a good production of Pride and Prejudice should remember Lady Catherine de Burgh, who no one interrupted.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trump isn't a racist—he's a right-identitarian

When people talk about identitarians, we're usually talking about centrists and leftists who prioritize social identity, the sorts of people who think it's more important to vote for a black or a female neoliberal than for a white male democratic socialist. But the traditional forms of racism and bigotry are also identitarian, and Donald Trump's a fine example.

He's not racist because he likes people of all races from all parts of the planet who enter the US through government channels and are not Muslim.

He's an identitarian because he rails against Muslims rather than terrorists, even though terrorists come from every racial and religious group—for two famous examples, Anders Breivik wanted to promote his form of Christianity and opposed all forms of Islam, and Timothy McVeigh, who committed one of the greatest acts of terrorism on US soil when he bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City, was a white right-wing American Christian.

Mexican-Americans may be the best example of the divide in Trump's identitarianism. He loves Mexican-American citizens, especially if they're Republicans. He reviles people from Mexico who enter illegally in the hope of making a better life for themselves and their families.

Relevant: it's all one thing: Yes, Timothy McVeigh and Anders Breivik were Christian terrorists

Friday, September 16, 2016

Slut-shaming Lt. Uhura, or Feminists in Miniskirts

On Twitter, someone shared this quote by Rod Roddenberry, son of Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek:
There was a great quote that D.C. Fontana said about Nichelle Nichols and having a black officer on the bridge and what my father said to that. Apparently, he would get letters from the TV stations in the South saying they won't show Star Trek because there is a black officer, and he'd say, "Fuck off, then."
In response, someone else tweeted,
The blind spot in this colour-blind egalitarian vision: Lt Uhura was a miniskirted receptionist.
Then someone tweeted the link to a post where I shared this bit from BBC Online - Cult - Star Trek - Nichelle Nichols:
How did you feel about your costume. It was very revealing.
So? I was wearing them on the street. What's wrong with wearing them in the air? I wore 'em on airplanes. It was the era of the miniskirt. Everybody wore miniskirts. It amazes me that people still make some remark about 'the revealing'. They revealed nothing. I had long black stockings on and boots up to my knees and the skirts and panties on and a skirt that gave you freedom to move in, - so what? It amazes me because everything is more revealing today on the street than those costumes.
I then tweeted to the person who had called Uhura a "miniskirted receptionist",
Martin Luther King was her fan:
Star Trek's Uhura Reflects On MLK Encounter : NPR
Are you slut-shaming her for liking a costume that was common at the time?

Apologies if my previous tweet seemed harsh. But '60s miniskirts were seen as liberating.

Many '60s feminists loved miniskirts because they rejected 1950s puritanism.

Here's Angela Davis, who I hope you recognize, in a mini-skirt.

The discussion seems to have ended there. But if you want a picture of another famous feminist in a miniskirt, visit Power Clothes: The Unabashedly Feminist History of the Miniskirt, which has an illustration for this:
...women like Gloria Steinem continued to hold on to the idea that the miniskirt was a transgressive act, wearing them to rallies and speeches, proving that you can be strong and wear feminine clothing at once.

ETA 2: The slut-shamer replied:
I see that you, too, haven't quite grasped my point. Never mind, dear.
I tweeted back:
Your point is that historical context doesn't matter.

But what's possible today is due to what was accomplished in the past.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The problem with charity

On my usual social media sites, I said not long ago,
The purpose of charity is to make the privileged feel good by addressing poverty in ways that do not weaken their privilege or end poverty.
Social media groups people who think similarly, so it was liked—by more people than I expected, in fact. But it was questioned in ways I expected when I tried to make a terse statement about the problem with charity.

The first problem with charity is the word itself makes it hard to know exactly what we're discussing.

• Charity can refer to a philanthropist buying goodwill with a well-publicized payment to an institution like the opera that primarily benefits other rich people.

• Charity can refer to the charity industry. which includes these 10 Highly-Rated Charities with Low Paid CEOs and 11 charity CEOs who were paid over a million dollars in 2013 (Here Are the Most Overpaid Charity CEOs in America).

• Charity can refer to a homeless person sharing the results of the day's begging with another homeless person.

• Charity can refer to a kid giving a toy to poorer kid.

Criticize charity, and people who have not thought about it will ask if you don't believe in helping people. What they miss is that we criticize charity because we care about helping people. If we didn't, we wouldn't mind when hypocrites seek profit or praise in the name of charity or when well-meaning people do inefficient things in the belief they're helping.

If I was writing a proper essay, I would divide charity into these groups:

1. Conspicuous and anonymous charity.
2. Charity intended for emergencies and charity intended for long-term problems.

We have one useful distinction in English; conspicuous charity falls under philanthropy. I'm a bit amused when Christians practice it because Jesus taught,
When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.
Martin Luther King said, "Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary." King was a democratic socialist in a time when socialism was demonized, so he had to speak gently, but he knew the implications of his words: in any system that does not share the wealth, philanthropy is only a benevolent manifestation of injustice.

Since I'm citing Jesus, here's a Jesus quote that capitalists misunderstand in order to feel good about themselves:
For you always have the poor with you...
Jesus was citing Deuteronomy 15:11:
Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.”
Jesus was pointing out that when long-term solutions have been solved, there will still be emergencies. How do we know this? By looking at Deuteronomy 15:4-5:
However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today.
So, no, rich people, neither the Old nor the New Testament says we must consign ourselves to a world divided between the rich and the poor.

But that is the world we'll have so long as people think all we need is charity.

Possibly of interest: Maimonides’ Eight Levels of Charity - Mishneh Torah, Laws of Charity, 10:7–14 - Chassidic Thought

Ignorant Christians need to STFU about ‘the poor you will always have with you’ until they can be bothered to understand what Jesus actually said

Why the Rich Don't Give to Charity - The Atlantic.

One of my favorite Jesus stories:
As Jesus was sitting opposite the treasury, he watched the crowd placing money into it. And many rich people put in large amounts. Then one poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amounted to a small fraction of a denarius. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more than all the others into the treasury."

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Leon Trotsky on American racism

"While the romantic numskulls of Nazi Germany are dreaming of restoring the old race of Europe’s Dark Forest to its original purity, or rather its original filth, you Americans, after taking a firm grip on your economic machinery and your culture, will apply genuine scientific methods to the problem of eugenics. Within a century, out of your melting pot of races there will come a new breed of men – the first worthy of the name of Man." —Leon Trotsky, "If America Should Go Communist" (August 1934)