The “Privilege” Walk: One Step Forward, One Step Back…

This month, I want to shed some light on a huge issue dividing conservatives and radical liberals: race. Many liberals accuse us of not wanting to and avoiding frank discussions about race. I say “challenge accepted! ” I’m going to try to write some articles on different issues involving race this month as an overarching theme…

Many proponents of political correctness bring up a concept called “white privilege”. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, it is the idea that white people have an advantage socially, economically, culturally, etc. based on their race, being white. Often this concept is brought up to try to get white people to acknowledge the disadvantages minorities have, but it often backfires into reverse discrimination. While race can be a factor that “privileges” people in society, white privilege ignores other factors independent of race, such as socio-economic status, family stability, the environment one grew up in, opportunities, social connections, and yes, gender, sexuality and even religion. While these can intersect to give a combo of advantages and disadvantages to everyone, focusing on white people having less adversity in their life mostly due to their race dismisses all the other factors, such as poverty and personal adversity such as a death of someone close, or another tragedy. Some say there’s no such thing as reverse discrimination because white people are the dominant group. That might have been the case decades ago, but now, we have ushered in a new age of far more equality and have tipped the scales the other way. Don’t understand? Let me use a technique PC proponents use all the time: The “privilege walk”.

  1. Take a step forward if you feel the mainstream media is bringing more and more awareness to the issues you face in society.
  2. Take a step back if expressing pride in your race can easily be misconstrued as racial supremacy.
  3. Take a step forward if your family-makeup (ie. who makes up your immediate family, especially spouses) is becoming more accepted as a norm than an exception.
  4. Take a step back if others dismiss the contributions of historical figures of your race based on their race.
  5. Take another step back if gender and race was the factor in dismissing a historical figure of your group.
  6. Take a step forward if jobs, schools, housing and other opportunities are making a special effort to represent your group.
  7. Take a step forward if media such as TV, movies and literature are becoming more inclusive towards your group and more apt to represent them.
  8. Take a step back if a cultural norm or tradition from your group is thought of as discriminatory.
  9. Take another step back if defending your desire to openly practice the cultural norm or tradition is misconstrued as being exclusionary of other’s norms and traditions.
  10. Take a step forward if you can ask for a space for your group exclusively.
  11. Take a step back if doing so is construed as discriminatory and unacceptable.
  12. Take a step forward if your political leanings are becoming more widely accepted and advocated for.
  13. Take a step back if your political leanings are attacked on a societal and personal level, and you are labeled “bigoted” or “backwards” for holding them.
  14. Take a step back if a critique of the other side’s position on an issue they feel affects them is construed as hatred and prejudice.
  15. Take a step forward if others feel special concern not to offend you.
  16. Take a step forward if you are allowed to use terminology that is only permissible by your group.
  17. Take another step forward if that also encompasses cultural practices, material culture, language, and dress.
  18. Take a step back if formerly innocuous comments and gestures are construed as racist or sexist, or even assault.
  19. Take a step back if you provide quantitative evidence for an unpopular position, but are still construed as being arbitrarily prejudiced.
  20. Take a step back if you are afraid to openly express your politics in fear of ostracism or even physical violence.
  21. Take another step back if this also includes an opinion on another group’s position.
  22. Take a step back if you have a hard time finding media such as news, tv shows, and literature that represent your views.
  23. Take a step forward if you can easily find sites online that advocate for your side of prominent issues.
  24. Take a step back if you have a hard time finding websites that advocate for your views, and are considered “fringe” or “radicalized”
  25. Finally, take a step back for each category you belong to: white, male, cisgender, heterosexual, conservative, and middle class. All those identities are limited as to what they may and may not express in regards to other groups.

You might have noticed, that many of these statements for steps forward are the “victories” minority groups have won. While discrimination is not 100% gone from our society, keep in mind the privileges minorities have “won” over the years. An egalitarian society treats everyone by the same standards, regardless of groups that separate people. If we swing the pendulum to the point where we have to guilt trip and attack the once dominant group, we are no longer treating everyone equally if that group is afraid to express any critique anymore. PC proponents, you have asked white, male, cisgendered, straight people to “check their privilege” and be aware of the advantages they take for granted in society. Many people in these categories genuinely want a more equal and just society, and are more than willing to work with you to make that a reality. Don’t alienate them by making them “the enemy”. Please return the favor and check your privilege as well.

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Breaking the Cycle

This month, I want to shed some light on a huge issue dividing conservatives and radical liberals: race. Many liberals accuse us of not wanting to and avoiding frank discussions about race. I say “challenge accepted! ” I’m going to try to write some articles on different issues involving race this month as an overarching theme…

*Trigger Warning*: Radical Liberals, you will get offended! A Lady of Reason takes no responsibility for the mind altering effects from your exposure to an actual opposing viewpoint after you read this article. 😉 Proceed at your own risk…

An issue that has been in the radical liberal agenda is the idea that since white people oppressed minorities, then they literally “owe” them reparations for the damage done. They argue minorities are held back by white oppression still, due to numerous past injustices that in my own metaphor, dug them into a pit that they now must dig out of to be on the same playing field as white people. This is one of the arguments mentioned for affirmative action is it’s a form of that reparation. But now, minorities have also demanded reparations such as welfare, food stamps, and other handouts due to white people forcing them into poverty.

Now, many conservatives and moderates pushed against this, as even though injustices happened in the past, in the present, much of the discrimination has been abolished formally, and there are plenty of resources to help break the cycles of poverty and crime. Why aren’t many minorities on the same playing field and achieve the same things as whites and a few exceptional minorities do? Some pro-reparation liberal arguments come in the form of white oppression forced them into the cycle of poverty, ghettoization and crime seen today, or white families have had centuries to build up wealth and privilege the minorities didn’t have the chance to get. Even some along the lines of we owe some minorities for stolen labor, like slavery, prison, and other exploitation from history. The issue is, what about today?

Let’s not deny it: history is full of past injustices we rightfully denounce now and have abolished, like slavery, segregation and all sorts of discrimination in housing and the job market. While no law can change all bigoted attitudes in society, it is illegal to formally discriminate against minorities or have slaves for that matter! I can understand in the immediate aftermath, people ought to have been proactive in giving minorities a leg up to catch up to where the majority was in life, but once on their feet, why haven’t they gone and ran with it?

One can try to drudge up the past ad-nauseum, but the past is past now. Yes, history affects our present, but it doesn’t have to define our future. Our present is shaped by what happened previously, but we can let the past go, and define our future on our terms the way we want it to be. Just because slavery existed for millennia through history, and much of this country’s, doesn’t mean it couldn’t be changed, and in 1865 it did for America. We had the power to say that’s no longer who we are, even if it was in our past. Our future from then on was slavery-free. The black community still cries victim over slavery and demands reparations for it today though! It’s been over a century, and yet, black people several generations removed who have never been a slave feel “victimized” by white people. They claim the legacy of slavery is still with them in poverty, crime and ghettos, but really? Why couldn’t they start to redefine their future too? They who were born free, never robbed of their labor or forced to be someone’s property have created mental chains and blame it all on white people! Why do they still need a “leg up” from slavery over a century ago? No black person currently alive today was ever a slave!

Now of course, I can hear the comeback now: “But there were much more recent forms of oppression!” The civil rights movement has been in the lifetimes of many alive today. The Jim Crow era of segregation and lynchings still is painfully, in the memories of many. But my argument applies here as well. We outlawed segregation. Lynching is called murder now. Black people can have the same jobs and housing as white people. Even a more recent painful past can be remedied by a redefined future. One can acknowledge and remember our painful past, but also look toward a brighter future now justice is being served. I am NOT denying inequalities exist to this day, but those are social biases, not legal mandates. Should those biases be addressed too? Of course! But the point is there are no laws keeping people back. Even so, the civil rights movement and the hey day of Jim Crow are fading into the memories of the elderly. In a few decades, that too, will be in the memories of those long gone. No millennial black person today can claim to be a victim of Jim Crow, or even many of their parents for that matter! Crying victim for something you never personally experienced is dishonest! “Trans-generational trauma”?(Yes, I’ve heard that term coined by the liberals!) Come on! Why can’t we acknowledge the wrongs of history, without being chained to them? Why not build the future we want to see, regardless of the past we didn’t?

Which leads me to the next argument: because of the past, the black community, for example, cannot get out of the cycle of poverty and crime, and it’s unfair to blame them as white people caused their misfortunes. However, going back to my previous argument, why not? It is one thing to say, for the sake of argument, they’re right, white people put the black community into poverty and disadvantage, but why now with help from many groups to break the cycle and anti-discrimination laws and affirmative action, can’t they help dig themselves out? It is one thing to be put at a disadvantage, forced down a deep hole of inequality one must climb out of to have a fair chance, but to passively lay there only to weep at your misfortune and demand others fix it all? Especially with the many hands to grab or ropes thrown down to you to climb out by people dedicated to help break the cycle, anti-discrimination laws, equal housing, scholarships for school, mentorship programs, or even affirmative action for starters!

The thing is, and this is pretty inflammatory to say out loud but here goes: They don’t seem to want to climb out. It’s easier to just take handouts like welfare and food stamps, never work an honest job then cry victim and have a pity party for past injustices you’ve never even come close to personally facing or being affected by. Yes, bias and discrimination exist, but I wonder honestly how much of it was influenced by a grain of truth to the hurtful stereotypes of the ghetto culture, crime, poverty, lack of respect for education or lazy welfare handouts. Playing victim you see, is the easy way out. Logic doesn’t play into any of this, just laziness and greed.

Many black people are in low income, dangerous ghettos. Gang activity is rife, people pop out kids they can’t feed, are addicted to hard drugs, drinking, on welfare from cradle to grave, for generations at a time, and don’t seem to care. Now certainly not all of them are like this, amazingly, there are black conservatives like Walter Williams who acknowledge this flaw! He even said it’s gotten worse now that welfare is so prominent. In his day, he said he knew far more respectable professional working class black people like you or I. He, like many wonder, what happened to those black people? The ones who did want to redefine their futures, not be chained to their past. Many black kids today bully fellow black kids who want to learn and go on to be professionals. They view them as a race traitor or “Uncle Tom”. Many black communities are complicit in gangs running their economy and “jobs” in town. They don’t care about having a high rate of fatherless kids who they can’t feed or clothe, and push on struggling school systems to raise. They don’t care to work even though they’re able bodied and minded to learn and earn a good salary for their families. Have you seen some low income neighborhoods? It’s a literal trashy ghetto with vandalism and filth!

Poverty is no excuse for that! Yes, you may be poor, but to trash your own home? Your own community? Plenty of white people are struggling to make ends meet, yet they keep decent tidy homes, don’t tolerate crime, work jobs to make their income, and raise their own kids! My paternal grandparents were poor blue collar folks for instance, who didn’t have much at all financially, yet they were able to keep a nice little house, raise two kids, one being my father, and valued education and sacrificed so both kids could go to college. They never once looked to crime for easy money, or took handouts when both could work. Just because you don’t have money, doesn’t mean you can’t afford some morals! Don’t say crime is for “survival” either! Plenty of people of all colors are very poor, yet only take what is absolutely necessary, and try to earn the rest. Plenty of people would rather be dirt poor, than commit crimes and lose their integrity and respectability as people.

Also, white people cannot be responsible for all of it! No white person is forcing another to trash their communities, pop out kids they can’t feed or provide for, take welfare instead of working, tolerate gangs and even welcome them, and drain the country’s resources. Believe me, that’s the opposite of what many white people, and others want! Now, the black community isn’t the only one freeloading and crying victim, but they have an extensive history of legitimate past wrongdoings they seem to not want to let go of in the present, thus making them example #1 for this article. Many look at black people with bias and stereotypes, for some who are none of what was described, unfairly, but I’d wager it’s because of the many who do drain our resources and invite crime. Black people who are decent human beings are hurt by this too. Being painted with the brush of the dysfunctional ones must hurt immensely and is a constant source of baggage they must fight against.

Let’s not forget too, other minorities were oppressed as well, yet are assets to this country, not leeches! The Asian and Indian communities are leading the way in the hard sciences and technology for instance. Why not the black (or Hispanic for that matter) community too? If we’re all equal in potential regardless of race, why can’t they? Other minorities overcame their challenges, why not them as well?

People in the black community who want a future, want to redefine their future in a positive light, must work hard to fight the stereotypes cast down by their fellows in the ghetto and in gangs just as much, and labeled as a race traitor and “Uncle Tom” for choosing success and a future over crime and poverty, just as much if not more than any white person’s bias. Many have tried to open their arms and lend those hands to help them get out of the pit of past oppression, poverty and crime, but as they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it! One must meet them halfway in actually wanting to change for the better! We need more black leaders too, to encourage people to break the cycle, not just subsidize welfare for an easy vote or to be “cool”! I apologize to those in the black community who do not stand with this bottom of the barrel lifestyle, and are taking their futures in their own hands. We need more people like Walter Williams in this world, not the next generation of welfare recipients and gang members. We don’t “owe” people like that one cent! They owe us a community who builds up, not tears down our society! Black and white together, we need to stand against this!

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I guess we haven’t changed much from the past after all 😉

Inspiration in Conservative Dress: Inspiration or Appropriation?

Inspiration in Conservative Dress is a reoccurring series of posts of various modest and feminine outfits to inspire other women to dress modestly and resist society’s pressure to dress provocatively and subscribe to “hook up” culture. Through conservative dress, A Lady of Reason sends a message of resistance to the “sexual revolution” and radical liberal feminism, and the upholding of feminine virtue. Arguably, this could also extend to the support for social conservatism in general. How we dress signals who we are in society. I also want to state that this idea is not mine originally, but done on another religious blog called The Catholic Lady. I was inspired by hers to make a secular version for A Lady of Reason. 

For many of us, it is cool to be inspired by other peoples and cultures in our fashion. From what was once an innocuous Halloween costume, to cornrows, hoop earrings, tribal prints and more, are now deemed politically incorrect by the radical liberals. While many see it as innocuous fun, they feel it has a more sinister undertone. To them, it’s “cultural appropriation”. The idea is in essence, white people are “appropriating” or “stealing” another culture’s or country’s material culture and treating it condescendingly as “exotic” and “foreign”. Also they feel it sends the wrong message of “we’re entitled to use and enjoy your cultural assets, but not face the hardships and struggles of your people. We can just take off the costume when we feel like it…” whereas real people of that marginalized group cannot and have no choice in facing discrimination. For example, it’s “cool” for white people to act hipster and have cornrows, but when black people do it, they’re thugs. Or, you can pretend to be from the Orient, all reinforcing Orientalism and Western supremacy by treating their objects as exotic, as some examples.

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Now, it’s true we shouldn’t be mocking or condescending another culture and what is important to them, but the question is, is that the intent of many who use other cultures’ styles today? The issue I have with it is, first of all, cultures have been borrowing from other cultures for centuries. In the ancient world, places like Ancient Rome, for example, were very cosmopolitan and they borrowed plenty of ideas and items, especially from the Greeks. Now, one could argue, then, as they argue for today’s cultural borrowing, or “cultural diffusion” in scholarly terms, that it’s a power imbalance for us, as the dominant group, or even Ancient Rome as the conquerors. They argue, minorities have to mimic us to be seen as valid and taken seriously, whereas we can simply choose what parts of their culture seem “cool” and imitate it without acknowledging the cultural context of it. That’s also why the liberals don’t see it as a double standard that many have adopted our way of life.

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I argue, however, that imitation can be a form of flattery too, or simply innocuous. In the historical example, Rome conquered the Greeks, and did in modern terms, “appropriate” much of their culture and ideologies, like philosophy. However, the Romans admired Greek culture, and thought much of it would help enhance Rome and make Rome better. Ancient Greek, like Latin is today, for them was the language of scholars and the well-educated. Greek slaves were prized as teachers and scholars. While there was a definite power imbalance, that did not mean the Romans looked condescendingly when they imitated the Greeks, quite the contrary, they wanted to emulate them. Now, we may not be trying to model our culture after others we borrowed stuff from time to time, but borrowing certainly does not mean condescension! I think much of the hoopla over it hearkens back to resentment over past colonialism when we were imposing our culture on theirs. Nowadays, many have a knee-jerk response to anything Western crossing their “turf” so to speak as they feel they have to be guarded and territorial over what they feel is “theirs”, like a dog guarding its food as it’s been taken away in the past. Emotion, not logic rules much of this debate. The stewing resentment of past colonialism.

Most people don’t think much of when they dress up in a cultural costume for Halloween, or decide to wear a cultural thing as a fashion piece. Condescension and Related imagedisrespect never even cross the minds of many at all, and would be horrified to think they did something disrespectful.  Sometimes, the idea to borrow something from another culture is because it looks interesting or they admire the craftsmanship, or the look. It’s something new and different, which aren’t bad things, like the snowflakes say. “Exotic” does not have to mean foreign in a bad way, or in a condescending way. It can simply mean something different, unique to what you’re used to. After all, what’s exotic is relative. Hamburgers and fries are quite “exotic” to the Bedouin nomads of Africa and the Middle East, wouldn’t you agree? 😉 Sometimes a little difference adds some flavor to life. As they say, if we were all the same, it would be pretty boring! Why not incorporate and be inspired another culture’s style sometimes? Cultures have exchanged looks, materials, technologies and ideas throughout history, why not us too?

A last point to make is also, who says certain items only “belong” to a certain group? what makes a group have the right to claim ownership of an item, such as hoop earrings for example? They’re not religious items, or some sort of medal, or even tied to one group! It’s not like a bindi dot for Hindus, or some native country’s traditional dress. Even then, there’s the hypocrisy of anyone can appropriate native European stuff, like Lederhosen, even if you’re not Germanic for example. You can dress up like a French person, or Italian, or English! It’s only for non-white peoples you can’t appropriate, but plenty of European groups faced ethnic prejudice in this country and towards each other in Europe! Why can we celebrate St. Patrick’s day if we’re not Irish when the Irish were caricatured as brutish apes by Americans only a century ago? African Americans haven’t been slaves in over a century, yet we’re not allowed hoop earrings? Or cornrows for that matter? Who said they own the concept of braided hair? A sombrero on Cinco de Mayo does not mean you’re bigoted and wish to subjugate Mexicans! It’s simply having fun sharing another culture’s tradition. I can see how some items may be best left alone if you’re not an insider, like religious-wear, ceremonies of deep significance, and such, but many things, like a fun Halloween costume, or hoop earrings, or braided hair, can “belong” to everyone. I think the key is intent: are you trying to mock another or be disrespectful? If the answer is no, I’d say it’s probably innocuous. Whatever happened to being able to laugh at yourself and letting others join in the fun? History has shown cultures can be inspired by everyone, why can’t we?

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