I See You, but Do You See Me?: A Critique of the Left’s “Representation”

The issue which the Left calls “representation” has become a wider social phenomenon. It’s basic essence is to “represent” different groups, often racial minorities, but other groups sometimes as well such as women, different body types, disabilities, conditions, etc… in things such as movies and TV, literature, advertising, etc… to show a positive portrayal of those groups and that they are seen and matter in society. An often cited reason for its importance in addition to those, is to send a message to the next generation that people who look like them matter and can be role models and achieve everything anyone else can. They cite the importance of being able to “see yourself” in popular culture, ads, and such as if you don’t you feel marginalized or ostracized from society.

This may surprise many on the Left, but I’m not necessarily against this idea. Granted due to much that is utter lunacy coming from the Left’s collective hive mind, I look anything they say is good now with a huge grain of salt, however I thought about the idea of representation and thought that its core premise was a good one. I too have felt the relief, or the sense of belonging from “seeing myself” with other people. I honestly think that’s an innate human desire, to want to be around others that look like you, as a sense of belonging. Letting others also feel a sense of belonging in society is a good thing overall. Also, it is good for others to see you as a multidimensional person, and not just a stereotype or comedic foil, or some bad guy. Simply letting others see you as human, just like them.

However, this idea is not without criticism from me too. I agree with its most basic premise, but there are some messages mixed in with the positive messages that take away from representation’s ultimate goal. The first is regarding motives for having a more “diverse” character, or advertisement for instance. If a story can be told with characters where race is irrelevant, thus anyone can be any race and still make sense, then a multi-racial cast isn’t an issue for me. Same for advertising targeted at everyone. The issue starts where one race is deliberately substituted for another to push some agenda, such as a superficial diversity quota, or in essence, the “token minority” which to me in itself is insulting and belittling. For example, some stories traditionally from European culture who naturally would feature white characters were substituted with other races in which they historically were not present in the society at the time the story was written and the story clearly described the character as European.

“Re-writing” such a story with a different racial character then is not representation, but erasure of the original group’s ethnicity or race in their story about their people. To grasp the absurdity, imagine a traditional African folk story, or a Native American one, only all the characters re-cast as white people! Would you cast white people nowadays to play what originally was a role for a minority character? If not anymore, then why recast a white character as a minority, for example, when remaking another author’s work who originally created the physical description of the characters in their story? As “white washing” is a common accusation for movies and TV by the Left, erasing traditionally white characters recast as a minority does the same thing, only in reverse. Yes, sometimes people take creative licence to “cleverly” remake a story to have a new angle, but it’s really not so “creative” if your only motivation is to be more “woke”!

Same for gender. If you wouldn’t make an originally female character male, then don’t erase a male character in the name of feminism! And speaking as a woman, it insults women who can achieve great things in real life regardless of their gender, when you feel the need to artificially create women characters to achieve things for a superficial “token high-achieving woman” just to push a feminist narrative rather than have a strong female character emphasize her persistence, intelligence and work ethic as a human, and not just because she’s a woman. Also like many other edicts by the Left, it only seems to go one way: White people and men are frequently erased out of the mainstream media and such for minorities and women. What messages does that send to those groups about their value in society? True equality will be when things like race or gender are seen as irrelevant to a person’s ultimate success and potential. Representing everyone means everyone, not just your special interest groups.

My other major critique of representation by the Left is how strongly focused it is on physical appearance or physical aspects of oneself. I think that also sends a harmful message in that it implicitly says that what really matters in belonging is what you look like, rather than the values you have or what sort of person you are on the inside. You are not limited to only looking up to people who happen to look like you do. Isn’t that what “diversity” was supposed to be about? About relating to and gaining positive takeaways from others who are different than yourself? The idea a person of color can only truly gain inspiration from someone the same race as themselves, or girls only being able to be inspired by women is just as absurd as white people only being able to see white people as a role model or boys only seeing men as a role model for their future aspirations even if women have achieved what they want to in their futures as well. Some of the most influential people in my life and from history don’t look like me in terms of race or gender. What I truly care about is their ideas, their brilliance, and their success.

Which leads me to this point: What about ideological representation? Especially for groups the Left overlooks or doesn’t seem to want to represent. I know the importance of being “seen” by society and the sense of belonging in seeing people like myself firsthand. But for me that more importantly includes people who not merely look like me but think like me. Ideologically, the Left dominates the mainstream media and literature. Conservatives are often reduced to a stereotype of an ignorant hick, or an outdated bigot, or used for a comedic foil in contrast to more “woke” characters. Shows like the Rosanne reboot tried to make a more well rounded portrayal of  conservatives as human and multidimensional. We need more like that who portray conservatives as fully human, with real and complex motivations behind their opinions even so if you still disagree, you can understand why they may feel as they do, rather than imply it’s “because they’re bigots!”. After all, what messages does the next generation absorb when they see people who think like their parents, friends or relatives mocked and derided for their beliefs? What do you think they’ll think if they dare explore those ideas which are mocked, satirized, and demonized for themselves? Why not a positive multidimensional portrayal of a conservative? A devout Christian family? A pro-life character? What about representation for conservative women? Conservatives of color as well? Conservatives are not just one gender or phenotype either! This doesn’t mean you can’t have any liberal characters, or criticize conservative ideas, it just means giving the other side fair and equal representation too free of the stereotypes and mockery you wouldn’t like to see people who think like you subjected to.

Ideological representation also is especially significant in representation within academia, where the usual focus has been on physical appearance or gender. There’s a need for academics, scientists, researchers, scholars etc… of color or women, says the Left, even to the point of deliberately excluding white male academics from the table such as at conferences, or whose research gets to be displayed or whose ideas get to be featured as a growth in the discipline. However, needless to say that too discredits the actual achievements of women scholars or scholars of color by focusing on their phenotype as the main important focus rather than the merits of their ideas in of themselves, we need ideological representation within academia as well, not just physical! What about works by conservative leaning authors being featured? Or more conservative professors in higher education, or letting conservative students have a voice in class? What about featuring research whose implications support conservative ideas ? Research in of itself should be politically neutral and impartially carried out, but the implications for many findings are used quite often to influence policies with ideological and political impacts, and we need more than just one side’s perspective on how we use those conclusions.

Representation is good in its basic premise, but carried out in a way that has many major flaws sending mixed messages. Physical characteristics are not the most important thing in deciding if you belong, or who you can look up to. Nor is the idea that you can only truly relate to those who look just like you. More significantly, it like many other things the Left likes to do, is a one way street. Represent who we want, but not anyone else. The erasure of positive portrayals of conservatives, white people from their own narratives, men being substituted for women for no other reason other than to be “woke” for examples. This hypocrisy and double standards ultimately erodes the vast majority of the positive messages representation entails. Representation overall can be a very positive force, but when it’s done for the right reasons, not just some superficial agenda to push, and when it’s done for EVERYONE, not just who you pick and choose deserves to be represented in society.

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Several Reasons Why We “Resist” Political Correctness

Many on the Left are still puzzled as to why conservatives like myself and many others are so resistant to their new PC “innovations”. After all to them, being politically correct is simply common courtesy, or not being offensive or disrespectful. Why would people not care if they hurt others’ feelings or are callous and indifferent to people’s struggles? Are conservatives just a bunch of big bullies? Of course that isn’t true, and countless conservatives are just as kind and considerate as the rest of humanity! So why then, aren’t we just going along with every declaration the Left throws at us in terms of what’s socially acceptable?

Among several answers that come to mind, a major explanation is an inherent criticism into political correctness in itself as a “moral” thing to do. Political correctness asks us to be considerate of other’s feelings, and be conscientious of how our words and actions affect others. However, this lofty moral aim only applies to select groups which the Left chooses, and not everyone. Is it really just me, or does anyone else with some observational skills notice how it’s a-okay to mock, belittle, demonize and deride men, white people, and old people, especially if all three are combined into being an old white male in ways completely unacceptable to do so if the genders and races were reversed? Why is it acceptable to say there are too many white people or too many men, yet not for minorities or women? Why does no one bat an eye when people openly declare they feel threatened by white people yet a white person saying such a thing about a racial minority is a racist bigot? Why are men told to shut up about issues affecting women yet women face no such restrictions on issues pertaining to men? This hypocritical double standard of reverse discrimination chips away at any moral high ground political correctness presents itself as and many see it as dishonest and lacking integrity. 

Another reason also relates to practicality and safety. Many politically correct edicts are simply dangerous, to put it bluntly. The idea that cis-gendered male predators who will prey on women won’t take advantage of now transgender laws allowing trans women in bathrooms or locker rooms for women won’t happen is absurd. I’m not saying that genuine trans women committed to living as women are the threat, but regular men can pretend to identify as a woman merely to gain access to women and no one is allowed to question their true motives. Not acknowledging the risks to women and children in these spaces puts countless people at risk for being leered at and harassed, not to mention sexual predation and molestation! Another major example is how we treat rape prevention advice to women.

Any attempt at safety tips for women is construed as victim blaming, despite the fact the same tips generalized for other non-sexual crimes is something no one equates with victim blaming nor bats an eye about. The idea we can teach young women to brazenly and carelessly get completely wasted, walk alone in sketchy areas, wear revealing clothing and not be sending the wrong message if they don’t want sexual attention and live in the world as it should be rather than as it really is, no matter how unfair or unjust puts them at immense risk for victimization. Of course we shouldn’t live in a world of predatory men hurting women any chance they get, nor does a woman ever “deserve” to be assaulted, but the reality of the situation is there will always be rapists no matter how much “education” you give the male population, just as we teach our kids not to steal, and yet there are still thieves. “Just don’t rape” isn’t the one all encompassing answer to preventing women from becoming victims, and the idea that it’s now socially unacceptable to acknowlege that truth is a direct assault on women’s safety.

An additional reason relates to matters of identity and culture. I’ve heard it argued before by the Left that if something is fairly inconsequential to you, that is you personally have nothing to lose in changing something you do or say, and it matters a great deal more to someone else if you do, then why not just do it? For example, if changing a term you use is of no tangible consequence to you, but means the world to someone else for you to change, why not just do it rather than make a mountain out of a molehill? On it’s face that sounded fairly reasonable. It seems like, okay? Why not? Got to pick your battles sometimes…

The issue in this type of politically correct issue is based in more abstract ideas, so I’ll give a concrete example of a case. One such case was over the renaming of a place in Arizona called “Squaw Peak” to another name because some consider “squaw” to be offensive, thus politically incorrect. There was major push back against this however by the locals of the area, a they have always known it by its original name. Other similar examples involving re-naming include changing namesakes for colleges, buildings, streets etc… from historical figures now deemed “un-PC” for their historical views. Or going beyond places, what about those sports teams the Left decided needed a re-do? On its face, these name changes seem inconsequential. Admit it: What tangible harm will that do to you personally? Unlike many of the safety issues or moral hypocrisy targeting you personally, changing the name of something unrelated to your direct life is not the same as targeting you. Having the sign read “Piestewa Peak” instead of “Squaw Peak” is not the end of life as you know it. Thing is, maybe there are some more significant implications…

It’s really not so much that isolated incident in of itself, is it? It’s really about a much bigger idea: Changing the name changes some of the essence of that place, what its significance is, and part of that community’s identity. Places are meaningful. Imagine the name of your town were changed. Or this entire country for example! Does it matter to you if we change the name of your favorite spots, or places that signify a part of your community’s identity? What about your favorite sports team? Would you root for it under another name? Even if you did, would it feel exactly the same? If you’re honest with yourself, probably not. Changing the name of something significant to your life or your community changes the essence, the identity of that place or thing figuratively as well as literally, which in essence, changes the culture. Even speech is a huge example. The way we talk is a direct reflection of our culture, and in that light, changing one term to another speaks volumes. For many, a seemingly insignificant change implicitly sends the message, you need to change who you are as our culture is superior to yours… 

The last but certainly not the last example I want to bring up as to why conservatives are very critical and resist political correctness is obvious, but not as thought of: We’re simply tired of never being able to please you no matter what we do. Yep. Even if an issue truly is inconsequential in the truest sense of the word for us, maybe we’re just tired of being in a society constantly telling us everything we do is offending someone, and no matter what we may do to fix it, there’s always the next thing, and the next, and the next etc… We address one issue, it’s onto the next, or even if we come up with some solution, it in itself is considered offensive! For instance, people of color complain white people don’t give them a voice on racial matters. Then when white people ask them about a racial issue they are often met with the angry retort “I’m not the spokesperson for all people of color! I’m tired of everyone asking me this stuff…” But, wait a second! Isn’t the reason a white person asked you about your perspective on the issue because you’re a person of color, thus better suited to give an answer on racial issues as opposed to the white person just assuming what you might think??? In essence, you’re given a voice on an issue relating to your race, then get offended because someone asked you because of your race… This just highlights the catch 22 of the Left’s edicts, as well as that many are just plain ridiculous! Banning saying “holding down the fort” because it might be vaguely offensive to Indians is absurd, when there’s no definitive evidence it’s referring to Native Americans for just one example. You know, maybe if it were like one to two major issues that were declared solved and case closed once something was done, many conservatives would have been more willing to oblige the PC ideas. It’s when it’s complaint after complaint after complaint our ears get numb to it and our patience drains away completely.

Overall, an environment where breathing is probably offensive in some way, not being un-PC is an impossible challenge to anyone who has common sense, reason, and a sense of fairness! What’s not to “resist” about it? To leave you with one final thought: Is political correctness really about doing what the Left sincerely thinks is the right thing to do, or is it just yet another tool to push their agendas? 

Image result for political correctness weeds branco"

Another Angle in The Appropriation Debate: Imagination and The Empathy That Comes With It

Halloween may be over, but the issue persists year round. The Left and cultural appropriation debates pop up especially around costumes which in one era were once innocuous fun, but now deemed as socially inappropriate, even dehumanizing! The main argument is that dressing as a culture not your own, especially if you’re white, stigmatizes and dehumanizes a culture as a caricature. Also, the argument one can simply take off a costume whereas the culture lives with the stigma and cannot simply stop being what they are is unfair to minorities.

I disagree with this stance in the majority of circumstances however I will say if a costume is deliberately meant to be insulting and degrading, mocking the culture on purpose then it is inappropriate. If you’re mostly doing it to be a jerk, then yeah, not cool… Thing is, the majority of circumstances are more complex or simply not at all about denigrating anyone even remotely! Most may not go so far as to “honor” a culture out of some deep personal respect, although some may be, but the majority simply wants to dress up as something they’re not; like every other trick or treater. After all, why dress up as something you are already every other day of the year? Some may feel highlighting a difference in one culture from another may not come off as flattering, but the fact is, another culture is different from your own or else it wouldn’t be considered a separate thing! And why is being different or “exotic” necessarily a negative thing in a society that wants to emphasize “diversity”? Why does wanting to feel like or be someone different than yourself for a bit a bad thing necessarily?

The perspective I want to being to the debate sounds corny, but I think is significant: Imagination. What child doesn’t want to imagine they are something different than what they are in real life? Reads a story about pirates and wants to imagine what it would be like abroad a pirate ship as part of the crew. Reads a fairy tale and wonders what life as a princess would be like. What it’s like to wear a gown to the ball, or reads about some far away land and wants to imagine being there too. To taste their cool foods, hear their music, wear what they do, if only for a daydream. Why is it not just as innocent for a child to dress up and pretend to be an Indian as it is a pirate? One can argue Indians were historically treated as inferior whereas pirates don’t have that history in the US. But how does that change the fact the kid simply wants to imagine being someone else, devoid of a desire to subjugate and denigrate those the child imitates momentarily?

As a child, I was very into different historical periods and various cultures. When I studied ancient Rome I wanted to know what it felt like to be a Roman and wear a toga, or a stola just to have that experience. When I was into the middle ages I dressed up as a medieval person for Halloween. When I liked the ancient near east, I dressed up as a Mesopotamian, when I liked bog bodies from ancient Europe I dressed as one too another year. Heck, I dressed as a dinosaur or caveman when I liked them as well! Notice a pattern? It had zero to do with race or singling out anyone beyond my own interest in that culture regardless of phenotype of geographic location. There was no distinction between the now un PC costume choices and the socially okay ones in motivations to choose them. I believe the same for most children who aren’t raised obsessed with political correctness.

I feel sad for a generation of kids who will never get that experience. One of being whatever they imagine themselves to be. Many adults can attest to the magical times they had pretending to be something they weren’t. However in a society that forbids one from being anything but what they were born as in terms of other people, they will never get to imagine what it’s like to be from a different place or imagine themselves as someone very different from themselves. I argue that we try to teach out kids inter-cultural empathy yet how can they truly empathize without putting themselves in the shoes of the other, and thinking what would it be like if I were them? It’s too abstract for young children to abstractly ponder the implications of the Indian Removal Act on Native Americans in a dry classroom lecture without an emotional experience of imagining being an Indian, and children can express that through pretend play. In elementary school our class pretended to be slaves being sold on slave ships then escaping slavery although none of us were black. Were we doing something wrong “appropriating” that pretend experience? After all, we could stop being slaves after the lesson was over. Or did it help us personally empathize with those who went through slavery?

Is it really some gross oppression that you have to be something I dressed up as past October 31st and I don’t? That’s the grounds for the ban on cultural costumes? What about contexts where one dresses up as a specific person in a different culture or race but it’s because YOU ADMIRE THEM AS A ROLE MODEL? Is that racist??? For example, what about a white child dressing up as MLK because he’s their personal hero? What about a kid dressing up innocuously as a fictional cartoon character of a different race or ethnicity? How far does it have to go? An Aztec or native print is now a sin, or a poncho? What about European stereotypes like an Italian with pasta or Lederhosen on non-Italians and non-Germans? Why can’t people imagine and pretend to experience positive things of a culture and have that motivate them to care on a more personal level for the real members? Is that impossible? Even more simply, why can’t someone choose a costume for Halloween without having to feel like they’re a bad person for wanting to use their imagination?

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This wouldn’t surprise me if it were real! I weep for the next generation….

A Columbus Day PSA: There are Two Sides to Every Story… Good AND Bad!

Dear Columbus Day Haters,

I heard your arguments about how Columbus Day allegedly celebrates the genocide of Native Americans, and that celebrating it is a “form of white supremacy”. Honestly I can’t say I agree with such extreme views, but I also understand history is a messy thing, and Columbus was no saint either! Let’s get something cleared up:

I don’t celebrate the destruction of any culture, much less genocide! I don’t agree with the historical practice that forced many Native Americans to abandon their own cultural heritage, yet also don’t oppose the idea of them learning Euro-American ways as well so they could have been in both worlds. Nor do I agree with everything the government did in the past in regards to them. I honestly find it sad so many native languages are extinct and are becoming extinct as well as culture due to the past policies of assimilation.

However, I ALSO don’t agree with Native Americans historically killing, raiding, raping and scalping settlers either! I condemn the barbarity of their side as well, and it is documented that many tribes were just as bloodthirsty and imperialistic as the Europeans! In Columbus’s day and in the “Wild West” of US history. Many argue European colonizers, including America treated the Natives as if they were sub-human and say that Columbus Day strips them of their humanity by portraying them as “savages”. I agree with you that “Native Americans are human too”, but that goes both ways: Being fully human means having human nature. For good and bad. The other side of the extreme is pretending the Native Americans were on some moral high ground just because white people with better technology conquered them. Better technology does not mean greater moral evil though in terms of intentions. Yes, you could kill more with the “guns, germs and steel”, but it does not make your intentions more evil simply because you can produce a higher body count! Native American tribes were ruthless conquerors who while showing occasional mercy on a captive, more often tortured them and enslaved them, whether White or Native. No, they did not have the same technology as Europeans or Americans, but they had that same all too human lust for conquest, land, prestige and yes, power.

Columbus and future conquerors of the New World were brutal conquerors who did enslave and oppress their weaker adversaries. No one is denying that and saying they were some “woke” culturally sensitive saviors! But you know what? That is the nature of conquest. Political and social oppression and a more powerful conquering group. That’s how it’s been for all of human history. The ugly truth is, EVERY HUMAN GROUP did it to their fellow man. I do not deny the ugliness of the European conquests on the New world peoples. But it is a blatant double standard to condemn Europe and America for doing it, yet turn a blind eye to the indigenous peoples who conquered and oppressed their fellow natives of other tribes. In fact, many native endonyms mean “the people” or “Human Beings”, implying they alone are the real people, everyone else is sub-human! Maybe you’re right we shouldn’t necessarily celebrate or gloss over all the bad Columbus did, but don’t paint Native Americans as some “noble savage” when they too have lusted for land, resources and power and oppressed their adversaries to take their land away from them. History is too nuanced and messy to honestly be reduced to black and white, good vs. evil scenarios. If you want to re-name Columbus Day “Indigenous People’s Day”, you’re merely replacing one conqueror for another. 

Another thing: Much of the issue revolves around Native Americans in the US complaining about their treatment by the government in the 1800’s. However, what land Columbus discovered was not part of the continental United States at all and we’re talking about the 15th century, not the 19th century! So what do current Native American grievances with the US have to do with some 15th century Italian who never clapped eyes on a US Native American tribe? Yeah yeah…. He was one of the first to introduce Europeans to the New World leading to other conquests, but don’t act like it’s a personal grievance when he never was within thousands of miles from your “native” lands your tribe (which may have not even existed yet) conquered from some previous one! If you do that it comes off like you are in it to push an agenda more than historical relevance.

Last point, I find these anti-Columbus day sentiments to be part of a wider troubling trend to condemn any historical figure for not having modern views, or acting according to how we would. In addition, the troubling double standard where Western Civilization in general is condemned and derided without also seeing the positives yet other cultures get off the hook for similar atrocities. Both are flawed and detrimental for anyone who wants a fair and balanced view of the good and bad of history and examining our own culture. No people, person or society is solely good as every country and human group has skeletons in their closets. However, no one is all bad. Including historical figures like Columbus or Western Civilization. It is possible, I will argue to celebrate the good of the West, such as the foundation of a country in North America built on democracy and freedom, as well as great leaps of science and technology and better standards of living today, while also acknowledging that brutality and oppression were done on both sides and no one is truly “innocent” or “guilty” in the big picture for history and the human condition.

Not to mention, we act within our cultural matrix. What we find acceptable to do is determined by our culture and so was Columbus and all the other New World conquerors. It was a brutal world, void of (gasp!) wokeness and “diversity training”, and conquest and assimilation was the accepted practice of the day in the 15th century, just as ideologies of cultural tolerance are for the 21st century. Is it fair to condemn a person for doing what was acceptable in their own culture and time frame? We do not by any means, have to personally agree with what they did or how they thought, but think about this: Who will condemn some attitude YOU have centuries in the future and would you find it fair for them to hold you to their future standards posthumously???

Columbus day is not about celebrating violent genocide and oppression, despite the fact it happened, but about celebrating the discovery of a new land full of new possibilities. The negatives do not have to negate the positives worth celebrating. I understand that may not be your side of the story, but we are celebrating ours. Columbus Day doesn’t have to be your holiday if you find nothing worth celebrating, but don’t demand those who do find something to celebrate in it to stop just because you don’t. England is not entitled to force us to stop celebrating the 4th of July just because it was their defeat. There are two sides to every story, including our side.

Happy Columbus Day,

—A Lady of Reason

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When It’s Time to “Pass The Mic”…

For those familiar with the social climate in this country, many have probably heard the Left’s phrase to “pass the mic”. In essence, it means to give a voice to others, namely minority groups and the “marginalized” and listen to their perspective and not presume to speak for them. Nor to dismiss and invalidate what their perceptions of what’s going on. On the most basic level, it seems like common sense courtesy as we all deserve the right to be heard and have our viewpoint taken into serious consideration too. Also, it brings up the argument that those who are impacted by issues have the most right and the most valid experience with the issues at hand. Indeed, in one sense it seems to make perfect sense, but sadly our world isn’t such a simplistic place, and there are in fact flaws to this ideology also.

See, while it is a noble idea, some of it is oversimplified, namely that it strongly implies that the only valid opinion comes from those who are in the “in group”, whatever it may be. Of course, being an insider into an issue is valuable and can give perspectives outsiders wouldn’t think of immediately or take for granted. However, outsider input is equally as valid and important, as the disadvantage of being an insider is losing the impartial perspective, free from the emotional baggage and bias of an outsider looking in. It is not dismissive to give the outsider a perspective into what you believe affects you, it just adds more objectivity into often emotionally volatile circumstances. Think back to a time you felt really strongly that there was a situation where something grossly unfair or unjust happened. It could be as simple as one department at work “always” gets more coffee, or you seem to be getting ticketed for some minor traffic incident while the guy going 100 mph gets a free pass for some examples. Now imagine this has been going on for a while and you have had time to build up a temper over it!

Answer honestly: Do you truly feel that you can be fully objective in analyzing the situation? Why do you think they have judges and juries to decide outcomes in civil and criminal cases? Why not just let the defendant and plaintiff hash it out? 😉 I think we all know the answer to that one! Thus the value of outsider input. No one thinks that you’re dismissing the perspective of either side when you bring in a jury to decide the verdict impartially.

Yes, I for one example, may be in the “majority” group, but my perspective is valid too. Which brings up perhaps an even more important point: True equality is not taking one’s voice to give to another, but ensuring everyone has an equally important voice. It’s not about what is taken away from the “majority”, but rather what is given to the “minority” that the majority already has. In this case being heard. Us having our voice isn’t mutually exclusive with you having yours. Why can’t both sides be heard? Just because there’s been a negative history in which you didn’t have the voice you deserved in society, and we did, that doesn’t mean that taking it away and turning the tables into reverse discrimination solves the problem. It only puts the shoe on the other foot, when we should just get rid of that ill-fitting shoe altogether and buy a new pair!

Aside from that, the past is past, we’re talking about the present. We can’t change or undo the wrongs from yesterday, or a year ago or a century ago, but we can change what happens today and in our future. Don’t bring up the past then stagnate there in bitterness and resentment instead of moving forward. It may not be what people want to hear, but the majority has the same right to be heard and have an opinion now just as much as back then. Claiming a monopoly on the “correct” opinion, or interpretation of the facts is not true equality! Nor is trying to “even the score” by taking our voice away when you can have yours along side us. Believe it or not, countless conservatives will listen to you. The reason why many don’t seem to be is that no one likes to feel alienated and demonized and that they personally are the sole problem. We want a dialogue, not a monologue to put it succinctly.

However I will admit that there is some merit in the idea of giving an important voice to those who have experienced things firsthand. Which brings me to my final point on the subject: Why does this “pass the mic” policy seem to apply to thee but not to me so to speak? Like many things the Left makes into a double standard and selective outrage, you ask for your side to be heard, yet are all too quick to silence us when it’s our turn to speak. We hand you the mic, yet you won’t “pass it back” once you’ve had your turn to talk. For some relevant examples:

The white male who feels he is looked at as the “enemy” to progress and is told he can’t take credit, or deserves his achievements due to his skin color.

The conservative of color whose perspective is “No, actually, I’m privileged to have the bountiful opportunities this country brings me.”

The Hispanic immigrants who want others like themselves to come “fair and square” like they did.

The family of a 9/11 victim who read comments on social media about how their loved ones “deserved” 9/11 for the acts of our government overseas in which they had no control over. (Yes, I have the tweets to prove some do feel we deserved 9/11!)

The woman who says “I feel unsafe with biological men in my restrooms and locker rooms.” or disagrees with the idea she has to be like a man to be worth something as an autonomous human being.

The man who knows that on nothing more than a mere whim, can have his life utterly destroyed in one sentence.

The underprivileged youth who achieved the so called “mythological” American Dream.

The soldier who feels dismissed and unappreciated when all you see is what’s wrong with the country he fought to uphold, but never what’s right.

The police officer who had to make that split second call and pulled the trigger.

The parents who keep asking why there wasn’t a “good guy with a gun” when the unthinkable happened at their child’s school.

All the conservatives who feel like they must live a double life in a democracy of free speech.

And many others!

Look, we don’t mind taking turns and passing you the mic when you want it. We just want it passed back when you’re finished. 🙂

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What Makes America Great?

Believe it or not, at one point I was far more critical of America than I am now. I used to think that many were too nationalistic, to the point of arrogance and blindness towards other great nations. I felt that many did not allow one to question or critique this country without jumping to conclusions that you were anti-American for speaking up to raise important issues needing fixing. Also, that purely blind patriotism is just as wrong as blind hatred without looking at the facts impartially. I still feel that we shouldn’t put America on a pedestal so high it’s immune from any valid critique and change. I still feel patriotism should be earned, not just given blindly to any nation, and that we are one of many great nations who are our peers as world leaders.

However, I have gained far more respect for America and am far more apt to defend America’s good name once I opened my eyes to just how virulent the America-haters were! No, we are certainly not perfect, but we aren’t an evil regime of oppression, as some like to think nowadays! I’m certain plenty on the Left celebrate the 4th of July like you and I do, and think they’re being “patriotic”, but the things the Left thinks about this country are some of the most hateful and bitter sentiments I’ve heard about America from fellow Americans. It’s one thing to be in some enemy country and chant “death to America!”, but it’s another to be in this country reaping in all the privileges that come with it and crying “Oppression! America is evil and immoral!”. Among their complaints:

America doesn’t give enough welfare and government assistance…

America is deeply racist…

America is sexist and supports rape culture…

America oppressed the 3rd world with its imperialist policies…

America owes reparations for slavery…

You can’t succeed unless you’re in the top 1% because America’s economy/job market is flawed…

America is too consumerist…

Even: America asked for 9/11 because of its foreign policy!

And that list is not nearly exhaustive in the litany of complaints the Left likes to whine about our country… Now is America perfect? There’s nothing we need to improve? There’s nothing in our past we should regret? No, certainly not! However, compared to plenty of other countries, we are light years ahead in terms of political freedom, civil rights, and social equality not to mention quality of life for our citizens. We have many flaws that need fixing, but even with those flaws, we’re better off than the majority of the world! So what does make America great?

What about our higher standards of living? Our top hospitals to treat all sorts of issues. Our lower infant mortality rate and safer childbirth. Our vaccines to prevent disease and the fact many diseases that are easily treatable here are fatal in the 3rd world. Our technologies that make it possible to have clean drinking water, safer food, better housing, better roads, better infrastructure. This isn’t merely about whether or not there’s a McDonald’s around the block, or how many can have a flat screen TV and the latest gizmos!

Unlike some like to argue, or pretend to argue, that we’re being presumptuous to think the world needs to live like us in a consumer capitalist society, I’m talking about basic needs, NOT whatever someone wants on a whim! America is great not because of how much junk we have in our living rooms, but because we HAVE a living room to live in, hospitals to go to if we’re sick or injured, children that will actually live to adulthood etc..etc… No, not everyone has to live like we do, but everyone does need food, water and shelter which America does provide far better than most of the world! In addition to the other long list of so called “rights”, a.k.a entitlements, the Left demands must be handed to us!

Or what about our great economy and opportunities to advance in life? No, we’re not a utopia by any means, but the “American Dream” still exists for countless Americans. Is everyone going to get their dream job and their dream house simply by working hard? No. But hard work does reap real rewards in this country in ways it will not in others. The rigid class system of England, or India for examples does not exist here. The system of Russian serfdom and contemporary debt bondage is illegal here. Is there still extreme poverty and inequality here? Sadly, yes. But poor choices lead to poor luck as much if not more than our systematic flaws.

The stories of past immigrants succeeding in the middle class or better from nothing show the extraordinary opportunities America brought in a time where you were often defined by class and things beyond your control in countless other countries, even in ones we’d consider 1st world today but were essentially 3rd world back then. The recent waves of immigrants and “refugees” don’t flee here for no reason. Mexico has opened its borders to immigrants from Central America yet they refused their hospitality and ran to us to beg for our charity. After all, who said “beggars can’t be choosers?” 😉 No one is forcing them to choose America, they could go elsewhere too, especially if on a whole different continent to a much more convenient asylum than across the Atlantic! Yet here they come…

Standards of living and socio-economic advancement are two major examples of many that make America great! The last point I want to make though, is in regards to a more subjective area: Ethics and morality. The Left claims America is immoral on many many counts. We’re racist, sexist, bigoted, fascist, greedy, paternalistic, imperialist, etc..etc… It’s true we did things in our past that we’re not proud of, but whenever the majority of these insinuations come up about America’s character, they’re from past historical instances! Well, what about right now? Just because we were paternalistic and imperialist 100 years ago, does that mean we think the same way now? Just because we did racist things like Jim Crow and slavery in the past, are they still in effect now? Even for modern-day accusations such as modern day inequalities, why not take a look at what other countries have done then come back and whine “oppression!”. Ever heard of 1st world problems? 😉 The utter hypocrisy in which America is attacked while other countries get off for far worse offenses is astounding!

Women have to pay a tax on tampons and have special pink items that cost more.

Gay people aren’t the star of every TV show.

Transgender people or gender fluid people aren’t addressed by their pronoun.

Band aids, and crayons are “racist” for not having your skin tone.

Meanwhile in the 3rd world…

Women are subject to honor killings, acid attacks, FGM, wed as prepubescent children, and are the literal property of men.

Gay people are brutally executed in many regimes and subject to far more violence than in America.

Ethnic and racial minorities are subject to mass killings, genocide, slavery, and outcast from society.

Yet the feminists never talk about how women are enslaved by men in the 3rd world, instead whining about the “war on women” for a tampon tax, or “rape culture” for a butt grab when girls are being raped by their husbands at age 10 in the Middle East. The gay advocates whine instead about Trump telling these countries to STOP killing gays because it’s “racist” or about a straight pride parade while ignoring the gays being executed abroad. As well as civil rights leaders decrying not enough “diversity” here when mass genocides by foreign governments happen to ethnic and racial minorities abroad while people of color in America are in top positions including the former presidency for two consecutive terms. Then of course, the West is bad no matter what, even despite far worse offenses by non-Western cultures!  Pure and utter hypocrisy and double standards…

America is a nation of equality and democracy, who, in light of its flaws strives to change them. It’s a nation of good healthcare, cutting edge technology, a good economy where we are the world’s top 10%, opportunity for socio-economic growth, great infrastructure, fair laws, and governed with the people, not just a dictator. It’s no utopia, but also no tyrannical regime. It’s a place where people flee to for safety and a better life. A place where I can work hard and earn a better life. A place I can be proud to live in and be a part of.

Honestly, I think the REAL American flaw is the fact we let everyone else walk all over us!!!

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Ladies, Be Empowered!

This is addressed to my fellow women out there. I’ve covered much of the flaws of feminist thinking, especially along #MeToo lines in sexual assault prevention, which is basically zero. I’ve also covered in several articles my argument for more personal accountability to lessen one’s risks of assault as well as holding the perpetrator accountable too. Look, I know this topic isn’t all that pleasant, and very serious, but it must be addressed head on. I agree with the Left that misconceptions are a roadblock to empowering women to fight back against sexual assault, but I argue that it is in fact their side, that is fostering dangerous misconceptions about sexual assault.

Their basic premise is that too often, we shift the blame on the victim rather than the perpetrator and even go so far as to say we created a “rape culture” where rape is not only tolerated, but thought of as a man’s “right”. They say that the only thing that causes rape is the rapist, and nothing else. Therefore, one cannot talk about how alcohol or drugs play a role. Nor other poor risky choices such as becoming isolated or suggestive behavior/dress. Now, I will say that they are correct that one does indeed, need a rapist, to commit rape. Alcohol, sexy clothes, drugs, partying, does not literally cause a rape to happen, just as gun violence can only happen if someone pulls the trigger. However, the above factors do indeed create an increased risk of victimization, and are correlated with incidents of sexual assault.

Rapists are going to rape no matter what, because if you are at the point where you feel entitled to rape someone, you don’t care one bit about how it will impact your victim. You may not even care what they are wearing either, as many argue rape is more about power than sexuality. However, barring any empathy for your victim, you still have to choose one! So, which girl, if you would put yourself in the mindset of a callous rapist, but doesn’t want to get caught, would you choose? The girl who’s sober, more modestly dressed surrounded by 5 other girlfriends, (a.k.a. witnesses) at the party, or the one who’s almost blackout drunk, isolated, and in suggestive clothing that can be used as an excuse later in court in your favor? Who do you think would be noticed more if missing? Who do you think would put up less of a fight?

Now, does either girl deserve to get raped? Absolutely not! No one ever “deserves” rape, and nothing ever “justifies” rape. However, the cold, hard ugly truth of the matter is, one girl is more at risk than the other to be chosen as the next victim. Rapists will indeed rape no matter what whenever they find the chance, but it’s on us, ladies, to make sure he has the least amount of chances possible to target us. Causation for increasing your risk is not justification for the crime! Is it fair that we must go out of our way to look out for creeps? NO! But that’s reality. We shouldn’t need to watch out for each other at parties, or a girls’ night out. We shouldn’t have to worry about trusting the guy to take us home safely. Or buy us that drink and worry if he drugged it. We should be able to dress as sexy as we want without any unwanted advances. However, what we should be able to do and what we are able to do without putting ourselves more at risk aren’t identical.

And yes, sometimes, rape will happen when we do everything right to lessen our chances. Rapists will rape, we get it… But isn’t that true for any crime? A burglar can still smash in your window even when you lock your door every night, but does that mean you shouldn’t bother to lock your doors? We talk about more emphasis on teaching boys not to rape and assault women, instead of teaching girls how to empower themselves and lessen their risks in the logic that the solution is solely on telling men not to rape.

However, look at it this way: We teach our children not to steal, yet there are still thieves. Should the solution for burglary be simply to teach people to not steal and call any attempt at advising people to lock their doors or hide their valuables victim blaming? After all, no one has the right to steal your stuff no matter where you leave it! Similarly, there are still rapists despite teaching boys not to rape. The crime is not going away in both cases sadly. So what are we to do? Just sit around on our hands and complain about the obvious injustice, or do something to protect ourselves from becoming a victim, even if it means making inconvenient and yes, unfair, lifestyle adjustments?

Ladies, we need to live in the world as it is, not live in the world that we want it to be. Even if that world demands a “sexist” or un-PC answer to lessening our risk. We ARE judged by how we dress, whether we like it or not. Wearing sexy, provocative clothing, while never justifying any unwanted advances, sends off the signal that you want a consensual interaction and if the wrong guy who’s a complete callous jerk feels you “led him on”, yes, some will cross that line into assault. It’s ugly and unfair, wildly unfair and unjust, but ladies, this is the reality we live in. It’s not about simple morality, or saying that the girl in the sexy dress is morally “lesser” or “bad” and deserves assault, but it is about the fact that as unfair as it is, you ARE judged by how you choose to present yourself, and a real rapist can use it as an excuse in his sick twisted mind to justify harming you.

Drinking until you’re black out drunk, going off alone with a strange guy at the party, taking a drink that could be roofied easily etc… increases your chances of victimization and puts you in a vulnerable position. No, alcohol doesn’t cause rape to happen, but it does increase your risk the rapist will target you because you can’t physically resist or even say “no”. Going off alone with no witnesses and no one to step in to protect you is the perfect way to be victimized. Is this fair? Is it fair that women need to be careful instead of just being carefree when out for the night? Of course not! But as said before, this is the cold hard reality of the world we live in.

Saying all this is bound to draw the ire of many screaming “victim blaming!”, but this is no more victim blaming than suggesting one lock their doors or hide valuables to lessen chances of a burglary. Rapes can happen even after every base is covered. But so can burglaries. So can any crime. NO set of precautions has a 100% guarantee or covers every situation. That however, doesn’t mean we don’t take those precautions. Yes, the rapist could be someone you know and trust. Yes it can happen elsewhere than parties. Yes, more subtle coercion could be involved. Yes, I know all those things! That however does not belittle the merits of precautions against rapes that do happen with strangers, or in parties for instance. You may not be able to avoid one scenario, but does that mean “Why bother learning how to avoid the other”? Sure, the burglar can just smash in my window, but he sure won’t come through my door if I can help it! 😉

Ladies, it’s also not black and white. I’m not saying you can never party, you can never go out, you can never wear that “cute little number” to the club on girls’ night, you can never have a drink or hang out with a guy. We don’t have to dress like nuns and never leave our homes! All I’m proposing is to be aware. Awareness is half the battle, and with a good dose of awareness and common sense, you can have that night out of fun and be as safe as you can. Empowerment is liberating, not constraining. The awareness to know what the risk factors are, and how to avoid them is liberating, as you can live your life, just be aware and vigilant. When we drive, we learn the rules of the road. When we choose where to live, we look into crime rates. We have fire drills. We have emergency drills. We look over our shoulder in that sketchy area. We hide our valuables. We do all these things AND live a normal life full of excitement and fun. Can we do everything we want, (drink to excess, dress like we’re turning tricks, go off with every guy in the bar etc… etc..)? No. But in moderation, and with awareness of the risks, we can weigh our chances and act accordingly.

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