Friday, August 29, 2003

one more arnold

okay, i am not fixated on this man, he just keeps digging one heck of a hole and i can't ignore it. Okay so all of the stuff in the Oui interview took place in 1977. I don't think that changes anything, but some folks think that time does have an impact on people.

Okay, then, why did he say this not too long ago?

About Arnold Schwarzenegger

Read the July 20, 2003 story from the San Francisco Chronicle.

TERMINATED TAKE: Arnold Schwarzenegger has some big ideas when it comes to running for governor -- but he was definitely thinking small when it came to
shooting that bathroom dunking scene for his new action flick, "Terminator 3."

"I saw this toilet bowl," Schwarzenegger told Entertainment Weekly in its July 11 edition. "How many times do you get away with this -- to take a woman, grab her upside down, and bury her face in a toilet bowl?" But, the Mighty Terminator adds: "I wanted to have something floating there."


"The thing is, you can do it," Arnold argued, "because in the end, I didn't do it to a woman -- she's a machine! We could get away with it without being
crucified by who-knows-what group."

Maybe -- but in the end, the "floating" idea was itself terminated.

"They thought it was my typical Schwarzenegger overboard."

and then there is this.
more arnold, more MP bullshit

my response to a poster on a list:


> A woman close to me used to be into group sex with ice hockey
> players. She was seeking them out, and there was no history of child
> abuse or other forms
> of sexual abuse. I am no fan of Arnold, but rape is a serious allegation
> for
> which you have no evidence.

Few things....

1) if you note the way I worded my original comment, I used the word, "apparent" admission of a gang-rape. Perhaps I placed this word in the wrong place. I could have said admission of an "apparent" gang-rape.

2) you are correct about "evidence" as measured by today's standards, none of arnold's DNA nor a victim to say, "yup, he is the one."

3) those two things said, I stand by the intent of my original post for the following reasons:

-what Arnold himself said about the incident itself:

"...there was a black girl who came out naked. Everybody jumped on her and took her upstairs, where we all got together. Asked by Manso if he was talking about a "gang bang," Schwarzenegger answered, "Yes..." Yeah, that sounds like willing participation on her part! Bullshit. Note that if at ANY time she said, NO, and anyone continued, no matter how interruptus it was, that constitutes rape, pure and simple. The entire notion of men not being able to control themselves once they start having sex is ridiculous and serves nothing more than an excuse for men to get away with sexual assault. Note, also, that I am in no way convinced, based on what Arnold himself said that she was indeed, a "willing participant" from the get go. He did NOT say it was "group sex," he admitted it was a "gang-bang" -- that does NOT imply mutual consent, by any means.

-the notion of women wanting sex with a lot of men, IMO is much more of an urban myth, male fantasy than anything having to do with reality. I think it is one perpetrated by men for their own benefit and to relieve any feelings of guilt whenever there is mention of sexual assault. Hence, the ever-popular, "Well, why was she dressed like that?" or, in this case. "Why did she come down naked? Doesn't she know how men will react? A naked woman in the midst of a group of body-builders is begging to have sex." Really? Could she have been traumatized for some reason and came out publicly without any clothes? Perhaps she was suffering from some kind of mental illness and she wasn't aware of what was going on. Isn't it the height of presumptuousness and privilege to think that if a man sees a woman naked that she it asking for him to have sex with her?????? Again, Bullshit.

-again, I wonder how race plays a factor in this. Arnold specifically mentions that she was "black." Notions of white oppression aside, let's, once again, switch the scenario. Imagine some now famous Black film star, who recounts the VERY same story, but the woman is white. We don't know the race of the other body-builders that participated with Arnold, but in my revised scenario, imagine if they, too were Black. Now, imagine if our now famous, Black film star said, "...there was a WHITE girl who came out naked. Everybody jumped on her and took her upstairs, where we all got together. Asked by Manso if he was talking about a "gang bang," BLACK FIM STAR answered, "Yes..."

nah, no rape at all, just good ole clean fun, that's all.

Sorry, XXX, don't buy it. Granted, no freakin DNA, but whether or not a rape occurred? I don't need no stinkin' DNA to know something happened, that in all likelihood involved sex without her consent/ other words, rape. IMO, to conclude otherwise is to perpetuate myths that contribute to violence against women.


Thursday, August 28, 2003

privilege in rare form

Arnold tries to dodge a recent revelation about him. he brushes it off by saying, "...only that he had things other than politics on his mind all those years ago" (this was in a Hollywood Reporter story)

Hmmm, interesting defense, yes? "Yeah, I smoked dope/hash, treated women like shit, participated in a gang rape, and was highly egocentric, but you know, I wasn't thinking about running for governor of CA back then, so whaddya expect????"

I'd like to see how well a similar defense would fly if he wasn't a rich, white, Republican, film star.

Imagine if he was African-American or Hispanic-American, NOT a film star, and had no political connections and he admitted to the same things? Think the same defense would fly then? He says it like we are expected to forgive him or something. I don't mind the forgiveness part so much, it is the apparent expectation that we WILL accept such a ludicrous explanation as a reasonable explanation and let him slide.

Privilege in rare form, indeed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003


i have had a couple of folks mention to me about being able to make comments on the blog -- again, when time permits, i will see about adding some program to allow for folks to do that.

i love dialogue. believe it or not, I DO get tired of hearing myself think and talk.

lose your self, gain energy

note that many of the wisdom traditions inform us that when we self-lessly serve the world, we get MORE energy. self-less service is just that, serving others without any expectation of benefit to oneself -- which is energy-consuming. think about how much time and literal energy we expend thinking about "what is in this for me? what do i get if i do this?" Nasty, right? God, it drags me down when i do that shit and i do it way too much, it seems.

Now, this is not the doormat, "use me i am worthless thing." this is the deal that incredible people like Mother Teresa did or that my spiritual teacher do. they love and serve others, with no sense of ego, with no concern about "what is in it for them" and they have boundless energy. Ammachi sits and hugs people for hours. she doesn't eat, she doesn't go to the bathroom, she gives, and gives, and gives...if only I could do that.

this even makes sense sociologically. self is something that is social in nature. as such, it is a product of the culture that we are part of. think of the culture that we are part of. think of how draining it is. think of how free you would free if your self didn't matter. not that your body doesn't matter, but that all of the fears, the emotional stuggles, the gooey emotional crap that we get entangled in doesn't matter. think how much MORE energy we would have to make things different for more people. freedom? damn, i think so.

when time allows i will post a paper i had intended to write for a sociology conference i am attending in october. it is called, "no self, no problem" and demonstrates how sociological thought of the self is similar to Buddhist thought about it. Buddhists, however point out that living wihout one is true freedom. contemporary sociologists have NOT had this realization, though.

Needless to say, i think that they should.

Monday, August 25, 2003

wisdom, values, and science

One of the reasons i purused a ph.d. was to learn how to do science. i always thought it was cool. actually what i thought was even cooler when an undergraduate was the idea of "truth" -- that seemed just wonderful.

well, while in graduate school, it dawned on me pretty quickly that i wasn't going to find "truth" through the application of the scientific method. why? too much error. error is a technical term for "well, we really can't do what we say we are going to do, and due to the fact that we are human and things human are inherently limited, we aren't going to admit either of these, because we REALLY want to do this mathematical thing, so we are going to define that stuff that does not fit into the model of what we want to do, 'error'." error in science is like collateral damage in war -- and i am sure equally as lethal in many settings. but, just like no one wants to talk about how collateral damage is actually innocent people who have been brutally and inconsequentially killed, no one likes to talk about error being an indication of how inaccurate and inappropriate the model is. "error" sounds cool and really technical, so most ph.d. yahoos throw it around like it is a real thing and that it really does exist. nonsense.

now, i do favor systematic data collection. i think that this is a great way to counter insanity. doesn't always work, because, 9:10, as Joe Walsh once said, "you can't argue with a sick mind" -- think of the current administration nixing the kyoto protocol despite the fact that over 100 Nobel Laureates were in favor of it. systematic data collection, along with other forms of data collection serves to provide a fairly complete indication of what is going on, so it is very, very useful.

so, science is limited -- in its design, and in its relevance.

what is/are not?


as noted by Sri Enath Easwaran below, love (which is a value) informs action. when one truly loves another (selflessly, without regard for how doing so might benefit oneself), widsom and knowing are born. in those instances, science is irrelevant. knowledge and wisdom are relevant.

i also think that values trump scienitific knowledge in another way. as noted above, the yahoos who are intent on destroying the world in "order to save it" can dismiss any kind of scientific finding. what they can't dismiss is exposure of what they are really about. this is done through exposing their values. George et al claim that they are interested in freedom, peace, etc. It is obvious by their actions that they are not. all one needs to do is to make this point clear -- when one bombs another country, one is NOT about peace, one does NOT value peace, one is about violence, one VALUES violence. when one muzzles reporters one is NOT about freedom of the press, one is about censorship, etc.

the thing that protrects their duplicity is thier privilege. they can easily dismiss any challenge. why? because they can say, "that is irrelevant" and no one challenges them. you know when you are close to exposing their duplicity by how angry they are.

i do think that if the american public were made aware of their duplicity, explained in simple terms, many more people would be outraged. if their REAL values were exposted, people would be outraged. this could be coming, but there is no guarantee that it will.
From Eknath Easwaran

“When mystics use the word love, they use it very carefully -- in
the deeply spiritual sense, where to love is to know; to love is
to act. If you really love, from the depths of your consciousness,
that love gives you a native wisdom. You perceive the needs of
others intuitively and clearly, with detachment from any personal
desires; and you know how to act creatively to meet those needs,
dexterously surmounting any obstacle that comes in the way.
Such is the immense, driving power of love.”

commentary to follow above...

note that this is precisely what i think should inform sociology and sociological practice

Sunday, August 24, 2003


just wanted to say a public thank you to all of you who have written me about the blog. i really appreciate it. i hope to contribute more than i have recently -- my ideas, thoughts, etc, are backing up and i am feeling like i am going to explode! just a matter of finding that ever elusive time to do it all.

if you haven't gotten a personal note from me - you will, just give me a bit to catch up.

many thanks, you are all beautiful.

hire this sociologist!

my day job is really getting in the way of all that i want to do. too much social change work that is needed and not enough time to do it.

don't get me wrong, i love what i do and the people i work with. i just don't have time to do that job, spend time with my family, write, and do all of the social change work that i want to do. what i do as a day job is program evaluation, so it is not that specialized of a position. i think that what i have to offer to social change efforts is unique. besides, i can't stop doing the social change work -- it is calling me. think of that scene in The Last Temptation when Jesus talks about God calling him and it is like a bird with talons in his head. okay, mine is not quite that violent (!!), but it is indeed something that if i did not pursue, i would feel miserable, unfullfilled, and in all likelihood, really grouchy.

so, what am i looking for? someone to pay me a salary ($50k would do it), so i can devote my time to JUST doing the kind of social change work i want to do. it will be a great investment, and that amount of $$ to someone who can afford to donate it, is chump change. that is the ONLY overhead i would require. i could do all that i need to do (including supporting my family) with that.

so, if anyone knows George Soros, Warren Buffet or any other philanthropist who wants to invest in creating profound social change, have them drop me a line. i can do much with more freedom...couldn't we all?

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

i say tomato you say tomatoe

has anyone else but me noticed that when big business attempts to influence political and social realms it is benignly called lobbying and marketing, but when regular folk do the same thing it is typically demeaned as "activism" and "demonstrating?"

the lesson here...s/he who contols the language controls reality.

Monday, August 18, 2003

continuing the public dialogue

another post to a list:

Wanted to let you all know of another “dialogue” I had recently. I read a great book by a SciFi author named Robert Sawyer about a parallel universe in which Neanderthals had evolved and we were extinct (it is called, “Hominds”). Due to a quantum glitch, one of the Neanderthals ends up in our world. Now, the Neanderthal world is not what WE would think of as Neanderthal, i.e., they are not slope-headed brutes. They have evolved with the same body type, but have become very “human” in the sense that their society is based on a rational approach to Neanderthal (i.e., human) behavior. The guy who comes to our world is a physicist! Very cool!

Anyway, the author has a scene in which a human woman is sexually assaulted (by a human) and it is written from her perspective. It is done very well, IMO, in that it portrays all of the reactions and responses that are typical in a situation like that (“typical” in the sense of devastating and largely ignored or derided by our culture). The entire novel is treated with that level of sensitivity – the author is a genius, IMO.

Anyway, I emailed him, told him that I was a sociologist, that I chaired a VAW committee and just wanted to thank him for the way he wrote the assault scene. Guess, what? He wrote me back, thanked me for contacting him, let me know that he had hoped he had gotten it “right” and thanked me for providing him with some confirmation.

Was that hard for me to do? No. Do we have countless opportunities to do that everyday? Yes. Should I stop asking and answering my own questions now before I turn into our Secretary of Defense? Yes.

Anyway, you get my drift, my friends. Please contribute to the public dialogue as Bill H. mentioned awhile back.
vacation, privilege, and hunger revisited...

posted this to the SAS list just now:

Came across this today – quote from Gandhi – IMO, this is the level of attention we need to bring to all things we encounter on a daily basis. Note that Gandhi focuses on the personal (“…the step YOU now contemplate...”). I however, think that WE can take it on a personal and a professional level – we KNOW what social conditions contribute to the “poorest person you have ever seen” so the steps that we take, as applied sociologists can have an even greater impact…and SHOULD, IMO.

"Recall the face of the poorest person you have ever seen, then ask yourself if the step you now contemplate is going to be any use to them"

And I saw this face and others like it just yesterday. I and some friends prepare and serve the evening meal at a homeless shelter once-a-month. Standing behind the serving counter, getting ready to pass along some garlic bread, I see a tiny face staring up at me. The MOST beautiful child in the whole friggin world, with the MOST beautiful eyes, the MOST precious sense of innocence and she is HUNGRY and has no place to live. I came home, told my wife about it and cried, it broke my heart so much. And I am grateful that it did and it still does.

I find it beyond belief that we live in the most privileged country in the entire world and we have children that are hungry, every damn day. IMO, this is insane and morally reprehensible and to the extent that we KNOW how to make it different and take NO action to do so, we are responsible for it. Sorry, but if you disagree, you go down to any homeless shelter, look in some child’s eyes and tell her that you’re sorry, but there is nothing you can do about her being hungry. And then get in your car, drive home, sup, and watch TV.

Stepping off of the soapbox now, but hoping that the outrage and disbelief that I feel spreads far and wide.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

so, you want peace, eh? willing to go to any length to get it?

like working with the faith communities to achieve it? hell, yes. screw beliefs and ideologies, what is needed is action. get the friggin world violence-free, and then we can work out the belief details. if we don't, then there won't be anyone left to even consider beliefs.

here are some that i have found that look promising...Christian Peacemaker Teams, Baptist Peace Fellowship, Pax Christi. and for those of you who are skeptical of their commitment to peace above dogma, read about George Weber who was killed in a car accident while in Iraq -- the man was there, working as a peacemaker -- he gave his life for it.

i know there are more. actually, i would hold any person's feet to the fire who claimed to be a "Christian" and didn't work and advocate for peace and social justice. hey, there's an idea.
structural support

i commented to some relatives while on vacation that our current social structures benefit some more than others. for those that they benefit, they work great. for those that they do not benefit, they are obdurate barriers that are forever in their way of achieving success.

and those "for whom the structures toll?" let's see...anglo, male, middle class and above; and for those that the structures are silent?...everyone else.
vacation, privilege, and hunger

been on vacation for the last week...

went down to one of our homeless shelters today to prepare and serve the evening meal for the residents. i do this in conjunction with Mother's Kitchen. i have been doing it for about six years. we serve homeless families.

seeing the kids today broke my heart. i came home, told my wife about them and cried. they are all so beautiful and deserving of all things good and wonderful. they live in the richest country in the god damn world and they are hungry. IMO, this is a crime. world hunger is a crime, but here, in the "good ole US of A" it is definitely a crime. fucking unforgiveable, actually. abhorrent, reprehensible. insane.

i have plenty to eat, a place to live, good, supportive people around me -- this is the god damn American dream. this is what should exist in the richest fucking country in the entire god damn world. NOT beautiful hungry, children, dejected parents, and tangible hopelessness. this is WRONG. it is especially wrong because we CAN do something about it. as someone far brighter than me said once, "we need a Manhatten project" to solve hunger and poverty in this country. no one can convince me that if enough people in this country got together and worked toward ending these things, they would still be here.

Friday, August 08, 2003

this is applied sociology

Flash Mob Descends on New York Toy Store

the problem is that most sociologists wouldn't GET how it is applied sociology.
description of my male privilege epiphany

My MP epiphany was about thinking I was immune from it because I was a “non-traditional” male – I am not a big person, I didn’t play sports that much, I cry, I got into fights “occasionally” when I was a kid, I am scared a lot of the time, I studied radical sociology of all things! But, at a conference on Men’s Work in the Movement, it hit me – privilege really has nothing to do with me, I have no control over its existence due to the current social structures. It is bestowed upon me and EVERY other man by the collective. I had NEVER realized this before. I thought privilege meant acting like a jerk (which it does), but I can NOT act like a jerk and still benefit from privilege – as you and probably every other woman knows and has know for millennia. Paul Kivel was there and he said to me, “look, there are no ‘good’ guys and ‘bad’ guys, there are just ‘guys’” and because I am a gendered person, I am one of them.

Real easy to see how social change at the institutional level is the way to go – pure and simple.

I owe much, if not all of my MP awareness to feminists – I read Mary Daly and she scared the pants off of me, but I knew I couldn’t deny what she was saying. Dorothy Smith is brilliant. Nikki has educated me considerably, too. My understanding of it got clearer because of Steve’s work.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

refutation of objectivity

knowledge/sense-making implies

language which implies

group which implies

culture which implies

context which


don't bullshit me, Starbuckos

I had heard about how it was cheaper for a business to offer free WiFi access to customers than it was to charge for it and sent a note to Starbucks asking them to consider free WiFi access in their stores (right now you have to get a T-Mobile account). Here is the response I received:

"Dear Mr. Glass,

Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company.

Thank you for your inquiry about the pricing of our
WiFi accessibility. I can assure you that Starbucks
values your comments and I shared your feedback with
the appropriate department for their attention.
However, T-Mobile, not Starbucks, is responsible for
the pricing of this internet service. If you have
questions about or need help with the high speed
Internet access at Starbucks, please call T-Mobile
customer service at (800) 981-8563.

Thank you again for contacting Starbucks. If you
have any further questions or concerns, please
contact us at or call (800)
23-LATTE to speak with a customer relations

and then here is my response in return...

"hi, thanks for the note.

but, really, are you saying that Starbucks, king of
coffee in the entire world, cannot provide free
wireless access in their stores?

I have a wireless network at home that can have
unlimited users and I pay $50 a month.

That seems like chump change to a monolith like
Starbucks -- even if it was in every store.

I understand the spin and know that you are saying the
party line, but i am sure that you know as well as i
do, that Starbucks COULD provide free wireless if they
wanted to.

keep you job, my friend, but don't lose your soul."
it's the values, baby, NOT the person

sent the following in reply to a collague who had sent me some a very nice compliment (as noted below)...

> suggest. I seriously didn't realize anyone would be interested in
> reading my midnight rants on the place of sociology.

NEVER underestimate yourself or your contribution -- you have much to say. I think, we as sociologists do this too much. It is not so much about what you or I personally have to say -- it is the perspective itself -- the sociological imagination that is so profound -- all we have to do is demonstrate to others how to see the world this way and the change will occur -- that is our task - that is what hit me yesterday when I was reading your post.

> I am looking forward to meeting you. You are a true inspiration!

Not me, the values I strive to live by, yes, but not me personally. The values are inspirational and they will NEVER let anyone down. Trust me, I do and I will, I am human and I make conflicting choices at times.

I appreciate your thought, and thank you for it, but be inspired by those things that are truly inspirational -- they will serve you far better than I or any other person could and they will take you and the world much further.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

post previous to the last one -- so much for chronological correctness

Appreciate the continued dialogue -- I think that these are critical issues. And not to belabor any of this, but thinking that these deserve discussion, I want to make a couple more comments. Please feel free to ignore or delete or whatever.

> interactionist perspective that I know), everything. My whiteness
> will afford me no advantage on an Indian reservation, in a bario, in a
> black ghetto, or in a variety of other settings. I have been the
> object of slurs

I understand what you are saying, but I disagree to some extent. In fact, I would say that your whiteness does indeed advantage you considerably in these instances. For one, you can leave these settings whenever you choose, many, if not most of the folks who live there, cannot.

Second, if something where to happen to you while there, in all likelihood, something would be done about it, i.e., it wouldn't be seen as "just another crime" on the rez or in the ghetto or whatever.

Brief example -- here in XXXX, a few years back, a white male, successful professional living in the well-heeled part of town murdered his wife by strangling her with a phone cord and then stabbing her with scissors. Very, very brutal crime. It was on the front page for weeks. Similar crimes happen in other parts of town that are equally as brutal, but don't stay on the front page for weeks on end. Of course, the underlying question was, "how could this happen to such a nice family in such a nice neighborhood?" Those same questions are NOT asked when something similar happens in other parts of town.

> regression analysis of quantitative data. Over the course of that
> interview,the chair of that search committee tried repeatedly to bait
> me intoattacking her positivistic orientation. I studiously avoided
> taking thatbait.

You are a far better person than I! I would have taken the bait, shot my mouth off and lost any chance of doing anything! Note that I do have a "day-job" at an NPO and only teach as an adjunct.


Comment on your experience, though...privilege comes in many shapes and sizes.

> would like to have a little more money on hand. I maintain that my
> having the ability to make sense of this example is a product of my
> humanity, not mywhiteness, maleness, interactionistness, etc.

yes, but the sense that you make could arise from one of those factors -- in fact, I think that it could be argued that it arose from all of those factors. This is why sense that is made varies form context to context.

> hetero cracker. I can, however, decide whether that label is
> important. Were I to be denied a job on that basis, I could decide to
> defend myself in aggressive ways or to become a zen-like duck and let
> it roll off my back.

Again, I think it is because you are identified as "white" by "society" that affords you these very choices. I don't doubt, nor do I impugn your humanity by making this statement. I have discovered that my humanity is born entirely out of the fact that I am identified as a white, male, well-educated sociologist. You are right, context IS everything and as much as I would like to appeal to some kind of universal sense of value and morality, I cannot ignore the fact that I am indeed, born from and reside in, particular, socially defined contexts.

> definitions of those experiences. Those definitions are a matter of
> interpretation, not predetermination.

Agreed. But, those interpretations are born out of the contexts that those people find themselves in -- some of their choosing, some not. I would argue that the extent to which one is able to choose his/her context reflects the amount of privilege one has.

> sentient, reflective beings. Reality is indeed obdurate. How people
> deal with its obdurate character, however, is an emergent process. I
> don't

Agreed and I would add that power is mediated by the participants within that emergent process. Your example of the chair attempting to bait you is a fine example of that. Why was she baiting you as opposed to you baiting her? The thought of you baiting her seems preposterous. What is the difference in that setting? A difference of power. Granted, an emergent process of reality was taking place, but it was one infused with power and for better or for worse, you didn't have as much as she did.

I hope I am not sounding like a jerk, XXXX, I just think that so much hinges on these kinds of things. Where I work, I see people suffer injury and death because of social definitions and negotiated reality. Needless to say, it is those who lack power who are the victims. I think this is why Blumer used that term, "obdurate" in reference to reality (as I suppose did Thomas in "...real in their consequences"). I don't know how much more obdurate and real one can get than death.

privilege? what the hell is that?

> further. I have real doubts about the ontological status of
> 'structure' and how and when it exists and maintains over time and
> place. But that's a

understood -- the issue that I think I raised in relation to your original post about whether or not there were "other" groups that experienced inter-group racism had to do with power and privilege.

Power is a very real thing that hinges on interpretation, definition, etc. The fact that it does, does NOT deny its effects. How many people are dead because Saddam is "evil incarnate?"

> I'm now going to make a claim that will be furiously denied (hopefully
> not) - I am a-color. I have little or no colour awareness in nearly
> all the situations of my life and being. I think that race and gender
> issues have

Not denied, XXX, just pointed out that this alone is evidence of your white privilege. Color is NOT important to you and your day to day interactions because you are part of the dominant group. It doesn't have to be. This is an effect of your privilege. This is NOT the case with those who are not.

Ask some of your colleagues who are an "other" color and see how much they are aware of their color in their day to day lives. Better yet, ask any woman that you know how much of her day-to-day interactions are shaped by the mere fact that she is identified as a "woman." Both of these privileges are undeniable in their effect and you have them whether you like them or not because they are bestowed upon you by the group that you are a member of.

You are not an "other" so you have no experience of it from that side. Think about XXX example of my son being followed when he goes into a store. The same store that I go into and will NOT be followed. This is a privilege that I have that he doesn't.

And again, the litmus test, IMO is whether or not when reading the "indicators of white privilege" you felt angry. If, so, welcome to your privilege. Believe it or not, if you show those same things to someone who is not "white," more often than not, that person will say, "yup, that's about right" and will not feel angry, but will, in all likelihood feel validated that a "white person gets it."

p.s. if you really want to find out the depth of privilege, I can forward another article that is based on the MacIntosh article that neatly dissects 'male' privilege. Oh, and it is written by a white, male, sociologist...but you know how freakin' crazy and off the mark those bastards are.

why can't all just be americans?

So, when can a person be "just" American? I think it is when we AS Americans see each person who is "legally" American as having the same rights, deserving the same respect, and being treated as equals across the board.

We don't do that right now -- we see division, we act on that division and, in consequence, we make that division disturbingly real. We don't offer the same respect to all Americans across the board. For instance...

1) We deny the opportunity for marriage to "gay" Americans
2) We intentionally profile "middle-eastern" Americans as they could have "terrorist ties"
3) We closely monitor "African" Americans, especially male African Americans as we are constantly reminded of how "dangerous" these men are as evidenced by the disproportionate number of them that are in prison
4) We demean those Americans who are on welfare as lazy, as leeches, as a drain on the, they are unknowingly labeled as "welfare" Americans
5) We treat as second-class citizens, "physically-challenged" Americans.

You get the point. And IMO, all of the legislation in the world will never change these fundamental divisions because it is we AS Americans who need to say, this is wrong, this is not what we are about, this needs to change and then actually change.

Actually, I would prefer to not necessarily abandon national and/or cultural parameters, but at least SEE and realize that humans are humans no matter what form they arrive in. We see Saddam as the anti-Christ; his daughters see him as their father. His daughters mourned the loss of their brothers, we toasted their deaths.

As we know, these interpretations made by these people are context dependent. The question is, which context has more value than the other? Remaining true to SI, one would argue that both are entirely "valid" and neither has more validity than the other. Throw power in there as a dimension, and the Saddam is the anti-Christ is promoted as the RIGHT one. We then invalidate the sorrow and trauma that Saddam's daughters have in mourning the loss of their bothers. In doing so, we also invalidate a fundamental sense of humanity.

I personally would love to see all of us, no matter where, see that humanity that exists, that is undeniable, that XXXX references. Would this not be a better, safer, more tolerant, more productive world if that was the case?

Friday, August 01, 2003


wow, i hit the big time.