Saturday, September 29, 2007

My Anti-ism-ism

I don't usually wax political at all. Philosophically I'm a Libertarian. You know, a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. (In Alaska the Libertarian Party is almost non-existent; I'm registered as "Undecided," and when voting tend to go Republican.) I'm really content to live and let live, for the most part, because diversity is good. But every now and then something just really cheeses me off.

Sean Hannity
was on his soapbox the other day because some Big Elected Talking Head made a public statement, when talking about our prison system, that (and I'm paraphrasing because I'm too lazy to look up the quote), "eventually there'd be no young black men left free in America."

Yeah, there was a lot of outrage. Justifiably. Me included. If I hadn't been driving I would have done the "first time caller, long time listener" thing.

Once upon a time in college, a long time ago, I took a psych class called "Psychology of Women", which the prof said she was going to teach as "Gender Studies" (the Iron John men's movement was in at the time). What I got out of it was Advanced Radical Feminism.

What angers me about the various demographic rights movement is that for the most part, they dwell on the past. Yes, women were considered chattel. Yes, Europeans came to the Americas and trampled all over the natives. Yes, persons of almost every color have been kept as slaves at some point in history.

I say get over it. The Rabid Feminists in my psych class (and I'm sorry to say almost every feminist stereotype was represented, including the classic Hardcore Man-Hating Lesbian Feminists, crew cuts and flannel and all) spent hours in fierce outrage because of the
various crimes committed by Men, especially White Men, which were the cause of all society's ills. Other radical minority outrage groups take a similar view: every problem ever was caused by The Man Keeping Them Down.

I got a B in the class. I think it was because after listening again to another hour of the outraged downtrodden feminists I stood up and said "You know, if everyone would just admit that the past is past, and get over it and work in the present for the future, we might actually get somewhere. You are all so busy being angry over old dead news that you're treading water. Stop pointing fingers and move forward!"

I sincerely believe this. No, don't forget the past. But for crying in silence, get past it. No one grows by living in the past; neither can a society evolve by dwelling on past mistakes. Learn from them and move on, already.

In this day and age, in the United States (I won't presume to speak for any other country), if any person claims they are downtrodden, kept down, or otherwise repressed because of their demographic I cry bologna. I'd cry harsher language, but this blog is rated PG. In this day and age in the U.S. every person has the protected right to make something of themselves. It won't be handed to you, no. You'll have to work at it. But the civil rights movements of the last century, combined with Affirmative Action (something else which I feel has outlived its usefulness) have done their job. You are judged by your merit, not your demographic. If you aren't advancing as you wish, change your tack; it's your fault, not society's. I'm not a corporate CEO because I chose to be a stay-home mom, not because society won't let me be because of my demographic.

And just when I'm getting my personal anti-ism-ism soapbox all warmed up, I think about the Big Elected Talking Head making that absolutely moronic statement and realize that as long as there are people who let crap like that fall out of their mouths, we have to keep fighting. We may only be a step or three from it being all about isms again. The Big Elected Talking Head might be liberal and progressive, but that stereotype is so embedded in his brain that he let that damning statement slip out. In public.

So while we need to always work in the present for the future, and we definitely need to stop pointing fingers at the past, we cannot lose sight of how very young our protected freedoms and rights are, and protect them from harm.


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