Patriarchy as Usual

Just as a reminder, the patriarchy as usual, as practiced in our country, has been about propegating rich, white male hegemony.  In order for the rich, white men to maintain their hold on money and power, the system is set up to keep the rest of us fighting over the scraps handed to us under the guise of benevolence.

One black man attaining the presidency when half of the prisoners in the U.S. prison system are black men, when one in ten black men between the ages of 20 and 35 are in prison, and when one in three black men in their thirties has a prison record (which means that one in three black men of prime voting age cannot vote) is not going to fix the problems in the black community.  But it does suggest possibilities.

One white woman attaining the presidency when thirty percent of female murder victims are killed by a husband or boyfriend, when one in four hundred of us is a victim of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault every year, and when almost thirty percent of single moms live in poverty is not going to fix the problems of women.  But it does suggest possibilities.

Patriarchy as usual is never about suggesting possibilities to people who don’t have power.

Let’s not lose sight of that.

And let’s not do the work of being distracted from that for those of us who would prefer we be distracted.

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Ya Think?

Via Campfield:

Mahathy said BrainPOP also contains information about AIDS, gay and lesbian sex, and various religions, including Wicca. That nature-based religion has been linked to witchcraft.

Why the Rep feels that an online encyclopedia containing information about various religions, including Wicca, is worth noting is beyond me. But I just wanted to state for the record that I laughed so hard when I read that Wicca has been linked to witchcraft.

Rest easy, my Wiccan friends. Your work here is done. Even the Republicans are aware that Wicca just might have something to do with witchcraft.

I, for the life of me, will never understand this attitude, though, that there is knowledge that should be off-limit to kids. If a kid is bright enough and curious enough to search it out, that’s the time it’s time to introduce the subject to them. I get steering them towards age-appropriate content, but banning them from an encyclopedia?

It’s so foreign to my understanding of what one does to and for their children that I really don’t know how to make sense of it.

Keeping your children from knowing things just seems like a form of child neglect–just like we’d frown on you for keeping your kids in a bed that was too small for him or shoes that were too small for her, this seems like keeping your kid in a little mental box that’s too small. And yet that seems to be a regular pastime of folks.

Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows

America, I–the hippie liberal commie lefty no-make-up-wearing, man-hating, lesbian, abortionist, feminist rear-guard–should not be reading things in The American Spectator that make me go “Well, I disagree with this and this, but I think his overall point is probably true.”

But anyway, here’s the thing that George Neumayr says that I sadly grow more and more convinced is spot on:

Since liberalism is not based upon natural justice but willfulness, it never fails to devour its supposed beneficiaries. Ferraro’s condescension captures the tone of paternalistic liberalism perfectly. Its “victims” should know their place and plot their ascent according to the progressive charts set up by the white liberal establishment.

We’ll let you know, Barack, when it is your time to win — that’s been the tacit theme of the Clinton campaign all along. Such is the generosity of Lady Bountiful she’ll even let him serve as her apprentice in the VP chair for eight years.

But chaos has erupted and the plantation progressives don’t know what to do, except to blurt out pent-up racial resentments. Then, the victims, whom they spent the last few decades training in hair-trigger racial sensitivity, turn on them in righteous fury, detecting nuances of racism in everything from Andrew Cuomo’s description of Obama’s press conferences as “shuck and jive” events to Bill Clinton’s belittling Jesse Jackson comparison to Ferraro’s sniffing at his “luck.”

Ignore the fact that Neumayr talks about “natural justice” and “willfulness” like being willful is a bad thing and waiting around for nature to take its course is a good thing.  And overlook for a second his stupid assumption that, if not for white people teaching them, non-white people wouldn’t be so racially sensitive.  I know those are big hurdles.

But answer me this: doesn’t it seem as if the outrage among Clinton supporters is rooted in this kind of blind outrage that Obama is overstepping?  That he’s taking a spot that Clinton deserves, not because of her qualifications, but because it’s her turn?

Because, let’s be frank.  If this turns into a contest about who is the most “qualified,” we’ve got a young U.S. senator who wrote a couple of good books and served in his state legislature vs. a U.S. senator with a couple of terms under her belt who was married to a dude.  Being married to a dude is not a qualification.

Listen, we have to take a moment and discuss this for a second.

It used to be that, if you wanted to be a Methodist minister (even though there have been women preachers in the Methodist tradition since its inception, I’m talking about what happened in general), you married a Methodist minister and you served, for free or for very little pay, in some mixture of Sunday School Teacher, Youth Group Leader, Secretary, Choir Director, and Organist.

Did the minister’s wife have a lot of power in the church?

Yes.

Did the minister’s wife have a lot of responsibility in the church?

Yes.

Did the minister’s wife often feel called to be a minister?

Yes.

Was the minister’s wife a minister?

No.

Even now, if a woman married a man right after college and was his spouse while he was in seminary and went through ordination and served with him in every church he served in, if she wanted to be a minister, could she just skip the whole seminary and ordination stuff?

No.

Which was why it was always a bullshit move to funnel called qualified women out of seminaries and into parsonages as spouses.

At some point in the Clinton household, they decided to put their resources behind Bill and the two of them worked together for Bill’s success.  Does Hillary have a shit-ton of experience? Yes.  Does she intimately know more about being President than most folks?  Yes.

But it’s that same situation that pastors’ wives faced.  No matter how much you do, no matter how much your work benefits the church and is pastoral in nature, you are not the pastor.

In the same way that I, who spent almost every day of my life between birth and graduation from high school in church at least for a few minutes, who sat in the nursery and ran the youth group and read the Bible and discussed theology, am not a pastor (even though I joke that I have spent longer in Methodist parsonages than most ministers).

Yes, it sucks that women do work, hard work, for which we receive very little credit, in the furtherance of our husbands’ careers.  That’s why we have feminism.

But it is not good enough to suggest that the feminist thing is for women to continue to do work, hard work, for which we receive full credit, in furtherance of our husbands’ careers.

Women should do our own work in furtherance of our own careers or we should accept that we do not actually have our husbands’ careers and that the work we are doing, though important, is not the same as the work our husbands are doing.

But the thing is, I think this is another generational divide (speaking in broad terms) between feminists.  For older feminists, especially older middle and upper class white feminists, they could secure a lot of personal power and personal fulfillment working to further their husbands’ careers.  It was a way into various careers that otherwise shut women out.

But could you even imagine a woman my age or younger thinking “Hmm, I’m really interested in politics.  I think I’ll marry a politician.”?  “Hmm.  I really feel called to minister to others.  I think I’ll marry a pastor.”?  “I bet I could run a multi-million dollar corporation. I’ll marry someone with an MBA from Harvard.”?  “I find the law fascinating.  I should marry a lawyer.”?

It’s ludicrous on its face.

And for that, for sure, we have second-wave feminists to thank.

We don’t have to settle for being the wife of a doctor or a lawyer or a politician or whomever and working really hard to make sure they succeed.  We can imagine ourselves being those things ourselves.

But sometimes, sitting here at this end of the paradigm shift, it’s like watching a bunch of women who do not recognize the house they built for us.  They’re wandering around, marveling at how much laundry they’ll be able to do in the mudroom right off the kitchen and we’re all like “Wow, look, we can totally stick a fireplace here in the living room and I’m going to put some shelves in this room and make it into a library and I can make this room my office and, hey, look at this awesome deck we’re putting up out back here… No, that’s a window.  You put the door over here. Those are the stairs you built.  Yeah, remember, back in the sixties, when you wanted to make it easier for us to sneak lovers in here?  No, really, you did that.”

You made this place for us.  And we’re inhabiting it.  And, frankly, it’s hard to understand why you’re not inhabiting it, too.  But damn if we don’t see the likes of Ferraro, Jong, and Steinem out there pouting on the porch because they wanted us all to meet in the kitchen so that we could make a cake for Clinton and some of us were like “Um, we’re in the kitchen fixing lunch, so y’all cannot be in here, right now, too” and some of us were like “Why don’t we just buy Clinton a cake?” and some of us were busy getting our shoes on so that we could go over to Barak’s house.

I don’t know.  Maybe I’ve gotten off track.  But I read that, about how certain segments on the liberal side of things want to set the agenda for others and it rings true to me.  It feels like the truth.

And I’m really bothered by that.

I’d Like to Report a Potential Crime

So, this nonsense has passed the State Senate.

Of course, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if we struck all the non-English out of the bill. Curious?

Here’s the bill:

SENATE BILL 2849

By Johnson

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4 and Title 50, to enact the “Protecting English in the Tennessee Workplace Act.”

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE:

SECTION 1. This act shall be known, and may be cited as, the “Protecting English in the Tennessee Workplace Act”.

SECTION 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 4-21-401, is amended by adding at the end the following as a new subsection:

(c)

(1) Notwithstanding this chapter or title 50, it shall not be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to require an employee to speak, or an applicant for employment to agree to speak, English while engaged in work.

(2)

(A) An individual shall not be considered to be engaged in work under subdivision (c)(1) during a bona fide meal period, a rest period, or any other break, during which the individual is not required to perform any duties.

(B) In this subdivision (c)(2), the term “bona fide meal period” means such period, and the term “rest period” means such period, within the meaning of sections 785.19 of title 29, Code of Federal Regulations, or any corresponding similar regulation or ruling.

SECTION 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2008, the public welfare requiring it.

So, I guess that this means that, should this legislation pass, we’ll have a ton of job openings for etymologists who can monitor what everyone in a workplace that chooses to adopt this says and…

…What?  Call the police if anyone uses non-English?  Demand that said person be fired?

I don’t know, but it’d be worth finding out.  What, exactly, are folks using as the definition of “English” in this English Only bill?  What would be the penalty for disagreeing? And who do we call for a ruling about what constitutes “English” enough?