All Clear!

We just got back from the vet (and dinner) and Mrs. Wigglebottom is now free to move around however she wants.

Also, the Chicago-style Gyro place on Dickerson pike has this dish called chicke and rice and bread which is… yes… and it is so good.  Oh god.  My stomach is so happy.

Squabbling Over Crumbs of the Patriarchy!

I was slipped these two stories, which are two different takes on an incident over in Blount County (local and FoxNews).  And I bring it up because it’s one of those stories that gets more interesting when you take a second to consider it.

The short form (from Fox):

Sabrina Steele, 28, says that when she applied for work at Pope’s Plant Farm in Greenback, Tenn., a man she believed to be the farm’s owner discouraged her from taking the job so that he could hire foreign workers instead.

Critics say the case demonstrates that changes to the government’s H-2A foreign worker program will make it harder for Americans to find work.

In other words, those damn brown people took jobs American workers were willing to do, and doesn’t that suck?  Blah, blah, blah.

But what’s interesting is that what this case makes clear–foreign workers are not “stealing” jobs from Americans.  No Hispanic guy butted in line ahead of her and took the last job.  The guy, the American guy, who runs the place made a conscious decision to hire non-citizens to work for him over citizens.

I don’t know the specifics in this case, but in general, I know that people prefer to hire non-English-speaking Hispanics because they believe that they work harder than U.S. workers and are more reliable.  It’s also obvious that they believe that non-citizens are willing to work under circumstances citizens won’t because the non-citizens not only fear losing their incomes (which often support families and communities back home), but also a fear of being sent out of the country and having to find means, legal or not, of getting back here.  Having Spanish speaking workers in predominantly non-Spanish speaking communities makes those workers even more dependent on you and makes it harder for them to complain about you, should you mistreat them.  It also serves to keep the community from being too concerned about their treatment, because they don’t have people and there’s a communication barrier.

In other words, the boss’s success in business is precipitated by his ability to keep his workforce compliant and isolated and that compliance and isolation is made possible by his exploitation of the workers’ circumstances and the community’s prejudices.

In other words, he sets both groups against each other and he stays above the fray.

And as long as most folks believe that the “guest workers” are here doing jobs Americans don’t want, there’s no problem (for the boss).

But what happens when there’s a challenge to that?  When some American does desperately want the job the Bossman has said no Americans want?  What strategy can he use to dissuade that American from taking said job after appeals to her “fear” of these non-English speakers (“When she went to the farm to apply, Steele said, Mike Pope offered her a job, but he told her she’d be working 80 hours a week and would be the only English-speaking American employee besides the office workers.”)?

Again, from FoxNews:

She said Pope told her she would be outnumbered by men 20-to-1, and that she should consult with her husband before taking the job.

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha.

I like to throw out the term “patriarchy” just because I know it makes some of you bristle, but in order to understand what’s going on here, I do think we need to take a second with Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and her term kyriarchy (which I first heard about from Lisa over at My Ecdysis and find it so damn useful for seeing what’s happening in cases like this):

I coined the neologism kyriarchy, derived from the Greek words for “lord” or “master” (kyrios) and “to rule or dominate” (archein), in order to redefine the analytic category of patriarchy in terms of multiplicative intersecting structures of domination. Kyriarchy is a socio-political system of domination in which elite educated propertied men hold power over wo/men and other men. Kyriarchy is best theorized as a complex pyramidal system of intersecting multiplicative social structures of supremacy and subordination, of ruling and oppression. Kyriocentrism is a name for the linguistic-cultural-religious-ideological systems and intersecting discourses of race, gender, heterosexuality, class, imperialism, and other dehumanizing discourses that legitimate, inculcate, and sustain kyriarchy i.e. multiplicative structures of domination.

In other words, what I believe Schüssler Fiorenza is saying is that the way we screw each other over (or dominate each other) is not static.  In any given circumstance, for instance, the man is not always going to be the oppressor and the woman the oppressed.  It’s fluid.  The white woman might, in one circumstance, dominate the black man in her employ.  That black man might dominate the black woman he’s married to, who, for kicks, beats up the white woman because she’s a lesbian.  See, everything’s in flux; who’s able to fuck over whom depends on the circumstance.  (and the problem, I might point out, is the whole fucking-each-other-over-ness).

Now what’s going on with Pope (and oh my god, you’ve got to love that name under these circumstances) who happens to be the mister who rules the land Steele wanted to work on becomes clear.  His goal is to hold and maintain his power, over the men who work for him, and, to some extent, over Steele.  And look at the way he invokes all these “structures of supremacy and subordination” to turn Steele down.  He’s appealing to her as an American–of course she, as an American who is above these non-Americans, would not want to stoop to work with them.  He’s appealing to her as an American–she’s so lazy that she is beneath these hard working non-citizens.  Those two things together make no sense on the surface–how can she be both better and worse than her competition?–but when viewed as him just trying to figure out which structure of domination is going to work, which bullshit key slides into the slot that makes her understand that HE IS NOT GOING TO GIVE HER THE JOB BECAUSE HE IS IN CHARGE, it starts to make sense.

Neither of these things work so he moves onto “oh, but you’d be the only woman” and “shouldn’t you discuss it with your husband”?  And follows it all up with “I can make you work so many hours that you wouldn’t want the job.”  But it all boils down to I AM IN CHARGE AND YOU CANNOT WIN WITH ME.  He can give her a menu of reasons why and she can pick the one that lets her slip into believing that she is better or worse than the people who already have the jobs.  But really, it has nothing to do with them.

It has to do with him and his methods for holding onto his power.

Tennessee: Protecting You from Lying Bitches

There’s a whole swath of legislation this year designed to prortect you from lying bitches, but the best is Representative Hardaway’s return effort to require genetic testing (which you would pay for) before a father is placed on a child’s birth certificate (HB0025).

Oh, I know, many of you think this is a great idea.  Why shouldn’t a man know up-front if a kid is his before he expends all that time, love, energy, and money on it.

But I have read the bill and slept on it and there are still many, many unanswered questions I have, and I’m not even a dude.

1.  We are aware that genetic testing isn’t like on CSI.  There’s no cute labworker in the hospital who will take the results and whoop you up an answer in an afternoon.  We all know this, right?  That stuff will have to be sent away for processing.  Is it okay that the birth certificate of a person is not completed for weeks or months after it’s born?

2.  This test is going to establish a legal relationship between that man and that child.  So, are we making provisions to store the results of those tests?

3.  And more importantly, who will have access to them?

4.  Just think on that some.  The implication of Hardaway’s bill here is that somewhere there’s going to be a massive database of the DNA of every man who fathers a child that is born from 2010 on and every child born here from 2010 on.  It has to happen.  A legal relationship has been developed because of those tests.  The state would be stupid to not keep those tests to assure that no fraud has occured.  So, now the state has a huge DNA database.  You’re really going to tell me that you trust Tennessee to keep its nose out of that database?

5.  Will your DNA be considered medical information–since it shows genetic predispositions to various disorders and illnesses–and thus covered by HIPAA or will it be considered a public record, like someone’s fingerprints, which are kept on file and available to whoever wants to sort through them?

6.  Even without your name attached to it, your genetic information has monitary value.  Researchers of all stripes would love to have a wide random sample of a population to look at.  And our state is strapped for cash.  Who owns your genetic sequence?  If not you, could the State sell access to it to raise funds?

7.  What happens if the test is wrong?  The bill says a lot about who pays for the test, but it doesn’t say anything about where the test gets done or who’s responsible for making it happen.  Will it be someone from the hospital?  Random nurse is now going to be making legal determinations about your obligations to another person?  Someone from the health department?  And what lab(s) are going to process this information?  Ones chosen by the patients?  Ones chosen by the hospital?  OR ones determined by the state?  Which brings us back to my original question.  What if the test is wrong.  Say the father really was the dude’s brother and the test not thorough enough to catch it.  Say the lab is sloppy.  We’ve now set the precident that the person whose DNA is a match is responsible for the baby; what if we’re wrong?  Can the dude sue the state?

I don’t know.  I’m tempted to say, “Ha ha.” but some part of me really is curious as to how this is going to work and how it’s not going to be open to rampant corruption.