Sunday, December 20, 2015

College Student Protestors: Am I Just Getting Old or Is This Indeed a Conspiracy to Return to Segregation and Eliminate Free Speech?

I saw this article a few days ago about these people's "demands" to others on racial matters. One of these demands is telling white women not to speak on the subject, quite a few were imposing mandatory "cultural sensitivity" training and so forth. I also read something in Slate.com not long ago regarding people's wanting "safe spaces" i.e. spaces where only minorities of a particular race could be & didn't have to worry about people from other groups.

I actually posted that one on the "safe space" on my Facebook friends and asked my friends of varied backgrounds (particularly my black friends) what they made of this. I wondered if they also thought the concept of a "safe space" sounded an awful lot like segregation, which black people fought to get rid of back in the '60s. As I don't associate with ignorant morons who try to clothe themselves as "liberals," other friends indeed felt that sounded messed up.

A friend also tells me about some student at Cornell who was "emotionally traumatized" at having to read literature by white people in a required course like there's no library at a college or some black studies course she could take to supplement her learning. Some media outlet apparently picked up that story, which I haven't the faintest idea why.

Then I read the above article & as an attorney, member of the most minority of any minority group out there (and you don't hear natural redheads calling for "safe spaces" from the rest of you fuckers) and a rational thinking human being I'm immediately struck by a few things:

1. These protestors would be the shittiest attorneys in the world.
2. These protestors assume that employers never do research on them on social media.
3. These protestors are ignorant of basic history on their own race.
4. These protestors really don't want to go anywhere in life.
5. These protestors have been given zero basic survival skills & are a failure in parenting.

Here is a basic & simple truth; the real world doesn't have "safe spaces." If you want a true "safe space," you'll have to be six feet under. Even if you decide to take on a reclusive existence as a mountain (wo)man, you're going to have to get bullets for your gun sometime, see the grocery delivery people or go to the general store. Unless maybe you go to a completely deserted island devoid of all people, you're a damn survival expert & you'll always have enough food, good weather for it to replenish and no bigger wild animals to eat you or your potential food supply you're going to have to deal with other people. Those people won't always be YOUR race, age, demographic & might not agree with your point of view on all aspects of life. Are you going to demand the gun shop owner to "check [their] privilege?!" Are you going to tell wild animals "This is my safe space & you can't be here?!" Being dead is the only way you'll get a "safe space," kids. Don't you think you deserve a little more time on the earth than dying in your early 20s or sooner? I'm sure my late BIL would have liked more time than that, maybe seen his son grow up & learn to talk and all. My sister certainly would have & I know his family would have. This is the same general rationale why it's not a good idea to spend all your education and time away from minorities, (wo)men, people of other ages and life situations. That distance is unrealistic & when you encounter someone different from who you're used to, it just causes major problems.

Could you imagine what some employer would say to a protestor telling them to "check [their] privilege?" or saying they needed a safe space? If it were my company, I'd never hire that "I'm a special snowflake more worthy of rights than YOU & everyone else who works here" troublemaker. Some of these "demands" are for special privileges not based on anyone's talent or aptitude but just b/c of a minority status. If we were doing hiring and promotions and such based on who's most minority I think natural redheads & those from mixed races including naturally red hair would be Emperor/Grand Master/CEO over everyone else regardless of how competent they were since they'd win rarity arguments in 2 seconds (especially if you didn't look like the typical natural redhead since you'd have gotten far more hassle than anyone else in growing up and living life--those people would get to be President of the US without the voting process or lobbying if that's how the world worked).

A pro tip: the key to getting people to be on your side is to listen to what they say & frame your argument in a way that's going to make them listen/consider your words. Do these idiots think alienating their allies or demanding people to do things they've never expressed an interest in doing i.e. bullying them to do what they want is going to make them their advocates? Hell to the NO!!!! That's the polar opposite of getting anyone to take your side in an argument or consider the problem you're bringing up.

Your typical, rational adult does NOT like being bullied or infantilized. They also don't like you shitting on their efforts to help you. If you don't think it's helpful, here's a novel concept: have a private conversation with the person/entity, explain your point in a cool, rational way and then steer them in ways where their efforts will be more "helpful" to you. Express your deep appreciation for them caring enough to put in any effort at all & don't list this as a public demand picked up by the news media.

What I heard in reading that is "We shit on the efforts of white women & belittle their experiences in this society." I also heard serious paternalism & sexism in there. My response would be "Fuck you & the horse you rode in on. Your 'movement' can crash & burn for all I care and (if you're dealing with an angry enough feminist) I'll make it my mission to knock you down every single chance I get." You think it's fucking peachy to be in that category? You ever try talking to poor, white women & educating yourself on that vantage point? If you haven't, I suggest you check YOUR privilege & shut your mouth since your brain is in dire need of more oxygen.

I learned how to do this listening to other people & appropriately create arguments back in elementary school when we covered persuasive writing. I also took a high school and college class on the subject & had it been available to me, would have been on a debate team since I love doing it. People have outright said to me that I was an attorney long before I ever got the licenses; my history of standing up to BS in life certainly supports this.

The way these people have "demands" tells me they would bomb out of law school long before 1L Fall exams came around. What arguments have they presented to prove their points? Would they tell some law professor to "check [their] privilege?" The law professor would tell you to get out of the class; they don't take mess in law school. They don't coddle special snowflakes who think their shit doesn't stink just like everyone else's & you'll lose that ego real quick in the first year.

Also, if you're going to own your own business the key to getting customers for your product is not being a complete jackhole. Even if you have the best product out there, no one's going to buy it with no publicity (and you've likely alienated any PR person who might have helped you by telling him/her to "check [their] privilege") & you being an ass to customers or giving them the impression that you're a jackhole based on your publicly covered events such as claiming trauma from something students have experienced since the college system existed back in the 1700s/1800s. No one's stopping you from educating yourself but it sounds like you're too damn lazy and entitled to bother with self-learning or see value in it. Customers can be as demanding and exacting as potential employers & unless you've got a product that's VERY popular among a niche that never, ever changes you're going to have to be nice to people who aren't just like you. Imagine a restaurant or bar owner that refused to serve minorities or women or even one legged weasels born under the right side of a watermelon. Maybe not enough to trigger a civil rights violation but enough hostility to stay just above the law. That's how you get a business to fail b/c you are injecting your personal politics into your work & the general attitude will alienate others from your business. Others in the world have friends of all stripes as well as family members who may not look like them. I'm sure they'd not like some business owner who treats their friends and family members like garbage and would refuse to patronize it, no matter how good the food or d├ęcor.

Finally, I consider not alienating people a basic survival skill. It's the skill you need to get along in the world, have friendships and so forth. This isn't "don't have an opinion or express a viewpoint" but expressing that opinion and viewpoint in a respectful fashion. No calling your detractors names or making character attacks against them (like declaring them racist for not going along with you) but sticking to objective facts, pointing out logical flaws in their thinking and the like. Bully, coerce and emotionally abuse at your own peril. That just makes people angry, focus hatred on you & do everything to shut you down. At least, that is what a person like myself would totally do to you.

Let's just say that in spite of where I'm at in life, I don't forgive or forget. There's no way you can forget or forgive someone like my ex-husband for his behavior. You can't forgive or forget about someone who molested you or your child either & I'd find it insane to try shaming people in those circumstances to do either of those. The best I can take away from that is advising others in similar circumstances or sharing that story so maybe they won't make the same mistakes or do some of the things I experienced to someone else.

The friend who shared the article about the "traumatized" student over the reading material advanced an interesting theory: that the media and press are covering these whiny little brats to erode free speech rights and set progress back. Logic going "Hey, they ASKED for segregation so let's give it to them!" When you dissect it & know that the mainstream media in the US is far from impartial, that makes a lot of sense. In the world I know of & that I think the majority of my generation and up know of, those kids would have been shut down in 3 seconds. No administrators would be taking them seriously & no news organizations would have allowed these nutjobs to censor their coverage or editorial voice. They'd have said "Go study or we'll expel you."

I'm very curious what these people's parents have to say. I'd be embarrassed & furious that my kid wasted the money on tuition, where the parent likely had to take on loans or pay out of pocket, to waste their time ruining their future job prospects & likely letting their grades slip to be professional protestors and not even doing a very good job at it. As an attorney, if I had a kid like that I'd be appalled that my kid hadn't learned the basic rule of argument or how to rally diverse hearts and minds to their cause; it'd be utterly embarrassing. Reading all this, you kind of wonder where those hardliner parents constantly commenting on stories regarding the student loan crisis are. The ones that say "My kid is going to XYZ local school & they'll work their butt off at it since I'm not supporting him/her after graduation or letting him/her leech off me while doing nothing." Some of them are also the ones who demand their kids take particular majors/fields of study and make the best grades possible or else. It'd be interesting to hear what these protestors' parents have to say about this stuff or what they said to their kids after they were in the national media on stuff like this.

My parents would likely have supported me in my endeavors but I also knew what types of causes were or weren't worth it for me to take on, didn't slack in my studies, didn't make "demands" for things or alienate potential allies. I also didn't advocate for a rolling back of basic human rights like free speech and freedom of association. Nor did I bitch about school curriculums where no one was stopping me from doing my own reading of what I wanted or taking classes I wanted to take. People have never liked their mandatory classes most anyplace so I can't have sympathy for that kind of fight.

But seriously, the "it's an attempt to roll back rights" theory does have some teeth if you ask me. I also don't think I'm quite THAT old to notice history and recognize institutions like segregation when I hear about them.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Police & "Black Lives Matter": My Take on the Whole Sordid Subject

Some personal experiences in my new life have made me really think about & reflect on this with a critical eye. First, some history for those who aren't aware of it (which I imagine is a great many readers).

My personal, general experiences with the police have been positive if you can believe it. My uncle (who my mother wasn't too crazy about & who apparently didn't treat my aunt as well as he should have) was a cop and my father had a very bad experience with the local police literally a day after my brother in law's funeral in 2003. For those who haven't heard this one, here goes:

My father was an alcoholic. As in, he'd had enough DWIs to lose his driver's license (including his CDL license, ending his career as a truck driver), been to rehab for his addiction, did some time in jail, was on house arrest when I was in 6th grade complete with device on his ankle and had been required to put in an interlock device in his car in order to drive again after all this DUI/DWI stuff. In 2003, my sister's first husband died suddenly at the age of 21. This was 6 months after he & my sister had gotten married and 3 weeks after my oldest nephew was born. The day after my brother in law's funeral when I was on my way back to Atlanta to go home & prepare for work the next week, my father gets pulled over by the local police. They ask where the interlock device in the car is when he'd been free of that obligation long before this incident. Based on his having red eyes, they claimed he was drunk and the car was immediately towed far away and a whole court proceeding started where my mother had to retain a lawyer to defend my father.

Now my mother has been in denial on a few things about my father but she outright told us more than once that she would never allow my father to get on the road drunk after these DUIs. She told him "If you get behind the wheel drunk, I will call the police & have you arrested for it." She was very strict about this. She also never pretended the man was sober when he was drunk so if she said he'd not been drinking, I was inclined to believe her. She told me he had not been drinking.

At hearing this, I felt the local police was trying to bully a grieving family & make things worse. My family definitely didn't have money for all this & sure didn't need to go through all that after losing their son in law. Keep in mind that my sister and her husband were living under the same roof as my parents so they saw each other on a daily basis. It wasn't like my relationship with my brother in law, where I only saw him if I visited my family. Maybe I'm the only one who saw his getting arrested for this as a logic fail. I heard about this assumption he was drunk based on his having red eyes & said "We just buried my brother in law yesterday; we've been crying for days. OF COURSE the man's eyes were red!"

Now that is an example of terrible policing considering after my mom got that lawyer, he obtained the records proving our claims and my father eventually went free. Think about how many people can't get legal counsel? My mother contacted the DMV concerning my father's license (the police claimed at the time he was pulled over it was suspended when it reality, it was not). They completely ignored her while they finally gave the records showing that the police were wrong to their attorney.

I guess one upside is that my parents might have respected my profession a little bit before I actually started on the path to become an attorney myself. So many people don't have respect for attorneys or that job & plenty of attorneys don't exactly make people sympathetic to them or their needs by being the assholes everyone claims they are.

That brings me to an observation about the "Black Lives Matter" movement and police brutality against black people. If you are going to have ANY type of cause at all, it helps if you aren't living down to negative stereotypes about your group. If you want people to care about black lives, it might help if a particular classification of black people didn't behave in a stereotypical, "ghetto" fashion such as getting nasty with law enforcement, being uncooperative, refusing to act in a civilized manner, etc. I've not seen people championing this movement also saying "there are good cops out there & maybe you shouldn't start off assuming all of them are racist without speaking to them first." These people wouldn't like others meeting them and presuming they were racist without ever talking to them & seeing how they behaved toward them.

I've also yet to see many in this movement calling out the people behaving like ghetto trash (recall that ghetto trash is not limited to a racial group; I've seen plenty of white people behaving like ghetto trash as well & I'm sure there are people in other ethnic groups behaving the same way but it wasn't my experience). Unlike individual black friends of mine who have done plenty of overt attacking & condemning of ghetto behavior in their own ranks, I've not see the "Black Lives Matter" crowd doing this. Personally, I think it's a polarizing and alienating movement much the same as the concept of "safe spaces." I'm in agreement with "ALL Lives Matter."

Bad cops are bad cops and a problem to EVERYONE, not just one group no matter how great the impact is on that group. Separation of things in 2015 is absurd to me since we no longer have state sanctioned segregation or outright rules that a particular group can't participate in things. You are not going to win me or anyone else to your cause by uttering phrases like "check your privilege" or claiming you need "safe spaces." No, you're just a whiny little brat who can't hack it in real life where people are (gasp!) DIFFERENT from you and don't agree with everything you say and might have an opinion you don't agree with. Instead of being a civilized, mature human being who listens to see if maybe the person with an opposing view may have some valid points and is willing to agree to disagree if there are no valid points in that argument, these folks would rather have the world cater to their PC nonsense & demand superior rights over everyone else. No and NO!!!

Saying "Black Lives Matter" implies that black lives are superior to everyone else's & that is dead wrong. No one's right to exist is superior to someone else's on the basis of race, gender, age, nationality and so forth. I think that is what is turning people off to that movement; the implication that one group has more rights than someone else. Racism isn't cool no matter who's being discriminated against.

I've met some good cops, cops who used their heads and weren't a bunch of hotheads with zero critical thinking skills. Cops who did actual stuff you want the police to do like break up bar fights, listen when you speak about harassment situations, find out if you're okay if your car is stuck on the side of the road, deal with panhandlers on the subway, tell you when your ex-husband is moving from the apartment you found and lived in for the duration of your marriage, that kind of thing.

No one's mentioned the police harming peaceful protesters in the course of this brutality movement & those were white people as well as people of color. How about we deal with the bigger problems rather than make a blanket statement that ALL police officers are racist and ALL black people are innocent angels in all circumstances? How about we look at the class issues? Yeah, you shocked there are poor white people in the world? Go live out in the real world & talk to people. Look into the numbers on who seeks welfare. I was most certainly not the only white person seeking public assistance or going to the job center earlier this year.

How about this movement deal with the issue of ghetto trash living down to negative stereotypes that drag down all black people? I've definitely addressed ghetto trash living down to stereotypes that diminish and harm me or my family as lower income & would call that out in a second if I saw it in my backyard. Where are these advocates in those situations? I've also addressed the behavior of women that drags me down as a woman such as claiming sexual harassment b/c a guy complimented your dress. These harridans make ALL women look like oversensitive crybabies & I sure wouldn't want them working in my industry. How about addressing the climate where bad cops are being protected akin to the Catholic Church protecting pedophile priests by moving them from place to place instead of defrocking them?

You'll note I definitely address the assholery of the legal profession. I don't spend my time with assholes, wouldn't pee on them if they were on fire, will publicly admonish those who are offending my sensibilities/pissing me off with their nasty behavior, and certainly warning non-attorney colleagues, friends and associates about particular ones so they don't end up having to deal with that behavior. I even recall addressing this in scam blogs and other places where people whined about how no one cares about the problems of attorneys & that job market. It's like "People might give a damn if you weren't a bunch of flaming assholes to everyone & weren't condoning that behavior in others." I can see that same principle applying to the "Black Lives Matter" movement.

That movement could make impact and effect change for the better but it's going about it in a very piss poor manner by having this air of entitlement & refusing to address the very valid issues I've mentioned here. It's also not helping its case by demonizing all law enforcement. As I mentioned, my own father was unjustly arrested and hassled by the police. He didn't try attacking anyone physically or doing things that surely would have gotten him tazed or on the business end of a choke-hold. If he had, I would have addressed that fact and realized "Hey, maybe we should encourage people to act differently & then see what happens. Maybe we should save our rage for when it's justified like shooting someone unarmed who's being cooperative, polite, etc." That Southern politeness ethic can help you sometimes & if someone harms you while you're doing that, then the person who harmed you isn't going to get sympathy from most rational people. Polite doesn't mean subservient, friends.

Honestly, I think there's a major class issue in this country & it's intertwined with race in a way that seems to make most people think it's all about race when there's also the class component and the poverty mentality you have to deal with. Class isn't something strictly defined by race or we'd never have rich black people or poor white people.

I applaud my friends for calling out bullshit when they see it. That's probably a big reason they're friends with me. As for the "safe space" thing, I was delighted when black friends of mine also felt it sounded like self-imposed segregation and a step backwards. I think integration overall is a good thing since we'd have lost great perspectives and minds if we limited ourselves to only listening to white people on things. There are people of color just as there are people who don't come from money who are intelligent, classy, respectful and aren't walking around with a poverty mentality or a victim mindset. They can spot bullshit & have some backbone to call folk out on it. I know my school years as a natural redhead would have been worse with all white kids since almost none are natural redheads & I got along much better with other minorities since they understood how it felt to be different and not always treated well b/c of it. I also think my general life perspective is better because of not living in White Land & for having had exposure to people with different life backgrounds and experience whether that was class, race, religion, gender, whatever. Any good writer sees the value of getting someone else's perspectives & trying to understand how they see the world. A smart person wants to encounter as many different perspectives as possible & truly think on those to be a well rounded, full human being. It certainly helps if you want to be a good political leader or perform other leadership roles competently.

I'm not sure what the real solution is. If I were running things, there'd be no affirmative action since everything would be done in a blind manner & only the most talented would get things irrelevant to race or gender or any other nonsense. Education would be targeted to people's actual aptitude, not economic or racial prejudice. I'd also just get rid of the racists in the workplace since I think much like religion, racism is something that you might practice in private but we don't need to be seeing or hearing about & that you certainly don't get to use to not do your job, harass others, and so forth. People don't like being recruited for religious movements at work or seeing that either so why not the same principle for racists? As I commented before, working racists aren't racists lobbying government officials to roll back equal rights protections or participating in protests against civil rights for groups they don't like; they're too busy working.