Wednesday, June 8, 2016

It's NOT My Fault

Imagine if someone you didn't know - or maybe that you did know - walked up to you and said, "It's because of your kind that I've been repressed all my life, and me and my kind are going to turn the tables and make you suffer for what you did."  How would you feel about that?  Unless you were truly some kind of psychopathic lunatic, it's not likely you were really responsible for this.  You'd say, "Huh?  It's not my fault!"

I reached the upper limits of my patience today when one of my facebook "friends" and an unrelated Atheist celebrity both made yet another declaration of oppression and atrocities against women perpetrated by the white, male patriarchy.  They didn't say it quite that way, but I like calling it as I read it.  I've had women declare these things in front of me, and then say, "Oh, but we know you're not like that."  Seriously?  You just blamed an entire gender of people for everything that ever went wrong in your life, and you expect me to feel better because you exempted me from that group?

It's past time for me to make my own rant.  Listen carefully.

I was born a white, male in the United States of America.  I don't oppress women.  I don't discriminate against people of other races.  Do I laugh at some of the stereotypical comments made, some even a bit off-color?  Sure.  Just like you holier-than-thou, politically-correct, social justice "warriors" take every opportunity to make fun of nerdy, geeky people whenever you get a chance.  There are times when I'm just a bit peeved at the comments tossed-about with an utter lack of consideration, but in most cases I interpret it for what it is - a joke at the expense of the stereotype.  No harm, no foul.  Humor can diffuse some very tense situations at times.

I was not born "privileged."  At least no more privileged than anyone else born in this country.  The only privilege I can say I have is that my parents, who didn't come from privilege either, gave a damn about me and raised me with a good set of core values and to be considerate of others.  I can't say I've been a perfect specimen of a person, but I do make an effort to uphold those values.  This is more than I can say for some people I encounter in my everyday life.

When women of the "new feminist" movement and the perpetrators of the "black lives matter" movement decide to round-up everyone of my gender and/or race and group us all into one class of people, saying that we have and continue to oppress, objectify, or harm them, I take great offense to that.  I didn't do anything to you.  In point of fact, generally speaking, I would tend to be (and have been) one of the first to stand-up against someone who would act in that manner.  The only thing you have accomplished by lumping me in with the people you don't like is to sour my otherwise positive attitude toward you and cause me to dismiss anything you stand for, even if it may be legitimate.

These activist groups take statistics, pervert them to support their point of view, and shove them down everyone's throat.  I agree that there was once a time when attitudes toward women and people of color were downright poor, but those attitudes have long since become socially disgraceful.  Yes, there are still instances of injustice and discrimination, but these are individual issues and should be addressed as such.  In no way is it a systemic problem, in spite of the perverted statistical results.

I get invitations from meetup.com constantly for technology-oriented meetups that are only open to women.  Obviously, not being one, I am not welcome.  If I were to make a men-only technology meetup, the poop would hit the proverbial fan.  I've never been at a technical meetup that was not welcoming of women.  I've never been in a grade-school or college computer class where women were not given the exact same opportunities to learn that I did.  The awkward nerdy introvert that I was, I would have been absolutely elated to meet a woman with whom I could share my enthusiasm for computers and electronics technology and who actually knew what I was talking about.  I actually would do so now, as well.  I haven't yet encountered a woman in my travels who has the same passion and competency  that I have about this stuff (that's not to say they're not out there, it's just our paths have not crosssed).  This is not because they didn't have the opportunity to get to that point, but because they're simply not that interested.  I can handle that.  But please don't say it was because I, or all the men in the world, told you that you couldn't do this, because it simply is not true.  That goes for anyone else who says they can't do this stuff.  If you have an aptitude for technology and are willing to learn, you can do it, even without a lot of money or so-called "privilege."

What I'm trying to say is that we truly are all people.  If you really are for equal opportunity and treating everyone with the same respect as the people of your same social, racial, political, economic, intelligence, sexual, or any other classification, then it starts by not being offensive or exclusionary in the same way yourself.  You know something:  ALL lives matter.  We should be just as appalled when a white cop kills a black kid as we do when anyone of any color kills someone else without reasonable justification, or is the perpetrator of any other form of violence.  People of all kinds should be paid according to the work they provide and the value they give the organization, no matter what their gender, skin color, sexual preference, or anything else.  Sometimes a humorous comment is just that, and doesn't imply some form of oppression.  If you think that bashing a whole gender or race of people you claim has oppressed you will bring anything other than conflict and bitterness between groups of people, then you are an ignorant and toxic person.  Your attitude and actions will not improve interpersonal relationships.  You have learned absolutely nothing from history.  You are the problem.  It's most definitely not my fault.

That is all I have to say.

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