yeloson: (Default)
Thinking a lot about this lately, between the racist Islamophobia, militant atheists, and, you know, assassination attempts.

Beliefs can be put on a scale. On one end, there's beliefs that have nearly zero effect on anyone else- like, "What's my favorite color?" They're pretty much harmless beliefs and no one gets into a fuss about them.

Then there's personal beliefs which, also, don't affect others much, really. You know, "I spend a few hours every week playing Ultimate Frisbee" is not much different than "I spend a few hours every week meditating" or "I spend a few hours every week at Church."

Though, this IS where people do start getting into each other's business.

There's a third step, and that's when it affects others- you have proselytizers coming to your door, you have people trying to push City Council to change a law or ordinance, you get socially ostracized...

This IS a place where we need to look at boundaries, and not have people inflicting their beliefs on each other. Of course, this ideal will never be achieved, but this is really the point where we need to focus and negotiate on, on a daily basis to keep a functional society.

The fourth step is when it actively and immediately harms others- shooting doctors, keeping other folks from getting medical treatment, marrying off children to people they don't want to marry, cleansing your nation of "those people"... etc.

That's pretty much the fucked up end of the scale, where human decency has broken down completely.

So, the thing I keep seeing? People keep arguing about the second (or even first) steps, instead of the third. That is, that somehow what people believe is actually harming you more than the actions taken by those beliefs and whether they affect you at all.

From a scientific standpoint- that's magical thinking. From a religious standpoint, that's denying your own faith. Either way, if you're correct, what other people think shouldn't be an issue compared to what they do and how it affects you and society.

And, it's not like any system, including science hasn't taken it to that last step on the scale in the past (Lobotomies to cure hysteria! Science! Tuskegee & Guatamala's syphilis murders experiements! Science!).

The crux of the problem is human rights and respect.

There's also a privilege aspect to it too- the least privileged are fighting to push the situation back from the 4th step, while the most privileged are worried about things on the 1st step... hence why it's really important for women and slaves to always smile- even thought of discontent could upset the system...

The folks most worried about what other people think, rather than what other people DO, aren't worried about protecting their own rights as much as taking away the rights of others.
yeloson: (Magical Feeling)
Wherein I snark, what all is wrong with the Huffington Post & the Uppity Negros AKA ZOMG OBAMA = TIGER WOODS AND ALL BLACK MEN HAVE FALLEN.

I'll just pull some relevant points:

If both men somehow thought they were untouchable, they have been put to right.

First, who said they were untouchable? I don't recall Tiger giving Cassius Clay speeches (god, I don't know golf, who's an arrogant golfer?) or Obama declaring he was the Decider. Oh, wait, that's right, black men don't get compared to other people doing similar activities- they get compared to an assumed status for black men:

How dare you be successful black men?

And now you're "put to right" for being too successful. Don't try that anymore, you hear?

It is tragic when an icon falls. When a black icon stumbles the tragedy seems doubly problematic. Mike Tyson, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jackson were all at the tops of their fields before revelations that made them less palatable as heroes and less of a role model for young black men.

What the hell do these 3 folks have in common, aside from being black and famous?

You have 1) someone with a violent past even before his boxing 2) someone who "dared" to get AIDS, and 3) someone who was already "getting weird" before the child molestation charges? One shouldn't be a role-model to begin, one should still be a role model (or does AIDs make you untouchable and worthy of stoning? How progressive.) and the third was well on his way out of being anyone's role model with a Neverland and Bubbles the Monkey.

I guess Famous Black Men is enough of a common thread, right? I'll keep that in mind when I talk about white women: Sinead O'Connor, Barbara Bush, and Tonya Harding are clearly in the same category.

The expectations of real change that had people in tears a little over a year have been so thoroughly dashed that too many of his supporters feel betrayed by their naiveté; they feel, as I do, almost foolish for believing that the status quo could really be kicked out the door....

You hear that Obama? We gave you ONE YEAR. ONE (not quite) WHOLE YEAR to fix the problems of Reaganomics, "Iraq The Prequel" Bush Sr., Bill "Trade & Deregulate" Clinton, and "Fuck yo' Constitution" Bush Jr.

How DARE you not have overturned the death grip of big Pharma on the rest of our legislators!

Having worked for weeks and months for Obama, having written glowingly about his oratory skills and his ability to gather even the disenfranchised together, as well as capture that ephemeral youth vote, I stood at rallies and allowed myself that enormous surge of hope that connected me with the rest of the country.

See Obama, You Owe Her Personally. She said Good Things About Black People (TM). Do you not feel her White Woman's Burden? She was merely trying to UPLIFT you and this is how you repay her?

Both men are of mixed race. Yet the majority of the country, including black Americans, sees them as black. That's not a bad thing. Except when such men of intelligence and talent, men who have such influence and power, can't help but succumb to the age old twins of greed and power.

They are mixed. But they are black. And Black people succumbing to greed and power is WORSE than when white people succumb to greed and power. Or something.

Because, pro-golfers are full of power? And presidents' not overturning almost 3 decades of status quo are simply greedy?

Oh wait, here we go:

Woods income is as tied to endorsements as it is to his talent. And Obama is so caught up in party donations and the power that those who donate have, he can't allow himself or his party to do anything to thwart those donations. If Woods had been smart he would have kept his head down, played golf and taken care of his beautiful family instead of publicly destroying them. If Obama had enacted campaign reform as the first order of business real change could well have happened.

Yes, because endorsements cause you to sleep with people! And Good Black People keep their head down and don't have Normal (white) Human Flaws.

And you publicly destroyed your family by putting up sex tapes on Youtube and selling "A Hole In One" Nike Line of products. Oh wait, no you didn't, you kept it a secret until other folks came public with it. Like everyone else who has an affair.

And Obama, HOW DARE YOU put the crashing economy and the health of the American public before raining down reform upon your party and destroying what support you have there.

What the people who worked and voted for Barack Obama wanted to see was a man who would stand up for principle and the ideals he spoke so stunningly of while campaigning. What those who were shocked at Woods' dalliances wanted to believe was that the first black man to be famous for a sport other than basketball or football was really who he appeared he was.

Yes Obama, how dare you work for healthcare reform that you said you wanted to do! Tiger! How dare you represent yourself as a successful professional golfer and not live up to stranger's projected expectations that you be Bagger Vance!

Woods remains an amazing golfer and athlete but his tumble to earth by hubris makes him far more human than god, and the entanglements that his weakness have brought may in fact undermine his game forever.

Yes, because being a successful black man = claiming to be God! You're no Morgan Freeman!

And Obama remains a brilliant thinker, an orator who can rally the masses, a supremely educated man and, by all accounts a dedicated husband and father. But he has been unable to fight the system he said he wanted to fight. He has been unable to effect real, honest-to-goodness change.

That's right, he betrayed you by not overturning the status quo in a year! Lying to the public with your big plans and centrist policies, telling us it's going to take a lot of work and then not doing it all by yourself!

Thank you Lisa Warren for delivering lessons all Black Men should hear:

Don't be successful, be Jesus.

I'm sure Good, Hardworking, Black Peeple will take heed!

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yeloson

November 2012

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