Let's focus on fixing problems, and not prejudice


#1

Edit: It seems the title caused confusion. To clarify, I’m suggesting we should focus on specific problems, like sexual abuse, and not continue a cycle of prejudice. I think prejudice is a very real problem that’s made worse by… more prejudice.

I’m a white male feminist and I’m convinced that the world would be a better place if we had more women in power.

Being a feminist can be difficult sometimes. Some men give you grief for being effeminate, and some feminist women tend to dislike white men in general. It’s not always popular, but it’s what I think is right. There are major problems with power imbalance, abuse and pay inequality perpetuated by some men. However self serving it may be, I think it’s better to focus on the problem without bunching a group of people together.

Take sexual abuse: I’ve seen people connect this to a system that favours mostly white men, but isn’t the actual problem sexual abuse? Have boy and men not experienced rape? Have women or people of other races never sexually abused anyone? Tying sexual abuse to white male problem alienates the victims of non-white men.

The only demographic you should blame for sexual abuse is sexual abusers.

The gender wage gap: Men tend to earn more than women, and that is the problem. It’s really inefficient to focus on hostility toward white men in general, and not the issue itself. I say that because even when women write their own pay checks, they tend to pay themselves less than men do. The problem is the gap, and it will be much harder to solve through prejudice channels which makes people defensive.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2012/10/26/women-entreprensurship-gender-pay-gap-persists/#3604419c67ca

I think humans make the most positive strides when we solve problems as a group. Our worst times are when we treat groups of people with prejudice, like problems.


#2

We can’t move forward if there can’t be some reckoning with the the present and past, and those are white supremacist and male dominated. We can’t pretend those structures don’t exist and then expect to move forward in any sort of productive way.

Given that not too long ago, black men would be lynched for even whistling at a woman woman, no, it’s still a system that privileges one group over another.

No one is saying we can’t work together on these problems, but if people continue to insist that patriarchal and white supremacist systems don’t play a role in their continued prevelance, than how can we possibly move forward into a more progressive system? It’s like ignoring the knife and trying to treat the wound anyway (to paraphrase Malcolm X). The blow has not been healed and it won’t be until we can acknowledge the past, accept it, and make moves to actual dismantle it.

malcolm-healing

And Yes, I’d very much like to solve these problems together. I just don’t want to be told that root cause of it is just some hysterical invention of women or some sort of reverse racism.


#3

The common thread in your examples was the supremacy of one group over another. It’s time for everyone to give that a rest. If you’re in North America, and you’re not a native, you deserve some reckoning as well. You’re reaping the benefits of genocide and biological warfare.

The cycle of blaming and hating people in groups needs to stop. The cycle of reckoning needs to stop. We need to look at our problems and decide how to fix them. Any humans alive today probably have an unpleasant heritage that included harming other people, and we need to move past that.

If one actually cares about fixing things, focus on the problem and not alienating certain groups.


#4

Address the biggest and most systemic issues first, and IMO you’ll find many of the smaller problems solving themselves.

This is why I objected to folks saying Bernie should’ve been more focused on race, because racism is a subset of classism; its origins stem from profit-driven colonialism and pitting working people against each other.

Similarly, attacking white male privilege should reduce the likelihood of anyone enjoying impunity.


#5

We can’t do that without getting to the bottom of these problems. You can’t ignore white supremacy when you talk about cops shooting black kids. You can’t ignore misogyny when you talk about sexual assault and abuse.

How can we do that if we refuse to acknowledge the past. If a better understanding of the past, which includes acknowledging the legacy of who had the power historically and who retains it. There is a reason why the people who are preyed upon by sexual assault tend to be people with less power, because it’s much harder for them to speak up against it.

Which many working class white people helped construct. I’m all for better intersectionaltiy, but Bernie was wrong to ignore race and was better off when he addressed it along side class issues.


#6

It would be nice if we could start from a blank slate. In that case, I could understand all of us becoming race and gender blind. But we are not starting from a level playing field, we are starting from an unequal society built mostly for the benefit of members of the male white minority. Those of us who have benefited, and continue to benefit, from past discrimination, cannot pretend that we have nothing to do with the problem, or that we do not need to contribute to the solution.


#7

Indeed, it would.

It strikes me that the people who can afford to ignore history are the one’s who most benefit from it’s twisted path since the age of capitalism was upon us.


#8

Yes! Misogyny, is a problem. Supremacist views are a problem. Abuse is a problem. Those are choices, and your judgement is not based on prejudice. That’s very different than picking traits like skin colour or gender as the issue.

Acknowledging the past is one thing, grouping people together by race or gender is another. Racism has been a serious problem throughout human history and maybe we should move past it. If you don’t like racist, or sexist people say that, not “white men”. It is ironic to do so.


#9

Who made those choices? Who enforces those choices? Who gets to ignore that history and who doesn’t?

Again, this goes back to history. The construction of blackness, whiteness, and gender differences was not a choice made by people of color or women. It was categories that constrained us and continues to do so. If we can’t talk about and work through that history, get people who have primarily benefited from it to understand and acknowledge it and join in on helping to dismantle it in the here and now, how can they still not influence the issue of abuse. Abuse if fundamentally about exerting power over others, and if we can’t talk about where that power comes from and how it continues to work, I’m not sure how we’re supposed to make these fundamental changes we both agree are necessary.

If someone looks at me, and doesn’t see an individual human being first, but a woman first, with a preconceived notion of what that means about who I am, what sort of common ground are we supposed to reach to be able to sort through any problems based on gender that we may have. If in their mind, women are ONLY a certain set of things, then they are going to have a hard time imagining me as anything BUT that.

So, black people should just pretend like it’s not still happening or hasn’t happened historically? How do you propose we do that when some large numbers of people refuse to even understand it as a problem? Same with gender. If we continue to have people who think that the history of gender inequality is all cooked up BS, how are we supposed to address the problem?


#10

“Maybe if we ignore ongoing systemic racism and sexism hard enough it will go away all on its own!” doesn’t sound like an especially promising approach.


#11

Right now money is power. More white people have money, but the colour of their skin isn’t inherently the problem. The problem is that we allow money to control our democratic systems, which allows corruption, and propaganda to control the outcomes of our elections. This prevents certain groups of people from being properly represented.

Do you think a rich black man or a poor white man have a better shot at becoming president?

Problem: Rich people have a disproportionate amount of power.

The problem is racism. Saying white people are the problem, is also racism. Some white people messed up, but if you don’t think we should judge black people by the colour of their skin, or assume their individual merits or values, then you shouldn’t do it to people with any other colour of skin.

Racism is a problem that we should all be encouraged to move away from. Not all white people are racist, not all racists are white.


#12

You think we shouldn’t attempt to move past racism? Come on, I basically said we should try not to be racist and you somehow disagree with that?


#13

chair


#14

I don’t believe it will ever be possible to “move past racism” simply by ignoring the profound impact of its existence on both the past and present.

If we want to create a more equitable society we will have to face a lot of ugly truths as part of the process.


#15

Oh I agree with you, it’s a very complex issue and I don’t think we should ignore it. In context, I was saying it continues a cycle of racism to point at white people and say they are the problem. It doesn’t help anything. We need to focus on the behaviour of racism.


#16

Trump was elected thanks to the support of a majority of white males. Now that he is in office, he is making sure that the privileges of white males are preserved, for example by favoring the wealthy. People of color rank lower in income, and especially in wealth, than white people. Women are paid less than men performing the same jobs. We cannot be blind to these facts.

In old times, when a town was sieged by the enemy, it was customary that the town would be spared if the enemy showed that they had enough force to take the town, and the town agreed to surrender after token resistance. If the town refused to surrender, the attacker felt justified to sack the town after they conquered it. Similarly, during the Second World War, defenders that spent up to their last bullet when confronted with a superior force were frequently not taken prisoner, but shot after they surrendered. Likewise, it seems to me that some people are now asking for everybody to be nice to each other and forget about the past, right after they have been forced to stop being nasty to others. It doesn’t work that way.


Edit: sorry @Brainspore, this should be a reply to @DixonHill.


#18

I guess we’re done. It’s not the same thing and I suspect you know it.

Or maybe you’re just not interested in hearing what I have to say, so you’re shutting me down with “reverse racism” and “misandry” language.


#19

But yet, you want us to simply ignore it and “move on”…


#20

I am interested in what you, and others here have to say, and I agree with you 90%. The issues you describe are real. I just think we should take a lead by example approach instead of us and them.

Think of this way. When you want to get someone to change a bad habit, do you call them a failure, or do you focus on what the issue is between you?

If you attack a person, they get defensive, and the same is true of groups of people. They become even less willing to improve. I just think we should talk about what’s going wrong instead of making broad statements. If there was a boing boing article about a black man who was found to be abusive, I wouldn’t make a broad statement about the problems with black people. I just think its counterproductive.


#21

In other words, I need to phrase these issues in a way that YOU deem right and proper.