education, modern problems, sexism

Chivalry and critical thinking skills are dead in Texas…

Last night, I read about Shallowater High School, a school near Lubbock, Texas that was in the news because of a controversial assignment that got complaints. An English teacher, who was teaching “Beowulf” and the works of Chaucer, had a tradition of having her students explore the concept of chivalry. The boys were expected to dress in suits and ties. The girls were to wear dresses and heels. For one day, the men would help ladies to their seats and open doors for them, and they were supposed stand when a lady or person in authority entered a room. The ladies were expected not to speak unless spoken to, not to complain or whine, and they were supposed to walk behind the men.

The first time I read about this assignment about chivalry, it was in an article for a television station that was short on information and long on media bias. My initial impression was that it was kind of a silly assignment that sounded ill-conceived. But then I read more about it in The New York Times and learned that the teacher who had made the assignment had been doing it for a long time. Many students actually looked forward to taking part in it, which made me want to learn more about what it entailed.

In the course of reading more about the assignment, I learned that those who were uncomfortable with it were allowed to write a one page essay on chivalry. I also learned that the intent was of the assignment was to show students that chivalry was actually promoting male chauvinism and marginalizing women. The message was that chivalry, which is often touted to be “good” and is now “dead”, is not so much about promoting good manners and courtliness. It was about keeping women in their so-called place, according to the men who wanted to stay in charge. Apparently, past students who had taken part in the assignment got the message, even if it sounded kind of “sketchy” in practice.

This year, the assignment made the news, because some parents complained about it, claiming it was “sexist”. I will admit, my first thoughts, when I read about it was that it did seem a bit sexist. But then when I read that a lot of students actually enjoyed doing it, I changed my mind. Having been an English major and read “Beowulf” a couple of times myself, I appreciate anything that makes that story more engaging for young people. Moreover, I figured there had to be something more to the assignment than what was being put out to the masses. According to the New York Times:

“I really don’t think it was the teacher’s intention to have it be such a sexist lesson,” said Hannah Carreon, 18, a senior at the high school. “There were girls that were excited to get to do this finally and get to dress up.”

And those who didn’t want to participate didn’t have to. Seems fair enough to me. Nevertheless, thanks to the uproar, the school district superintendent, Dr. Anita Hebert, said the assignment was canceled, adding “this assignment has been reviewed, and despite its historical context, it does not reflect our district and community values.” Very fine, and she’s certainly within her rights to have the assignment changed.

Given how thin skinned many people are these days, I think it would be difficult for teachers and administrators to teach, especially in a creative way, without offending someone somehow. I don’t have a quarrel with the school administrator’s decision to revise the assignment, even though some students may have been disappointed. Schools have to evolve with the times, and nowadays, people are less inclined to be open-minded about alternative methods. Most people won’t even bother to read a news article before exploding with outrage, after all.

From the New York Times article.

But then I went into the comment section and there were many outraged reactions left by people who obviously hadn’t read the article. One person wrote that the teacher must be a “misogynistic man” and went off on a screed about racism and misogyny.

I know I should have kept scrolling, but I was lonely, irritated, and bored last night. So I commented that the teacher who had made the assignment was a woman who had been teaching this particular lesson for years. It was a long-standing tradition in her class that, apparently, had been well-received in years past. The teacher was actually trying to show the students that so-called “chivalry” wasn’t actually chivalry. From The New York Times:

The exercise had been scheduled to take place on Wednesday. Female and male students, who had been reading “Beowulf” and the works of Chaucer, were given assignment sheets that described 11 “rules for chivalry.” They would be awarded 10 points for every rule they followed.

Boys were asked to rise any time a female student or faculty member entered a room, to avoid profanity or “vulgar words” and to “allow ladies to leave the room before they leave.”

Girls had to walk behind men or “walk daintily, as if their feet were bound”; address men with “a lowered head and a curtsy”; “clean up” after their male classmates; and “obey any reasonable request” from a man.

According to Colin Tynes Lain, 18, a senior, the teacher had anticipated backlash and said students who were uncomfortable with the assignment could write a one-page essay instead.

In the past, Mr. Lain said, the teacher had given parents and teachers a written disclaimer explaining that the goal of the project was to show how the chivalric code was used to obscure chauvinistic principles that harmed women.

“That’s what she was trying to pull our attention to,” he said. “That this was not chivalry in any way.”

But to read the comments, the teacher was perceived as some boneheaded cave dwelling man who was trying to suppress women with a backwards assignment meant to push them down. And when I gently pointed out that the teacher was a woman who was trying to teach about how chivalry was actually not so good, I got a lecture about racism and misogyny from several “woke” ladies who felt I needed a “schoolin'”.

I commented again that many of the students had been looking forward to the assignment. And they also had an alternative assignment they could do if they didn’t want to participate in the teacher’s lesson on chivalry. But that comment only served to further inflame the “woke” woman who hadn’t bothered to read the article, along with a few others who felt this assignment was so damaging. So my parting shot, which got lots of likes, was something along the lines of.

“Y’all can spare me the lectures on misogyny. I’m simply reporting what was in the article. I didn’t say I liked it or agreed with it. If more people would read before commenting, the world would be a better place.”

I often complain about conservatives. But you know what? Sometimes liberals are just as bad. Some of them have this agenda they just feel compelled to push, often without any critical thinking or forethought applied whatsoever. They often make judgments without knowing all the facts or context. And, just like conservatives, they often make perfect asses of themselves.

I will admit, I have read about some assignments that appeared to be especially tone deaf and ill considered. For instance, just last year, a high school teacher in Iowa was placed on leave for asking students to pretend they were “black slaves”. The assignment was made for an online learning program. A surprising number of teachers have attempted to teach kids about slavery via role play, which is bound to be a bad idea.

The same issue came up in Wisconsin and Missouri, and not just in terms of teaching students about slavery in the United States, but also in history. For instance, students learning about the Code of Hammurabi and Ancient Mesopotamia were taught about the concept of “an eye for an eye”. Punishments for slaves were also discussed. A teacher in Long Island, New York was also disciplined for having students write something “funny” about pictures of slavery. And a student teacher in Tennessee was in hot water for asking fourth grade students to recite graphic, violent methods of controlling slaves. Those lessons made some students distinctly uncomfortable. From the New York Times:

Role-playing can be an effective pedagogical tool, but teachers have to be very careful that they are not reinforcing negative gender and racial attitudes, said April Peters-Hawkins, a former sixth-grade teacher who is now a professor of school leadership at the University of Houston College of Education.

“What we typically see is marginalized groups continuing to be marginalized,” she said. “Black kids being asked to play the roles of slaves, Jewish kids being asked to play the role of victims of the Holocaust and girls being asked to be subservient.”

I think some people felt this assignment would make some girls feel uncomfortable, so they brought up their concerns. Unfortunately, it then became international news and, I think, it got blown entirely out of proportion. And now, the narrative has become completely distorted from the facts.

It’s easy to react to inflammatory headlines without actually getting the facts. People are often eager to promote a progressive agenda, but are loathe to think first. On the surface, this assignment about chivalry seems like it would be offensive and wrong. It sounds like the teacher’s methods might wind up marginalizing girls. And no, it’s not a good thing to teach females that they are to be subservient to men, especially in the year 2021. But if you actually read about the intent of the assignment, it sounds a lot less offensive. Especially since participation was entirely voluntary.

I will grant that the chivalry assignment probably should be reconsidered, but not necessarily because it will damage or offend students. I think it should be reconsidered because of the court of public opinion, our culture of people who don’t want to read before they react, and people who claim to be open-minded but actually aren’t. Frankly, it’s very irritating to get lectured by people who can’t even be bothered to read before they comment. They’re usually people who feel like their (often uninformed) opinions are so very important to share, but don’t care about anyone else’s opinions. And you can’t have a discussion with them because they refuse to consider all sides of an issue. It’s like the thinking has already been done, and not by them, personally.

The teacher who made this assignment is described as “caring and well-liked”. I wouldn’t want to see a good teacher who is caring and well-liked canceled from her profession because of uninvolved people who are hell-bent on thinking the worst about her intentions. I hope she hasn’t been harassed, and I’m glad her name has been kept out of the media.

I know how much time, money, and training goes into making good teachers. I also know that a lot of them don’t get the respect and consideration they deserve. It’s a shame that some of them are punished for thinking outside of the box, even if the lesson ends up being a flop. I hope this teacher will continue to try to teach students the truth about so-called chivalry, even if this particular role playing method is now off limits.

Kinda reminds me of how people have been offended by this classic Randy Newman song… which isn’t actually about “short people”.

He doesn’t mean he doesn’t like people who are short like me…

Incidentally, I have some people on my friends list who are notoriously bad about reacting to headlines and not actually bothering to read. Yesterday, I shared the video that was in yesterday’s post about Gloriavale Christian Community. Two people left me sad reactions, even after I commented that it wasn’t a sad post. Seriously. Watch the video. It’s not a sad tale– it’s a triumphant tale about a STRONG woman who left a truly oppressive and sexist cult. But people are gonna react… and I say, if you’re going to form an opinion and make a public comment or reaction, isn’t it better to actually know what you are reacting to? I think it is.

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politics, social media

Social media can reveal a lot about a person…

A couple of days ago, I wrote about my former relative, who wrote that she thinks people should be replying “Trump 2020” on every Facebook post. I’m not sure where she got the idea for that. It seems to me like a very good way to lose friends. But anyway, even though we haven’t “talked” in ages, I was kind of curious about where her newfound spirit for social media activism came from. I decided to visit her page, and found this…

When I see this kind of stuff on a person’s page, I figure the stupid is very strong… and I know that they worship Donald Trump.

This seems to be a rather tone deaf response to all that is going on lately. Why would someone post something like this publicly? Even if what this says is technically true– and I’m not implying that it is— it doesn’t seem to reflect the attitude of certain white Republicans today. For example, it came out in the news that Derick Chauvin, the guy who killed a handcuffed George Floyd by choking the air out of him while pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck, was recently accused of voter fraud. Chauvin owns property in Florida, but has been living in Minnesota. Nevertheless, he reportedly voted illegally in Florida in 2016 and 2018. And, guess what party Mr. Chauvin is a registered member of? That’s right– the Republicans! And this is the same party that does not support mail in ballots, for fear of “voter fraud”.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I used to know this woman offline. In fact, for the first years of our relationship, our dealings were entirely in person. Most of the time, she was basically nice to me, except for the times she backhandedly insulted me. I never saw the “racist” side of her personality, though, before I interacted with her on Facebook. Maybe it’s because I also never saw it in my relatives until somewhat recently. It’s kind of sad what social media can reveal about a person. In some ways, it’s less personal than face to face interactions, but in other ways, it’s not. I think, after reading the above post and the many others she’s written since she posted “Trump 2020” on my page, she’s revealed some rather ugly truths about how she feels about people of color and those who don’t vote the way she does. She’s certainly not as “nice” as I once thought she was, and has joined the ranks of people who are obvious Trump supporters– people that Trump himself would never deign to give the time of day to, according to his long time (but now probably former) friend, Howard Stern.

Who are obvious Trump supporters? They’re the ones posting memes like the one with which I started today’s post. They’re the people who do things like drive their cars into crowds of protesters and lead Ku Klux Klan groups. Are all Republicans like this? No, of course not. Some Republicans are basically intelligent and decent people. They vote Republican, and let other people vote the way they want to vote. I think there’s a difference between Republicans and Trump supporters, too. Some Republicans– even prominent ones– are wisely turning on Donald Trump. But a whole lot of Trump supporters are embarrassingly out of touch with basic decency, so much so, that when I read a news story about someone doing something incredibly stupid, I can almost always correctly assume what political party, and more importantly, which prominent politician they support.

Last year, when we were blissfully ignorant of the oncoming pandemic and racial riots, I posted about two guys who got arrested because they got drunk and shot each other while wearing a bullet proof vest. One of the men was injured during this stunt and went to a hospital. Staff members called the police, and after they managed to get the guy to tell the truth about how he got injured, he and his friend were charged with aggravated assault. I wrote a post about it, and commented that I bet I knew which candidate they supported in the 2016 elections. One of my Republican friends commented on the post. It caught the attention of one of her more outspoken and less civilized friends, who then chose to take me to task.

My conservative friend’s friend visited my Overeducated Housewife Facebook page and bitched me out because I wrote in that post that I could tell the guys were Trump supporters. I ended up writing another post in the Facebook poster’s honor. He couldn’t understand how I made the “leap of logic” that Trump is to “blame” for the actions of these two gentlemen in Arkansas who decided to handle firearms while drinking. Trump wasn’t to blame for what those guys did, and that wasn’t my point. My point is that a certain type of person is charmed by Donald Trump, and it’s obvious by their behavior which way they vote. The Republican party is, for sure, very different now than it was when I was younger. It’s been co-opted by religious zealots, greedy people, and racists. There are still some old school Republicans out there who are not like Trump and his ilk and want to take back their party. But unfortunately, they’re being drowned out and lumped in with the monster they created in Trump.

But just to give Trump supporters a break, I will also mention that liberals have their issues, too. I can understand why some Republicans are not impressed by Democrats. It gets tiresome to read preachy, sanctimonious, shaming posts about racism, face mask wearing, white privilege, and other social issues. People love to get on a soapbox. I’m no different, although I mostly try to keep my preaching confined to my blog. I don’t agree with all liberal ideas, and I certainly cringe a bit myself when someone posts something that presumes to tell me how I should feel or behave. People probably mean well when they post that stuff, but when it comes down to it, it usually has more to do with making themselves feel better than actually effecting change.

It’s kind of like what happened ten years ago, when my older sister tried to manipulate me into driving to North Carolina from Georgia. At the time, my dad was hospitalized. She couldn’t make it to see him in the hospital herself because she lives in Minnesota and couldn’t afford the air fare or time off work. When I demurred about her proposal, having just spoken to our mom and been told not to visit, my sister tried to lay a big fat guilt trip on me by becoming extremely bitchy and accusatory (which, by the way, is NOT a good tactic to use on me). I surmised that she was doing this because she couldn’t/wouldn’t come visit my dad. She felt badly about it. Since she was feeling guilty, she figured she could nag me into visiting instead and do what she felt she should be doing, not considering that maybe I had other things to do or our mom might not want me to come.

I finally had to firmly tell her that I would not be jumping in the car and driving up to see my dad on her say so. Instead, I would speak to our mom and find out what would be most helpful for her. That’s what I did. It turned out my dad was going to be moved to Virginia anyway, so a visit to North Carolina was not a good idea. Mom wanted me to go pick up a piano that was in the house she was selling. I did that, then visited my parents in Virginia. My sister was “happy” that I’d made that concession and said she wanted me to tell her how our parents were. But the reality was, she didn’t actually care. She just felt guilty and thought that by nagging me to change my behavior, she would feel better about her own shortcomings. That’s what I feel like many of the guilt mongering/shaming posts are about– making people feel better about themselves by pointing fingers at those who happen to read their posts on social media.

I’ve seen many annoying posts from people on both sides of the political spectrum, although I have gotten rid of most of the egregious Trump fans. Every time I see a preachy post from someone reminding me to “check my privilege”, I cringe a bit inside. It’s not that we shouldn’t be “checking our privilege”. It’s more that I don’t think a person’s behavior will necessarily be changed by a Facebook post that has been passed around like a stale plate of hors d’ouerves. Could a person be inspired to change their behavior by a Facebook post? Maybe. But the ones that tend to stick with me are the ones someone took the time to write personally, not something that was just liked and shared. Most of the preachy posts– including the ones suggested by my former relative who is posting “Trump 2020” on everything– are meaningless virtue signaling posts. At best, they are very annoying. At worst, they show everyone who you really are deep down inside. It’s not always a pretty picture.

Social media has really changed how people communicate. I suspect Facebook was originally supposed to be fun– a place for friends and family to get together and stay in touch when they couldn’t be together in person. Now it’s also become a place for people to preach at others, get into fights, and share news, some of which is “fake”. I remember hesitating to join Facebook back in 2008. I was finally convinced by a former friend. Seems kind of appropos that we’re not friends anymore, doesn’t it? Social media is, in some ways, a lot less intimate than in person communications… but in other ways, it reveals a lot more about a person than they might realize. If not for Facebook, there’s a good chance I would still consider my ex friend a friend and my former relative a relative.

Well… pardon me if anyone finds today’s post preachy and obnoxious. I truly don’t mean to be that way, even though I know I am sometimes. I figure most people who are adults don’t need me to tell them what to do, anyway. I’ve mostly taken to not commenting on people’s controversial stuff now because the few times I have, strangers to me– friends of friends– jump down my throat. Life is unpleasant enough right now, and I don’t enjoy being deep throated by strangers, so I mostly stick to writing this blog… and some readers think I’m stupid for that, too. But they still come back for more. Imagine that!

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music, politics

Fresh, hot, gender roles…

Last night, I saw a post on Retro Wifey, a Facebook page I follow somewhat casually. It was about the Dixie Chicks, who made headlines in 2003, when they dissed former President George W. Bush at a concert in London.

This was a really hot album back in the day…

At the time the Dixie Chicks were being shunned and castigated for their liberal, anti-Bush political opinions, I was kind of new to their music. I thought they were very talented, and while I don’t typically go to celebrities for my politics, I figure they had as much right as anyone to speak up about their views. Of course, people also had the right to their responses. Unfortunately, lots of people decided to throw out their Dixie Chicks albums. Radio stations stopped playing their music, and they were kind of obscure for awhile.

Lots of conservatives relate to Toby Keith’s politics and don’t care if he sings about them… But God forbid if you’re a woman country singer who dares to be liberal…

I wasn’t surprised when I saw the reactions to Retro Wifey’s Dixie Chicks post. Plenty of people have forgiven the Chicks for their outspokenness, but other folks still haven’t let it go. A lot of people commenting on Retro Wifey’s post were still denouncing the Dixie Chicks, even though their anti Bush sentiment is ancient history. A lot of the same people who claim the Dixie Chicks should simply shut up and sing have no problem with Toby Keith’s sentiment of “putting a boot in someone’s ass” for messing with America. (… and honestly, a certain segment of Americans really are ignorant and ARROGANT… it’s SAD and embarrassing!) Toby Keith is a white man, though, so I guess he gets a pass.

I couldn’t resist leaving a comment. Here’s what I said…

They are very talented, doing fine, and totally entitled to their opinions, like any other American is.  ❤However, I think W is way better than Trump. I bet they think so too.

It’s true. I do think the Dixie Chicks probably do prefer W to Trump, even if they still don’t like George W. Bush. Someone apparently thought that meant I’m a Bush fan. She commented that Trump and Bush are “cut from the same cloth”. I responded with this…

I don’t think so. At least W isn’t a rapist and can speak in full sentences. I was certainly not a W fan, but at least he had some redeeming qualities. Trump is just vile.

And the person who commented to me wrote, “True that.”

I wasn’t surprised to see that my first comment got a variety of reactions. A few people gave me the orange angry emoji. I got one love. Two people thought my comment was funny, and nine liked it. My comment about Trump got less polarized reactions. I got one wow, ten likes, and four funnies. One of the people who thought my first comment was funny, wrote a comment dissing the Chicks. And because we were having a good time listening to music and drinking wine, I played along…

Yeah, I was kind of trolling…

When I see these kinds of comments– comments about a band’s talent or lack thereof, and most likely made strictly because of the band’s politics– I do wonder if it makes people feel better to slam them. I mean, maybe you don’t like the Dixie Chicks’ music, but how in the hell can anyone say they are the WORST band ever? How can someone say they have no talent? Shit, I can sit here and think of twenty bands that are way worse than the Dixie Chicks, yet they’ve made money. Moreover, I think that the Dixie Chicks got so much heat because they’re women and their audience was mostly country music fans, many of whom are Republicans. And sadly, I think a lot of people who identify as conservative lack the ability to understand that a person can be a wonderful, creative, talented performer and not subscribe to the same political world view as you do. For all of their talk about the Constitution and American freedoms, many conservatives sure seem hellbent on shutting up people who don’t agree with them. So the Dixie Chicks don’t like George W. Bush. Isn’t it very American of them to share their opinions? Aren’t we all about personal freedoms, particularly of speech and expression?

They aren’t talented? Really? We must hear them differently. I admire them for their bravery, although I like their bluegrass more than this. What they did in London back in 2003 was VERY American. We should be proud.

Case in point, I LOVE listening to Ricky Skaggs. He’s a brilliant musician. He often plays with Bruce Hornsby, who is a native of Williamsburg, Virginia, not far from where I grew up. I love Bruce Hornsby’s music, too. Bruce Hornsby reportedly votes as a liberal. Ricky Skaggs is definitely NOT liberal. He is a Trump supporter. I still love Ricky’s music, even if some of his homespun lyrics make me cringe (because they aren’t grammatically correct). The point is, I appreciate the music, and it’s alright if the musician doesn’t share my politics. Politics are personal. I don’t understand why people like Donald Trump. I suspect it’s mainly because he identifies as Republican and claims to be against abortion. Ricky Skaggs has said that he only votes for pro-life candidates. I don’t think Trump is truly pro-life, but he pays lip service, so Skaggs supports him. But even though I wish Republicans would insist on a more decent candidate, I don’t hold a person’s politics against them, particularly if I love their music.

Interesting that Ricky Skaggs would sing this, since this is pretty much an anti Trump anthem. But it looks to me that this collaboration is about something more than politics. It’s about making great music.
“My favorite book was ‘wrote’ about a man that died to save my soul.” Well, as a grammar snob, that annoys me… but I appreciate the song just the same.

Anyway… I don’t think people need to worry about the Dixie Chicks’ careers. They’re doing just fine. Looks like they’ve gone to the dark side of pop music, which is just fabulous for them. They’ll probably make more money that way. And they are certainly entitled to their opinions, as is any other person in a free society. I have a feeling that if the Dixie Chicks were men expressing themselves, they would have been forgiven by a lot more people by now. But they also probably would not have been as successful, because part of their appeal twenty years ago was that they were sexy, young women with oodles of talent and lots of sass. They got too sassy with the conservative lot, and some ignorant folks still haven’t gotten over it yet, seventeen years hence. But I figure if people still want to hold the Dixie Chicks’ politics against them and not listen to their music, it’s their loss.

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Trump

Lying down with dogs…

A couple of days ago, I wrote about a friend of mine who posted on Facebook about how flabbergasted he was that some people think racial relations have improved under Donald Trump’s “leadership”. My post was written when the discussion was “young”, and one “friend” had referred to liberals as “libtards”.

I’m not really a fan of namecalling, even if I’m guilty of it at times. I especially don’t like it when people namecall folks they don’t even really know personally. It’s one thing if you have personal experience to back up a derogatory moniker, and quite another when you just lump everyone into a group without knowing them. I don’t think it’s right to call Republicans “rethuglicans”, either. I know some very decent people who identify as conservative. I know some pretty crappy people who say they’re liberal. I, myself, don’t really identify as either. On some issues, I’m extremely liberal. On others, I’m a lot more conservative. I guess I’d call myself a “centrist”.

Anyway… that discussion blew up a lot over the past couple of days. One fellow– I probably knew him when I was a teen, but I don’t really remember him now– insists that liberals want to “run his life”. He got into it with a woman I’ll call Lisa who seemed quite reasonable to me, and not just because I happened to align more with her politics than his.

The original poster, a black man who describes himself as a “monster of a man” at 6’6″ and 255 pounds, able to bench about 400 pounds, wrote about how he’s noticed that much smaller white men feel emboldened to insult him. Now… I do know the original poster. We went through school together from the fourth grade. He’s a great guy, but he’s right when he refers to himself as a “monster of a man”. He’s a very big guy– was so in high school and no doubt remains so today. And yet he gets dirty looks when he’s having dinner with white women.

The original poster’s friend, a guy I’ll call Matteo (since I don’t know anyone with that name), says he’s not a racist. He says he treats everyone the same. However, as soon as people find out he supports Donald Trump, people label him a racist. He doesn’t like that. And, he laments that the people calling him a racist aren’t people of color, but “brainwashed” white people, some of whom were posting in that thread.

In fairness to Matteo, I can see why it frustrates him that people assume he’s racist for supporting Donald Trump. However, I can also see why people would draw that conclusion, based on Trump’s very well known racist proclivities. There’s an old saying… if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. Well… I lie down with dogs at every opportunity and have never had a flea problem, but you get the drift. If you align yourself politically with someone who makes a point out of tasking immigration authorities to hunt down, detain, and deport anyone who is deemed an “illegal” (undocumented) alien, people might assume that you agree with said politician’s views. If you’re alright with the “illegals” being caged like animals as their children are ripped away from them, people might assume that you are racist.

For his part, Trump himself claims that he’s the “least racist person in the world”. And it’s true that he has hired people of color, married (white) women from European countries, and probably does treat almost everyone the same– except for those he either wants to screw out of money or literally screw. But once those people aren’t useful anymore, he treats them the same, too. I don’t know, maybe there’s a certain “fairness” there. It’s really just people from “shithole” countries Trump doesn’t like. He’s ready to embrace any hot looking Norwegian or Swede who wants to move to America… especially if they’re also female and wealthy. Nah… Trump has had plenty of racist allegations and accusations pinned on him, and the record shows that he discriminates openly.

So Matteo apparently ignores all of this and thinks Trump is a swell guy. If he’s truly not a racist, I’d love to know what about Trump excites him. Is it because he’s someone who has gotten a couple more bucks in his paycheck? Is it because Trump seems plainspoken? Does Trump seems like a “regular guy” to him? Actually, Donald Trump is not like your typical country boy. He grew up wealthy, attended expensive, private schools, and has never worked an honest day in his life. But because he’s a “Republican” (for now, at least) and claims to be against abortion, he’s a “great American” and the “best president” we’ve ever had in the United States. Very fine.

So the OP, my big black friend, explains that because Matteo is a white guy who has never experienced the kind of racism that he has firsthand, he says Matteo doesn’t understand his perspective. Matteo takes exception to this and launches into a strange argument using cancer as his example. He says he can have a negative opinion about cancer even though he’s never had it. He says he can have a negative view of rape, even though he’s never been raped. And by that standard, he can “understand” racism, even if he’s not black and has never been called by that well-known derogatory term that is no longer suitable for print.

That’s when Lisa– someone else I probably met sometime but don’t remember now– jumped in and tried to explain things to Matteo. Her explanation was very reasonable and well thought out, and she correctly pointed out to Matteo that equating cancer to racism is invalid, since ANYONE can get cancer. It’s not an affliction that only affects a certain group of people. I would also say the same about rape, although women are much more likely to experience rape than men are. But if you’re a white person, you will never be black. If you live in the United States or another place where people look at others differently due to the color of their skin, you can’t have the perspective of racism that someone who is a member of the minority has. Now… if you go to a place where white people experience racism due to their skin color, maybe you can have an inkling. But that’s not really how it is in most parts of the USA.

Matteo went on about how it’s the media’s fault that people think life is so bad. He says the media has convinced everyone how much it sucks to be in the United States and that if we’d just stop letting the media spoon feed us reality, we’d see how Trump is making America “great” again. And now, I must stop and interject.

At this point in time, I have at least four white, female, college educated friends who are searching for work. Each of these women has put out at least a couple hundred resumes and, yet they report that they have each only scored a handful of interviews. Two of these friends went as far as to put up GoFundMe campaigns because they need immediate help with their bills and/or keeping their housing. I keep hearing– indeed in that very thread I’m referencing– about how awesome the economy is and how unemployment is at an all time low. If that’s true, why are four of my college educated friends– women whom I know are intelligent, talented, and hardworking– struggling so hard to get work that pays enough for them to support themselves? Where are these “good jobs” with “good benefits”, where qualified people are considered regardless of their age, sex, and whether or not they have children? Why are Bill and I donating money to my friends who have just been laid off at Christmastime and are terrified of being kicked out on the streets? There but by the grace of God go any of us!

Getting back to Matteo and his claims that America is on its way to being “great” again… Lisa, the OP, and Matteo discussed more and the thread soon devolved into a comparison between Republicans and Democrats. Matteo brought up that Democrats were behind the Ku Klux Klan. Here’s the direct, unedited post that led me to write today:

The problem I think you really have is political. The democrat party thinks of African Americans as nothing but a vote. All talk and no action. The political plantation, if you will. Only a liberal would think advancement is a bad thing. If you could get over your political self for a moment you might understand. You guys put politics above all including race. After all you guys founded the KKK and opposed the civil rights act. You want to control people’s lives instead of improving them. Obama said you would need a magic wand to bring back manufacturing jobs (not dead end jobs) and guess what…Trump is bringing back those very jobs. It is YOUR party that plays the race card to divide. The liberal media makes stuff up to promote division and tension. (DICLAIMER: YES RACISM EXSISTS IT HAS AND PROBOBLY ALWAYS WILL TO SOME DEGREE) but your political side does nothing but make it worse. I can actually site time after time where the left has blatantly made stuff up! I am not accusing you of this, but I am damn sure accusing your party of it. Pure EVIL!

Hmmm… and yet Republicans are all about getting in bed with conservative Christians, pushing the anti-abortion agenda to get votes. Republicans are all about doing away with programs that help those who are stuck in poverty get ahead. They are all about denying rights to women and people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. Quite a lot of them are pretty racist, too. I know this because I am related to them, grew up around them, and I’ve heard how they talk and seen how they behave. That’s not to say that there aren’t liberals who are racists or just want to get ahead somehow by pushing an agenda that is palatable to certain groups. I just think Matteo really fails to see that his arguments do go both ways… even as he points out that they go both ways. He doesn’t seem to see the big picture.

However… I am a firm believer that people should be allowed to vote the way they want. I didn’t jump into this discussion myself, because I find arguing with people like Matteo to be a waste of time. It’s 90% white men who take the attitude that racism isn’t a problem in the United States, and that Republicans are all about not letting the government get too big and interfere in other people’s lives or, more importantly, ability to make money on the backs of less advantaged people. They are all about pulling one’s self up by the bootstraps, even if the bootstraps are hopelessly broken or dry-rotted. Well… despite Matteo’s protests, I do think Trump is a racist. I do think many people who support Trump are more racist than they’d like to admit. I think most people have some racist proclivities deep down, but it’s especially bad among white, conservative, southern men who are all too ready to embrace the false idea that Trump pushes– that they are the “real victims” of discrimination.

In 1989, Trump said he would rather be a “well-educated black”… because they have an “advantage”. Boy… this is exactly the attitude my friend was referring to! It’s a shock that in 1989, a man with Trump’s supposed “education” would be referring to people of color as “the blacks”.
Indeed…

But, in fairness to Trump, some Republicans are starting to turn on him. They see that he’s not someone with whom they want to be aligned. They don’t want to “get up with fleas.” I can’t say I blame them, although flip-flopping to get ahead is such a political thing to do. Trump should know, since he did it himself.

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Trump

I think some conservatives are starting to feel “ganged up on”…

I have a friend who is a proud conservative. Actually, I have a lot of friends and loved ones who think the Republican way of thinking is the right one. Quite a few of them have openly told me that they think Trump is a moron. And yet, they are still proud Republicans. How can this be?

Well… I think it’s because Trump doesn’t represent all Republicans. However, I think a lot of people feel compelled to support him, because they lean toward Republican ideals. I won’t say Donald Trump is the reason for all things that are fucked up. I will say that he’s a terrible president who didn’t even identify with Republicans until he decided to run for president. He admires dictators. He’s incompetent and totally narcissistic, and he says horrible, ridiculous things. But, because he’s the president, some people feel like they have to respect him.

I used to lean toward conservatism myself. I get it. I used to laugh about Bill Clinton being president. I never liked him, or Hillary for that matter. I do think they both are much better suited to government work than Trump is. I think Hillary Clinton would have been a much better president by far. But that doesn’t mean I like her. I think some conservatives are like this with Trump, too… although he really sucks badly.

The thing is, people are crediting Trump with things he didn’t accomplish… and they are choosing to ignore his many shortcomings as a human being in the name of voting party politics. I think history will show us that Trump is a complete disaster. People who support him now will probably really be ashamed later. There’s nothing great about him at all, other than his ego. He didn’t even make his own money.

My friend, the conservative, apparently feels like liberals are feeling emboldened by Trump’s shit and they are dismissing all conservative ideals. Personally, I don’t think I’ve done that or will do that. Until very recently, I voted as often Republican as I did Democrat, because I believe in balance. I also vote a lot for independents and third party candidates. I think the two party system sucks. I can see why my conservative friends might feel ganged up on a bit, but Republicans are in charge… and they mostly REALLY suck. Especially Trump. He’s not a joke anymore. He’s a nightmare.

I, for one, am tired of people with obvious character defects being in charge of the most powerful country on the planet. Many people hated Bush II. I didn’t hate him, per se. But I think we could have found someone better to lead the country. With Trump, it’s like “hold my beer”… Trump makes Bush II look positively intellectual and enlightened. I am afraid that Trump and his entourage are going to ruin the United States if something isn’t done soon to stop his delusional bullshit.

Anyway… I have had a good day… and I have a lot to write about when I get home. I may start my travel blogging today or tomorrow. But I wanted to post something on the main blog for those who look for new posts every day. I don’t feel the need to produce every day like I did with my original blog, but I do like to keep things current. There will soon be a massive post dump, though. Count on that.

If I don’t start writing in the next few days, we’ll be back home on Sunday… that is, if nothing bad happens. Knock on wood.

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