Past Injustices (was Kids@Work)

Mon, 6 May 1996 16:56:25 -0400

Wanda Cahill wrote:

> ...Some of us seem to be lost in the dark ages when men went to
> work and women stayed home full time whether they liked it or not....
> I, for one, am not about to allow my sons to be treated poorly because
> of someone's misguided ideas of addressing past injustices. You can't
> change what is past. You can only change what is happening now. If
> women have not had the same rights as men in the past, we can't make
> that right by mistreating men now. The simple fact is, all humans
> deserve the same rights and respect.

There is a common, but completely erroneous, foundation underlying
this statement. I am amazed at the number of people who express the
idea that discrimination against women (and minorities) is a PAST
injustice. But, whenever someone is complaining about affirmative
action, you are likely to hear the refrain about changing the past.

For the record: Women and minorities are victims of discrimination
in the present, every day, right now. Attitudes which keep women
and minorities from competing equally against white men are still
very common, and are being passed on to a whole new generation of
children (taught by their parents, teachers, peers, advertisements,
TV and radio, etc.). Yes, things have improved somewhat from the
cultural realities of thirty or more years ago, but discrimination
is still thoroughly entrenched in our society.

So, Wanda, don't worry about your son being mistreated for the sins
of his fathers or uncles. All of the "Daughters to Work" days and
Herstory classes and Minority Culture/History classes and affirmative
action plans, put together, don't make more than a thimble-sized
hole in the umbrella of advantage and privilege which your son will
carry through life. If you have a daughter, however, you might start
worrying about HER being treated a result of the sins
of her present and future peers, coworkers, and employers.

By the way, I am a white male with a "proper" California/Midwestern
accent and good manners. I planned none of this--it came to me by
chance--but I am well aware that it provides me with many opportu-
nities and attention and deference which are not available to people
whose traits are lower on the scale of "cultural approval".

-- Bob

Robert Tighe Resource Teacher
Instructional Technology Outside of a dog,
Albuquerque Public Schools a book is man's best friend;
220 Monroe SW inside of a dog,
Albuquerque, NM 87108-2811 it's too dark to read.
505-256-4266 -- Groucho Marx

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