Past Injustices
Mon, 6 May 1996 18:49:05 -0600 (MDT)

Wanda Cahill Wrote:

> ... I simply object to the tone of the discussion =
> and the unwarranted assumption that all males -- not even just the =
> "privileged white males" of TIGHE's order -- have some particular =
> privileges that women do not have. I don't see it...

Accept it. Admittedly, males from minority groups are lower in
status than white males, and males from poor families have fewer
chances than those from wealthy families, but males generally are
treated with more respect and deference, given more attention,
taken more seriously, and provided with better job opportunities
than women.

> And, Bob, it's no accident if you have good manners and know how to =
> communicate intelligently. Your race and gender you get at birth, but =
> the person you become is something you achieve for yourself...

The "accident" was that I was born to a family for whom reading
was a valued skill in a region in which everyone spoke standard
English. If I had been a poor Southerner rather than a poor
Californian, I would have had a linguistic barrier to overcome,
as well as the barrier of poverty.

The fact is, you are oversimplifying the problem and the solutions.
There are all sorts of levels of "acceptability" and privilege
based on money, language, gender, race, religion, clothing, and
more. Each one of these counts against you or for you, and reduces
or enhances your social status. The variations, and the social
interactions which result from them, are often subtle and generally
unstated. Both men and women tend to complain more about a female
boss than a male one, and they rarely complain about her being
female. The fact that she is female tends to make her workers
much more sensitive to other characteristics which they would
overlook, or accept, in a male boss. A black female boss has
two strikes against her (a black male boss usually has a better
chance, but the situation can become more complex when you start
mixing multiple forms of prejudice).

And some of these characteristics, like being black or female,
cannot be altered by simply taking lessons or going to college.
That is why preferential programs designed to change societal
attitudes, like affirmative action and TODTW, are so important.
We must change the perpetrators of prejudice (virtually all of
us) and the symptoms of prejudice, because the victims cannot,
and should not have to, change.

-- Bob

Robert Tighe Resource Teacher
Instructional Technology
Albuquerque Public Schools Technology is the knack of
220 Monroe SW so arranging the world that we do not
Albuquerque, NM 87108-2811 experience it. -- Max Frisch

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