First-Hand Experience

I recently posted on my Facebook wall a blog post by John Pavlovitz titled The Extinction of the White Male Dinosaur.  In the post, Pavlovitz writes: “In the coming days, the Tweets will become more erratic, the legislative assaults grow more transparently desperate, the hate crimes more brazen, the sermons grow more alarmist and incendiary. These Jurassic, soon-to-be-amber-trapped relics, will act is if the very sky above them is falling, because in very real ways, it is. They will thrash and spit and bellow, in an effort to buy themselves a few more days and a bit more power and another Federal judge or two, but they cannot stave off their inevitable disappearance, as progress and civilization and time swallow them up.”

As you might imagine, the post got a reaction from my Facebook friends. One of my friends asked, “Where does all the venom towards white males come from?”

To which I replied, “I love white males. My father is one. My brothers. My husband. My sons. This blog post (by Pavlovitz) was, in fact, written by a white male. It wasn’t written as an attack on white males, but as an observation of the death of white male privilege. Which I have never liked so much.”

Another friend (a white male) commented, “Please stop spreading the hate.”  He wrote: “One of the biggest problems today is the media. Try turning your television off. Try NOT believing everything you read on social media. Try to have a nice day!”

Here is my response to that comment and other comments like that one:
I don’t generally watch TV news – it’s too upsetting to me – sometimes I’ll watch PBS because they’re not loaded with commercials selling pharmaceuticals and they don’t show the graphic images of death that you see over and over again, replaying on the other networks. I generally get my news from print articles.

Here’s a question for those who ask me to stop sharing my thoughts: If my dad had posted the Pavlovitz blog post would anyone have told him to “stop spreading hate”? I’m guessing not. And I think that is an example, right there, of white male privilege. Dad calls himself a “lifelong Democrat” – his immigrant Dutch father was, in fact, a socialist. Both Dad and Mom were proud to vote for Barack Obama – and celebrated big-time when he won. No one has ever tried to censor Dad’s words or asked him to stop sharing his thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

The blog post by John Pavlovitz that I posted above isn’t about hating anyone. It’s about celebrating the end of a system – an archaic “dinosaur” of a system – that has kept women and minorities underpaid and underemployed – and has kept them from sharing in the power enjoyed by white males in this country for centuries.

I don’t hate Mitch McConnell. I don’t even hate Trump. But I hate the system that put them in power, and has allowed them to tromp all over other people’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

And I don’t need to watch the news to know about white male privilege. My life-long experiences as a female, and my job working with mostly minority students,  have given me first-hand experience with this.

 

 

 

 

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A Free Press

“When the press is gagged, liberty is besieged…”
– Mary Baker Eddy, founder of The Christian Science Monitor

The job of the free press is to keep our citizens informed. When the White House refuses to let the free press do its job it is an attack on our democracy. Our government is by the people, of the people, and for the people – it is not supposed to be a dictatorship, or a corporation. Our government depends on an informed citizenry – how can we have an informed citizenry if the White House refuses to let its citizens see what it’s doing? Pictures don’t tell lies. Yes, words can be twisted, biases can be presented in the written and spoken telling of a story – but a rolling camera that films exactly what is being said and done isn’t lying – it isn’t showing bias – it’s just showing us exactly what is happening – and that is vital for a healthy democracy.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
– First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

“It is the pulpit and press, clerical robes and the prohibiting of free speech, that cradles and covers the sins of the world,—all unmitigated systems of crime; and it requires the enlightenment of these worthies, through civil and religious reform, to blot out all inhuman codes.  It was the Southern pulpit and press that influenced the people to wrench from man both human and divine rights, in order to subserve the interests of wealth, religious caste, civil and political power.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings

“When the press is gagged, liberty is besieged; but when the press assumes the liberty to lie, it discounts clemency, mocks morality, outrages humanity, breaks common law, gives impulse to violence, envy, and hate, and prolongs the reign of inordinate, unprincipled clans. At this period, 1888, those quill-drivers whose consciences are in their pockets hold high carnival. When news-dealers shout for class legislation, and decapitated reputations, headless trunks, and quivering hearts are held up before the rabble in exchange for money, place, and power, the vox populi is suffocated, individual rights are trodden under foot, and the car of the modern Inquisition rolls along the streets besmeared with blood.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings

Thinking for Ourselves

Several folks have now shared the opinion that we should stop reading the news and “think for ourselves.” And… a few things:

1) The fact that several folks have parroted the almost exact same words about “thinking for ourselves” leads me to believe that they are not actually thinking for themselves, themselves.

2) “Thinking for ourselves” shouldn’t just mean making up “facts” as we go along, or pulling “the truth” out of our kiesters. To really “think for yourself” you have to be informed and knowledgeable.

3) It doesn’t take any special kind of talent to spout off a bunch of opinions – anyone can do that. To really be a thinker, you need to be able to separate opinions from facts. And to separate opinions from facts, you need to have some facts to separate the opinions from. And where do we get our facts? Well… by reading the news, right? And not by reading just one news source (one news source could easily be biased) – but by reading multiple sources. And not just by reading the editorials – which are, by definition, opinion pieces – but by reading actual news stories.

Okay. That’s all I’ve got right now. Carry on then…

“The time for thinkers has come.” –
Mary Baker Eddy