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A Response to a Circulated Story

If we all started from an even starting point, and were all given the
same opportunities, then this story would be closer to true. But two people
who do the same amount of hard work in life do not necessarily get to same place.
There are other factors at play. Pretend your were a black man, and most white
women you passed on the street gave you a second glance in case you were
going to try something. What kind of long term effect would that have on
your self esteem??

(The forwarded letter is below if you would like to read that before going further.)

Pretend that you are a woman trying to climb the corporate ladder and
are passed over for a job promotion, because you might be taking Maternity
leave in the next 5 years. Now pretend you are a black woman. How many
black women do you know that are able to make $40,000 a year?? Is it
because they just didn't try, or just didn't have the dedication? Nope,
it's because we are all judged on outward characteristics that we have no
ability to change.
As a white woman, I know that I am judged depending on the clothes a
wear, depending if I put on makeup on or not. I also know what it's like
to be treated by certain men who size up my abilities before even talking
to me. We all make judgements and we all are judged. White men are
less able to understand the differences that judgements may make
in the advancement in society, because they generally wear the same
thing everyday, and rarely change how they look. They were born at
the top of the "first impression feeding chain," if you will. Until you have
walked in a Blackman's shoes, you don't know what it's like to start at
the bottom, and occasionally be pushed back down, due to the
characteristics you were born with.
As with all things, we can't make large generalizations about everyone.
A black man that learns to ignore negative attitudes, and works as hard
may get as far in life as a white man, but the odds are stacked
against him. I feel that society does have a responsibility to attempt to
even the playing field. As with most questions, the answers lies not at
one extreme or another, but somewhere in between.


On Thu, 20 Apr 2006, Mary wrote:

> A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many
> others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and
> was very much in favor of the distribution of wealth. She was deeply
> ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican, a feeling she
> openly based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the
> occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years
> harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.
> One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes
> for the rich and the addition of more government welfare programs. The
> self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her
> professors had to be the truth
> and she indicated so to her father.
> He responded by asking how she was doing in school. Taken aback, she
> answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0GPA, and let him know that it
> was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult
> course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out
> and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a
> boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent
> all her time studying.
> Her father listened and then asked, "How is you friend Audrey doing?"
> She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by, college for her is a blast. All
> she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0
> GPA. She is so popular on campus, she's always invited to all the parties,
> and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too
> hung over."
> Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office
> and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only
> has a 2.0. That way you will both have 3.0 GPAs, and certainly
> that would
> be a fair and equal distribution of GPAs."
> The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired
> back, "That wouldn't be fair! I have worked really hard for my grades!
> I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next
> to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my butt off!"
> The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, "Welcome to the
> Republican Party."


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 21st, 2006 05:16 pm (UTC)
Bah. That story's so full of holes I wouldn't even give it the time of day.

All the bullshit about "her professors" just feeds into a popular Republican misconception that students get their crazy, liberal politics from professors, instead of other students or just as a teen rebellion.

The worst thing for me about it is the all-or-nothing feeling. If you don't support total communist redistribution of all wealth, you obviously must oppose all taxation of any kind. Bah.

Bah, I say.

It's good to see you posting more. It'd be real nice to see you in person soon. Hard for me to plan much in advance these days.
Apr. 21st, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
I didn't even catch the "professor" misconception reinforcement. Man, those professors! We should just do away with colleges completely.

I miss you too, Nobody :)
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 21st, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Ya and that idea
Oh, so I'm not the only one who starts flaming with these conservative passarounds hit. I thought everyone else was able to blow them off easier. Geee, they always get my goat!!

Do you have a couple examples of the hidden costs of not having welfare programs that I may pass on in my future arguments?? :)
Apr. 21st, 2006 08:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Ya and that idea
The only one that comes to mind for me is bread riots. When's the last time we had a bread riot in this country? 1930-something. I use that to refute the idea that "the welfare system in this country is a failure". Even Democrats sometimes say that, like the system is supposed to lift people from poverty instead of simply give them enough food to eat so they have the opportunity to lift themselves up, instead of, you know, starving.

Along similar lines, I also like to talk about what happens when you give a very rich person $100 versus giving the same to a very poor person. The rich person might hang onto that cash all day, all week even. The poor person will spend it right away, on food, clothes, rent, maybe cigarettes and alcohol, but the point is they'll spend it. And then the lower-middle class shopkeeper will spend it fairly quickly, too, on wages for other people, and on the upper-middle class vendors. The money gets into circulation right away, and that boosts the economy. People are spending! We all make more money.

It's basically "trickle-up" economics, and it works much faster and more efficiently than "trickle-down". All those smarty-pants Republicans that bitch about poor people buying chips and coke should shut up and buy stock in Frito-Lay and Coca-Cola and then support welfare. Or something like that.

Apr. 21st, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Ya and that idea
My mother-in-law is the only one that sends me that kind of crap anymore. She's slowed down lately, maybe because I take every factual assertion to snopes.com and the majority of them are false. (She sent one just this morning about how Mr. Rogers used to be a Navy Seal...)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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