Friday, July 22, 2016

Bypass Bigotry

The reality is, racism isn't born into someone - it is taught. From the very moment that a racist comment leaves someones mouth it is transposed into the minds of the people around them. And unfortunately some of them aren't strong enough not to blindly follow. One day you were sitting around the dinner table and someone said something racist and all of a sudden the innocent frame of mind from which you used to see the world became a cracked pane of glass, each fracture dividing everyone into categories that had an assigned value. And yours was placed at the very top.

Even as someone who sits on the fence of Black vs. Blue, unable to pick sides because I think we do enough of that already, I will still say that racism in any case is wrong. To single out a group of people and label them less than isn't anyone's place. No one has that power, but some just feel they are so privileged that they should.

So don't be upset when you see people out protesting to try and make changes. You see it as a waste of time or a pain in your ass, but they see it as their only hope of creating a better life for themselves. They're not hurting anyone, so let them do what they came here to do. And no I'm not talking about burning flags here because that is, in my opinion, disgraceful.

But so many people are pissed off that protesters are blocking sidewalks and barricading freeways. But what so many people fail to realize is it's a metaphor for the constant blockades that minority groups face in this country. They are consistently pushed away from paths of opportunity or they never even make it to them because they are pushed in directions that impede their progress.

As much as many people can find this form of protest to be a nuisance - they are just trying to be heard. You may view it as ineffective, but then again you've probably never had to protest for the safety and equality of your entire race. You having to choose another street or walk the extra block enables you to check your privilege and walk away. You'll look a lot better than the people who try to drive or push straight through them. Bypass bigotry, and maybe someday this country will be a better place where we can all walk down whichever path we want instead of being forced to simply choose what is left.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

I'm Not Bossy

It's crazy how people still think disparities in treatment between genders don't exist. We love to believe that just because we have come so far it automatically means that we are done making changes.

Consider the journey for equality like remodeling your house. When everything becomes outdated and it is evident that progress needs to be made - you make it. You try to keep as much of the existing framework in place and you build from there. You repaint, redecorate, and refurnish. And at the end of it all you grab your glass of wine and soak in all the hard work you've done.

Then ten or fifteen years pass and you realize that all your hard work is starting to fall apart. The walls have a few holes, paint is chipping... it's rather disappointing. At one time it was something you were proud of - something you saw as an important way to invest your effort and time, but now it seems as though that pretty picture isn't so pretty anymore due to being damaged over time or even poorly maintained.

Our journey for gender equality should be looked at in the same fashion. The progress we make should never indicate that we are forever finished or as if there will never be anymore work to do. And I think one of the steps to gradually fixing this issue is ending the era of female leadership being labeled "bossy."

The reality is, when a man stands up before his peers and pushes for change he is considered a leader, but in a lot of cases if a woman exhibits these same behaviors she is considered bossy.Sure, we've made plenty of progress on this specific subject as women have time and time again proven that they have just as much if not more leadership potential than men (remind me again why we should have had to "prove" this while with men it was assumed - just for those of you who think there isn't an issue). But remember what I said early about progress... with certain things you can make as much progress as you want, but there will always be room for improvement, especially after time passes.

I know what you're probably thinking and inside your head you're jumping out of your seat to raise your hand like a frantic fifth grader. "What if a woman really is being bossy? Am I not supposed to tell her she's being a bad leader just because she's a woman?" No, of course not. In fact, you're hurting her and her potential more by not telling her. When someone - anyone - is being a bad leader they should be pulled aside and made aware of their behavior. But that's just it - it shouldn't just be because of their gender. Whether you're a man or you're a woman, if you are genuinely exhibiting poor leadership then you should most definitely be held accountable. But if the only reason they seem bossy is because they have a pair of boobs - try again.
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