“America is a wall and you are on the other side. How’s a black man ever going to get a fair trial with the enemy on the bench and in the jury box?. My life in white hands? You Jake, that’s how. You are my secret weapon because you are one of the bad guys. You don’t mean to be but you are. It’s how you was raised. Nigger, negro, black, African-American, no matter how you see me, you see me different, you see me like that jury sees me, you are them. Now throw out your points of law Jake. If you was on that jury, what would it take to convince you to set me free? That’s how you save my ass. That’s how you save us both.” – Samuel L. Jackson “A Time To Kill”
The above quote from the movie “A Time To Kill” is one of the most powerful lines, not only in that movie, but in the message it delivers and how it can be applied to any form of prejudice, be it racism, sexism, religious persecution, social class differences, EVERY form of superficial reasoning one person can conjure in their minds to place another human being below them in value. In this particular case I want to cover one of the hottest topics of the moment, sexism.
Though some may not agree with this sexism is a door that swings both ways from both genders. I remember once being made fun of because I could cook and run a vacuum cleaner, “That’s a woman’s work.” I was told. Apparently it did not matter that I was single, or that all of these things deemed “A woman’s work” are actually just LIFE SKILLS that if you don’t know how to do for yourself and if there is no one there to do things for you, then they don’t get done period. On the flip side of that I have seen women put down other women BECAUSE they CHOOSE to be homemakers and don’t feel any particular need to “Make it, in a man’s world.” So to speak, like these women are an affront to the feminist movement and actually to me this really does sound no different than the men who want to think that cleaning house is a “Woman’s job” and if you are a guy who does it then you are an affront to man hood. I have heard the dreaded statement of “The only thing a woman is good for is sex.” I have had to listen to why “MEN” are everything that is wrong with this world. I have heard the perverted stories of old men growing up in construction, but I have also got a kick out of the perverted jokes about the jumbo sized hot dog in the vending machine, of the break room when I worked in an office as one of only four men there. To me it was ALL in good humor, just people doing the same things from a direction they were able to relate to more. So why the division? Is it ALL born from what the two genders experience from each other, or is it a lack of understanding the benefits of realizing that we really are not so different from one another? Are we MEN and WOMEN, or are we HUMAN BEINGS and part of a WHOLE?
” I have a dream that one day in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black g.·ids will he able to join hands with little white boy’s and white girls as sisters and brothers. ” – Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have A Dream Speech”
The above statement is part of the speech made by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 and it begs the question, What does it take? What does it take to be the kind of person who looks toward UNITY as the answer to being subjected to the injustice brought on by prejudice? Many argue that it takes a GREAT PERSON and this is what this man will always be remembered and honored for being. His era in American history taught us all that there is no such thing as SEPARATE but EQUAL. How we continue to view each other and ourselves as different from one another is what keeps the rift from closing. This is the case of racism, and this is also the case for sexism as well.
I want to take a moment now to examine the difference between an IDEA and a LABEL. Idea’s are blueprints, they are progressive, they are part of how we manifest and shape concepts of reality, but because of this, they are also FLUID in nature. A label is FIXED, a sort of catch all word or phrase that is meant to put an idea in a nutshell. The two really have no place together, because as an idea changes, so too the label takes on new and different meanings. This happens until a divide is created even among those who define themselves under a label.
I was recently pointed to an article that was very informative and well thought out. It pertained to the role that the divide in feminism played in the recent election. I will leave a link here for you to go and read it, it really is an eye opener on many fronts.
Within this article I saw phrases like “Neo Liberal Feminists” What this phrase shows me not as a man, but as a person, is the effect that labels have on an idea. An IDEA is meant to promote growth and progress within the area that the idea pertains to, a LABEL promotes only that which a label does, which is to say that it RESTRICTS an idea to a fixed state. What happens when you ALMOST fit the LABEL, but you don’t? The same thing that happened among people of Christian faith: They split into DENOMINATIONS and when this happens PEOPLE under a LABEL begin fighting with one another over what is right and wrong on top of what they were already fighting for in the first place. It becomes counterproductive.
So what now? Do you continue down the path that led to this over extension of conflict, or do you make strides in taking POWER away from the label itself? Feminists want a world where women can be seen as equal and be treated with the same respect as everyone else. In this argument TRUE EQUALITY can only be achieved when men stop looking at women as women and start seeing them as people like themselves. This ideology is JUST and LOGICAL, however the very label of FEMINIST is gender specific, they do not call themselves HUMANISTS which might be encompassing of PEOPLE as a whole. In light of this the sensible question to ask would be. “How can I as a man see you as the same, when you label yourself as different in the very same way that men are guilty of seeing you as?” As informative and well thought out as the above article was, even if it reached people, even if the divide among FEMINISTS was mended and women saw each other as equal, then what? There would STILL be one major divide left to address and that would be the one between the genders. How does that divide get mended?
I believe that there are few out there who do not understand, at least on some level. When it comes to brass tacks, there really are very few out there who have managed to escape oppressive views. No one holds a corner on the market for oppression. There are just too many reasons that people look down on each other and most of them have to do with what a person is rather than what a person does. I may not know a women’s struggle, but I have a heritage in civilized people who extended their hand in friendship to share what they had with others only to have that kindness spit in their faces when they were over run and forced from their homes and land. My Great Grandfather Dennis Standing Horse was a full blooded Native American of the Cherokee Tribe. I don’t know a woman’s struggle, but I faced the same issues in school that anyone who wore twenty dollar McGreggors as opposed to the one hundred and twenty dollar Air Jordans, from both students with an elitist attitude as well as even faculty who believed those elite were where the future would lay while the rest of us were going to be the pizza delivery boys and girls. The above article also shows us, that discrimination is clearly not a gender specific issue, therefore it stands the reason to believe that it is HUMAN ERROR. and if it is HUMAN ERROR, then it is a HUMAN PROBLEM not strictly WOMEN’S PROBLEM. As hard as it is when you are the one being put down and held back, to put that aside and come at an argument from a direction that includes EVERYONE, it really is the only viable option we have not really tried. We say that women being allowed to vote is a victory for women, but the truth of the matter is, it is a victory for the society as a whole, because it is the recognition that EVERYONE who stands to be effected by the actions of lawmakers has the right to decide who those lawmakers will be. it is meant for stronger unity in that sense of duty across the board. THAT benefits us ALL. When you say that women can hold the same job as a man and not be paid the same salary as that man is a WOMEN”S problem…… It isn’t. It’s everybody’s problem, when you think that a companies short sightedness would see them deter someone who could be really great at a job from even wanting to bother because they would never be respected regardless of performance, that company is short changing itself as well. It also promotes the value of money over people, because if pay is not based on the job rather than who has it you are saying this person over here is worth more without anything to actually justify that belief. The mentality that drives into the PEOPLE as a whole is damaging to ALL. I get that women have been pushed for centuries in some places, but in order to obtain that which FEMINISTS as a whole set out to get, which was TRUE EQUALITY, it has to be about more than women’s struggles and victories, it has to cross the line and be about what would benefit EVERYONE, including the oppressors. Things change when PEOPLE are shown the benefit of that change occurring, see it from the side of PEOPLE as a whole. and your support will multiply. I honestly believe this.