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March 22, 2012

Blast from the Past

Since I have far less time to write now than I used to, I thought it might be interesting to revive some older posts to fill in when I'm distracted by this desk I'm chained to, thanks to feminists and their evil, freedom-harshing ways.

If only the Blog Princess had choices....

It's amazing to me how many things I've forgotten having written, but more importantly it's interesting to go back and see how well our thoughts, hopes, and dreams have stood up in light of recent events. Sometimes we'll see old faces. Today's post was brought to mind by thoughts of Lex, who recently left us.

It concerns a speech made by candidate Barack Obama, and the reactions of several bloggers (including our dear friend Grim) to his words.

This section, in particular, seems applicable to a topic I've been writing about a lot lately: the gender wars. Here, I was talking about race but I think the same ideas apply to the eternal battle between the sexes:

I am not sure we have to get inside each other's skin, to get along. I do think it is tremendously important that we try to come to some agreement about the broad standards of equity under which we plan to live our lives. These values are eternal, and they know no skin color. This is what Martin Luther King preached: what ought to matter to a man or woman is not the prism through which they view the world because if you will not resist the tendency to think and act as a white or black person rather than as a human being, you are part of the problem with race relations in America. What matters, is not the color of a man's skin, but the content of his character.

That is the conversation we should be having about race in America. We should be talking about color blind values and trying to take an honest look at whether our own experiences sometimes interfere with our efforts to live up to those values. Because the pain that lies behind the debate on race in America lies, not in "not understanding each others' anger", but in the refusal to see that if we can only learn to set aside the subjective prism of race when it threatens to betray our better natures, the rest will follow.

What is needed, in the post-civil rights era, may not be so much a thundering "Let my people go", but "Let go of identity politics." Treat those of all races as you would be treated.

I wonder whether we'll ever get to that point?

Posted by Cassandra at March 22, 2012 07:29 AM

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You tell me it's the institution, well, you know, you'd better free your mind instead.

Posted by: Texan99 at March 22, 2012 09:31 AM

I think I learned that in Marriage 101.
It was pass-fail, but there were daily quizzes, so I've had to repeat it about 12,000 times.

Posted by: spd rdr at March 22, 2012 10:00 AM

I like the way Chief Justice Roberts thinks:
"“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,”"

Posted by: DL Sly at March 22, 2012 10:31 AM

It was pass-fail, but there were daily quizzes, so I've had to repeat it about 12,000 times.

I think that's probably the single most valuable thing about being married (besides the sex... and the companionship... and the lovely feeling you get just before you walk through the door each night and think, "I'm home"): you're constantly given the opportunity to broaden your perspective and learn something new about the other half of the human race.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 22, 2012 11:31 AM

Not that anyone ought to care about what I thought of an Obama speech from 2008, but the link is broken; if anyone does care, it's here.

...when I'm distracted by this desk I'm chained to, thanks to feminists and their evil, freedom-harshing ways.

If only the Blog Princess had choices....

I think this is the root of our disagreement on the role of the job market. You're writing from a position in which the market has always represented a choice for you. As you said in the post above, you've only quit one job from unhappiness, with the implication that you generally could have. Likewise, there were jobs you wouldn't do 'for any money.'

The people who concern me are the ones who work at jobs they hate, or jobs they cannot leave, because other people depend on them. If I may say so, this is a example of the Romney/Santorum class division that is at work on the right: Romney does really well among those who make over $50 grand a year, and very poorly among those who make less, because the glories of the economy look very different if you're poor. I have had good luck with the economy personally, in general, but many people I respect and admire are beaten down by it precisely because they work hard and do right.

A man doesn't have to be very poor to become trapped by his duty to family. Two of the three men I was writing about this week have college degrees. Their dignity isn't in having choices, because they don't have choices: they made their choices long ago, and are bearing the weight of them. Their honor is in doing so, because of their love for others; their dignity is in doing so well.

Posted by: Grim at March 22, 2012 04:14 PM

Grim, that was a reference to Taranto's idiotic essay about women who have "no choice" but to work because they have been brainwashed and chained to their desks by evil feminists.

What a load of bunk. Any woman who works only because of what some activist thinks is a moron. And she DOES have a choice - she has chosen to do something she hates because she's too gutless to think for herself.

My family depended upon me when we were first married. I *chose* (because we always have choices) to move to another state when I could not find a job in the town my husband and I lived in, but there were probably other choices I failed to consider. My husband *chose* to stay in school, though we both discussed him dropping out and enlisting. We were in a bad recession back then.

We *chose* to sublet our apartment to save money.

We *chose* to live apart and tough it out for a year and a half. With only a HS diploma and no work experience in a bad recession, my job choices were pretty limited. They were further limited because I didn't want (another choice) to put my son in day care.

I understand your point about the nobility of doing one's duty, but most people DO have choices, and very often they - sometimes through no fault of their own - end up in a place they don't like. You can always quit a job you hate, though you have to find a new one and that may be very hard. You may have to move away as I did, or live apart.

Now, couples have MORE choices (which has kind of been the point of this series of posts) because women can CHOOSE to work. Parents can CHOOSE to engage in capital for labor substitution (child care, etc). Or... not.

But they do have choices. We always have choices.

You seem to think I am dissing people who are unhappy in their work. I'm not. But I am saying that people almost always have some choices and married couples in today's world - thanks to feminism - have MORE choices than they did before.

Some of them use their newfound freedoms unwisely. Me, I'd prefer to *have* the freedom in the first place.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 22, 2012 04:53 PM