Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ya Know Why People Love Stereotypes? That Whole Not Having To Think Part.

Likely not the only offender, but hey, I hit her page earlier today. Ann Althouse decided to skip the actual thinking part and ran a post stereotyping European Men for the tacky crime (as I call it) "Messing with the help." The two stories of the moment that she referred to as the premises (of a sort) for this warped conclusion are the stories about the IMF banker sex crime arrest, and reports that Schwarzenegger fathered a child with one of "The Help." Now Althouse led off with the conclusion, what is it with these European men . . .

At first I thought, hmm. I might have to agree to that. But god help me, I had my second or third sip of coffee, and the caffeine caused my cranky, often sluggish, particularly when under caffeinated mind to kick in. The cogs and wheels started turning, and cognition and memory embraced like the old married couple they are, and they produced the most easily effective counter answer to that erroneous conclusion:

Bill Clinton!

Yes, before that datum got sent to where it needed to go I did entertain a thought about the scene from the movie Fanny and Alexander, where the whole family is at table. The one male character says out loud how he has his wife, and his mistress; life is good! (I'm not going to google for the exact quote. Deal with it.) But not too long after, my main complaint (not only but work with me here) against Bill Clinton came to me.

Now usually I don't give a shit about any one's infidelity. But for schadenfreude, when it's someone famous I don't like. Nor did I give a rat's ass about lying about it under oath. I had previous to the impeachment done the research on perjury under Fed. Law. Under ordinary circumstances, a US Atty would never bring that sort of small potatoes shit before a grand jury, indicitability of ham sandwiches considered, or not. I did harshly in my own way judge Clinton of the crime of being tacky by messing with the help while POTUS. Messing with the help at any time is tacky. But I don't give a shit about private people. When my POTUS does it, that's a foul against if not the nation or office, but against The Party.

Anyway, back to stereotyping. Back when I was still wasting time arguing with some right wing bigots on a particular message board, one of them (on at least two occasions) drew the line in the sand, they planted the flag on the hill that, "Stereotyping saves time." Now it's a mark of bad judgment, lazy thinking to merely employ stereotyping and not at least self correct. But to defend the practice? That's the mark of poor character. Granted, these prior conversations were in the deeper, more perilous realm where ethnic shit blurs into race, and it's really a matter of attacking what I would call racist or at least generally bigoted thinking. But again, how damaged or otherwise sick must a mind be to defend willful self perpetuating ignorance and being wrong-ness? Quick answer: that's the way far too many republicans/right wingers are wired.

Granted, and if you have actually read the words I have typed here and understood the plain meaning of them under standard High School level meaning and comprehension (again something the failure to do seems to be the way lots of right wingers operate, and instead choose alternative meanings, definitions, syntax, all that,) you should know I do not pretend to have the perfectly uncluttered, unsullied mind. But to paraphrase what I argued to these bigots on that message board, and likely have said here before. Not being a racist, not being a bigot is not a status. Rather, it's a process. One must fight the pull of bad and or wrong thoughts. One must face these bad, wrong thoughts every day, and when they pop up one must say, nope, that shit is not right. I should do better. And then one must try to do better. And it's a process that never ends.

Challenging one's own stupid-assed, ignorant stereotype judgments is part of that. Granted, European is not even technically an ethnicity, but it's close enough. And under the UN working definition for racial discrimination, ethnic based discrimination is within the definition of racial discrimination. Religious based discrimination can run afoul of that definition as well.

But there is one area we are still free to be judgmental. That would be politics. After all. Politics is strictly by definition an us vs them thing. That's why the phrase political bigot has never had much traction in the vernacular. It's sort of redundant, even to a 4th grader.

Anyway, funny but I would likely have never mentioned either sex headline story, if the stereotype leading to bigotry leading to potentially racist type thinking issue did not jump up.

There it is.

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