It turns out that my vacation hiatus was very much devoid of posts instead of light on posts. I felt like it wasn't worth trying to use the internet when loading up the main google search page took 4 minutes.
Dodgeball Champ and I talked a while over the holiday about revenge for discrimination in times past. It was brought up by a series of posts that I was involved in on another blog Here where I argued about how a particular point about advocating for women was made. The fundamental issue behind the arguments to my mind is the question of whether or not it is reasonable to get revenge for discrimination in the past as a way to remedy the situation. In particular, is it ok to have very different standards for gender discrimination that hugely favour women because of past discrimination against them? This argument applies equally well to other groups that have been disadvantaged - which pretty much means anyone who isn't a white male.
It should be noted that I absolutely support equality and I also support efforts to assist those who have disadvantages to have all the opportunities that someone like me (white english speaking male) has. It does make me uncomfortable though that wearing a Gay Pride / Black Unity / Girl Power Tshirt is considered acceptable but a White Unity / Male Power / Straight Pride Tshirt would be the ultimate in bad taste and might well get me beat up. Thing is, I know that in many places and times being gay, female or nonwhite was/is a tremendous disadvantage and those people had to obey the white straight men in charge and that situation was downright awful. I want gender, sexual orientation, culture, heritage and many other things to be no barrier whatsoever for employment, social status, comfort, power and many other things.
The trick is that we want all these groups to have equal opportunity but we don't want to perpetuate a cycle of revenge. It is possible to think that we should solve previous inequalities by simply punishing those who were ahead in the past until they are no longer advantaged. I think that by doing that we end up making the divisions between the groups larger and more durable though because those who were ahead end up resenting and discrediting the people receiving the benefits. If someone gets a job ahead of me or is given freedoms I am not I will resent them and resent the measures used to force equality. That creates an incentive for people who are disadvantaged by the current rules to band together to attempt to circumvent those rules for their own benefit and to share their frustration with the current situation.
On the other hand I do think it is extremely valuable to provide extra support where it is needed and to recognize that that support may need to be focused around groups like I have outlined above. It makes a lot of sense for us to focus on providing additional counselling, training and support for natives trying to enter the workforce for example because they have (on average) a lot of additional barriers to overcome. It obviously makes sense to have women's shelters and not to have an equal number of men's shelters. There are many things we can and should do to support disadvantaged groups.
Regardless of those I will continue to find it frustrating that people celebrate aspects of themselves that I cannot celebrate, even though I don't particularly *want* to celebrate them. I am proud of my country in general and my city in particular because they are so accepting of differences and marginalized groups. (Not to say we couldn't do better, but we do very well.) I am *not* proud that any particular person is gay, I honestly don't care who they want to fall in love with or have sex with, but I am proud of their ability to do so happily and comfortably in my society. I do think though that by setting different standards for behaviour based on race / gender / sexuality / etc. we end up supporting the divides between people instead of eliminating them.
ETA: I have no desire at all to wear a White Power / Man Pride / Straight Unity shirt. I just want my ability to wear one to be equivalent to the comparable ones.