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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 18,889

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Explaining stupidity: "isms" and Loss Aversion

"How can 'they' be SO STUPID?"

"How can 'they' vote against their own interests?"

"Why do 'they' support something so manifestly destructive- to 'them'?"

I've lost track of the versions of this fundamental question- they are myriad. The question is asked over and over, but particularly in relation to people who are clearly not at the top of the income distribution, lacking powerful educational/family connections, often struggling with challenges to the health, well-being, and future of themselves and/or their families.

Writing them off as "stupid," or even "delusional" may feel good, but it does nothing to promote the understanding needed to build positive connections and promote change.

Identifying the "ism" driving their oppositional orientation (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) is a start, but focusing on something as big as an "ism" won't help you communicate with them, either. Often the reverse- identifying them as an "-ist" or a "-phobe" simply widens the gap.

As a wise elder of my acquaintance puts it "turn the pocket inside out."

Almost all forms of "ism" relate to the assumption of, and benefit from, a specific kind of privilege.

White people- no matter how economically, educationally, or otherwise disadvantaged- still retain the advantages of our white privilege. We may not be conscious of it, we may even deny its existence, but it's there all the same. We have a much higher chance of surviving a traffic stop. We don't have to think twice, while shopping, about picking up an object and moving along to see it in a better light before putting it our basket or taking it to the register. Thousands of daily, subtle things we benefit from, stresses we don't experience, worries we don't have, assumptions we can unthinkingly make, whether we're aware of them or not- these are our privilege as white people in a racist culture.

Male people retain the privilege their "Y" chromosome conveys in in a patriarchal culture.

Cisgendered people, able-bodied folk, members of ANY group that enjoys privilege in a culture that bestows it, may be unaware of, or even in denial of, that privilege and the advantages it bestows, but they react with immediate, even instinctive, opposition to any kind of change that threatens its loss.

And when those intangible but very real privileges are practically the only advantages you enjoy in a wealth-worshipping, power-driven, hierarchical, profoundly inequitable society?

They are exponentially more precious. Realized or not, the holders thereof will cling to them with grim determination intensified all the more by the fading hopes of ever achieving the economic or social success to which that privilege "should" entitle them.

The more we suffer from the effects of inequity, the greater our aversion to giving up the few tangible or intangible advantages our privilege conveys.

Examining things from the status of loss aversion- however intangible or even imaginary those losses may be (how manyof those people longing for a return to the imagined paradise of an orderly Leave-It-To-Beaver past would really have been any better off than they are now..?) helps me understand the grim obstinacy their self-defeating choices.

Loss aversion is almost always more powerful, as a psychological motivation, than hope of benefit.

The upsurge in overt racism after Obama's election is a pretty clear indicator that we can expect something just as- maybe more- virulent, pervasive, and obstinately vicious from those who fear the loss of the privilege that comes with their "Y" chromosome.

I'm not looking forward to it.


Call. It. Out. Again, and again, and again, invariably and unwearyingly. CALL IT OUT!

Unbelievable MTP misogyny. "Nana Clinton?" Do they even hear themselves? A rant.

This one's a two-fer!

Sexism PLUS ageism.

Of course, this is a combo all of us "invisible women" (On the Invisibility of Middle-Aged Women) are all too familiar with.

I am looking ahead, to a Clinton victory. I refuse to consider the alternative. (Denial CAN be a good thing, sometimes...)

And I am looking back, at the past eight years of an Obama presidency, and what it foreshadows for a Hillary Clinton presidency.

First, an admission: While I never, ever bought into the whole "post-racism" bullshit, I really DID think, back in 2008, that America's progress in dealing with racism was more substantial than subsequent events revealed. It's one of the costs that come with white privilege. No matter how good our intentions are, white privilege allows us to take breaks, to accept the hopeful narratives rooted in our privilege with less critical scrutiny, to selectively focus on what we want to see.

Black people know otherwise. Black voices were there, quietly trying to prepare us for what they knew was coming. Black experience was unsurprised by the post-election explosion of unvarnished, virulent, racist backlash.

It has been a painfully expensive eight years for black Americans, faced with the surging manifestations of bigotry, hate, and discrimination. But black people and allies worked to turn that costly experience into an extended "teaching moment" for all of us, making lemonade from a harvest of unspeakable bitterness by their determination to use the power of the spotlight.

I salute and admire those who have provided an example for American women facing the vilely misogynistic backlash to come:

Call it out.

Call it out, without wearying.

Call it out, every time.

Call it out, again and again, and again.

Call it out, the big manifestations.

Call it out, the small manifestations.

Call it out, EVERY TIME.

Call it out, in the face of being dismissed as "angry, strident, shrill" and all the other epithets.

Call it out, in the face of danger, assault, doxing, rape threats, death threats, denial, hate.

Call it out.

Call it what it is: Misogyny, sexism, bigotry.

Call it out, to the point where even if they don't give a rat's ass about the reality of the issue, they get so damn' tired of being called on it that they start to think before they act or publish or speak misogyny.

Yes, sure, there'll be a whole new crop of contemptuous dog whistles. They'll find all the creative ways to justify their sexism that they've already used to justify their racism, and more.

This fight won't be won in weeks or months or years, there's millenia of patriarchal misogyny baked into every aspect of our culture, economy, and our institutions.

I'll get tired, I know.

I'll want to let it slide, sometimes, just because the fight is so damn' wearisome.

But I have your example to inspire me, black America. I have my children and grandchildren's experience to anticipate. I have a lifetime of being told "girls can't" to burn for energy.

So I will CALL IT OUT.


She said it. Now people have to talk about it: "basket of deplorables" - BRILLIANT

The timing is perfect.

Well done, Hillary!

"Yo, people! Finding the room a little crowded? THERE'S AN ELEPHANT IN HERE WITH US....!"

"Birds keep disappearing? Hang on a minute while I put this bell on the... YEP, CAT HERE!"

"Whaddaya mean, 'gorgeous outfit'? DUDE'S NEKKID! HIS TEENY TACKLE'S BOUNCIN'!"

If these things get said too early, they get written off, not believed, and the person saying them gets discounted and even vilified.

It these things get said too late, the response is "well, no shiteedah, Brilliant One..." and the person saying them gets no credit, and maybe even blame, as in "You didn't notice until NOW?"

But at the exact right moment, these things can be said, and the Wall of Denial crumbles like concrete with too much sand in the mix.

Now people HAVE to talk about it.

Who follows Trump?

What does that say about Trump?

About them?

And about America?

And about our future?

Oh yeah... I give her *major* props on this one. Right thing at the right time. This discussion will outlast the corporate media howling about "gaffes" and it will cut deep and the blood will not clot soon. This discussion will continue. The memes will spawn and go viral.

It was effing *beautiful.*


A "Taco Trucks" Clinton Campaign Ad I'd Like to See

Clips of happy people at taco trucks, biting into yummy tacos...
Clips of smiling taco truck operators making food, making change, closing up for the night, dropping off the deposit at the bank...

(More clips of food trucks and other small/micro businesses in the background as Hillary talks)

Hillary: "I can't promise a taco truck on every corner. But I can promise a business environment friendly to micro-businesses and small family entrepreneurs. I can promise to make self-employed and small business peoples' concerns as much a part of my Administration's agenda as the priorities of big businesses with high-paid lobbyists."

Zoom out to Hillary and a couple of campaign staffers standing in line at a taco truck for lunch items, Secret Service people and all...

Shots of Hillary with truck owners, talking to them, while campaign staffers nom yummy burritos, tacos, gorditos, etc.

(Hillary voice-over): "Small businesses and family businesses build strong communities. I'm Hillary Clinton and I approve this message."

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