Tuesday, January 30, 2007

An Apology and a Plea from a White Satiated Man in a Black Hungry Woman's World

I'm white. I'm a man. I'm male (I definitely cry at sappy and not-so-sappy movies, and can get fairly emotional, so maybe I have some female aspects -- something to blog about later because I'm not sure about 'gender' and how it works). I'd call myself upper middle class because I own my apartment, but I think I have way too much debt to be upper class. Given that I'm incurring more debt and that my career path a public interest attorney does not lead to wealth and luxury, my hold on 'upper middle' may be a tenuous one. Of course, on a global perspective I'm incredibly well off.

On the other hand, I'm Jewish. And I have experience some antisemitism. But at least in America, antisemitism doesn't seem to often manifest itself in professional or economic discrimination.

All of this is to say that I don't have a gut feel for a lot of the implications of racism and sexism and classism. Even though I might be academically attuned to it, and even though I may have some aptitude or instinct for spotting it (perhaps most often after I've committed it), I don't have an inherent or societized sensitivity to it. Of course, I don't think this disqualifies me from theorizing about all sorts of discrimination and the way society works, but I'm curious about how it influences my perspective (I often wish that there was some way we could experiment with humans -- create identical universes, except we'd just change one thing about one person and see what happened).

Also, I'm ignorant of the deep history of a lot of the movements that I support and align myself with. So while I consider myself a feminist, and I oppose racism, and support the GLBT 'agenda', I'm not a scholar of those movements. If I offend, if I use a term of art inaccurately, or if I belabor an issue that's already been addressed, please let me know. I'm want to learn, and I want to help.

Ideal World: Starting My Thoughts

In my head I call it a post-feminist world. But that's probably already a term of art, so I'll need something else. It's also not nearly as broad as what I imagine, which is a world where organizations like the NAACP, NOW, and Lambda Legal Defense and Education are no longer needed, at least not in their current incarnations. It's a world where society, in its broadest sense, does not explicitly or implicitly discriminate on the basis of sex, gender, wealth, race, etc. It's a nirvana, basically.

But only 'a', not 'the'. And I've only described it in the most vague of terms, and only in the negative. I'm not really sure where to start describing what such a world might look like, and I'm afraid I may just delve right in and make many false starts. I welcome feedback and contributions from others, and I'm pleading for references and pointers to people and pieces that may have already done the heavy lifting in this thought exercise.

Over the next few posts I'll lay out some assumptions and thoughts about people and society, and see what develops as I write. I may also contemplate the question of how we could get to such a society from the one we have today, or if such a society is even possible or stable once attained. In a more realistic sense, and perhaps in common with other thinkers in this area, I may occasionally look at today's world and ruminate on ways it could be made 'better' and what 'better' means.

So that's my little project. I welcome your help and your comments. Or I'll just express myself and know that I've done it :-)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Inauspicious start

I don't have the time, or I shouldn't have the time. But I have the inclination. At least sometimes I do. I certainly have the ideas. Or at least the need to spout. So it might be the case that I regularly update my blog. It might be the case that this becomes a diary. It might be the case that this becomes mental diarrhea. Or it might be literary and intellectual brilliance. Anyway, as of now, it is.