Posts concerning prejudice

Marriage, Same-Sex and Other

23:17 13 May 2012

Same-sex marriage has been a major news topic this week, because of the passage of North Carolina’s Amendment One and Barack Obama’s statement that he thinks same-sex couples should be able to marry. A good time, then, to explore the subject.

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23:51 04 Sep 2011. Updated: 18:19 17 Sep 2011

Last week there was a significant amount of internet outcry over a post by Alyssa Bereznak about two dates she went on with Jon Finkel, a former Magic: The Gathering world champion. Bereznak called him out by name, and made clear that she had no interest in dating him because he was a former MTG world champion who still played the game. She also did more than that, and it’s the more that I’m looking at in this post—that, and how a defense of Bereznak by Sady Doyle at Tiger Beatdown misses the point and perpetuates the core problem with the original post.

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My Reaction to “40 Things People Need to Stop Saying”

23:18 28 Apr 2011. Updated: 18:16 29 Apr 2011

In my Twitter feed yesterday I found a link to “Privileged Musings: 40 Things People Need to Stop Saying”, an article at Womanist Musings. The intent of the piece is narrower than the title suggests, in that it’s primarily concerned with discussion in that community rather than more generally, but I was interested in it anyway since it concerns regulation of expression.

Overall the list is concerned with statements defending or perpetuating prejudice, arguments that have been addressed numerous times before (or are just inane). However, it doesn’t explain what’s wrong with them, even briefly, which is a mistake for two reasons: one, it would make the list much more useful and effective; two, writing such explanations would have made clear which things on the list were questionable, as some of them certainly are.

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It’s a Straight Old Game, Apparently

17:49 29 Mar 2011

I hadn’t realized that soccer was still so closeted; now that I think about it, are all the major sports that same way? Does the construction of masculinity associated with our conception of athletic success make it so difficult to come out, or is it that the sports institutions are extremely traditionalistic and hidebound, or both?

I’d also like to say, and not at all in a sexual sense, fuck you, Sepp Blatter.

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Height and Negotiation

12:41 16 Mar 2010

Taller people seem to have a number of social advantages, from increased earnings to (for men) increased desirability. It’s also an advantage in negotiations.

Various explanations for this have been posited, for example the fairly plausible idea that height correlates greater physical development earlier in life and hence to greater self-esteem.

A study cited in The Body has a Mind of its Own, however, suggests that we deal with height in a way that is both more ingrained and more shallow than that.

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Serena Williams’ Fine

15:09 11 Dec 2009. Updated: 18:59 12 Dec 2009

Serena Williams was recently fined $82,500 by the International Tennis Federation for the actions leading to her exit from this year’s US Open. The ITF fine is in addition to the $10,500 she was fined by the USTA soon after the incident.

The fine from the ITF is the largest ever in tennis, and there’s significant controversy over the whole affair. I’ve read quite a few claims that racism and sexism are key drivers for the decision to fine her so much. I’m somewhat skeptical of those claims.

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Attempts to Change the Discourse

21:58 18 Aug 2009

There’s a campaign at the moment, “Think B4 You Speak”, that’s attempting to get teens to not use homophobic slurs in their interactions. The aim is a good one, but I have my doubts about its efficacy—doubts that are expressed rather well by this Penny Arcade strip.

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Reflections on Offendedness

18:16 03 Aug 2009. Updated: 19:33 03 Aug 2009

Several months ago I wrote a piece on Racism and Science Fiction/Fantasy. I wanted to write more about that, but it’s been tough for me to work my thoughts into something cogent enough to post; I still have at least one unfinished post on it lying around. Some recent online reading has helped me to identify one of the things that was disturbing me, however: the role of offendedness in the discussion. Its role in other discussions, including wider cultural debates, has also bothered me for a while, and this post is about my view on it and the path that led me to this articulation of it.

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12:29 09 Apr 2009

The following video, put out by some bunch calling themselves “The National Organization for Marriage” (a name that really makes no sense given their aims, as they appear to be trying to prevent a lot of people from getting married), is an awful and misleading hodgepodge of fearmongering and bullshit, combined with plerny of earnest faux-martyrdom. I love how they convince themselves that not being allowed to practice bigotry in the public sphere is an infringement on their religious freedom—and maybe it is, but then so are the laws that get in the way of religious practices of human sacrifice.

Anyway, that’s all pretty obvious… what I can’t quite get over is how, in this video attempting to unite the forces of anti-gay prejudice, they end by touting “a rainbow coalition of people of every creed and color coming together in love”. I swear the the rider “to protect marriage” is spoken faster and more quietly than the rest. It’s both funny (in a wrong way) and appalling because it’s always appalling to see bigots attempting to appropriate the language and symbols of tolerance. I have to say, though, that as appalling as the message is, these jokers strike me as mostly laughable.

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