when affirmative is a negative
I alluded to Sarah Palin the other day, and despite the fact I’d kinda made a promise to myself to not *actually* blog about her, I don’t think I can contain it any more.
Sometimes she’ll make me laugh, which is nice, but then I’ll realise the possibility of her being the next Dick Cheney, heck, the next Dubya, and I get freaked out.
Gah. Do people not remember that Geena Davis show where the VP, who just so happens to be female, has to be the President because the actual president carked it?
You guys, that show GOT CANCELLED!!!!
And that was EVEN WHEN the VP/Prez was Geena Davis. WHO IS AWESOME. But now, it could all happen IN REAL LIFE, but not with someone cool like Geena Davis, who was even in the Olympics, but with THIS PERSON:
We can’t just expect the programming executives to JUST CANCEL REALITY IF IT SUCKS and replace it with a better show!! If that was possible, it would have already happened, like 7.6 years ago!!!!
[break for Sunili to go and get a drink and maybe slam the door to the cabinet where all the tea is.]
Ok you guys.
I am going to try to not get angry. This post is gonna be hard, but I just HAVE to say some stuff about affirmative action, and I know I could wait ’til I can blog about it without reference to her, but this is the perfect effing example of What Not To Do when you’re trying to do affirmative action.
“Affirmative action” is generally about positive steps taken to increase the representation of women or minorities to increase that particular group’s opportunities in employment, education, business or politics — you know, areas from which they have been historically excluded.
Stanford Uni’s Encyclopedia of Philosphy says, however, that:
When those steps involve preferential selection—selection on the basis of race, gender, or ethnicity—affirmative action generates intense controversy. …
The affirmative action debate throws up many ironies but one in particular should be noted. From the time in 1973 when Judith Jarvis Thomson conjectured that it was “not entirely inappropriate” that white males bear the costs of the community’s “making amends” to blacks and women through preferential affirmative action, the affirmative action debate has been distracted by intense quarrels over who deserves what. Do the beneficiaries of affirmative action deserve their benefits. Do the losers deserve their loss?
I want to leave those debates out of this for now. I want to talk about just one practical thing that has been bugging me.
First of all, in case you don’t know me, let me say this: I am a brown woman. Theoretically, I should join the Affirmative Action Fan Club. Because — again, theoretically — it should help me cruise through life. If I (heaven forbid) one day end up in a wheelchair, I would be a DIVERSITY GOLD MINE.
But I just do not like the idea of getting picked for something simply because I am a women, or because I am an immigrant.
I would MUCH RATHER get the position because I was the best PERSON to fill that role. I would not want to be chosen to work as a Whatever Officer for Whatever Corp Pty Ltd simply because I was a brown woman, when there was a white guy, or a white woman who would be a much better Whatever Officer.
Similarly, if I was applying for a job where like, because of some special, inherent genetic trait, the person had to be a brown woman, I would apply knowing that in the selection process, they were looking for the best brown woman, who had the best genetic qualities and skills required to operate the XX-Melanin Machine owhatever. If I didn’t have those skills or capabilities, but I got selected because I have the longest eyelashes, and that was important to diversity or some shit, I would totally be putting myself in a bad position. What if I blew the XX-Melanin Machine??
Anyway. That was probably a shit analogy, but I hope you still get my point.
So let’s talk about Sarah Effing Palin, shall we?
We ALL KNOW she was only picked because she was a woman. There must be THOUSANDS of people better qualified to be the Vice President of the United States than she is. The only thing she has going for her? She’s a woman.
Now, I know people will say that oh, if McCain wanted a women, there are heaps of other women he could have picked, so clearly she had something else going for her.
To those people I ask, honestly, truly, because I want to know: Like WHAT?
What, other than the twinkle in her eye and tattooed lipliner and that folksy accent, does she have that qualifies her for that job? “Executive experience”? Give me an effing break.
Someone in the Grand Old Party (thanks Loobie!) had the BRILLIANT idea that if they picked a woman, the could get all the Hillaryites to vote for a woman.
Do you know what Sarah Palin represents? She epitomizes everything that goes wrong when you pick someone for a role because you need to tick a box. For whatever reason, be it for legal requirements, to feel self-indulgently good about supporting minorities, or for a callous marketing decision, when you just pick a person because they are the Right Type of Person, but not the Right Person For The Role, you totally fuck it up.
You get someone totally effing horrible for the role.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do think there is a place for affirmative action. You simply cannot deny the sociological truth that there are groups of peoples in communities and countries all over the world who have historically been marginalised, and that there needs to be measures put in place to redress that marginalisation.
But it does NOT improve the status of women to put a completely unqualified person in a position like candidate for Vice President of the United States of America. For heavens. If she gets it, they’re not going to let a woman run for an office like that FOR YEARS. It’s going to take us like 50 years BACKWARDS!!
Or, for a more serious explanation than a LOLcat photo, from The Guardian:
At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable, preposterous vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a male candidate with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made such a brazen attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the voting public, it would have universally noted, discussed and mocked. Palin, however, has single-handedly so lowered the standards both for female candidates and American political discourse that, with her newfound ability to speak in more-or-less full sentences, she is now deemed to have performed acceptably last night. (via karion)
Sure, get girls or and Indigenous kids or heck, little white boys who grew up in a trailer park into targeted educational programs and whatnot to give them the OPPORTUNITY TO GOOD ENOUGH TO BE PRESIDENT. That, my friends, is what affirmative action is SUPPOSED TO DO.
But no sane person would just stick some random African American there to prove that the country isn’t racist anymore.
Obama? Yeah, he’s black. But did he just get the Democratic Party’s nomination for Presidential candidate because he’s black? NO. He proved, through that gruelling and heart-wrenching primary process, that he was the BEST PERSON TO GO FOR THE JOB out of everyone that was running.
I supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries. At that time, I thought that she was the best person running. I totes respected Obama and thought he was great, but I was of the opinion that Hillary could continue the work she started while First Lady. She didn’t get it and that’s fine. I was disappointed but that’s the way it works. Now I think Barack Obama is the best person to be President of the United States. Because, John McCain?
Do people in America want this guy to be around the Big Red Button for the next four years?
Oh gods. Should I just start learning Chinese and Russian now?
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