Thursday, February 2, 2017

Four Days to Change, a running blog on Diversity

I've started reading Michael Welp Ph.D.'s semi-fictionalized novel, Four Days to Change, currently free in Kindle Format.  It's about his experiences running "Diversity Training" seminars for white, male, heterosexual executives; and it's told as a tale of four such executives meeting at a fishing resort to discuss diversity.

As many of you are probably well aware- I'm an old school ethical hacker, and from that standpoint I largely see racism, diversity, and identity politics as irrelevant, irrational criteria.  It is said early on in the book that where a meritocracy exists, can be the worst for diversity, because everybody is required to assimilate into the majority culture.  But I see meritocracy as the only chance somebody like me has- I may not be black, but I spent my entire grade school and high school years shunned for my autistic behavior.  Kill the meritocracy, you kill me.

The majority culture is the majority culture ONLY because it has produced material benefits; 120 years ago assimilation was considered such a good thing that Fr. Michael J McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus to help widows and orphans, but also to help immigrants assimilate.  And the only way the majority culture has been able to provide those benefits is when meritocracy reigns supreme.

But the problem with meritocracy is this- because humans, particularly neurotypicals, are Neurotypical, they are NOT deep or narrow thinkers.  They can't imagine a man like Neil deGrasse Tyson being a giant in Physics rather than a giant in the NBA (note, to somebody like me, at 5'6", he's definitely a giant, both intellectually and physically).  Merely because he's black.  This is why I say that racism is irrelevant, irrational criteria, because it leads you to make assumptions that are false.

The book, being on Male Privilege, listed 14 privileges I supposedly have as a white male, NONE of which I actually identify with:

  1. Listing my full name in the phone book or on the web and not receive harassing or obscene phone calls or e-mails:  The author needs to look at my spam box, where I receive between 25-75 such communications a day on average.
  2. I'm heterosexual, so supposedly my wife has to worry about birth control:  We've been trying to have a second child for 13 years and are borderline infertile due to other people abusing birth control.  I hate the entire subject of birth control and wish it would disappear from our culture.
  3. I am judged less for the attractiveness of my appearance:  Nope, I've lost jobs over it repeatedly
  4. I can walk the streets without being harassed for my gender:  Not since 1995 or so.  Especially NOT as an obese man wearing dark glasses- "Creepy" is the normal term.
  5. I am not expected to be overly attentive or wait on people:  or at least, not expected as long as I'm fine being ignored in any social situation.  If I want to be social, this is my in, to be attentive and wait on people.
  6. I can expect mechanics, hardware store owners, and electronics shop owners not to be condescending to me:  Ridiculous, they up-sell to everybody and will lie to you to get more money.  Especially never trust a man in a uniform or a suit, they're ALWAYS lying unless they are law enforcement and even then they're sometimes lying.
  7. I am rarely if ever judged on the cleanliness or neatness of my house:  Just ask my wife about my out of control hoarding behavior.  I feel extremely judged on this, and have resistance to letting a friend help with house repairs who actually needs the work because of it.
  8. I don't worry about the threat of rape or sexual violence due to my gender:  Not since an incident in high school that I won't repeat here.  I've been constantly on my guard for the last 30 years because of it.
  9. I can make mistakes and fail miserably without it being attributed to my gender:  Not by any female boss I've ever had.
  10. I am generally part of the gender majority:  Over my extremely varied career, even in the tech industry where men outnumber women 5:1, I have to say I'm batting about 50/50 on that, and in one case, I couldn't even be part of the orientation majority.
  11. I can easily find mentors of my gender and race:  I've never been able to find mentors at all, and the one time a Fortune 500 company gave me access to that it was a complete disaster.
  12. My ability to function effectively during a crisis is not questioned because of my gender (See #9)
  13. I do not experience being patronized because of my gender (See #9, I actually had the female lesbian head of a company, who KNEW I was a father, tell me that she felt no loyalty to me as an employee.  Needless to say I burnt that bridge as soon as I could, and haven't even talked with that person since).
  14. I enjoy company-sponsored events in the outdoors- hunting, golf, fishing, etc that are stereotypical male activities:  Uh, no.  Rarely the occasional BBQ, but I end up the cook, not attending as a guest, see #5.
Thus to me "White Male Privilege" is an insult to me.  But now that I look at it, I'm the cause of my inability to access the good ole boy's club.  I don't act like them, and I never have- because I judge people on what they DO, not what they LOOK LIKE.  The only thing Martin Luther King ever said that I agree with is that we need to judge people on the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

This will be updated as I go, I'm only 51% of the way through the book.

Well, I finished the book.  More standard diversity insults- White Men are clueless, women and LGBT are the only ones who ever get raped or need to worry about rape, white men are the only ones who ever need to assimilate or conform to anybody else, etc. Nothing earth shattering, nothing to shake my belief that those who play the identity politics game are shallow, neurotypical individuals who judge books by their covers.

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