Yes The Missing Conversation on Race, Sex & The Economy.
(ThyBlackMan.com) Two months ago I wrote a post on race, sex, and the economy as a way to get back into the writing fray after taking a two week hiatus for getting married. Since that initial post the news narrative has stayed centered around race, sex, and the economy and how all three of these touchy topics relate to our current political scene. But in the day to day details of the campaign, Congress, and the need for content on news channels the bigger issues these topics belie get lost.
Race is continually discussed in light of the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case, New York’s “Stop and Frisk” law as well as in media images and representations, in addition to being on the campaign trail. But in these discussions race as a socially constructed concept is rarely deconstructed. How it affects a mindset is rarely addressed. Such in depth discourse is left for scholarly articles and link backs to said articles on blogs (including this one) trying to maintain depth and brevity at the same time.
For example, when the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case is discussed the number one question that comes up among those who’ve already decided Zimmerman’s guilt is why didn’t George Zimmerman heed the police dispatcher’s advice and stay in his vehicle instead of following a supposedly suspicious person through his gated community at night. The question is asked and debate ensues but no one posits the thought that maybe George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin because he felt he had the right to follow Trayvon Martin. Not just because he was head of Neighborhood Watch, not just because he was armed and tight with the Sanford Police Department but because he had the born privilege to follow a child he thought was an adult ready to burglarize homes in the neighborhood.
Privilege is discussed ad nauseum in theory but never in reality where it is used daily. It’s presence is equally acknowledged and ignored which makes conversations about race inadequate and inept to get to the bottom of why people believe or cling to beliefs they were taught that one group is better than another. Why one group can swim and the other can’t, why one group can dance and the other can’t, why one group excels at business and the other excels at drug dealing, why one group is prone to a ghettonation and the other prone to suburbia. Conversations on race rarely tap into the psychology of the subject. It is the missing element of the conversation consuming the nation but leaving it without an answer of what makes people of different races. Tick. Tick. Tick. Boom.
Conversations on sex as of late have been more of a war. Specifically, the War on Women. The war on Black women does not have a similar eponymous title but those affected by it recognize the shots fired when seeing headlines with the words “Marriage” and “Don’t.” Then there’s the ultimate war between the sexes as men are still from Mars and women continue to inhabit Venus. And there’s a new addition to these gender and gendered race wars, members of the LGBT community fighting for recognition and rights that would be theirs if they happened to be straight.
Politically, only The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 has done anything to aid women in their war. The Personhood craze sweeping conservative states has yet to pass and become actual legislation but the momentum it’s gaining is frightening. Yet while being paid a dollar for a dollar’s worth of work instead of 77 cents and revoking the private right to choose life or an abortion remain the biggest issues facing women they are often drowned out by the plight of “All the Single Ladies.” We should Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man lest we signal “The End of Men” in a reversal of the cyberpunk dystopia apocalypse written about in God in the Image of Woman and made into the visually stimulating Children of Men.
The most recent Atlantic magazine article detailing “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” has women and men around the world talking about which gender can do what and for how long and whether that is considered having it all. The focus is on frivolities; when to get married, when to have children, when to focus on a career, instead of what those elements mean for the lives of each man, woman and child. This article and others like them site numbers and statistics while ignoring what makes these statistics possible. We get the summary but never the full story.
The same is true in the fight of the LGBT community for equal rights.
Marriage is between a man and a woman only.
God said so. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah? Burned to eternal damnation.
Many in this country are quick to render a gendered or sexual orientation based generalization without taking the time to understand what drives the belief that gave birth to the generalization.
If we talk only about the numbers, the headline making mythical stereotypes, and the reasons why one group “can’t” then we’ve completely missed the point of even having a conversation. We’re regurgitating facts we’ve created and are living making them self-fulfilling prophecies without ever getting to the root of why we can’t change the landscape of which we allow love and life and the work required to exceed at both to exist.
Finally, the economy is what makes the world go around. If one major economy fails all of the major economies fail and the ones beneath them supposedly emerging as well. We accept this domino effect as fact without ever challenging the premise that if such major swings in the world’s economic system are reality than perhaps we need to establish another economic system. No, complete austerity is not the solution.
Capitalism and socialism are the economic systems we try to maintain without devolving into communism or fascism. But since no economic system is pure it seems it would make more sense to combine elements from all four that work instead of insisting upon a system that can corrupt the country, bankrupt the nation, and leave people poor, destitute and confused or rich, wealthy and selfish.
Discussions about the economy are always hypothetical or surreal as if the people who live, work, and control the global powers didn’t make it this way.
The economy like race and sex is real and are not loose concepts connected by disparate ideologies. Each one is deeply ingrained into every person whether they realize it or not. It’s not a question of being racist or being a bigot, being sexist or misogynistic, or even an elitist, plebeian or plutocrat. It is recognizing current conditions and what makes them so then realizing if you ever want anything to change it has to be initiated on an individual basis before there can ever be a movement for society to latch on to.
If we continue to hide the root problems from ourselves the solutions on the biggest issue will remain too remain elusive.
Do we purposefully hide from the truth because it’s easier or have we yet to realize what it is?
Staff Writer; Nikesha Leeper
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