Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

The overlooked race dimension

by DoDo Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:32:07 AM EST

I emphasized before that one real benefit I see in Obama's election is working at the symbolic level: that the Superpower elects a Black President projects the image of global social/racial mobility (not so much domestically or in Europe as in the Third World). However, there could have been another narrative, and that I don't see it mentioned much also says something about where we are.

It's the same with all three men who made the biggest impression by getting on the top of their respective, previously white-men-only field: golf champion Tiger Woods, new Formula One champ Lewis Hamilton, and US President-elect Barack Obama are all of mixed descent.

Woods' origins go back to China, Thailand, the Netherlands, Native Americans and African Americans in just three generations. Hamilton's fater is the son of black Grenadans, his mother is a white Englishwoman. Obama's father is Kenyan (to boot, of the Luo ethnicity, which developed at the uncertain margin of "black" and "white"/Semite), his mother white American.

These stories could have been the story of what further mixing of human diversity can add up to. Instead, all three are considered "black".

Good discussion here - afew


Update [2008-11-8 15:39:8 by DoDo]: Read Metatone's comment -- apparently, I stole this diary from his mind!

Display:
(This comment was inspired by a silly discussion with a far-right colleague of mine.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 02:28:04 PM EST
Being "black" in America is more about looks and the experiences that follow looks more than it is about actual ethnicity.  Certainly Obama doesn't look white, and, for better and for worse (as we saw in the campaign), he's not treated as white.  He looks black, identifies as a black American, has surely had many of the experiences of a black American, thus he is black.  But your point is well taken.

I do so wish the press here would stop the flag-waving about us electing someone from a minority group, as though we're the only country to ever do it.  Certainly I took great pride in seeing the reaction from all over the country and many corners of the world, but it's not a great historical first from a global perspective.  It's a great historical first for us, especially given our truly ugly history on race relations.  But just a little less ignorance from the Villagers would be appreciated.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 02:55:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention the way they were treated by the law in the past, such as Plessy v. Ferguson ("separate but equal") . Plessy was a  quadroon, i.e., somebody with one black grandparent, and looked white, but was still treated by law as a black.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 03:23:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly Obama doesn't look white, and, for better and for worse (as we saw in the campaign), he's not treated as white.

But in other matters for much of his life, he was. He is the son of a man from the Kenyan political elite and a woman from US patrician circles -- and was raised by the latter and her parents after the divorce. So, I think Obama is an example of the mix both in descent and culture.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 04:35:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, then I do insist the Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is also "black" - as he is 1/32 negro, which means Obama is only 16 times as black as him.

Or maybe Reinfeldt is not "black enough"? ;)

</snark>

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 03:52:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are not white.  Therefore they must be black.  Who is defining them?

I'll draw the parallel to the Deaf community who say I am not Deaf enough to be one of them, but I'm not hearing either.  I define myself as Deaf even if some parts of the community would not accept me.  People who have absolutely no knowledge of the politics of the Deaf community would see me as being the same as the rest, perhaps no matter how I define myself.  When I achieve something that raises my profile or the profile of Deaf people, Deaf people are likely to publicly congratulate me and use me as a role model.  But the rest of the time I hover on the edge.

So, to some in black communities, Obama is not black enough.  But he self defines as black, if I understand correctly.  And to most white people he isn't white so he is black.  There just isn't enough of a conscious distinction to peg him as mixed race.  And now he's achieved this HUGE thing of becoming POTUSA he's black enough for black people too.  

That is just my perception and I have no evidence to back that up and don't want to go putting words into the mouths of other people but, that's my take on it.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 03:00:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The test is very simple.

How long would it take him to hail a cab in the white part of town?

Obama is black.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 04:22:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Politically - he isn't. He went out of his way constantly during the campaign to point out that he is culturally white. It made me cringe, but hey, baby steps. Someone like Jesse Jackson will never be elected president in this country; Jackson is culturally black and openly opportunistically corrupt, only white politicians can get away with that and be elected to federal office.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 05:04:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The interesting thing in this case however, is that, where he a citizen of Central of Southern America there would be more than two possible racial categories to which he could conceivably belong. The US is unique AFAIK, possibly globally (even Apartheid South Africa had "coloureds"), in that it only recognizes black and white as binary choices. This derives directly from slavery and segregation and the racial worldviews which are adopted legally from them (although slaeholder logistics could become more detailed).

The interesting question then is whether he would be considered "black" in Kenya, or indeed whether there such classification issues might even arise. Apparently it does arise and there's some sort of "light is right" fad in Kenya:

In Kenya, being mixed race is an automatic stamp of beauty. So called point fives are considered aesthetically superior regardless of the symmetry of their features. We tend to describe beauty or lack thereof using skin colour as a focal point.

Even more interestingly, as I find out perusing the oracle at google to answer my own question, there seems to be a surprising situation regarding the attitudes of mixed-race Africans, self-described as "coloureds", towards their black neighbours:

What - and this is the distressing part - what most unites the coloureds is their hatred and fear of, and contempt for, the Africans. In Zambia, carefully avoiding more obvious words of abuse, and thus avoiding trouble, coloureds have their own term for their black neighbours. They call them 'pops'. Why, no-one seems to know, but you'd be amazed how insulting that word can sound. 'Man, these pops, they're useless!'

(In the same article I learn that Bob Marley was mixed race too. I'm stunned I didn't know this already. Through this article I learn about the fascinating Namibian Basters).

Anyway, I note in passing that the first mulatto president anywhere in the world is probably Alexandre Pétion.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 07:52:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US is unique AFAIK, possibly globally (even Apartheid South Africa had "coloureds"), in that it only recognizes black and white as binary choices. This derives directly from slavery and segregation and the racial worldviews which are adopted legally from them (although slaeholder logistics could become more detailed).

But, per your link, it's changing.

One-drop rule - Wikipedia

The fraction of mixed children census-labeled as solely black dropped from 62% in 1990 to 31% in 2000 (when respondents were allowed to select multiple races), suggesting that the one-drop theory and denying one's European ancestry are no longer accepted the way they used to be.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 04:31:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The information re: Census reporting in that article is misleading. Self-reported race identification in national census began in 1970 and is tied to administration of federal civil rights legislation (Title VII and Voting Rights Act) and new agencies, e.g. HUD, which did not exist in the prior census, 1960. Prior to that state statiticians estimated race distributions (for supplemental political publications) from county-level data, collected by government employees and NGOs. The salient feature of that methodology was racist hygeine, such that local magistrates were able to determined and enforce class/caste regimens, regardless of phenotypical ambiguities ("passing") of any one household.

Here are historical Census tables. The note to PE-11-1900 (.xls) qualifies the data sets thus:

The worksheets for 1900-1929 represent the resident population of the United States, by single year of age (0 to 75+), race (White, Nonwhite), and sex.  Data for these years exclude the Armed Forces overseas and the population residing in Alaska and Hawaii.  Unrounded data for these years is not available.

The worksheets for 1930-1939 represent the resident population of the United States, by single year of age (0 to 75+), race (White, Nonwhite), and sex.  Data for these years exclude the Armed Forces overseas and the population residing in Alaska and Hawaii.

The worksheets for 1940-1949 represent the resident population plus Armed Forces overseas of the United States, by single year of age (0 to 85+), race (White, Nonwhite), and sex.  Data for these years exclude the population residing in Alaska and Hawaii.

The worksheets for 1950-1959 represent the resident population plus Armed Forces overseas of the United States, by single year of age (0 to 85+), race (White, Nonwhite), and sex.  Data for these years include the population residing in Alaska and Hawaii.

The worksheets for 1960-1979 represent the resident population plus Armed Forces overseas of the United States, by single year of age (0 to 85+), race (White, Black, and Other races), and sex.
Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division; nternet Release date:  October 1, 2004

The 1990 census was the first instrument to introduce the differentiating sub-sets of race classes, e.g. "Black or African American Alone," "Black and One or more," and "Other" etc., although the granularity within class "Hispanic" remains "white" or "black." Permutations of the 5 principal "races" reported (2012e) by the next census (2010) promise that absurdity of the exercise, over all, will defy reason and application. Much less the quaint phrases "mulatto" (US) and "maroon" (Caribbean, SA).

See American Fact Finder interactive tables. Note that "White alone," "White Non-Hispanic," and "Hispanic White" are not required to report ethnic antecedents; this is the legacy of White vs Nonwhite "cultural" supremacy.

By the time I die, perhaps, 99% of Americans will have acknowledged so many "race" identities, the statistical claims of human genetic diversity will have been vindicated in real terms. Hopefully no other nation-state will adopt this institutional insanity.

My reply to Coleman earlier deliberately understates the case law surrounding the enactment of the 14th Amendment, a/k/a Equal Protection Clause, because the ideology of "race" that predicates one's (legal) humanity in the US is so profound and invidious very few residents are even capable of renouncing their intellectual and economic dependencies upon that.

For example, who will refuse to answer to "race" identification? Why bother?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 09:47:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. Indeed. But still, public perception, as evidenced by Obama say, is lagging behind. I expect that the Obama presidency will change that too.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 09:48:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who is defining them?

You are. Phenotype is the only obvious set of characteristics of "race" and sex identification. These characteristics are visible. Mr Obama's complexion is not white. His "race" antecedents would be an uninteresting topic of discussion, except that (I) his campaign thransformed his "white mother from Kansas" and "black father from Kenya" into an epithet preceeding every PR placement released since his announcement; and (II) his conduct confuses some racists, because it does not conform to any "cultural" or pseudo-scientific stereotypes of race groups.

If phenotype cannot be observed with certainty (e.g. gender, disability, sexual habit), it becomes an unreliable political instrument by which to discriminate among groups and individuals for purposes of dispensing penalty or benefit. Individuals form groups to exercise political agency primarily to extract new or withheld "rights" from the state. "Leaders" typically enforce social cohesion within a group or nation-state by propagandizing and modeling stereotype rather than mobilizing legal and political tools and strategies to remove individuals who maintain discrimination of equal protection.

I would add that professional academics such as political scientists and sociologists increasingly perform the dubious service of articulating stereotype whenever they resort to statistically methodologies to describe the motives of individuals associated with a group. For persons who are ignorant of or cannot recall intimacy in their relations with "others," this service is indispensible to forming an opinion of "others," be they mixed, blind, deaf, trans, hetero, athiest and soforth.

In the US politicians enforce "race" identity primarily to justify fund distributions, which are politically motivated, of course. To do so the state demands assistance from individuals to self-report group identification. If an individual refuses to report, the state will report on his or her behalf. You want evidence?

Following is a comment I posted earlier:

I've been staring at a form which I received last week from the Montgomery County (MD, USA) Public Schools administration. In correspondence distributed at the end of the prior school term, the administration informed parents of forthcoming data collection. It did not give an explanation of the purposes of the census. The correspondence merely described how the form's elements are designed to capture greater variance in race and ethnicity designation.

To Parents/Guardians:
Complete and return this form to your student's school by September 2, 2008. Please complete Parts 1 and 2 by completely darkening the circle beside your answers using a #2 pencil or a black or blue pen.

The form itself "discriminates" responses. Each is identified by a numerical student ID, given name, and home address. So this data collection device, for statistical purposes, is not "blind", and one's personal ability to assert or to recover anonymnity within a central knowledge base, whose data may be distributed to third parties irrespective of permissions (cf. bio-ethics of "informed consent"), is void.

Directions: Part 1-Ethnicity Designation- Read the definition below and completely dareken the circle that indicates this student's heritage.

Is this student Hispanic or Latino? (Select one answer)
Persons of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race, are considered [by who?] Hispanic or Latino.

Directions: Part 2-Race Designation- Read the descriptions below and completely darken the circle or circles that indicate this student's race. You must select at least onerace, regardless of ethnicity designation. More than one response can be selected.

American Indian or Alaskan Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North or South America (including Central America) and who maintains a tribal affiliation or community affiliation

Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peopples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent incuding Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippin Islands, Thailand, or Vietnam.

Black or African American: A person having origin in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or South Africa. [?!]

Native Havaiian or Other Pacific Islande: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

"Other" is not a choice retained from the national census, 2000. In fact, respondents are required to certify by signature.

I verify the information on this form is accurate.

    [OR]

I refuse to re-identify the race and ethnicity of this student.

In the case Parent/Guardian refuses to "re-identify," a school employee will select designation(s) for the student.

FOR SCHOOL USE ONLY: I am the observer who completed this for [sic] due to parent/guardian refusal to re-identify.

Surely there are such instruments distributed in the UK, no?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 11:32:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There wouldn't be any such instruments distributed in France, at least not yet, that's certain...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 12:19:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We have equal opps monitoring forms for various reasons - always anonymous and purely to measure the stats rather than to identify individuals as being one thing or another.

No idea if parents are asked to identify their child's ethnicity for schools in the UK.

With recruitment the monitoring forms gives an idea of the numbers of people from different groups who apply and who get appointed in an organisation.  So it helps to highlight whether they are getting no applications from ethnic minorities or if they get a high number of applications from women but no women are getting appointed. Therefore the organisation needs to make changes to be more inclusive or to address any causes for there being a poor diversity of applicants or appointees.  

The only thing that isn't anonymous is when a candidate chooses to declare a disability in order to request adjustments for the interview process eg wheelchair access or a loop system or large print information.

For events we run at work it is important to ensure that we are getting a good diversity of attendees since we run events for representatives.  So we want more people from under-represented groups to come along because they are a direct link to people in workplaces.  So we measure diversity so that we can monitor whether we are being successful in encouraging more people than the usual suspects to come to our events.  All of the information is anonymous and is used without reference to individuals and just shows us a picture that we can measure our progress by.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 12:34:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An organization needs to make changes and address the causes for poor diversity?
But what if the causes do not lie with the organization?
If you monitor fashion industry, you'll likely find a huge majority of woman-employees. Are these companies  supposed to address the causes (I don't know, women more interested in fashion?... more esthetically fit for fashion shows?... no idea).

And how could they address these causes... Maybe men should be educated into being more classy, buying more clothes - thus creating incentive for the fashion businesses to employ more men.

But how about teaching, I suppose we should create incentive for more men to be employed by schools too.
But what if few men actually like to teach or to glide on the floor of a fashion event (or what if only a few are cute enough to, proportionally speaking), and most just love to play with wires, carburators, iPhones - or to become CEOs! :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 08:35:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
If you monitor fashion industry, you'll likely find a huge majority of woman-employees. Are these companies  supposed to address the causes (I don't know, women more interested in fashion?... more esthetically fit for fashion shows?... no idea).

Well, you can find men in the fashion industry, there are male models, male designers seem even to dominate. Where the men are missing are in the low salary jobs like seamstresses. Unfortunately, it seems still to hold true that female dominated jobs usualy are lesser paying jobs, like chasiers in supermarkets - you find rarely any men. And and even when there are both genders doing the same kind of job there still is no pay equality, men still earn more for the same job. So yes, I think it is up to businesses to offer same salaries for the same jobs, that would create more equality and I assume also what you would call better diversity.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 11:13:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And of course raise salaries for 'female' jobs in general. Thus they might get more interesting for men too. This worked here with nurses, once the salaries improved, men were moving into this area too.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 12:23:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't speaking of salaries but employment numbers - salaries are quite high for supermodels, and most supermodels are women just like a majority of designers seem to be men.
And speaking of numbers, I honestly doubt that the reason men models are not numerous is low salaries. The same holds for nurses or teachers, btw.
Which makes the whole idea of "creating incentives" useless, for based on false premises. Like I said on another thread, the social-equality methodology is simplistic and even mistaken, not based on serious scientifical studies, and going against individual freedoms and incentive, in the end. (I'm a fierce opposer of anything ultraliberal/neocon btw)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 01:49:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Part of the problem there is linked to the expectation that women are going to the be the ones who make compromises to their career to look after the children. Am I right in saying that the countries with the least of those problems are the ones who provide real support for working and rearing children?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 03:53:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder how much that is true or a rationalisation. Teachers until 20 years ago were as likely to be men as women, yet there were even more expectation to see the women raise the kids at the time. Feminisation correlates as much with the loss of prestige of a profession as with the ease it allows to raise kids : see nurses, for example. A family's "prestige" still comes from the man's profession, not the woman, so men are more strongly pressed to avoid a career which pays less and less (as is the case for teachers) and is becoming less prestigious.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 04:13:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was more thinking of the reduced wage issue and the issue of women in the lower status jobs in fashion rather than teaching.

The teaching issue is different, I think.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 04:25:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France provides quite a lot of support for working and rearing children... yet still faces these gender inequality issues.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 04:43:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To take your example of teaching, yes we should try to improve incentives for men to teach.  A number of reasons, one is that many men do want to teach but are afraid of being labelled as paedophiles if they do.  Another very important reason is that evidence shows that boys benefit from having male teachers, and in providing more male role models in their lives.  

So encouraging more men to teach is important both for equality for boys in gaining more from their education through having more male teachers about, and for men who wish to teach in a female dominated profession without facing discrimination (although I'll note that the more senior positions such as school heads/principals are more likely to be occupied by men).

And fashion isn't the best example really because yes you can argue that men may be less interested in it - although reality TV shows I've seen don't really show that to me - but as Fran points out men are still more likely to have the higher paid, higher status jobs in fashion (on the side of design and making garments).  The way that society works, yes, female models are more common and very well paid at the top but how many people reach these heights?  Whereas my day to day work deals with things that impact on the lives of much larger numbers of the working population and not the elite few who make it to the heights of the fashion industry.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 03:48:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the contrary, fashion is a good example to show that this way of thinking is quite simplistic. There is a base of rather low salaries, of models, taylors etc, where women form a huge majority.
Then there is the top, with high earning designers (mostly men) and supermodels (mostly women).
So if we monitor such a fashion house and their contractors, we'll find these huge disparities, not in salary, but in gender proportion.
Normally they should "address" this widely discriminatory situation against men - or be forced to: a pattern of "crime" is very easy to establish :)

Another good example is nursing.
In Australia man nurses form 7.9% of employed nurses in 2005 down from 8.4% in 2001 (acc. to this study).
The proportion of man nurses in Quebec in 1995 was 8% - in the other provinces, it did not exceed 3.4%. (acc. to StatCan). The same can be said about Britain: numbers of registered male nurses here have seldom exceeded 10% of the total. (Journal of Nursing Management. 11(4):242-249, July 2003. WHITTOCK, MARGARET PhD, BSsc (Hons) )  despite some progress during the last years.

According to the mentioned "equality" methodology, monitoring should point out to this hugely  discriminatory situation and measures should be taken to encourage and facilitate men access to this profession. Quotas should be imposed on recidivists, and heavy penalties applied upon non-observance of these quotas.

Right?
Wrong. Women and men don't always have exactly the same talents, qualities, preferences in life, expectations from a career. There are plenty of men who thrive in taking care of the poor and the sick or in teaching, or women in management jobs. But if in certain professions the proportions are unbalanced, we cannot automatically infer discrimination.

Should I get started on races now? Why whites are so discriminated as football players in France and the UK, especially at the top?
(no, I don't necessarily say blacks are athletic and whites intelligent; just that such disbalances are not always due to discriminations or other evils of the world)

As a general rule, we cannot treat the society as a body that we stretch and adjust as we please. Taking care of the extreme cases, life threatening situations is one thing, falling into victimization, social engineering and Procust-bed reaction (especially as we base on incomplete analysis and a dire lack of competences) is a completely different one.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 02:16:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nurses being mostly women is a clear example of discrimination against women ; nurse is a "feminine" profession at least partly because it is supposed to be a highly subservient position, with nurses supposedly obeying the orders of the doctors (who were, until very recently, men).

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 07:45:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nursing as a profession is much more than "subservient", the same reasoning is used to refer degradingly to professions like cashier and so on. You can call it low(-ish) paid, but not lacking responsibility. A nurse is not a cleaning lady or a servant.

Let alone that I find the use of the word "discrimination" highly inappropriate. Far as I know, no body is forcing women into "submission", no body stops men from doing this job. If many women tend to be more caring than many men, and more good at it too, who are you to judge them as "discriminated", or "subservient", do you have any proof for it, any study going one inch further than just measuring gender proportions?
You're actually badmouthing a whole range of humanitarian and person care professions .
How about art or communication professions, I suppose someone is also pushing women in there too while blocking their access to "men" jobs. And since we can't point our fingers to that someone, we call it society, and we add some more activist laws to it.

Bon résultat, as someone said.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:30:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not saying nursing is actually a subservient job, I'm saying society perceives this job as subservient. Look at the way nurses are treated, with lowish wages (despite being very understaffed), absurdly long hour, and quite often, very little consideration from doctors, who indeed, don't hesitate bossing them around. And this perception by society is a large part of the why men aren't numerous in the "nursing" profession, as much if not more as a mythical "women are good at caring". And yes, I go much further than measuring gender proportions. Do you know what sociology and anthropology are ?

Yes, "society" exists, as a sum of personal opinions, and cajoles and forces people into making choices. Do you know how often a couple of people aged around 30 is asked about "when do you make children" ? Do you know about the various pressures, which are indeed discriminatory, in high school, pushing boys towards "technical" jobs and girls towards "caring" jobs ? Do you think the thousands of images and tales one sees during childhood and adolescence, with their persuasive role models, have no influence on what kids may want to do, and perceive as a worthwhile or demeaning career ?

And yes, there are things pushing women and holding back men from arts and communication professions - that is, the pressure on men to be the ones with a stable job providing for the family, and the idea that it's not as bad for women to have precarious jobs.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 07:58:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I could tell you stories about "how about children" :)
I never took it as pressure though, and even less discriminatory (?)

It's not rare in France that authority figures patronize the others. It also happens that men are more often in authority positions. Speaking of doctors, a majority are women today, just like judges and teachers. That does not mean that women, or nurses, or university lectors would be in some "subservient" position, though.  These are exactly the kind of deductions I'm protesting against.

They actually tried to push girls to more technical jobs btw, pity I have no link. The results were nil. Most girls don't like carburators - they're made of iron, they're cold, dirty, and lacking all emotional intelligence. I'm all in favour of imposing penalties on car maintenance shops to hire more women! :)

(society and people say and do many things; if we transform anything into a drama, draw sweeping conclusions, excluding the possibility that an adult individual, man or woman, has a mind of his own, and instead we make a law for each case, we're doomed)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 10:13:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You criticise us for making generalisations and not recognising diversity within the different groups and then you make statements like this?

ValentinD:

Most girls don't like carburators - they're made of iron, they're cold, dirty, and lacking all emotional intelligence.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 10:52:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry, that was ironical and supposed to be funny - I realize now, not for everybody. :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 02:52:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't you think the reasons "girls don't like carburators" may have something to do with the way places where carburators are worked on typically show nude women on the walls, and the people who work there are mostly if not uniquely male, making it are very unfriendly work environment for women ?

Do you have actual states for "more women than men doctors", actually ? And as for more female judges, it goes hand in hand with a strong deconsideration of the justice system and its working conditions - go read matre eolas' blog.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 02:28:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol
I confess myself defeated now. In fact, have you ever seen more sexist a sentence! How could I. And blow up everything I built until now, all those arguments.
:)

(your statement is a good example though - well it was mine actually, but never mind
my point stands: why not impose penalties on all mechanic shops for discrimination? or a quota)

(yes I do have statistics, there was one right next to the one about nurses - the Australian one, I think; if you're honestly unconvinced, I'll look for it again)

(are you saying judges' work conditions are bad? worse than tram drivers, maybe - but then by this criteria we're all a nation of victims ! :) )

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 03:01:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For France, 2006, this pdf from the Ordre des médecins says that 39% of doctors in France were women, while more than 60% of medical students were female.

A profession that is feminising.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 03:15:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Personally I find man dentists quite brutal and insensitive. Vive les femmes médecin ! :)
(really!)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 03:22:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Feminisation is already there:

"Women are indeed accounting for a larger proportion of medical graduates. All through the 1960s women accounted for about 25% of those entering medical school. By 1975 the proportion was 35%, rising to 46% by 1985. In the early 1990s the proportion was around 50% but has since increased each year and is now 61%.5"
(The British Medical Journal

(numbers vary for hospital consultants, and by specialty)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:53:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"It's that study after study has found women doctors tend to work 20% to 25% fewer hours than their male counterparts."

"They also see about 10% fewer patients and tend to take more time off early in their careers. "It's pretty much an even bet that within a year or two of entering practice they will go on maternity leave," says Phillip Miller, a vice-president of the medical recruiting firm Merritt, Hawkins & Associates. "Then they are going to want more flexible hours."

Such demands tend to irritate older doctors. "The young women in our practice are always looking to get out of being on-call," says a male internist at a large New York-area medical group who asked not to be named. "The rest of us have to pick up the slack. That really stirs up a lot of resentment."

On the plus side, women are willing to take on lower-paying specialties that male doctors are moving away from, such as primary care, pediatrics, and obstetrics. Since 1996 there has been a 40% jump in the number of women choosing primary care, offsetting the 16% decline in men entering the field.

Business Week

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:02:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to point out (in case no one noticed :) ), that this shows women doctors don't have the same priorities as the men. They don't seem to seek advancement so much, or bigger salaries, aren't as dedicated to work, do seem to show a preference for person caring specialties.

Can I make the supposition that that holds true for other categories of woman employees (without being called names by the Keepers of Truth, that is) ?

Oh well. "There is a huge body of research", right... very nicely looking too. For the record.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:35:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And where does the difference in preferences come from ? Only from personal tastes ? Or maybe because they want children as much as their male counterparts, yet, unlike them, can't count on a partner socially prepared to do most of childcare ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:45:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I for one don't try to point out culpables at any cost, nor to frame one as victim or other as oppressor. I note that when I say we can't use plain numbers, because they would show men are discriminated as nurses or models, you ignore my point and say these cases actually show women as discriminated against;
when later I present a study showing women sometimes choose "subservient" AND lower-pay positions, because they have different criteria and priorities than men, you find yet another discriminatory cause in that. Even if we put the whole thing to vote, you'll say women vote wrongly because society formatted them the wrong way, they don't "know" to be free. Well luckily there are people like you who deign to explain these poor beings what they want, what they are and what they should do.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 08:00:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, I'm sorry, everything is right in our society, and choices people make are entirely their own, and are absolutely independent of the social model.

Reality is not that fairy tale land you describe. People make choices indeed, but those choices are constrained ; the medical profession puts pressure on people to work too much, and, indeed the different criteria of women compared to men do not come out of nothing.

Read Bourdieu's La Distinction about how taste and behaviors are strongly socially determined.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 09:01:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think everything is fine, but you force me to exaggerate with your bubbling activism.
Between being conditioned and being completely free there is a world of difference, that's why I said the whole time that policies should be carefully crafted before assumming something is conditioning or discrimination.

InWales moderated her discourse now, which is all very good, but her original comment to which I replied, was in the line: we monitor job applications and appointments according to group membership (example: women). If there are problems of diverseness, the companies need to address the causes.

So to that I said and I repeat: no, since we would assume that these causes are due to company discriminatory behaviour alone. This is not always true. See nurses, or fashion, or teaching: women proportion is no proof of men discrimination. You can't draw sweeping conclusions based on superficial correlation.

I note that InWales now says they do look for the root causes, which is just fine.

(btw I see you mention a book, while you choose to ignore the article I quoted: urban, emancipated, highly educated women doctors choose low paid caretaking specialties)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 07:29:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't ignore it. Are you actually reading my comments ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 07:37:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very carefully, and I fail to see anything enlightening, frankly.

You say choices are constraint and that medical profession puts a lot of pressure. Do you have any proof that those choices are constraint by the society? The medical profession puts a lot of pressure on everyone, not just on women. That is no reason for women to choose caretaking specialties. Let alone that we're speaking about highly educated, emancipated women.
Those are their own, personal choices. You don't seem to have much respect for those free choices and your rhetorics lead to moulding the society according to your extreme views.
It is not for me to tell you what are the reasons behind women MDs' choices. It is for you to prove that those choices are a direct consequence of sexism or discrimination.
I'll take as proof any serious study or logical line of thought (your own included)  - but I'd rather be spared more extremist sloganeering.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 02:36:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I said, start by reading Bourdieu.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 07:25:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And I don't need any proof that "choices are constrained by society". All choices are, in a way or another, under some constraint by society. Society puts different constraints on men and women, if only that of pregnancy. I don't say these constraints are absolute ; but finding statistics that show women doing most of the housework, and various form of discourse encouraging women to do so, much more than men, is extremely easy to do. These pressures mean that women are more willing to work in more flexible ways than men - because they are supposed to spend more time working at home. Since the medical professions values people willing to dedicate all their time to their profession, women end up with slower careers ; ultimately, because of social pressures to do more at home. More discriminating, employers, because of social expectations that women will have to be less committed to their career, are more reluctant to promote women.

What is the part of this reasoning you can't follow ? What part is "illogical" ?

As for "serious" studies, an interesting statistic : all other things equal, married men are paid more than single men, and married women are paid less than single women. Unequal shares in housework (and perceptions and expectations, by employers, of these unequal roles, which means that even "emancipated" women will face those discriminations) explain this...

As for your name calling about "extremist sloganeering" - I could point you to actual extremists. The views I'm expressing here are barely to the left of the French political spectrum.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 08:56:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Knowing Bourdieu, I would definitely not put him forward as a reference. He represents precisely the kind of approach to society and philosophic stance that I deeply feel in disagreement with. Bourdieu, in what concerns me, is the Marx of the sociology, one of the apostles of social engineering as a science, no better in that respect than the structuralists he criticized, and I do believe this way of thinking belongs to the same category as those responsible for the advent of nazism and especially communism in Europe.
The idea that individual's life is largely predetermined by the economical and social environment, the simplist manner, indeed the reductionism -- I warmly recommend you the excellent book of Professor Jeffrey Alexander as a very good way to understand the numerous flaws in Bourdieu's theory.

We are all under the influence of what surrounds us, be it family, friends, local and national culture (weather, for some, and I won't even mention moon and stars, for this will most certainly stir your ire! :) ). But the free, educated adult individual will always dispose of something called Reason, critical thinking, ability to make his own opinion and decisions.
You see people's similar attitudes and choices as a proof of conditioning. I see it as a proof that we're all related in the end, we don't differ that much. What you see as imposed, describe in terms of classes, categories, and stereotypes, I see as proof of the essential brotherhood of all humans, ancient wisdom, product of centuries of evolution. What you plan to deconstruct by activist laws, to me seems an absurd and dangerous attempt at moulding the society according to superficial views of proud minds, as if it was a small animal that we stretch and extend to fit our little wooden box.
Mark my words: many philosophers and savants believed to have penetrated the misteries of life. Society is far too complicated for a limited mind, no matter how brilliant that is. Be careful about people that pretend to explain life in a book, as tempting and appealing as it may be.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 03:50:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You point me to a statistical study, and you don't even seem to have read it well.

Here's what it says, in conclusion:

To conclude, the earnings of married men and married women are determined in distinctive ways, with married men obtaining a net advantage in terms of the coefficients on the independent variables, even ignoring the intercept term.
This means that not only is there a large, unexplained, discriminatory element in the wage differential for married men and women but that the relevant variables affect earnings in different ways for each group.
The difference in the intercept term could represent discrimination, an unmeasured link between marital status and productivity, or differences in preferences or opportunity costs between sexes.

This is exactly what I meant all along in this discussion, and I am glad that in the end it is a statistical study that shows I was right all along. Thank you for this link.
I really have nothing more to add on this.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 04:03:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, judges' working conditions are bad. Germany, with a roughly similar justice system as France, a population half greater, and if anything more disciplined than France's, has three to four time the number of judges. Let's say their hours are very, very long.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:43:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet more simplistic statistics, more crying on a category's shoulder for the dire hardships of life. Oh well. Is there anything moderate or tolerant in your reflexion, in general, or you think a new revolution is needed to turn the society from the path of the evil? Sigh...

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 02:40:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Enough: those are personal attacks on linca, not on his arguments.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 02:42:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I reject this. I'm speaking about his opinions, as he expressed them here. They are, in my view, exaggerated, even extremist, and intolerant.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 02:47:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
your arguments are intelligent, but they end in one place...that these programs should be carefully examined, not used willy nilly.

who's denying that?

what's the fuss about? linca is not sloganeering, he's stating his opinions, very civilly considering, fwiw...

you say you're a moderate, but you sure use a lot of talking points from the right, seems to me.

if all you want is these programs to be administered less liberally, why not just say so? i don't think you've convinced anyone for all the effort, of anything they didn't already know and even agree with.

is it a straw man of your own imagination you are burning? all those damn government give-aways, maybe?

if that's the case, maybe we should think about cutting the military pork before we slash more programs that try to help the disadvantaged... most moderates would agree with that, i think, and if you were railing against that rather than what you are, you'd probably be finding an audience more in tune with your fondly held opinions, which lack originality, not that that's a blog crime, lol.

just sayin', your tone has gone 'off'...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 05:17:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You should have realized that common sense is the important part, not intelligence - or others' opinions on the degree of intelligence, and even less to impress you or others on that level.
If you were to be objective, you would have noted that it is not myself who made the fuss.

In what concerns me, I replied to a rather simplistic statement of InWales, statement which she explained and nuanced in what followed.
No one realized (or indeed appreciated) that this has in the end followed my own reasoning.
Everybody got interested in the tiny "activist" points - nurses are subservient, railway workers and judges have bad work conditions, christianism is a delusion and so on. I do regret mentioning them, I didn't think they will pollute the debate to such extent.

It would have been nice if you reacted when linca called me a mysoginist, an ignorant, asked me if I heard about anthropology, without proof or with sloppy arguments (subservient etc). This is less a civil, and more an extreme manner of debating, similar to those employed by the old feminists. The fact that there is extremism far more extreme, is no excuse.

As to you speaking for a group, frankly it fails to impress me. First, I wonder if 5-6 people represent the readership. Second, I never write for an audience, I've nothing to gain, or to lose. I just reacted on an idea that sounded simplistic. Third, my arguments were often not replied, but rejected (you're a mysoginist; you're an ignorant about history too!), I spent a good part of my time correcting  the numerous misreadings (I never mentioned the pay of the railway workers; the point about nurses was that the proportion of women is no proof of men being discriminated against; a Saudian society is so concerning the relations state-church and oppression of people by the church, not about treatment of other faiths etc etc.).

Finally, it's not even about dealing with social programs "less liberally". I don't even know what that means. I'm much of a classical liberal myself, and I find the term liberal as used to-day as quite far from its original meaning. I would like those programs implemented more rationally, so that they don't make collateral victims (I even gave an example, I wonder if anyone noticed it). You might have heard all this before, I assure you a newcomer won't notice it.

As to the tone, oh well. You are yourself making yet another baseless assumption (like the one where I was echoing UMP propaganda, whilst I reflected mainstream independent media). I've no straw man to burn and nothing to regret about my tone.

Eppur si muove!

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 04:38:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
In what concerns me, I replied to a rather simplistic statement of InWales, statement which she explained and nuanced in what followed.
No one realized (or indeed appreciated) that this has in the end followed my own reasoning.

No, not exactly. I was trying to demonstrate, by peeling back layer after layer that your view of our hideous left wing rhetoric was ill informed or at least your perception of what it all amounts to wasn't accurate.  I didn't change my discourse until it agreed with you, I tried to show you that the statements you were making about my view on equalities weren't accurate.  

There are still plenty of things we've not reached any agreement on - in my view mainly your belief that there are not socially constructed gender stereotypes and therefore no such thing is influencing the choices people make with their lives.  You also still don't seem to take on board that I have never once suggested that people should be made to do things they don't want to do.

I want to break down the stereotypes that cause institutional and structural discrimination in society - which does exist.  I believe that legislation is an important part of that, and education alone doesn't work -  I speak form experience there.

Besides, we don't even agree on what we should be educating people about because the gender stereotypes that I think are socially constructed and need tackling, you think amounts to 'old wisdom'.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 04:57:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A, a a !  You peeled back what you thought was my view. In what concerns me, I replied to your phrase about monitoring companies and if there are gender discrepancies, they need to address the causes. I replied because the causes are not always within the reach of companies' scope of action.
Further you said these programs are indeed implemented rationally and you do look for the root cause. Had you said that from the beginning, we wouldn't have had this wonderful talk and so maybe never gotten to know each other! Fate can be mischievous :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:02:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Btw if you read back the phrase you quote, I did not say you changed, but that you nuanced your discourse. That you explained it.

I did not say there are no socieally constructed roles. I say they're not all and always mistaken, and hence not all should be deconstructed, and not in all cases.
Nuance. Tolerance. Going about it rationally, not based on theories like Bourdieu's... (I speak in general here, not criticizing you - you managed to maintain a remarkably balanced tone all through this).

Ok. Some mistaken stereotypes do exist. Do you have an example for which there is clear proof that it is not a matter of women free choice?
You mentioned the bin collecting vs cleaning, I replied that it's the physical force that made the difference in role - and in pay.
We must tackle clearly proven mistaken stereotypes. I don't think motherhood is one, and I do call both examples common sense, or old wisdom.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:09:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have just posted a long reply somewhere else in the thread which probably answers some of these.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:13:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Me too. But since I'm through with text searching 200+ posts, here's the short stuff:

To conclude, the earnings of married men and married women are determined in distinctive ways, with married men obtaining a net advantage in terms of the coefficients on the independent variables, even ignoring the intercept term.
This means that not only is there a large, unexplained, discriminatory element in the wage differential for married men and women but that the relevant variables affect earnings in different ways for each group.
The difference in the intercept term could represent discrimination, an unmeasured link between marital status and productivity, or differences in preferences or opportunity costs between sexes.

(from a statistical study published by Oxford and graciously linked in by linca)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:44:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was referring to this comment of mine

btw to me this
ValentinD:

This means that not only is there a large, unexplained, discriminatory element in the wage differential

is where I'd take research further to try to figure out what some of the so far unexplained potential discriminatory causes could be.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:49:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't you think the reasons "girls don't like carburators" may have something to do with the way places where carburators are worked on typically show nude women on the walls

Don't worry, they can always hire lesbian mechanics.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 11:51:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I should send this portion of this diary to Megan, one of my previous Chem/micro tutoring students who is down at San Diego Nursing School; she'll finish up in about 1.5 yrs.  She always wanted to be a nurse, thinks she'll be gang busters at it, looks forward to a hefty income (once the loans are paid off), will never have to worry about job security, and I think she would "punch you in the boob" (there's a story there) if you said anything about "discrimination" when it comes to nursing, but I could be wrong.

Becoming a Doctor (MD)?  Try passing the MKATs these days.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:45:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm talking about conditions in France mostly, where employment conditions for nurses are not so great - certainly no "hefty" income.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 08:01:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Honestly I think this is somewhat similar to the way French trade unions talk about workers as if we were still in the 19th century with people ruining their health in factories and mines.
I don't actually think nurses' situation is that - only been in hospitals twice, and I have no stats about salaries, hours, how they feel about their work etc. I don't even think nurses are regarded by anyone as subservient or demeaning in any way, these days.

But we can discuss all this, try out ideas and so on; problem is, when some start to make laws based on that, or on other empirical data. If In Wales' association limited to giving advice, pointing out exclusion or unfairness cases, educating, it wouldn't be a problem. Such associations get political though, inspire and support laws, which is where one's case must be carefully made and completely documented.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 09:24:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems you don't know much about nurses ? Well, I have family working there, read nurses' blogs (mostly male, actually), have probably seen some stats, have seen them strike in the hospital my mother was hospitalised... You do know that a nurse making an injection at a patient's home is paid 3 euros - gross ? compare with the wage a doctor would ask for the exact same tax. Do you know that most nurses in France find a way to switch career after about ten years working, because the conditions are too lousy ? Do you think there is no hierarchy in hospitals these days ?

It is not because you don't know about such a carefully made and completely documented explanation that it doesn't exist. Here we are trying out ideas, but there is actually a lot of theoretical and empirical work - and here you come, affirming it doesn't exist.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 09:45:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Difference in salary has nothing to do with gender, as there are more women doctors today than men. The fact that there are differences (in responsibility, competence, and well, income too) between professions is normal.

When I said I have no stats, I meant that when you (I mean you, linca) claim there is discrimination, it's not me to bring arguments.
Or I notice your arguments have more to do with the lack of enough nurses, differences amongst professions and hierarchy, and other such things that are normal and have nothing to do with discrimination or the subservient status of the nurse.

French railway unions speak exactly the same way about train drivers and workers, while their condition has absolutely nothing to do anymore those 100 years ago - suffices to look at a tram driver's hypermodern cabin today, the effort it takes him to push some buttons  and, of course, the stress of largely doing nothing all day long.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 10:26:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact that there are differences (in responsibility, competence, and well, income too) between professions is normal.

And how do you account that these differences of responsibility and competence have no correlation to income?

the effort it takes him to push some buttons  and, of course, the stress of largely doing nothing all day long.

well the "Largely doing nothing" is actually "Avoiding doing things that can cause many deaths" train driving pushes right up on the responsibility scale.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 10:46:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I never said that they have no correlation to income. On the contrary, I think it normal that such differences affect salary too - it's the main compensation after all.

As to train or tram drivers, I never denied their responsibility to not start the train while people still getting on and off.
Just the fact that their working conditions would be as dire as their unions (in France) depict them to be.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 03:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know about tram drivers, but metro and train drivers are also supposed to be able to do flash repairs on a stuck train, among other things.

Also, you seem to think the 10x difference on income between a nurse and a doctor are normal and fair. They certainly have nothing to do with the fact that the last time nurses went on mass demonstrations, the water guns were fired at them, whereas doctors negotiating with the government while on "strike" (the yearly december strike for specialist doctors is called the "Courchevel Strike" after the french ski resort) have it easier, since very often the minister of health is himself a doctor...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:49:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I got your point about nurses, but I still refuse your framing of nurses as oppressed women and doctors as authoritarian men. I suspect this is a typically French case of lack of listening one another and abuse of authority. I lean to give more credit to TBG's image of US nurses.

As to drivers, again, my point was about hard work conditions, not responsibility.
These conditions don't compare to those 100 years ago, which was my point all the time (ie, that people today complain much too easy compared to the past).

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 08:15:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do women doctors never boss around women nurses? Do women doctors boss women nurses around less than male doctors?

It's easy to end up with a reductio ad absurdum - if you start from the position that there's a homogenous demographic group called 'women' and a different homogenised demographic group called 'men' and that relationships between the two are always stereotyped, and always and exclusively (by implication) solely to the detriment of women, then you end up somewhere indefensible and disconnected from reality.

My point isn't so much about who's bossing who around, but that assessments of value made by the equality industry are largely based on economics - specifically who gets more cash.

This is a non-starter because the whole point of most economic thinking is to increase inequality, not reduce it. So trying to change relationships between gender roles by trying to increase economic status is like driving with the brake on - you may get selective improvements for certain groups, but they will usually be at someone else's expense.

To put it another way - I don't care about women getting into boardrooms, because I don't want boardrooms. And getting people out of boardrooms and into more open and inherently participatory political and economic systems is going to do more for practical equality than adding legal and legislative epicycles to a toxic and unstable system which is likely to implode soon anyway.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 08:56:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you know what a strike looked like 100 years ago ? Nowadays, strikers are wimps compared to those of 1900 - that went on strike despite risking to be shot upon. So if that is your point, it is quite wrong.

Care to inform yourself about nurses having it far worse than doctors ? Care to read my argument, which is not that "nurses are oppressed and doctors are authoritarian men" (although your recognised the latter part in admitting bosses were often patronising in France) but that there is a framing that considers nursing to be a subservient, caring, uncreative occupation, which thus doesn't fit the masculine gender ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 08:57:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nurses having it far worse than doctors has little to do today with societal framing as subservient etc.

Also today I honestly doubt nurses are seen in any of those demeaning ways that you quote - men included. I don't society sees caretaking or humanitarian work in a demeaning way. But that's just MHO.

Men not filling up nurse jobs might not always be due to demeaning views of the profession, but also to not feeling fit for it, purely and simply. I support women emancipation and freedom, but we should try to avoid falling into misandry.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 07:22:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you ever wonder about why men wouldn't feel fit for it ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 07:37:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is you who should explain that. I personally do not think the profession is seen in a degrading way today.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 02:53:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't yet commented on the nurse debate, and don't intend in detail; but I note that I have a relative in the USA who is a nurse, a high-paid one at that, but she did complain especially about the attitude of doctors and that she is not allowed to do certain things even while she knows as much as a doctor -- and thus her goal is to become a doctor.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 06:20:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did explain, and unlike you I provided arguments, based on other things that my personal opinion.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 08:23:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You showed reasons of dissatisfaction with the job, not proof that the society views the profession in a demeaning way. Not the same thing.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 04:44:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not for me to explain these differences. My point the whole time was to ask, are you sure these differences (and others) are due to unfair social or economical causes? It was not a charged question, but an honest one: does anyone investigate the causes to the root, or the reasoning is more like
"discrimination is the most plausible cause, so that must be it, and we'll make laws in consequence". I gave a few examples where such line of thought is weak, if not downright wrong
(women MDs in New York, the only real statistics anyone brought into this discussion btw).

If we're certain, I'm all for it. But it's not for me to produce explanations, but to those who support activist laws based on superficial statistical correlations that suit them.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 02:45:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My point the whole time was to ask, are you sure these differences (and others) are due to unfair social or economical causes?

Are you sure that's your question? Because in general, one can speak of multiple factors influencing decisions, but you seem to make them either-or, thus making potential other factors a negation of the social or economical factors.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 06:25:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is rhetorics. Others do that, I don't. One may sometimes ask naive questions, with no agenda. On the contrary, you misread me: Im for "and", not "either-or". I never excluded discrimination, never said it doesn't exist.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 04:47:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't know anything more about the conditions of train drivers than you know about those of nurses, do you ?

Nurses wages staying low despite difficulties to recruit indeed are not "normal" : they show that there's a general sentiment "nurses shouldn't be paid too much".

You ask me to show stat, yet InWales shows them and you say they prove nothing ; I give the reasoning behind how those stats, and other arguments, show the very, very strong prevalence of female nurses, show a very gendered identity of the profession, and you claim this is normal. Maybe misogyny is normal to you, but it is not for everyone.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 02:24:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh but I do know, I'm regularly taking the tram and I can see the guy narrating his weekend adventures to his mate next to him, while casually pushing the door button and the speed pedal, half an eye to the traffic.
Sigh. I dont deny their responsibility, but hard work conditions? Gimme a break...

I said it's normal that nurse salaries are lower than doctors', that's all, no need to misread me.

Prevalence of women nurses is not due to any kind of discrimination, sexism, or exclusion. Attempts to bring more men did work out, but only marginally. It's just life, and life is not always a matter of social activism.

I didn't see In Wales' stats, so I couldn't comment on them - until now I was alone bringing up actual numbers. I'll check the whole discussion up again.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 03:18:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Prevalence of women among nurses historically comes from the fact that hospital nurses used to be nuns, because it was cheap labour. Nuns being numerous comes from the sexist policies of the Catholic church in its hiring of priests.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:51:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not at all, it was because nuns were sacrificing themselves for the poor, for the love of Christ, just as many Christians did and still do. Your interpretation denotes a frightening degree of cinism. Fortunately humans are much better at heart than you seem capable of conceiving, alas.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 08:09:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you read Diderot's La Religieuse, heard about the Magdalen sisters in Ireland, indeed actually went beyond the church propaganda about the social role and recruiting of nuns ? Maybe right now the catholic sect, having lost its means of coercion in wider society, can only count on the absolutely free choice of its members. It certainly wasn't always so.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 09:00:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find speaking that way about the catholics a terrible disrespect for all those millions who sincerely believe in their faith, or for those million priests honestly faithful and inspired towards doing good and helping people.
Your posts seem to indicate everything is black and white for you. Not every man is a mysoginist, every white a racist, or every catholic priest an oppressor. Opening up to the reality of the world can do wonders to lighten up the spirit.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 07:27:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great. Criticism is "disrespect". That has a way of narrowing the debate.

You're the one holding a simplistic view of the world, refusing to look at root causes of the choices of individuals in a society - you could have different answers, but you're not actually giving any, just sweeping the subject under the rug.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 07:39:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Criticism is "disrespect".

You missed that memo? You haven't been paying attention. Asking questions is also disrespect these days. Querying sources, asking for evidence?  Disrespect.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 08:03:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hasn't ET shown me the door?  Most of what I do is ask questions.  That, and swear a lot.  And make unfunny quips.  And ...

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 08:52:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Calling the catholic church a sect is a lack of respect for those who act in good faith, and doing good. Those were means of coercition in some situations, but not always, not to everyone, not by everyone. Such exaggerations and generalizations, like that calling faith a delusion, are of course part of our right to free speech, but are disrespectful and intolerant towards all those fine christian men I know.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 02:51:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"sect: a subdivision of a larger religious group"

or

"In the sociology of religion a sect is generally a small religious or political group that has broken off from a larger group, for example from a large, well-established religious group, like a denomination, usually due to a dispute about doctrinal matters. "

Works for me, whether you want to consider it a sub-group of Christian denominations or of the Abrahamic  religious complex (Christians/Jews/Muslims and assorted hangers on).

And faith is a delusion. I missed the point when speaking truth became intolerance: you want to be deluded, feel free.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 02:58:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the french law, the catholic church is a church, not a sect. According to historical data, it is others who split from it, not the other way around.

But that's not even the point. We're not discussing religion here, it is not me who brought this topic, and if you or linca see the faith or the church as an instrument of oppression, as something wrong, or a delusion, this is your right to free thinking. The terms you put it here bring you on the border of free speech - I'm not sure delusional is not an insult according to the law. But it's the sense of intolerance that disturbs me. Can you really not conceive that amongst the deluded and oppressing, may be good people, helping those in need ? How can you generalize like this? Even when you had something personal against religion or the catholic church, airing this on a public forum borders hate speech. The same kind Helen was outing when calling names all those against Prop.8.

On te other hand, if this is a forum whose established, official political line is so, I'll gladly spare you of my presence.

I was looking for a forum more about mutual respect, freedom to not be judged for personal values, rational argumenting, basic tolerance.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 03:27:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]

 The terms you put it here bring you on the border of free speech - I'm not sure delusional is not an insult according to the law.

"A delusion is commonly defined as a fixed false belief and is used in everyday language to describe a belief that is either false, fanciful or derived from deception. ...:

If the shoe fits ...

Can you really not conceive that amongst the deluded and oppressing, may be good people, helping those in need ?

That doesn't mean they're not deluded.


I was looking for a forum more about mutual respect, freedom to not be judged for personal values, rational argumenting, basic tolerance.

Sure you are. I think I saw one go that-a-way.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 03:44:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
delusional    
    An insult/label often flung at those who have beliefs that are not commonly accepted.
(UrbanDictionary)

Or else you can just go outside, call someone out there deluded and see if they take it as an insult or not :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 04:05:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As you know, the Urban Dictionary is a user-defined dictionary, and this definition is a witticism. But fair enough if you want to cite it as such.

However, it seems to me a lot of what you have to say about unions, strikers, social policies, the excessive pay of train-drivers, etc, is very much part of beliefs that are "commonly accepted".

Somehow, seeing you as part of a downtrodden minority, in a country where your views can be commonly heard and are above all touted by the ruling party and president, doesn't quite work for me.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 04:28:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did I mention train driver pay? It was rather their working conditions, which are ultramodern and better than those of many other jobs today.

As to strikers, I spoke precisely about the Paris transports. I'll gladly add most French train worker unions. I never generalized.

I had one only problem with "social policies": vilifying categories and excessive use of superficial statistics. I tried to prove my point, and InWales has agreed that fairness goes both ways. It is saddening that you had the impression you had. My middle names are Moderation, Tolerance, and ItAllGoesBothWays.
:)

(does anyone ever smile over here, btw, or am I really looking like the black sheep)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 04:49:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to historical data, it is others who split from it, not the other way around.

Well, technically, the Catholic Church split off Orthodox Christianity by claiming the primacy of Rome.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 06:34:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not so. That was a schism, a split, two sides that get divided. Not a branch taking off. You seem to know a bit about history, it's odd to defend the idea that the catholic church would be a sect of the orthodox one. It's the first time I hear that, frankly. As say the French, on aura tout vu...

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 04:50:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was a schism, a split, two sides that get divided.

Nope. That was one patriarch among several equals claiming a place above the others. Orthodox Christianity never had and still doesn't have one single head. (And a branch taking off is also two sides that get divided.)

It's the first time I hear that, frankly.

Well -- based on what you wrote so far, I am not surprised. Maybe I should tell you about the multiple Messsiahs and about Constantine's volte face someday.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:45:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Relations between East and West had long been embittered by political and ecclesiastical differences and theological disputes.
Pope Leo IX and Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius, heightened the conflict by suppressing Greek and Latin in their respective domains. In 1054, Roman legates traveled to Cerularius to deny him the title Ecumenical Patriarch and to insist that he recognize the Roman Catholic claim to be the head and mother of the churches.
Cerularius refused. The leader of the Latin contingent excommunicated Cerularius, while he excommunicated the legates.

Mutually.
A mutuaally consented divorce.

Do you have any proof, quotation or link to an authority calling the Catholic church a sect of the Orthodox ?


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:24:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Calling the catholic church a sect is a lack of respect for those who act in good faith, and doing good.

Huh!? There are people who act on good faith and do good in every sect. That has nothing to do with being delusional.

calling faith a delusion, are of course part of our right to free speech, but are disrespectful and intolerant towards all those fine christian men I know.

What about non-Christian men and women? Say polytheist versions of Hinduism and just about every mainstream version of Christianity are incompatible, thus at least one group of faithful is delusional. I don't think thinking someone is delusional is necessarily disrespectful, and it is certainly not intolerant.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 06:32:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't call anyone delusional for their faith, religion, sect, church or denomination,or their values in general. I respect others and their values and life choices. I can respect homosexuals, catholics, defenders of the family, muslims and buddhists. Libertarians and materialists are anathema from a catholic viewpoint, and catholics are delusional for materialists, but I don't appreciate it when people throw invectives at each other - and if you defend the civility of the term, I think that is really a lost cause :)


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 04:55:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Re-stating your view without taking my actual points into any account is not a good debating practice.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:48:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't restate it. It is you who read it sloppily - and since this must be the tenth time this happens, with your permission, I'll add: as usual.

Delusional is today perceived as an insult. Calling an opponent, someone with other views or believes, deluded, is today perceived as an insult. You just have to join Colman outside, where he's gone to test my statement and is just getting a beating from a deluded drunkard :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:28:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stop this bashing, Valentin! You insult Colman, who expressed himself in a balanced, tolerant, civilized way!

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:31:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, that was the story, and it might even have been true in a proportion of cases. In others, not so much: there were plenty of women forced into convents by their families for a variety of reasons.

Anyway, sacrificing yourself for a delusion doesn't seem very noble to me.   A bit pathetic really.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 08:04:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UMP propaganda against train drivers you echo is based on quite some ignorance. So let me tell something as a railway employee (someone in the know) and an non-Frenchman (someone not informed by the rhetoric on the debate in France).

Tell me please, when do you normally get up? I somehow doubt you know what it's like to go to work before all commuters three times a week.

Also, how many people's lives have been entrusted to you, and for how long without interruption? Contrary to the strange image you seem to have from the follow-up comment, trains, especially trams won't run auto-pilot like planes -- responsibility means watching signals and potential obstructions, especially for trams, to avoid killing your passengers (or if possible, a silly car driver) in an accident.

What is the risk in your job of you killing someone, in an accident or a suicide? I doubt you realise the psychological strain from running over people (which, statistically, the majority of train drivers aren't lucky to avoid).

In your job, what is the longest time you have to hold back and not go to the toilet?

You say train drivers' condition has absolutely nothing to do anymore those 100 years ago. As per above, a lot of it does have to do with it. In other things, there is improvement -- say, in the last, train drivers have better buckets; they have air conditioning and no coal to shovel, and a string of safety systems (though they have to know how to drive when those systems break down, which happen).

However, there are enhanced risk factors, too. For one, cars. Trains are faster (and motional energy, which a crash will absorb, goes up as the square of speed). Modern trains have much higher acceleration, which demands better attention from tram drivers especially.

Finally, back to the UMP-French unions battle: from what I know, the characterisation of train driver conditions is a non-issue that is cited to turn things on their head -- it was not that the unions were demanding massive pay increases, but that the government attempted a massive virtual paycut by attacking "privileges".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:50:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are intentionally misinterpretting my words.
In the post above I told my own personal experience with tram drivers. I never spoke generalities or political slogans, but just what I personally saw and hear. At some point the guys went on strike for a month against speeding up from 16 to 17 km/h (turning upside down the life of the thousands of poor people who can't afford a car or a taxi to go to work).

As to the "difficult" life of transport workers in general, and the endless list of their advantages, better talk about it on a special thread, for it's going to take days.
Feel free to create a diary on that btw, since you seem to be at least as informed as a parisian :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:15:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How does it turn upside down the life of thousands of people  to keep the speed at 16 km/h rather than increase it to 17? surely maintaining a steady state turns nothing upside down?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 07:00:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My English is confuse, it seems.

The Paris transport company decided to take the tram speed from 16 to 17 km/h.
Tram drivers went on strike because of that.
Trams didn't circulate for a whole month. Commuters using trams were forced to use alternatives (buses etc). Their daily routine was turned upside down, time spent on going to work increased, buses were overload - as usual when transport workers go on strike.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 08:20:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry I did not read your reply to linca about personal experiences before writing the above longer comment, only your reply to ceebs.

Still, I have the impression that your interpretation of what you saw is coloured by the political discourse. Also that you ignore half my points which aren't negated by causal driver behaviour.

As for such behaviour, in fact, if that driver/those drivers did throw only half an eye on the traffic while talking, or worse, did so repeatedly, then they should be disciplined. Just the other day, inattention due to guests in the cab led to four deaths on my railway -- the driver now awaits trial.

speeding up from 16 to 17 km/h

Though I couldn't find an article on that specific strike, I am quite certain that you confuse top speed and average speed. (Trams definitely have line speeds in that ballpark and top speeds 3-4 times of that.) Raising average line speed does not have a linear effect at all. Raising average line speed (which includes acceleration, braking, and most importantly, stops) by just one sixteenth while top speed remains the same, means much tighter passenger unloading/loading times at stations, accelerations/decelerations much closer to the limit of what's possible, and a stronger effect of traffic disturbances. It sounds like a typical bureaucratic decision by a manager hired from the outside with no clue about how railways actually work.

Feel free to create a diary on that btw

I already did, and also participated in a previous discussion on ET (from which I learnt about the 'debate' in France).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 02:55:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You accuse me of political bias without reading me well, then you do, apologize, then accuse me again, "under the impression". Amazing. Would I be wrong if I said you read me through the filter of your far left convictions?

You seem to think workers know better than "bureaucratic managers" (engineers too, I suppose). To me that sounds quite proletarian, but hey, one is entitled to one's own opinions and impressions.
I didn't reply to the whole of your post because I can't reply to any point made by anybody. I still believe work conditions today have nothing to do with those 100 or even 30 years ago, and we should stop complaining of "oppressions" at every disagreeement. A culture of dialogue should replace a culture of class warfare.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 07:33:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yes. Dialog with managers always work so well. There is no class warfare - except that one side knows it is happening, and makes sure it keeps on winning it.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 07:42:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the detailed on-point answer. </snark>

accuse me again, "under the impression"

I have an impression (not accusation under impression), which, debating on the basis of the subjective experience of one side, I should be allowed to communicate.

My impression was precipitated upon things like the fact that you cite union claims on work conditions -- claims which came up in the political debate, your argument about passenger inconvenience (which is a general anti-strike argument), that you thought not hitting passengers with closing doors is all that there is to tram driver responsibility. Incidentally, the 16 to 17 km/h argument you made without specifying "average line speed" reinforced my impression, for it sounds like an anti-union propaganda argument ("1 km/h faster and they cry foul -- ridiculous!") that you may have caught up.

"bureaucratic managers" (engineers too, I suppose)

You somehow seem to have missed the crucial "hired from the outside with no clue about how railways actually work" part. The engineers know their thing, managers back when they had actual technical experience also tended to know their thing, but today managers are considered interchangeable, and railways often get types who make decisions whose adverse effects can be (and are) predicted at the getgo. I could write long diaries about these -- in fact, I did. What's more, there are a couple of models for the Paris situation, say the failed Athens tram timetable. (Also, I'm not sure about tram drivers, but locomotive drivers nowadays are technically engineers, too.)

A culture of dialogue should replace a culture of class warfare.

I agree, but a unilateral announcement of a virtual paycut, accompanied by a campaign describing locomotive drivers as having it too good with lots of privileges, is not dialogue. It is class warfare. I find it strange that you can only perceive class warfare when fought from below.

I can't reply to any point made by anybody. I still believe

How should I debate statements of faith?

Maybe with subjective observations of my own. Where I live, it happens often that bus drivers talk with someone in the cab/door, it happens that locomotive drivers invite someone into the cab, but I have never seen tram or subway drivers do it. When I was in France last year, I didn't get on a Paris tram, but did get on them in a couple of other cities, and there was discipline too (and on-time trams). So if what you saw was as serious as you describe it, or worse a regular occurence, it doesn't mean that tram divers have it too good but that oversight is lenient (maybe managers should focus on that) and the talkative drivers should be punished before they cause a serious accident.

Would I be wrong if I said you read me through the filter of your far left convictions?

I am indeed among the 6-7 regulars on ET who could be classified as hard left; replaced with that, the above statement would be debatable, though I don't understand the occasion (my above described "impression" was not based on a presumed political stance of yours). However, I am not beating up capitalists in back alleys, or calling for an instant expropiation of rich landowners, or for the exiling of the editorial board of The Economist, or praising Stalin or hailing José Bové as Dear Leader, or whatever other parallels there can be to the behaviour of the far-right (say the Italian one we discussed some time back); and indeed I haven't written anything upthread that a moderate Social Democrat couldn't say -- so even that you thought that you could reply to my "accusation" this way implies a tilted sense of what's "far" in politics.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 02:19:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Me talking about union's take on the difficulty of work conditions is not necessarily politically biased. It is well known that many French trade unions, especially those in transports, have a quite a left-wing leaning and a vision more appropriate for the 19th century. This is public knowledge and objective opinion, IMHO.
As to the nuances in the 16-17 km/h strike, I honestly don't remember those details. I didn't find a link either. I said what I learnt from media, without any voluntary bias, and if the strike had the reasonable reasons you quote, I'm ready to make mea culpa.

"What's more, there are a couple of models for the Paris situation, say the failed Athens tram timetable."

You can add the British railways timetables before and after privatisation. I'm aware of this kind of problems. Concerning managers, the situation you mention applied to upper management, from what I know.

If indeed a parachuted manager made a precipitated decision on timetables as you say, then the strike was justified. Not as an excuse, but if me, as quite moderate, understood it that wat, I guess the union communicating on that strike must have been quite a failure.

As to class warfare: frankly, after all happened to Paris transports prior to 2007, the radicalization and tough leftwing bias of unions, I'm amongst those Parisians feeling completely fed up with those unions' warfare. I could talk at length their lack of credibility or representativity, but since you say you had those discussions here before, I won't start on it - I have little time to read back those diaries and it's pointless to repeat such debates everytime someone "new" mentions the issue.

How should you debate statements of faith? By reading them honestly, rationally and without bias. Instead of scoring a point against me or my supposed "subjectivity", you could maybe read my "I believe" as "your arguments are not very convincing". I have read you carefully and that is my opinion at this time.
We can debate the issue of hypermodern driver cabins and work conditions in general, but this is not the right thread. Maybe an event will stir things again soon and we'll do it then, if oc you'll be interested.

"so even that you thought that you could reply to my "accusation" this way implies a tilted sense of what's "far" in politics."

It is you who first interpreted my view (of a fed-up-with-transport-strikes Paris citizen) through a political prism. I'm in my right to assume that it is your own political bias that told you you're "recognizing an enemy" :)
Oh well.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 03:17:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is well known that many French trade unions, especially those in transports, have a quite a left-wing leaning and a vision more appropriate for the 19th century. This is public knowledge and objective opinion, IMHO.

Your not-so-humble opinion doesn't rise to well-known public-knowledge objectivity. It sounds quite like Thatcherian propaganda.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 03:24:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Honestly, I don't think so. I just live in Paris for quite a long time now. I'm myself in no way far right. Now you made me want to look for independent assessment of French transport unions, which I'll do, and I won't miss the opportunity to let you know what I found.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 03:32:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm myself in no way far right.

BTW, while no one has accused you of that and I do not think you are far right (probably not even hard right, except for your reading of history), I'd love to discuss further your earlier strange dismissal of the fascist danger in Italy as figment of leftist imagination in light of recent events.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 04:57:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You think being called a thatcherian propagandist means that you're appreciated for your moderate politics ? Oh come on.
I'll gladly debate anything else - as soon as this thread ends (with me being right, and others taking all the glory, as usual! :) )

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:00:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I called you neither a moderate nor a thatcherian propagandist.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:24:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes but my post to which you replied, was itslef a reply to a post where afew was "dealing" with me as being a thatcherian propagandist.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:54:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not afew.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:07:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're reading the sub-thread sloppily again - with all due respect.

Afew called me that. You said "no one said you're far right". But afew just did, so your statement was mistaken, which is what I said in my last post.

It takes as much time expressing meaningful views as disentangling misunderstandings and misreadings.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:35:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So now "thatcherite propagandist" = "far right". Your semantic transgressions are hard to follow...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 07:08:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, afew said "Thatcherite propaganda", not propagandist, where the same distinction applies as the one I pointed out regarding you echoing the UMP.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 07:11:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL your efforts to read back the thread are remarkable, but you still miss a nuance. Amazing, 'ey.

afew called my "not-so-humble opinion a Thatcherite propaganda". In my humble understanding of the English language, telling someone his opinions are a Thatcherite propaganda, makes him personally a Thatcherite propagandist, particularly since he doesn't keep those opinions to himself!


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 07:36:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
May be, but yourself accepted just before the implicite opposition between moderate and thatcherite propagandist :) Entangling in our own posts, are we.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 07:33:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In what way my "reading of history" reminds you of the hard right ?

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:01:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All this Great Muslim Menance undertone.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:25:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My turn to say:

HUHHHH ??!!!

I do not believe in the existence of a civilization culture, or religious war with the muslims - or the risk for it.
I do believe Christianism is objectively (it's almost orgasmic to use this word here now :))) ) more "enlightened", more humanistic a religion than Islam.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:53:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's pretty intolerant to say... and given that you say this not in total unawareness of Ottoman history, sounds like rather twisted hard-right stuff.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:12:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm ready to debate this anytime - but my way: rationally and with arguments (oh!, oh!)

I'm not passing a value judgement on muslims as others do on christians. I gave my opinion on which religion is closer to the values of the Enlightenment. It's a philosophical reflection, much like the recent one from His Sanctity Benedict XVI ! :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:41:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Me talking about union's take on the difficulty of work conditions is not necessarily politically biased.

I wasn't talking about your political biases, that's something you insist to bring into the picture. But what I talked about, that you are informed about the situation with the unions from the on-going po,itical campaign in France, and that you look at your personal experiences through the frames set by that political debate, is becoming ever more obvious.

objective opinion, IMHO.

Can't you sense the glaring contradiction in the above? At any rate, while afew dealt with this, I only note that yet again you cite the (a) pre-existing political frame for what should be a technical discussion.

I said what I learnt from media, without any voluntary bias, and if the strike had the reasonable reasons you quote, I'm ready to make mea culpa.

OK, we're getting somewhere. Now, the media report what has been told by politicians, often lazily without doing some research on their own, thus they communicate (and enhance) the spin and propaganda they issue. Certain PR is louder than the other. Today, management PR is usually louder and more heard than union PR -- unions do indeed have a communication disadvantage, they don't have PR firms to pay and business journalists tend to summarize their press conferences (if they go to them at all) and communiques in half-sentences. IOW I'm not saying you have any bias, a superficial reading of what comes across the media is enough.

You can add the British railways timetables before and after privatisation. I'm aware of this kind of problems.

Yes, the British railways timetables problems could feature as example of bad management, though I would argue that there the very setting up of the, ahem, market conditions was more to blame. But the Athens tram is a much more direct example of what I was thinking of: a tramway timetable designed with a close-to-ideal traffic situation in mind. (In that case, it was a new line, IIRC the higher line speed was a prestige issue, unions were not involved.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 06:15:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When you say I echo UMP propaganda, I take that as a polite accusation of political bias. And even saying that before even giving me the chance to tell you I echo mainstream media, biased as they might be, you reflect a political bias yourself.

There is absolutely no contradiction (let alone a glaring one) in my "objective opinion, IMHO."

Please do read the phrase carefullly back again.

In my opinion, saying that most Paris unions are radicalized and hard left represents today an objective reflection of reality. Subtle, isn't it :)
Otherwise said, I don't agree that saying that constitutes or echoes UMP propaganda, but common knowledge and common sense.

As to PR, I, unlike you, have no idea whose PR was stronger, so until the contrary proof, I will believe what I retained  from mainstream media, which is what I said before. IF what you say is correct, we'll be able to discuss PR strength and media bias.

I read everything coming my way, period. Not interpretting, and certainly not superficial. This is (yet another!) politically biased assumption :)


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:06:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think any of us would attempt to say we had no political bias.  The interest I have in this debate is that we are coming from very different political perspectives.  I'll admit to being left wing but I'm by no means a communist or extremist far left.  

I know people who are much further to the right than you are but nonetheless, the way that you frame your debate and the concepts you use put you on the right - and most mainstream media is quite right wing so if you are happy to believe what you read and hear without trying to deconstruct it, then you can expect for us to challenge that when you repeat it on here as your version of the 'truth'.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:15:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is interesting. I didn't come (or started this) to defend political convictions. Which part of my discourse smells right wing to you? I'm quite curious.

The only clear political idea I might have stated here was that the individual is a rational being, endowed with critical thinking, free choice, libre arbitre, in spite of all societal conditioning.
That makes me a classical liberal, I suppose.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:46:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
Which part of my discourse smells right wing to you?

Most of the things you say!  Your ideology is fundamentally different to mine.  

Although you have not articulated it as such your reasoning comes across as implying that individuals are more or less in control of their own fate. If they work hard enough (negotiate their contracts well), and apply themselves then they will not be at a disadvantage. ie it is up to the individual.

That's very much a right wing piece of rhetoric.

Also the fact that you view motherhood as a role that the woman should take up to the full (if they have children), that is what I referred to when I said it came across as being socially conservative - ie not thinking that these gender roles need to be challenged because they are 'natural' and that is how things should be.  I challenge that notion.

I'm surprised melo/kcurie have not brought in anthropology here because we've been talking about social constructs and the age old debate of the natural vs the social and that very much underpins where our different ideologies come from. I'm more on the side of there being no clear line between what is deemed as 'natural' in terms of gender roles and place in society and what is socially constructed. So I challenge it all.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:25:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But wherever have I mentioned ideology? I tried to remain rational, reasonable, and bring arguments.

Coming across, getting impressions, having the feeling that ... you do realize such impressions may come from you being leftwing conditioned :)

Individuals: I rationalised the thing: I said free, educated, adult individuals, however conditioned, can still find their critical thinking and make decisions. Not all the time, not in all cases, there is a continuously moving balance in my view, things are not so clearly cut out as linca or you seem to have it about society conditioning.
Sometimes "conditioning" is the result of evolution, is normal accumulation of social wisdom. I don't think you can deny this.

Negotiate contracts: well it was my own case, alas. And I saw women in job interviews and evaluation interviews. I even interviewed them. None was tough enough. I'm not either, btw, I've a scientifical formation (hence inclination to logic approach and rationalizing), I'm terrible in business or sales.
Business can be tough. Not always good, not always fair, so not always up to the individual. Is this reasoning rightwing? Frankly, when we take everything one says not as his real life experience, but as ideologically conditioned views, it's a sign something went wrong.

Motherhood is natural. Well isn't it ? Do you honestly and nonpolitically think a mother's 6th sense doesn't exist? Do you think men are so much worse in taking care of a child only because of social constructs ? Are you denying women are more sensitive, more intuitive, more empathical, more attentive, more nuanced, kinder at heart even?
This is not rightwing politics, not ideological, but my own personal unique experience with life. It might be socially conditioned though.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 07:08:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I grew up in a Tory voting and right wing household. I grew up in the Tory heartlands of England.  I had no access to views from other people that were not at least moderately right wing.

Yet by my own nature I am left wing and when I found the political discourse that gave me the means to articulate how I felt things should be, it was amazing.  This is fundamentally my way of approaching the world.  So I was not leftwing conditioned by any means - I became left wing when I found the discourse that I felt comfortable with.

You haven't mentioned ideology but to refer to wiki:
Ideology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An ideology is a set of beliefs , aims and ideas, especially in politics. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things (compare Weltanschauung), as in common sense (see Ideology in everyday society below) and several philosophical tendencies (see Political ideologies), or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society.

So we are discussing our visions of how things should be and our ways of looking at things.  Even if this is personal and doesn't result from being a member of a political party or being a political activist (ie not buying into an organised ideology), it still counts as ideology.  I see yours and mine being very different.

I used softer words such as what you say 'comes across as' because I don't want to go pointing my finger and saying you are this or you are that.  My impressions come from the way I read into the language that you use and the concepts you are putting forward.  Also your view of what constitutes 'right wing' may well be a bit different to mine.  So you put yourself as moderate where I put you on the right based on the way you have discussed these issues with me. You think I am left wing conditioned but you don't think that you could be right wing conditioned?

The one thing about right wing rhetoric is that it does a fantastic job of getting the message over that this is all common sense, rational and reasonable and because most of the messages you absorb (through the French media you believe to be left wing) are aligned with right wing rhetoric, it's the 'norm' to you that you think is moderate. I haven't been able to express that too well.

Back to women in business and sales.  Why do they need to be so tough?  Is it because they are mostly dealing with male clients who expect a certain type of interaction in setting deals?  What about female clients who may prefer to work with a female sales person?  Research does show that our instincts mean that we prefer people who are like us.  This is where prejudice stems from, the important distinction being whether that prejudice then turns into discrimination through the way people act.

So men prefer to work with other men in certain environments say.  Or white people instinctively prefer to choose white applicants for jobs, because it is more in the personal comfort zone - especially for people who are not regularly exposed to a wide mix of people.  There's genuine psychology behind that.

There is also a business case for having a diverse workforce because it means that you can promote an image that will be attractive to a more diverse client base. Using methods such as flexible working can support both the female workers but also the male workers too, some of whom may have caring responsibilities but usually get overlooked and are expected to be present at work all the time.

My own unique personal experience of life has been an extremely diverse one - bringing me into contact with hundreds and hundreds of people from all walks of life, from different groups and situations, and communities. Part of my job is to gain an insight into the things they experience, especially within a work environment, and this has only strengthened my left wing views because I can see very clearly the disadvantage that certain groups face, disproportionately, that results from discrimination.

To push motherhood as being a natural thing for women then goes punishing the women who are not naturally good at it and prevents fathers from playing a fuller role in bringing up their children.  That's why I challenge it rather than assuming that that is the natural state of things.  Society is progressing I think in a way that enables fathers to play a larger role in their children's lives and that is because the stigma is lessening for women who prefer to go back to work and share the caring responsibilities more evenly with men.

That has happened because the social constructs around gender roles and the assumed role of women in families and in the workplace have begun to change - thus enabling both men and women to have more choice. But as I pointed out elsewhere, the gender pay gap means that choices are still restrained and things like the expectation that men will work longer hours than women, and so on, all still plays a huge part in preventing people from making the choices they wish to.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 04:44:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most French media is on the left, most French journalists and intellectuals are on the left. This does indeed make me deconstruct newsstories sometimes - but in the other way that the one you mention.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:47:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most French media is on the left

LOL.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:51:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Something else: whatever made you think I would be happy with this or that story?!

You could say I was angry at tram strikers (very annoying), but not happy or angry with information I got about that strike. Information just is. On the contrary, I would have been happy to know the strike is justified!

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:50:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't mean happy with the stories but happy to accept what they say without being critical of whether you can trust them or not or whether there is bias you need to account for.

I used the word 'happy' as a turn of phrase really. Language thing there.  Replace happy with willing.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:12:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When you say I echo UMP propaganda, I take that as a polite accusation of political bias.

I identified the UMP (but I could have said "the government that got into conflict with the train unions") as the origin of propaganda you echo via reading the MSM. Would I be hinting at bias, I'd use "issue" in place of "echo".

A specific person's honest opinion is the subjective, not the objective.

"Common knowledge" and "common sense" are artifacts of culture, in this case in no small part that of the MSM -- or at least those parts of it you access -- which again is in no small part influenced by government propaganda. Neither your "common knowledge" nor your "common sense" is an argument in debate.

no idea whose PR was stronger

Don't play naive. Unions have neither the money, nor the media contact manpower, nor the high-level (up to media conglomerate owner) media contacts of governments.

I will believe what I retained  from mainstream media

You never question what has been told you?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:37:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...or you could just admit you rushed a bit with the UMP libeling. Self correcting does good to the soul, as my curé taught me on my Sunday School class.

Marianne, Nouvel'Obs, even Liberation or Le Monde, are MSM, yet in no government or UMP or Sarko The World Saviour's pay.
If I add the public media, you'll agree most MSM is leftwing and PRing for strikers - ahem, defending the rights of the poor and the oppressed!

I never question. I'm all society conditioned. I need to be saved!

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 07:47:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or you could just admit you rushed a bit with the UMP libeling.

You never tire of holding on to your misperceptions, do you? With the addition that UMP allegiance would now be "libel". (Besides, knowing that you are only an expat in France, I have no reason to associate you with the UMP.)

Marianne, Nouvel'Obs, even Liberation or Le Monde, are MSM, yet in no government or UMP or Sarko The World Saviour's pay.

Libé, despite being generally centre-left, is now owned by a personal friend of Sarko. Though some ET regulars will disagree, I wouldn't classify centriste révolutionnaire Marianne as leftist, just because it slammed Sarko in Bayrouist fervour. But these are picked-out examples, and do not constitute a media majority.

Large swathes of the printed MSM are owned by Hachette Filipacchi, e.g. Sarko's other personal friend Lagardère, while gratis newspapers are dominated by yet another friend of his, the yacht-holiday guy, Bolloré. Bolloré is also interested in TV, so is yet another Sarko friend, Bouygues. Calling today's public TV left-wing, especially with top media figures' support for Sarko during the election, is a stretch (and a common right-wing meme, internationally).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 07:36:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not more than you of misreading me.
Putting a coloured label on someone (or calling his words "propaganda") is not exactly a compliment.
(oh and yes I did say it before, but you seem to have an excellent reading filter).

I suggest you take a look at those papers rather than at their boards. A paper's colour is defined by its articles. Yet another common sense issue that seems to have escaped your acuity.

They made a poll last year; they found like 80% journalists declaring themselves leftwing - in general, not just public media.
Despite the few exceptions, French public media can be defined as hard left libertarian.
This is an objective, public knowledge assessment. Stating that it is politically biased is a crime against common sense. You're incredibly leftwing-society conditioned, if you see any statement more at the right than you as rightwing propaganda. This is exactly what I meant on the Berlusconi issue, btw.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 09:55:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the radicalization and tough leftwing bias of unions

If so, hooray ;-) Pun and my political affiliations aside, you repeated this "leftwing" thing a few times, but what does it mean? Trade unions are for defending workers' rights, something leftwing by nature (even if the union is closer to right-wing parties, say the most strike-happy rail union in Hungary), so do you mean explicit Marxist ideology or partisan opposition to Sarko & co?

I'm amongst those Parisians feeling completely fed up with those unions' warfare.

You see, frames. I am more fed up with managements' warfare against unions, in the form of ultimatums and virtual paycuts [upthread afew left out the "virtual"] and the spreading of malicious spin, which seems worst in France (I haven't often heard the "they have it so good" argument in Hungary or Germany).

How should you debate statements of faith? By reading them honestly, rationally and without bias.

Huh. No. Reading statements of faith in whatever way won't enable me to debate them. Statements of faith are the end of debate, the exclusion of any counter-argument, the exclusion of any use of mutually accessible evidence to base arguments upon.

read my "I believe" as "your arguments are not very convincing"

That doesn't help me in any way. Your statement of lack of conviction doesn't tell me what your problem is with my arguments and thus what back-up is needed to convince you.

this is not the right thread.

This discussion that verged (repeatedly) off-topic is in my diary, so I don't see why you see a problem with it...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 06:53:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do mean Marxist and/or communist ideology, I mean connections with the communist party or the LCR.

Your being fed up with managers is politically biased, I suspect :)
And quite theoretical.
I live this in every day life and I do not think these strikes are reasonable or defendable. It's a citizen opinion. I go to work, you're in your armchair commenting. I got sick last winter, ten days in bed. You were probably commenting on the poor worker conditions and the big bad wolf Sarkozy.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:10:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do mean Marxist and/or communist ideology, I mean connections with the communist party or the LCR.

Cool! ;-) Specifics?

Your being fed up with managers is politically biased, I suspect :)

More the opposite way -- a source for my political biases :-)

I live this in every day life and I do not think these strikes are reasonable or defendable. It's a citizen opinion.

You always blame the strikers for your inconvenience, never the managers. That's not simple citizen's opinion, that's a political taking of sides in labour conflict.

I go to work, you're in your armchair commenting.

I too go to work, and lately strikes were as common here as in France, if not more.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:02:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CGT and Sud Rail. In case you never heard, o'em, you can find them on Google and Wikipedia!

I blame the strikers when I have reasons to. When Air France pilots defend the obligatory 60-yo retirement, when Paris transporters defend their privileges and refuse being on par with other public workers (let alone privateers like meself) forming a caste of privileged, well it is them, transporters who are the new oppressor class. Their strike is theirs therefore.

When they refuse being on par with others because of "droits acquis", and when told money not enough, they ask for extra financial revenue taxation, this is politics. Not union work.

The role of the teacher unions is not to support "le service public", but to protect the employees, the teachers. Or they manifest and strike on political reasons that don't affect teachers in any way. They do political work, for political parties.
This is not ok. I wonder if this happens in Germany, for instance (I don't about Italy - those unions are even less true unions and more political than the French ones - purely objectively)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 07:57:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
this is politics. Not union work.

Oops. :)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 08:10:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CGT and Sud Rail.

That's not specifics, that's the names of two unions. I would be really startled to read specifics pointing to a radicalisation of CGT, when it's just the trade union that broke with the Communists and moved towards the centre, and its leadership opposed the last major strike in 2007...

I blame the strikers when I have reasons to.

Then you go on to repeat talking points of the right-wing government. "Defend privileges", heh -- so you are for virtual paycuts.

Their strike is theirs

The demand for virtual paycuts is managements'. If they just wanted to end 'privileges', they could have transformed non-wage compensations and benefits into payrises.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 07:59:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The CGT has been radicaliezd for a long longt time and has moderated a bit just last year. The whole string of CGT strikes this year are mainly politically motivated. There were legal actions open about CGT financing and their connection with the left.

Transport workers had a range of financial advantages that no one else had in France, except maybe parliamentarians. Calling this privileges is a common sense statement precisely reflecting the reality. This is a caste of privileged, compared to the rest of the workers. Considering their "droits acquis" normal and speaking about virtual paycuts (curious expression, does it translate in a virtual reduction of the size of their lunch, or in giving up a virtual toy for their virtual kids) is typical leftwing propaganda.

I can't give you specifics at the detailed level you imply, and you know that. Not because they do not exist, but because I cannot comment simultaneously on inequalities, socially-imposed gender roles, history, religion, working conditions today, nurses, French unions.

You'll soon find an essay on my diary explaining in detail my view on society, with all its different aspects.
The fact that you don't have it here and now, is solely because this debate here is about inequality and gender roles, and when one has 240 posts, one needs to focus one's discourse. This doesn't "frame" that person as not serious, superficial, ignorant, or political propagandist.
You may always say it, but it ain't so.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 10:10:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're turning my words upside down again, it is you who called my opinions "statements of faith". Maybe as a pretext to not debate ?  What I meant is that I don't have enough time now and this is not the place to go into more detail, so I told you my overall sentiment about your words.

If this thread ever ends, now that I seem to have antagonised most if not all regulars, I'll be happy to debate workers' condition & co.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:12:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are talking about a claim of yours that was based on "I believe" alone, and you didn't protest its characterisation as "statement of faith" before. How many rounds of this do you have time for?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:06:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have not made any statements of faith here.

My "claim" is not based on "I believe". I used that expression referring to your long post on transport workers' working conditions.
It was not convincing, and since I can't focus on a dozen topics at a time, I told you just that for the time being, and I added that I will gladly debate that topic with you separately.

Your attempt to decredibilize my posts by claiming they're not argumented is a bit pathetic, frankly.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 10:19:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I seem to have antagonised most if not all regulars

It seems to me it's only half a dozen of the regulars bothering.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:14:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
readind recent comments or replies to their own comments ;-)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:28:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It appears there are about a dozen all in all, so my statement stands!


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 08:03:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You aren't as new on ET to not recognise more than a dozen. I could list about fifty regulars off-hand. Just frontpagers number 10, and even most of them ignored this discussion. All registered users number about 3,500.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 08:05:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What defines a regular? I claim the first 12 contributors post far more than the other 30-40 regular contributors, so they can be identified as the true regulars, rather than all occasional posters.

Given your general taste for precision, I'd rather have the blog stats, rather than your words.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 10:15:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The one thing that really strikes me with your comments is that you seem to be convinced of the validity of socially constructed gender roles (ie a socially conservative view).  

There are really strong associations for people that limit aspirations and ambitions or push people into a particular direction or role in life eg men are good at maths and women are good at arts and humanities.  That kind of assumption in my view is as dangerous as your view of the change that activists try to create in society.  

There are some differences between men and women which manifest themselves in different ways but these are not set in stone and have plenty of exceptions.  The problem with laying gender roles or assumptions onto people or groups is that these exceptions to the rule then do not have have the full choice that should be available to them to live and work in the way that they want to.

Assuming that women as a group prefer to fit a particular role and not another, because they are women, is the very reason why women are put at a disadvantage when it comes to advancing their careers or taking up 'atypical' jobs.  It is part of the reason why women doing the same jobs as men or work of equal value are persistently paid less than their male colleagues.  Because these assumptions exist about gender roles and what women prefer or should do and therefore what women are capable of and what their worth in society is.  I don't in any way at all devalue the worth or role of women who want to stay at home and bring up their children.  But neither would I make the assumption that that is what women are 'meant' to do and that all women would want to do.

My type of activism is about breaking down those assumptions and not forcing gender roles on people.  Where proportions are unbalanced in certain job roles  we aren't making an automatic assumption that discrimination is the cause but we research to find out what possible causes there could be and discrimination in various forms comes up as a factor.

It usually is not direct and deliberate discrimination but more subtle indirect or institutional discrimination and it becomes much more complex to tackle.  Again and again the research is showing that there is discrimination involved where there are big imbalances.

And to go back to the example I gave of teaching, it is important to encourage more men to teach (not with quotas) because it has been proven to be of great benefit to boys to have male teachers and male role models in their lives.  There are these kind of examples where it matters to try to improve the proportions.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:03:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You won't even find one word in my comments about "socially constructed" roles. I never said women are best cooking hence they should stay in the kitchen.
I am completely for women's freedom to pick their jobs, careers, hobbies, or partners, according to their preferences, talents, desires, expectations.

And I am certainly more for freedom than you, who seem to want to push swathes of population into roles they don't choose, and punish those who choose them and are good at it. I am also, definitely, more liberal than those who continue to divide the society in classes and think the individual is nothing more than a little wheel in the big mechanism of his class or category, that his destiny is decided by the society or his class, that we can move him around, take and throw as we please, according to our own worldview that we made up for ourselves.
For when you leave someone out of work - and their family in danger - despite their competences, because they  don't fit this category whose presence you want to impose in this precise proportion that you know is the good one, that's just what you do.

Instead of decreeing that there must be 10% black MPs because there are 10% black people, we need to work on the base, on the education of - not black, but poor and/or immigrant populations; fair access to high schools and higher level jobs; above all, appreciation of and interest in the democratic game; and so on.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 06:51:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
And I am certainly more for freedom than you, who seem to want to push swathes of population into roles they don't choose, and punish those who choose them and are good at it.

That is not an accurate representation of my views. I have repeatedly said that I do not want people to be pushed into roles that they would not choose, and I do not want people to be discriminated against.  Nor do I want to punish people who are good at and choose to do more 'traditional' jobs or roles in society. It is about breaking down the stereotypes that prevent people from doing what they want to do across all groups and within all groups. I've repeatedly said that.

What I have discussed is where there is an imbalance and it is an important one to try to address, then I agree with trying to change attitudes and break down myths and stereotypes and to encourage those groups that are under-represented to become more involved.  I personally don't like the concept of having quotas but sometimes that kind of action has proved necessary in order to shift the balance. Denmark removed their quota on women representatives and it has continued to work with more women being involved in public life, but maybe having the quota was the catalyst that was needed for people to make more effort to create an environment where women who wanted to put themselves forward were able to succeed in doing so.  

I am deaf.  I have been denied access and opportunities and I have been directly and indirectly discriminated against because of that. I have also been discriminated against for being a woman.  Ditto for being young.  I have personal experience of the issues that discrimination within society has caused, throughout my life - in education, in accessing healthcare and employment and training and using services. As a union rep, I've seen the realities of discrimination on people in workplaces. That is where my motivation comes from for trying to understand and seek ways of tackling discrimination and inequality. I don't blindly follow essentialist feminist views or any other - I am trying to learn about the whole range of approaches which is exactly why I put my citizenship diary together.

In the citizenship diary I tried to explain different ways in which different countries approach citizenship and resultingly, equality issues.  You brought out a series of questions and criticisms regarding the British model and it's been a really interesting discussion.

Perhaps in the process of me trying to explain how the British view of tackling equality and discrimination has come about, I have not clearly separated my personal views from that.  I by no means agree with everything about the British approach and it is why I am glad that we are beginning to move to an approach that recognises that not everything or everyone fits into the categories that have dominated the equalities approach so far.

But for the record there is a huge body of research around gender and race, less so on disability and other areas.  Some research you can question the motives and methodology of (as with anything) but there is plenty of long term and robust research with findings that point to discrimination being a key issue for inequality.

TBG has on a number of occasions made the very valid point that in many areas of life men are also discriminated against and in the way we discuss equalities in the UK, these issues are invisible and they are not acknowledged. It's quite right to be angry about that.  But I do believe it is beginning to change a bit.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 10:11:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"breaking down the stereotypes that prevent people from doing what they want to do across all groups and within all groups."

Sometimes they're stereotypes, or traditions, other times just plain old wisdom (it does exist, and it would spare us a lot of wheel reinventing). Sometimes stereotypes aid, other times act like breaks. The adult individual has a mind of his own though, and practical and legal independence. You're not considering people helpless against society, or family, do you, you don't think them little kids needing laws to know what to do with their life. Counselling (education) should be enough.

"maybe having the quota was the catalyst that was needed"

And do you think that normal? To make a catalyst to direct the society in one direction or the other? Who are "you" to judge which is the good way?

We can also discuss the politicians' competence and backbone in matters of rights. When civil rights have become a matter of political correctness due to intolerable pressure especially from certain elites, especially in the media, it's hard to say anything looking like implying to limit this or that right. No matter the situation, the arguments, the good will. After two exchanges, I've already been labeled a mysoginist by linca. This is how it works, there are born do-gooders (I'm speaking in general about the social-libertarian current) and detainers of the absolute truth, standing in defence of victims of the Society.

You're right, we're discriminated against for many reasons: being young, having little hands-on job experience, being a whimp, being a woman, an immigrant, stupid, not ambitious as a man and so on. Some cases are grave, others just life unfairness, which does exist.
We can't make laws for all the cases. A hyper-regulated society is either a nanny state, or a dictatorship. And when we do, it must be justified by more than a few stats (even the fact that we discuss methodologies makes me instinctively reluctant to "studies" - see medicine studies, or those relating cancer to aaaaall kind of factors, changing every week).

There must be a very careful balance between what is regulated, what is only educated, what is considered acceptable competition, what is simply inhumane.

I understand your viewpoint, and I hope you did mine too. I tend to favour the French point of view about races: speaking about races would be discriminatory in itself; the right way is to treat everybody as a citizen and address inequality impartially and exhaustively, without suffocating the society or the economy though.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:34:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes they're stereotypes, or traditions, other times just plain old wisdom

Can you give us an example? where what would appear a stereotype is in fact Wisdom? If i'm understanding your argument correctly?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 07:04:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're turning in circle here. In case you didn't read the discussion from the beginning, it was argued that women assume artistic or caretaking roles because the "society" would make them to, would format them and tell them this is the role for a woman.
Or it turns out that many still choose those roles by themselves, from various reasons. My conclusion is that the "society" knew better when it oriented women towards positions where they can put to better use qualities like empathy, emotion, flair, sensitivity, expressivity.

(no I do not think women are emotional and men logical, oh boy...)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 08:48:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And maybe the Saudian society is best, keeping women in the home where they can only assume the family caring role they are obviously best suited for.

Care to expand on that "from various reasons" ? We are giving you what we think these reasons are, but you don't seem to care about giving yours.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 09:04:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First, there has never been a Saudian type of society here in the West. Exaggerating and sending any argument, however measured, to the extreme, in order to enhance the opposite viewpoint, is pure rhetorics.

Secondly, I'm not quite ready to judge other cultures according to my own values. I don't automatically consider them inferior. I wouldn't try to impose my own culture, religion or values upon them.

Thirdly, there are quite a lot of examples of women aviators, doctors, journalists, teachers from the 19th century on. There was also a lot of exclusion, many cases when social pressure convinced women to assume certain roles against their will; and sometimes they made their own mind and their own life.
Women (people in general) should be helped to see all the possibilities and be free to choose, but not by vilifying other categories.

Fourth, I said that social environment orienting people is not always bad. I did not say the society forcing people into Procust-beds is good - I dont believe it is. This is what all this discussion is about, in case you forgot: avoid going from a rigid, formatted society, to vilifying anyone pointing out excesses. Or I say that in the past, excesses were made in assigning roles to people, and today we should not do the same by forcing statistical dispersion laws on people, but look at the real-life situation, pragmatically, without dogma and ready-made pre-conceptions.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 07:19:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Read some history, as you seem ignorant about it. There has been Saudian type societies in "the west".

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 07:41:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Calling me ignorant is quite weak an argument.

Since you don't oblige me by showing your wisdom, I'll show you a bit of my (still humble) knowledge on the issue.

The separation of the church and faith in Europe has always been a fact. Since the Roman empire, since Emperor Julian who in 362 decreed freedom of religion, passing through Augustine of Hyppo who argued about the mystical world and earthly politics in Civitate Dei, through the London concordat, the chart of liberties, the Magna Carta, the concordat of Worms, al showing the continuous battle between church and state. The Italian wars amongst republics and papacy, the French kings, from Philip the Fair through the Valois and on, who asserted their independence of the church, through Luther, Calvin, Locke and other protestant philosophers who professed this separation and the free arbiter of the individual, until Thomas Jefferson in 1802 in the United States.
You'll find, all over the history signs of this separation, of the individual liberties and free thinking.

Parliaments existed in Europe for 1000 years now, as did universities. I wont even mention the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.
The Christianism itself suffers no comparison with the Islam in terms of treatment of the Individual and dealing with the State.
Despite numerous exceptions and excesses, this is what dominated Europe for 2000 years.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 03:42:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The separation of the church and faith in Europe has always been a fact. Since the Roman empire, since Emperor Julian who in 362 decreed freedom of religion

Huh!?????

I can't believe referring to Julian the Apostate as evidence for separation of church and state, while glossing over the likes of Gratian and Theodosius, is not an intentional provocation from you.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 07:01:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry to disappoint.
Julian is an example, the first one come to mind. I don't have time to do a comprehensive research, so what you see here is my own knowledge - I welcome rational argumented criticism. What about Gratian?

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:15:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Valentian was the sole non-Christian in a long line of intolerant Arian and Athanasian Christian Emperors (both Eastern and Western Roman), and also the sole seeking to re-establish freedom of religion instead of making imperial edicts to constrain this or that group. In other words, not the rule but the exception -- which is shown by his epithet in history books, "the Apostate".

Gratian was the Western Roman Emperor who, under the influence of the bishop of Milan Ambrosius, brought the final tilt of the balance of power between Athanasians and Arians with strict decrets. He found an ally in Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius, who would eventually become a joint Emperor, and start an unparalleled persecution also under Ambrosius's influence, which made the victory of the Athanasians (i.e. early Nicean Creed Christianity) final in the Roman Empire. (Though not overall: the Germanic tribes that would take over the Western Empire were converted by Arians, and it took more than two centuries for a real final victory.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:29:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(Upon checking, "Ambrosius" was a wrong guess at the English form -- it's "Ambrose".)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:36:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Despite numerous exceptions and excesses, this is what dominated Europe for 2000 years.

It's rather the opposite -- despite numerous exceptions and moderations, utter religious intolerance ruled Europe for most of the past 2000 years. It was easier to be Christian in Arab-ruled Egypt, in Moorish Spain, and especially Ottoman Southeastern Europe than to be Muslim in the Crusader states, in the areas taken by the Spanish Reconquista, or the Habsburg one. Not to mention Jews, especially in Renaissance-time Spain and England.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 07:08:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I understood the expression "Saudian society" in terms of citizen rights, not rights of other religions.
The church was often putting pressure or being intolerant, but was in no way entrenched with the state as Saudian societies. There is a world of difference between a society ruled by church and one ruled by feudals (with the church rearing its head behind).

I'll be glad to discuss differences between Christianism and Islam when this thread ends, though.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:19:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
was in no way entrenched with the state as Saudian societies.

How are the First Council of Nicea, Roman imperial edicts, royal anointments, land grants to bishops and monasteries, blasphemy laws, royal rules on churchgoing (especially at the times of [forced] conversions), the outlaw state of excommunicated, crusades, the 'division of labour' in inquisition, and state-proscribed religious education examplkes of lack of entrenchment with the state just like for the Saudis?

There is a world of difference between a society ruled by church and one ruled by feudals

Both middle age Europe and present-day Saudi Arabia is ruled by feudals and the church at the same time. In fact, in some aspects at least pre-Reformation Western Europe was worse than the Saudis today: there is no top religious authority in Saudi Arabia, allowing the feudals some leevay in playing one cleric against another. (The Americans also attempted that game in Iraq, though that did not bring them much in the end, did it.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:48:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In what way is the council an example of church entrenched with the state in oppression? That was all about faith and ecclesiastic issues.

Persecution of christians had barely ended a few years before, btw.

Royal anoitments? Well how about Philip the Fair sending Nogaret to draw the Pope outside by beard, or so I heard, after Boniface VIII declared his supremacy over the secular rulers. There was never no ayatollah in Europe.

Aspects, aspects. You're theorizing and picking what suits you. We should discuss this in detail. But then you probably did before.
You don't say a word about parliaments and univesities, they don't seem to interest you, or about the Rule of Law in Western Europe for a very very long time. Never governing by the Bible.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 07:24:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In what way is the council an example of church entrenched with the state in oppression?

It was a council called for by the Emperor to establish a dogma, which can then be enforced as state religion. (Which he then ditched in older age, but that's another issue.)

Well how about Philip the Fair

You realise that the Avignon Papacy is in no way an example of a separation of church and state... not to mention the assembly of French bishops Philip IV called to support his position in that tax debate.

There was never no ayatollah in Europe.

There was, in the Papal State... but you are confusing Iran with Saudi Arabia there. There is no ayatollah with a political position above the Saudi royals -- nor is there in any other Muslim state other than Iran.

You're theorizing and picking what suits you.

...is what I can tell about you. First you take the only non-Christian in the middle of dozens of mad 4th-century Christian Emperors to prove separation of church and state, then take Iran among dozens of Muslim countries as representative (even while the debate got narrowed down on Saudi Arabia after a previous cherry-pick of yours), and you also cherry-pick Philip IV as a(n ill though-out) 'counter-argument' against the generla practice of royal anointment by clergymen (and the principle of religious justification for feudal power that's behind it).

You don't say a word about parliaments and univesities

I could, but what I said suffices to negate your denial of Saudi-style ties between church and state in Chistian countries.

Parliaments emerged as institutions of the feudal class, and similar institutions existed in the Muslim world, too. Their democratisation coincided with the church's loss of influence (something that happened against its own will and with its active opposition), e.g. for example the French Revolution. Universities on the other hand emerged in a religious context, and for a long time participated in establishing and guarding church dogma. (Their roles in combatting 'heresies' is well known, also for example in the case of Joan of Arc.)

Rule of Law

I did in fact refer to laws. Read back. In fact, the rule of law until not long ago in most places and the Saudi situation today is very similar: it exists in theory, but less in practice, with a fight for its application in courtroom cases. In fact, internationally, the rule of law still doesn't hold -- or else, a lot of kidnapping CIA agents, not to mention Bush et al would sit in prison.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 08:38:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The council you mentioned had nothing to do with the state being Christian-fundamentalist in its oppression of the society, in the sense certain muslim ones are.

The Avignon papacy and the concordat of Worms are examples that it was the secular power ruling, and not the church, it was the rule of law in the sense that there were written rules and Common Laws in place.
The way you bring the argument to extreme by claiming there is no rule of law today is an exaggeration of the same kind as linca's bringing into discussion the Saudian society.

Because we are not debating all aspects of society, but the relation of the individual (women in particular) with the religious authorities.
The original comment was about the situation of women  and mentioning the Saudian society in that context.
I said that this was fallacious argumenting.
The situation of women in Western Europe cannot be compared to that of the women in certain muslim states, like Saudi Arabia - or Iran.

I'd like a few examples of universities, parliaments, or renaissance enlightenment in the Saudian societies. A few links will suffice.
(claiming that they exist and I am the ignorant will not suffice though, I'm beginning to get a bit fed up with lesson giving and patronizing from your side).

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 10:34:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well plain old wisdom is common sense and we need no evidence to back it up or unpick that because it just is.

And you've picked up on one of the key things that has bugged me about this debate - in that where I've discussed outcomes in terms of proportions of men and women (and other groups) affected by certain issues, I'm not actually assuming homogenity within the groups in terms of characteristics and preferences.  Therefore I'm not willing to accept 'old wisdom' without verifying and evidencing it.  Where I pointed out previously that reference was being made to socially constructed gender roles - they may not have been referred to as that - but numerous examples given have indeed alluded to it.

So the way that that big ambiguous 'society' I talk about has developed over hundreds of years, gender roles based on old wisdom ie mothers are the best ones to care for their children and women shouldn't go out to work or it should be 'gentle' and not too complex if they do, and men should be the main breadwinners and men fix the cars and do the DIY and women cook and clean and do the laundry - these socially constructed gender roles are still deeply ingrained in society and as Linca has pointed out, they constrain the choices available to people.

Let's take work and childcare.  The men wants to be at home to raise his kids and the woman wants to work. Are they really that free to choose to do that?  Who earns more, or has the greater career prospects and is less likely to find a glass ceiling bashing their head as they try to get a promotion or move to a better job?
Usually (in a middle class household) - the man.  In a working class household where nothing is well paid or secure then the likelihood is both will still need to carry on working.

So when you need a secure income to raise your family and you know that 'women of child bearing age' are more likely to face discrimination at work and less likely to advance (there are stats for that and attitude surveys), and the man already earns slightly more and is more likely to increase that over the next 3 years - what choice is there really?  

And when a woman wants to come back to work on a part time basis, and she ends up doing low paid admin even if she has a degree, that is because employers are inflexible about considering job shares at higher level or reduced hours for higher level and better paid jobs.  A case that went through tribunal a few years ago that was backed by significant research showed that there are very few jobs that cannot realistically be turned into a job share (ie 2 people working part time to fill a full time role).

And things like lack of free childcare and direct discrimination from employers who don't want to hire young women and the more subtle prejudices against women as being less capable, less assertive with clients and just generally not as good as the man standing next to her who is pushing for the same promotion (we go back to our old wisdom and socially constructed gender roles that people still take as the truth)... these are the things that need to be tackled in order to give everybody more choice to do and be whatever they want to be.

Yes, people need to be educated but where, how? At school certainly, in unionised workplaces reps can help to educate but many workplaces are not unionised.  Employers won't change their attitudes for no good reason.  So a programme to educate needs to be backed up by legislation that either encourages or forces employers to give all staff diversity training, or to have fair employment practices.  

Equality is about fairness (and yes the legislation is flawed) but frequently the things that get put in place to minimise discrimination for women, such as flexible working, can be extended to the whole workforce and provides benefits for everybody.  Better access for disabled people means better access for everyone else too.

So how that translates to me not being for freedom for people, I really don't know.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 04:32:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I'm not actually assuming homogenity within the groups in terms of characteristics and preferences.  Therefore I'm not willing to accept 'old wisdom' without verifying and evidencing it."

That's all I cared about all along. When there is discrimination, there is nothing more to add.

As to mother role, judges today leave the child with the mother in a large majority of cases. Even with the best resume, men often don't stand the slightest chance. Being a rational moderate, I don't draw the conclusion that courts are sexist and men discriminated against, but that mothers are acknowledged as best fit to care for the children.

As to a woman's role, it is a fact that women are in general biologically and spiritually more sensitive and in a way weaker, despite many exceptions. On the contrary, by calling all this a constraint you're forcing women to get out there and try tougher jobs (in degree of competitiveness, physical force required - like bin collectors, aggressivity, and so on).
All I say is, let there be fairness. Open the society, but don't vilify categories and don't push people where they are weaker than others and where they don't want to go. You say women go towards certain jobs mostly because of society imprinted roles? I say that they go there anyway. You're not for freedom when you impose quotas, no matter where. Competence, responsibility should be the only criteria to jobs.
You'll see more and more women in many professions as the job requirements change, but not by activist laws.

Caretaking is another built-in role for most women. If you call this an imposed role, I'm sorry, but you exaggerate by far, IMHO. But don't force them either way, just educate people they can do other things as well, and let them choose. Just don't let them break their neck, and don't lower profession standards either.

As to childbearing and parenting, I think it's a heavy responsibility, to be taken carefully and wisely, with the interest of the child first. Personally knowing many working families with child, I am more and more against provided childcare in order for both parents to work. I do believe mothers are best with children, fathers are necessary too, and it is the careers that should go on lower on the priority scale.

Also, you can try to see the business' viewpoint too. They're not there to provide childcare and benefits, but to do business. When you know someone will soon ask more and more flexible hours, and lose a good part of dedication towards work, you tend not to hire them. It is normal behaviour, I understand these companies, as I understand those mothers too.
None should be forced or feel forced into anything, but things put clearly from the beginning and agreement on parttime reached.
In Holland for instance, from what I know, part time is quite widespred and accepted and the society more egalitarian. In France, the view is that part time is a "précarisation", weakening of the worker's condition, because of much lower salaries.

Many women tend to be less assertive, this is common sense. I assure you shy guys have exactly the same problem. You have to be aggressive, dynamic, assertive, to do long hours and be on call. Men too happen to get totally fed up with it, it's what ThatBritGuy was saying.
This is a bigger problem, I do believe excessive competitiveness and run for efficiency in business should be moderated somehow.

Education - mainly at school yes. Business people should be sensibilized too. I know it may sound naive, but this actually does work, just like the Green revolution does, practically without laws. Education is one of the greatest things to the european civilizations, with freedom of thinking and parliamentarism.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 04:43:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you ever been discriminated against?

I worked as a physical chemist for a long time and was used to working in a male dominated environment, I was comfortable there too. It was only when I started to try to progress in my career that I understood for the first time what all these hysterical extremist feminists that you loathe so much had been going on about.  That was my lightbulb moment, and I'm ashamed it didn't happen sooner.

The glass ceiling is real. Institutional discrimination is real.  But it is very difficult to see, especially when you have not been on the receiving end of it, causing you personal disadvantage.

And still, you keep referring to socially constructed gender stereotypes as if you don't need to question them. It is exactly this practice that perpetuates the societal discrimination that you are so adamant doesn't exist.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 06:09:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Listen, I got that from the very beginning, the other thread already.
That said, I am still giving my citizen opinion (which is I dare say quite informed) - while I'm still allowed. By the way I wonder if disability laws should be made by the disabled alone, or anti-racial laws by blacks alone. We're all entitled to an opinion. I understood your viewpoint, I know glass ceilings exist. Some say there is institutional racism in France, and all media make a lot of education about it, yet no one thinks of cancelling the race-neutral laws.

It is not that I don't need to question gender stereotypes. What I really question though is the compulsion to systematically question preconstructed roles. Let us stop and think a bit before demanding companies to address gender discrepancies only based on number monitoring.

Women doing housework or child care taking can also be because women are much better at it. Your reasoning leads to putting cleaning ladies to carry and empty bins, just because you want to enforce egalitarianism at all cost.
They should be given the possibility, but not pushed into it by quota laws and feminist activist discourse, which is just another kind of that societal pressure you denounce.

Like I said, most professions value involvement and dedication. Companies and managers are thus not discriminating per se, but acting in accordance to their business interest, which is just as valid for the society. I agree one should not take precedence over the other and push the other side behind a glass wall.

Difference in pay is a consequence of involvement. Period. If a woman involves more than I, I am all for her earning more.
Pay should be function of competence, involvement and responsibility, not social engineering. You should not mix this with what happens on personal and family level.
You can work so that both spouses support the other (by "educating" them) but not force "equality" by law.
Like I said, it works perfectly for the ecological stuff.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 05:32:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
Women doing housework or child care taking can also be because women are much better at it. Your reasoning leads to putting cleaning ladies to carry and empty bins, just because you want to enforce egalitarianism at all cost.

In that particular example I explicitly said that it wasn't about making men be cleaners and making women be bin collectors, it was about ensuring they are paid equally since the jobs and roles have been rated as being equivalent.

Where I discuss things such as male dominated areas of work - it is about making those environments more accessible for women so that thos ewho want to go there, can. eg I know of a fire station that has no female changing facilities - is that acceptable? Is that going to make women feel comfortable about going into that profession or working in that station?

I worked as an accountant in a garage once - the owner thought it was ok to open up a magazine full of pornographic images and show them to me.  There were no female sanitary facilities there. Would any female mechanics want to work in that environment every day? But maybe they'd like to be mechanics, but don't want to put themselves in those situations.

I pointed out in another post that I worked as a physical chemist and have no problem per se working in a male environment, but as soon as I realised that I would never be taken seriously as a young woman, then I knew I could never reach my potential there. Those attitudes that Linca has mentioned - that women will have kids and they will be the ones to look after the children - these assumptions about a woman's intentions, whether correct or not, put barriers in her way.  

I worked in a place where I repeatedly tried to get myself more responsibility, better and more challenging projects and my manager wouldn't give me anything more than monkey work. All the good work went to a colleague who initially had the same job spec as me, who was the same age, with almost identical qualifications but I had more experience than him and was equally capable of doing the work he was given. So I never had a chance to prove myself or progress, and in the space of months he got promotion after promotion until his salary was 10k more than mine.  This is the kind of thing I am talking about.  It was nothing to do with my inability to negotiate a better contract, it was down to my manager preferring to give the good work to a man and this is not a one off, rare example. It happens repeatedly to women. It happens to black people and disabled people too, and it comes down to prejudice, even if not conscious.

Where I talk about higher profile action to get more women involved, I am referring to the places where it is important to have a more representative or at least a higher proportion of women involved - key decision making and policy making roles, political representative roles.  

The absence of women there is damaging to our societies.  I don't like the fact that we need quotas and call them artificial if you like but they create change.  If there was nothing to say 'you must increase the proportion of women in X' then nobody will make the effort to look into why women are not getting to those positions, and nobody will try to remove those barriers and encourage women in. It isn't about creating a disadvantage for men or forcing women to do things they do not want to do, but it is about making these options available in a way they haven't been before and making people think about these things rather than ignoring it and saying 'women don't want to do it'.

This 'acting in business interests' is not just as valid for society because it is this practice that sees women overwhelmingly ending up in low skilled and low paid jobs, which affects how they can care for their children, which affects the social problems that we end up with in society. We aren't only looking at number monitoring, we are looking at research, attitude surveys, things that tell us why and how the imbalance occurs and whether it is an important one that needs to be tackled.

You make the point that disability laws for example should involve non-disabled people and not be made by disabled people alone (as if that would ever happen) but the reality here is that disabled people are barely involved in feeding into consultation on developing such laws, let alone being represented at the top decision making levels. It isn't like they are not trying to get there. Do you see the significance of that?

One more thing - going back to stereotypes around disability and gender - I got written off from the start.  My brother and sister were given a private education.  I was not. Because what is the point in investing money in a deaf kid who is never going to be able to achieve anything?  

This attitude is the same one that works against girls, against black kids, against disabled kids, against kids from working class families.  It affects their life chances from the day they are born.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 06:08:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"eg men are good at maths and women are good at arts and humanities.  That kind of assumption in my view is as dangerous"

It's quite unfair to pick that precise example, choosing to forget my complaints (that are very real) about extremely low numbers of women during all my maths/science studies and job path. We didn't want to be just between men, neither in college or uni, nor at work - it's just as boring as being all day long, for years to go, only between women :)

"It usually is not direct and deliberate discrimination but more subtle indirect or institutional discrimination and it becomes much more complex to tackle."

Of course, which is why you don't solve this with policies and laws, but education. I already gave you the example of far-right people still managing to pass a message. At some point, when ugly words are avoided, you go into process of intention, you assume evils and ill will automatically, because it fits some activist mood (or worse, feeds activist funding, or serves some political purpose).

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 07:09:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's depressing that these arguments always seem to come down to questions about who earns more and is allowed access to 'proper' jobs.

If you had one gender with a life expectancy ten years shorter than the other gender's, with three times the suicide rate, and which generally had much poorer mental and physical health support, which would you say was being discriminated against?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 07:26:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know some who will respond that the former gender might also happen to lead a more careless kind of lifestyle than the latter, so somehow it gets what it deserves :)

My whole point was precisely against this kind of statistics and generalizations, and then crafting policies to "correct" the lack of "diverseness" or "inequality", none of which is always due to unfair causes.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 07:51:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am an innocent victim of social pressure
You are not assertive enough
They get what they deserve

My point was that the equality industry has very little interest in male experience. If you have a superficial baseline like 'Men earn more' - which is only half true anyway - it ignores more complex questions about quality of life and freedom of choice.

I suspect not all men are truly happy working very long hours, or forcing themselves to be ambitious when they'd rather have a more relaxed approach to life.

There are plenty of surveys tabulating who earns what, but not so many surveys asking what defines that need to earn, and whether it's really as much of a benefit as it seems to be.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 08:25:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly, that was my point too, I just didn't want to focus on men, but speak about the principle of taking such simplistic surveys as the holy word and bringing policies based on that.

The equality industry is not really interested in Equality or fairness, I suspect. Being an industry, like any professional, they pick their favourite cases - usually blacks and women - portray them as "victims of the society", put a lot of pressure on politicians (very sensitive to media exposure and noisy victimization). In the end all this antagonizes honest people and harms minorities and true victims (sometimes women, otherwise men etc).

If I was a civil rights or inequality organisation, I would really worry about a return to traditional values, due to the aggressive and unfair way they promote - or rather impose - their merchandise.  

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 09:33:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are surveys talking about the need to earn - but there aren't pressure groups defending men ; or rather, there were, and they are called unions. They have lost a lot of their power lately.

And look at Scandinavia, where the solutions that indeed provide the possibility for men to work less - for example the compulsory male parental time off work - have been implemented. The UK's equality industry isn't the only one.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 09:48:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People differ in many ways: in gender, talents, preferences. Geographically and ethnically too, physically and intellectually as well. People are equal in rights, not in qualities. You can't compare genders outright, nor can you compare nations. In the northern countries egalitarian moods were always quite more present than in southern Europe - I don't know whether it's ethnical, because of protestantism, or simply the cold winters :) Just like you hear far less women complaining of sexual harrassment in France than in the US (and not because they don't dare to).
Just to say that one can't just transplant solutions regardless of the differences in situations and culture, drawing overarching conclusions from some superficial correlations.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 10:36:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have anything to prove your assertion that it is only because they dare not to ? A CDI in France, with all the guarantees it provides - and how hard it is to get -, means people are much less willing to change jobs. Also, there is no class action lawsuit, which makes it much harder to sue for sexual discrimination as has happened in the Walmart case in the US. Finally, studies in France show that a female CV is less likely to be answered.

And saying you can't transplant solution - well, such transplants have been made, and very often. Even France did end up granting women the right to work, despite people arguing until the 30's that France was different and solutions couldn't be transplanted

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 02:17:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry, that's not what I said.

Studies show... ok, I can accept that; did the study look into the causes too, or just inferred automatic sexism and mysoginy?
That's all I'm saying.

Are you denying that northern society is different from the French one, the american one, and the italian one? As is the culture? I can also like the flex-security, even if imported from Denmark. Will it work in France? Let's hope so. What would be the problems in France, compared to Denmark?
If we go into this, we'll debate for weeks.

The point I'm trying to make is that things must be well thought out and carefully checked before launching on state policies and laws.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 03:29:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry, I forgot this one:

"It is part of the reason why women doing the same jobs as men or work of equal value are persistently paid less than their male colleagues."

Or maybe they're paid less because they don't negotiate their contract well. Less assertive guys or those less involved in their job have exactly the same problem. And before you say I minimize discrimination of women, just tell me if there is any study going beyond simply crosschecking gender with salary. Such simplistic correlations are dangerous and no serious proof of discrimination, but only of the incompetence of those who make them.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 07:17:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK has a long running body of research looking at pay inequality between men and women. It looks in detail not only at salaries although that is what the headlines boil down to - but it looks in detail at occupational segregation, and the gender proportions at different levels of responsibility, and across different sectors.  It uses case studies to draw comparisons between men and women doing the same jobs, or like work, or work of equal value (as set out in the legislation).  

It's fine to say that less assertive men may not negotiate higher salaries as the more aggressive and dominant ones but the way it all averages out - in some sectors in the UK there is a 40% pay gap between men and women. How do you explain that?  The average is about 14%. That is not purely down to men on the whole being better at negotiating their contracts than women are. And in fairness should an individual's contract be down to how well that individual can negotiate it?  Because then it opens up for unfair practice and favouritism for each individual, not just within the groups we've been talking about.

For all to be fair, for all people, within genders and between genders, a systematic pay scale and grading and job evaluation methodology should be used.  So people who do similar jobs with the same levels of responsibility, should be paid the same for that.  What UK research shows is that even with these 'fair' pay systems there are still numerous examples of women being paid less than men who are doing the same jobs.

An example that is a hot potato right now is with local councils - cleaning staff are much more likely to be women, the bin collectors are more likely to be men.  It's widely established that the jobs are equivalent in terms of level of responsibility and it constitutes work of equal value - yet the bin collectors get paid significant enough sums more than the cleaners. So for all to be fair, the cleaners should be being paid the same or closer to the amount the bin collectors earn.  There's no question of trying to make more men be cleaners or more women be bin collectors but where it can be shown that the work is equivalent, they should be paid fairly.

I'm not trying to make you agree with me (extremely unlikely!) but to give an understanding of how I have come to my viewpoint and how the British system has developed the way it has.

Another thing to mention is that there is evidence of a pay gap for certain ethnicities compared to white people.  This can't be explained by a difference in educational attainment.  I don't think it could be reasonable to suggest that black people are less good at negotiating their contracts than white people so it leads us to wonder what could be the cause of a pay gap between black and (some) asian groups compared to white people.   There is much less research available on that to be able to discuss it in detail.  This is where the motivation for more research comes from - is this a real issue, is there a race pay gap and if yes what could be causing that?

There is very clear evidence of a disability pay gap too, again which is not explained by a difference in educational qualifications or level of experience and nor by things like sickness absence - when all those have been accounted for, there is still an unexplained factor as to why there is a pay gap and a significant different in employment rates between disabled and non-disabled people.  I think it's worth trying to get to the bottom of, not by making assumptions one way or the other but through robust research.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 10:39:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"in some sectors in the UK there is a 40% pay gap between men and women. How do you explain that?"

No idea. Between the two of us, it might be discrimination. Otherwise, I'd look at the job profiles and at the whole process. Just by looking at the average, I can't make an anti-discrimination law.
Wide averages show men life expectation is 10 years shorter than women's (TBG). What does that tell you? Shouldn't we send the men to retirement 10 years earlier? What's the actual situation?

Bottom line: sector or industry wide average is not enough, you've got to look into it, to the root causes. Or else, you're doing statistical experiments on the society's defenceless body. Frankenstein. Or Stalin.

"And in fairness should an individual's contract be down to how well that individual can negotiate it"

I admit it can be unfair, on the other hand we should know how to "sell" ourselves, I guess... I don't know.

"a systematic pay scale and grading and job evaluation methodology should be used.  So people who do similar jobs with the same levels of responsibility, should be paid the same for that"

Now you're speaking my language - just when I was thinking it extremely unlikely! :)
It looks like my previous proposition for a standardised CV. (unapplicable, that is :P )

"There's no question of trying to make more men be cleaners or more women be bin collectors but where it can be shown that the work is equivalent, they should be paid fairly"

I totally agree on principle (SEE!!! :) ). About this precise case: I'm wondering, maybe bin collecting is considered much more physical a job?... I'm not trying to excuse the system.

"a pay gap for certain ethnicities compared to white people"

Personally I know cases where immigrants hesitated to ask for standard market salaries. But it's hard to make a process of intention for that. Salary is negotiated, not imposed by the state. So one is offering, the other accepting, or the other way around. Now maybe some companies systematically propose inferior salaries to non-whites. Maybe they have reasons (I'd like to hear them), or just taking advantage. The others should not accept. I know it's easy to say - just the case with women. Employment market is extremely delicate, mixing arbitrare criteria with economic ones with human ones.

In any case, it doesn't work as easily as you expressed it in the statement I originally replied to:

"With recruitment the monitoring forms gives an idea of the numbers of people from different groups who apply and who get appointed in an organisation.  So it helps to highlight whether they are getting no applications from ethnic minorities or if they get a high number of applications from women but no women are getting appointed. Therefore the organisation needs to make changes to be more inclusive or to address any causes for there being a poor diversity of applicants or appointees."

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, you probably simplified the process.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:01:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
Personally I know cases where immigrants hesitated to ask for standard market salaries.

I'm not talking about migrant workers - that is a separate issue.  I'm talking about British black/asian people.  In the same way that a woman doing the same job as a male colleague on apparently the same pay scale and with pretty much the same job spec can prove she is being paid less, there are examples of that between black and white people.

Migrant workers typically take the low paid and low skilled jobs because it is still better money than they were getting at home.  Unfortunately language barriers and lack of awareness about rights means that they are a group that is especially vulnerable to exploitation, often not being paid the minimum wage and working long hours under terrible conditions - this is largely because they are being threatened with dismissal if they don't agree to this and they cannot afford it - especially if their accommodation is tied in with the job.

The vulnerable workers group also overwhelmingly includes women who get placed in the same situation and not knowing their rights, they put up with terrible conditions and pay because they can't afford to complain and lose their jobs.

See the Vulnerable Workers Report for more.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 12th, 2008 at 04:41:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've got very little to add to this. Coming to the aid of vulnerable groups is a truly noble and justified cause. These groups by definition include people who are weaker from one reason or another - women, immigrants, people from bad neighbourhoods. I also agree that women in particular were in large majority suffocated by what it was a mostly men's society in terms of political and economical power. The generalization of women education has had fantastic results in the evolution of their condition.

But when it comes to laws, I don't think categories or category-biased laws are the right way (be it by gender, race, origin, or other criteria). IMO the way France treats citizens uniformly concerning race and origin is a better method, which must be doubled by even stronger efforts on education and support of the vulnerable individuals.
And my dream is to see this kind of moderation, punishing proven discrimination, not inferred by statistics, and a general preoccupation for fairness to all associations active in this effort.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 03:56:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Much more important, imo, is that he has lived, fairly ordinarily, in some interesting places in his youth. This multicultural foundation of his personality is far more important than the colour of his skin or kin.  

A white Presidential candidate who had been brought up in Russia, Turkey and Montana would be equally multicultural. Travel broadens the mind, as they say. Living in other countries broadens the heart.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 05:54:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French tennisman Tsonga (who is right now playing the the Masters in Shangai) was interviewed on Monday morning about how, as a black person, he would react to Obama's election. His first reaction was that neither he nor Obama were black, but rather métis, i.e. of mixed descent (but the word doesn't really exist in American, apparently). His next reaction was, why wasn't he asked his opinion on McCain ? He wasn't going to make political decisions based on the color of a candidate's... An aspect of the current French society is a slow import of the US's racial categories, with "black" for anybody with African ancestry, where there used to be strong differences between African immigrants, slaves descendants from the Antilles, and métis...

Indeed, in  Obama's election, a rather worrying aspect is that he got a Stalinist percentage of the black vote's ; something that shows a slightly unhealthy democracy.

BTW, apparently Obama has got a bit of American Indian ancestry, or so I read.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 02:58:35 PM EST
Democrats have been taking massive percentages of black voters for decades, because Republicans became the party of white racists.  Obama did a little better than Democrats usually do, but because black folks are a small portion of the population, and because the share taken by the Dem only increased by about 5 points, it really didn't make a huge difference, even taking the higher black turnout into account.

Obama drove excitement, but blacks voting over 90% Dem is nothing new.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 03:31:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... support among Hispanics and Blacks, and a much bigger growth in support among young voters (defined in the US as 18-29).

Of course, young voters have all or most of their adult life with Bush as President, so the more McCain played to the Republican base, the more he ensured Obama's dominance of the youth vote.

And in Ohio at least, while the growth in Democratic share of the Black or Hispanic vote on their own were not enough for the margin of victory, AFAIU, the growth in the Democratic share of the youth vote was sufficient on its own to flip the result from 2004.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 07:53:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Madelyn and Stanley Dunham - Wikipedia
According to Obama, Madelyn Dunham's mother was of part Cherokee descent, in which Madelyn took great pride.[8] To date, no concrete evidence has surfaced of Cherokee heritage.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 03:36:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, it's not limied to black folks.  Latinos (70%), Native Americans (75%), Asians(65-75%), and GLBT folks (75%) all vote overwhelmingly Democratic.  It has a lot more to do with the Democratic Party having been the party of civil rights, and the GOP being the party of intolerance, for half a century than it does with race.  Obama increased typical Democratic margins among all of them.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 03:40:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you can add jews in your list of communities - don't they vote around 70% Dem ?... There is a difference between getting 60 - 80 % of the vote of a community, and 90-95%. And well, that's part of my point : when a regularly governing party so clearly excludes a large part of the electorate, the democracy isn't all that healthy.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 04:27:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, 78% of Jews voted for Obama, also higher than four years ago, although there's a worrying bit to that: Jews were the only group in which Obama did better among older voters than among younger voters.  Now, maybe it's simply a large margin of error that's responsible for those numbers, but, still, the "Obama is an Anti-Semite"/Israel-4EVAH meme may have some resonance with younger Jews.

I'm inclined to agree that a share of a group's vote that high might suggest something unhealthy, long-term.  I'm just saying there's a lot of history behind it.  It's not simply blind allegiance.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 04:40:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jews were the only group in which Obama did better among older voters than among younger voters.

That may be because of the Likudnik campaign as you see -- but I think a more benign expanation is likely: Jewish immigrants could integrate much better in the USA than various non-whites, thus the choice between the xenophobic and the non-xenophobic party is a less important dimension in the newer generations.

It's not simply blind allegiance.

I'm not sure linca meant it as such.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 04:39:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not all. The GLBT community (or at least the GL part of that) voted less democratic in this presidential election. Net swing of -11. Though I don't know if the sample could've caused that error. And of course Obama still carried them by around three quarters.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 09:57:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have any poll data on voting for the UMP by French minorities (whatever definition)?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 03:46:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't think they recorded ethnicity stats in France?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 03:49:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not in censuses, but maybe in polls. But I inserted tthat qualifier in parantheses because being immigrant, or dwelling in the developments, or language or whatever other marker may show stark voting pattern differences from the general population, too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 03:51:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Couldn't find much... Anecdotally, people of arab origin voting for Chirac is something I've heard of (and not only in 2002). And I'm not claiming that the French democracy is much healthier, especially with Sarkozy elected on Le Pen's program...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 04:33:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I think you could make an argument that French democracy is healthier simply on the grounds that more French care enough to show up to vote.  As with Junior here in the states, it's inevitable that countries will screw up and elect shitty leaders.  Now obviously Sarkozy isn't nearly as terrible and dangerous -- or at least he doesn't seem to be, watching from here in the states -- as Bush, but I'm just sayin'.

Sarkozy does seem to get turned-on by America, which creeps me out.  And he looks like a rodent.  The French really must get rid of him.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 04:44:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which reminds me to add a further angle: the rise in the Dem candidate votig share was probably in no small part due to non-voters activating themselves (I'm sure you could give figures).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 04:42:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way. What has Victor Hugo been considered racially in his time in France?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 04:44:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aren't you thinking of Alexandre Dumas ?

He considered himself, and was considered, a mulatto.

A couple jokes from the Wikipedia pages :

Answering someone who told him he must knew about niggers :

"Yes indeed, my fathe was a mulatto, my grandfather a nigger, and my great grandfather an ape. My family started where yours is ending"

A common joke about him :

"He's the first mulatto to have white niggers"

Dumas was well known to use a lot of ghost writers, pretty heading a writing studio ; and the French word for ghost writer is "niggers"

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 06:47:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Pushkin was a black man." That's my favorite joke in the genre beside "Everybody's got an Irish grandma" and, of course, the classic supplication, "I'm 1/64 Cherokee."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 11:44:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aren't you thinking of Alexandre Dumas ?

Uhhh, yes... I keep mixing up those two (Les Misérables and Monte Cristo, The Hunchback of The Notre Dame and Three Musketeers). They were also born the same year...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 05:34:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gaah, completely different they are !

One is the quintessential story teller and serials writer, with long stories there mostly for the purpose of entertainment : Dumas.

Whereas Hugo was an art theoretician, fighting the "Bataille d'Hernani" not only writing novels but poetry, verses, theater, and he was also very political, going into exile after Napoleon le Petit's coup d'état. Les Misérables isn't exactly politically neutral, unlike the Three musketeers...

There's a reason Hugo went to the Pantheon as soon as he died whereas Dumas was only transferred there quite recently...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 07:47:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know all these things, but when keeping the works of the two apart was difficult from early teen age (when only the shared romantic, adventurous and historical-themed aspects are apparent), it's difficult to sort out which is which, "the flamboyant crowd-pleaser romantic" and "the serious romantic". The only work that, if and when I remember it, I can always identify as both Victor Hugo and the serious romantic, is 93.

Also, the biographies of Hugo and Dumas Sr, who were troubled friends, are more similar than you make it.

My confusion isn't helped by the fact that (checking) Dumas wrote his pro-Napoleon father's post-Napoleon situation into Monte Cristo (as the father of Villefort), while Hugo did the same with his own pro-Napoleon father in Les Misérables (Pontmercy). Further:

fighting the "Bataille d'Hernani"

In which Dumas both preceded him and supported him.

A Guide to the Life, Times, and Works of Victor Hugo - by David Falkayn - Google books:

HERNANI.

...The success of Alexandre Dumas' " Henri III." had been a surprise.  The classics, unprepared and taken unawares, had not been able to resist.  They swore that such a calamity shall not befall them a second time...

Full text of "The Incredible Marquis Alexandre Dumas"

At one o'clock on the afternoon on February 25, 1830, a mob of young men gathered at the rue de Valois door of the Thatre-Franais and pushed through into the unlighted auditorium.

...Dumas, among the earliest to arrive, bayed
with joy as the strange figures of the Romantics, garmented in cos-
tumes indicating their complete break with the old conservative
tradition, appeared in the doorway.

he was also very political

So was Dumas:

Alexandre Dumas père

The revolution of 1830 temporarily diverted Dumas from letters. The account of his exploits should be read in his Mémoires, where, though the incidents are true in the main, they lose nothing in the telling. During the fighting in Paris he attracted the attention of Lafayette, who sent him to Soissons to secure powder. With the help of some inhabitants he compelled the governor to hand over the magazine, and on his return to Paris was sent by Lafayette on a mission to raise a national guard in La Vendée. The advice he gave to Louis-Philippe on this subject was ill-received, and after giving offense by further indiscretions he finally alienated himself from the Orleans government by being implicated in the disturbances which attended the funeral of General Lamarque in June 1832, and he received a hint that his absence from France was desirable. A tour in Switzerland undertaken on this account furnished material for the first of a long series of amusing books of travel. Dumas remained, however, on friendly and even affectionate terms with the young duke of Orleans until his death in 1842.

Also, there's this:

Alexandre Dumas > Dumas' Life > His close relations > Victor Hugo

Hugo, a political exile, saw Dumas quite often, who was in Brussels because of his debts. Dumas also visited Napoélon III's most famous opponent in Guernesey and publicly stood up for him in France.

There's a reason Hugo went to the Pantheon as soon as he died whereas Dumas was only transferred there quite recently...

I wouldn't be surprised if that had more to do with race than his achievements relative to Hugo.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 03:03:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I must admit I wasn't all that aware of Dumas' biography. Note Dumas came back from exile in 1853 instead of waiting for the fall of the empire. And also, the main reason Hugo is in the Pantheon and not Dumas is that Dumas died too early : in 1870 the Pantheon was a church, and the political system not very much republican... Whereas the Pantheon was reinstated in the current function at the time of Hugo's death, pretty much right when his ideas had entered government.

Also, from my rememberings of what extracts we actually studied in class, the extracts of Les Misérables were often the more "socially conscious" ones, Gavroche and les barricades, Cosette... And Notre Dame de Paris was more or less ignored.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 04:10:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You read my mind DoDo... I had half a diary on this sort of brewing, prompted slightly by some of Helen's musings on group identities:

It's been a good year for "us": We've won an F1 world championship (Lewis Hamilton), the now usual round of golf tournaments  (Tiger Woods) and even made it to President of the USA (Barack Obama.)

Wait? What's that... they're black and I'm just half-Indian... where's the connection?

Well... the little secret is that Lewis, Tiger, Barack and me share something... as Barack said in his press conference "a mutt like me..."

Now why does it matter? In a way it doesn't. Throw in some others of mixed descent and you can easily construct a group that stretches across every social and economic class, every interest and belief. You certainly would have a hard time building a "mixed descent" political coalition.

If you look at the demographics of the USA "mixed descent - two races" clocks in around 3% where major groups like African-American or Hispanic are at around 15%. In the UK however, White (other) is around 5%, Indian and Pakistani are about 1.7% each, the Black Caribbean 1.0%, Black African 0.8% and "mixed race" around 1.2%.

Noting that "mixed race" can be all sorts of mixes, a spread of names and skin tones, when it comes to issues of race, identity and culture - we tend to just be part of other groups. But not completely part of them... half-part and half-not.

Society as a whole in the US and the UK remains "white at heart" at this moment and so famous types tend to be classified by the media as completely "other."

As such, the "mixed descent" identity is pushed into some kind of "choice" - and that from both sides.

But it's quite hard to talk about these issues, without getting into lots of complexities of identity, race and culture. The personal is political, but when it is so, it's usually in the form of societal critique. And in the end to Lewis, Barack, Tiger or myself have so much to complain about? Probably not.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 03:19:13 PM EST
Ack, I'm so sorry I shot down a good diary idea of yours...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 03:26:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it's good... I don't think I could have really written about it in the end. It's too complex.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 03:28:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you look at the demographics of the USA "mixed descent - two races" clocks in around 3%

Actually, that should read 'non-Hispanic mixed descent'.Just as white is actually 'non-Hispanic white' and black is 'non-Hispanic black' Because of America's way of classifying Hispanic as ethnic group but also quasi race, if you're part Hispanic you're simply classified as Hispanic.

by MarekNYC on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 12:50:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes... I performed a rough and ready calculation to account for that (there are some figures on the composition of "Hispanic"), but it's very rough, so I couldn't claim any great accuracy.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 05:34:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I noticed how not black not Obama is (compared to someone who is actually black) long ago and chalked it down to the US heritage of slavery and the one drop rule.

One-drop rule - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The one-drop rule is a historical colloquial term in the United States that holds that a person with any trace of African ancestry is considered black unless having an alternative non-white ancestry which he or she can claim, such as Native American, Asian, Arab, or Australian aboriginal.[1] It developed most strongly out of the binary culture of long years of institutionalized slavery.

If you have race-based slavery or other legal discriminations (South Africa and Nazi Germany springs to mind) then you need clear definitions. And those definitions are going to be arbitrary. Slavery as it has existed elsewhere has generally not been strictly race-based in the sense that all of a certain cathegory are slaves, and no others.

Fitting image for this thread:


First time I looked at it it took me a moment to realise that they had actually altered Obamas picture too...

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 09:16:32 PM EST
On the 'mixed' = not really black discussion. Nope. In America blackness has been traditionally defined by the one drop rule, or more accurately, being unable to consistently 'pass' as white. Given that race is purely a social construct, that definition is reality. There are plenty of blacks in America who are less 'black' than Obama, in fact they were traditionally very overrepresented among the black elites, where light skinned blacks intermarried amongst themselves.

What Obama's mixed background does represent is the old racist nightmare of miscegenation, especially as we're talking about a white woman and black man. I believe that a majority of white Americans considered mixed sexual relations as wrong well into the seventies.

by MarekNYC on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 12:46:55 AM EST
The "one drop" rule is less important than it used to be in the U.S.

Here in Colorado Springs, with its large military popluation, there are a lot of mixed race people with African and Asian heritages. They aren't labeled as "black." There are also quite a few mixed race families with Latino and European roots, and while they have dark skin they aren't "blacks" either. Nor are Indians or Arabs over here. I also know some very dark skinned African-Americans who speak with the received accent and have WASP values.

The U.S. military is pretty integrated, which has changed the viewpoint in that community. Not perfectly, though.

There is still some overt racism; we had a blatant example in my neighborhood just a few months ago. But I think it was an outlier...

by asdf on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 01:13:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe Neal Stephenson in Snow Crash claimed 'military' as an ethnic group of its own...

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 12:16:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When one looks at present-day American movies and TV series, in most cases, mixed relations still seem to be taboo.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 04:49:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think so. There are plenty of mixed race relationships in recent high-profile TV shows (Grey's Anatomy, Battlestar Galactica, Lost). And they're usually presented as normal. Then there are a lot of famous Hollywood movies that deal with it. To name some bad ones, just take Bodyguard and Save the Last Dance.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 09:53:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kamal Ahmed on being proud to be mixed-race | Comment is free | The Observer

In the good old days, otherwise known as the 70s, I used to wear rainbow-coloured jumpers, cords with a wide leg that flapped over my Adidas Gazelle trainers (brown suede, three beige stripes - absolute classics) and rode a Raleigh Arena racing bike made in Nottingham with drop-handlebars and five whole gears. It was a happy life. The only black people you saw on television were playing for the West Indies cricket team or were being made fun of in Mind Your Language on ITV. "Mixed-race" hadn't really been invented. Not yet.

Sometimes in the playground I was called jungle-bunny by children who could already see that picking on difference was a useful way of defining themselves. And getting into fights. Sometimes I was called half-caste. It bothered me, sometimes it made the tears prickle behind my eyes. Sometimes. Down the road in Southall, west London, home to a large population of Asian first- and second-generation immigrants, the National Front marched with Union Flags and swastikas painted on their Doc Martens.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 10:06:04 AM EST
... not descended from "black Grenadans", unless there is something in his mother's ancestry involved with the Spanish Armada.

People from the Eastern Caribbean island of Grenada (pronounced with a long "a" in the second syllable) are Grenadians.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 11:58:25 AM EST
Canada-Canadians -- OK. Never realised that rule.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:58:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... about the province of Granada as the island of Grenada, but if he had black Grenadian and black Granadan ancestry, that would be tres kewl.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 05:59:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a thoughtful article by Roediger

Indeed in stark contrast to pleasant narratives of progress, white family wealth in the U.S. is nine times that of African American family wealth and black young men are seven times as likely as whites to be incarcerated. The diseases of the poor in the U.S. are the diseases of poor people of color. 75 percent of all active tuberculosis cases afflict them. In Obama’s home state of Illinois, a majority of  HIV-AIDS cases occur among African Americans. Three in ten black and Latino children live in poverty, triple the white child poverty rate.

To think more precisely about the coexistence in the U.S. of such stark and deadly racial inequalities with the historic triumph of an African American presidential candidate requires that we recognize that racism is more than one thing and that we specify what has changed. The view that Obama heralds the end of race-thinking in the U.S. rests on  a particular definition of racism, one that currently very much holds sway in U.S. politics and popular culture. Racism turns, on this view, on bad but disappearing individual attitudes, of the sort that can be measured by whether many or few voters act on those attitudes on election day, or even by the ratings among whites of Oprah Winfrey’s television shows or the sales of products Tiger Woods endorses. Deep structural inequalities may be considered unfortunate, but race is personal.

This personalisation or depoliticisation is precisely what VD has been trying (imho unsuccessfully) to do above with gender -- to obfuscate persistent patterns of privilege and power affecting the material conditions of millions, by resorting repeatedly to the individual or anecdotal.  Neoliberalism has won a major victory here in papering over the structural or general with the individual narrative and what I can only call the Oprah Doctrine:  you create your own reality, everyone gets what they wish for (or work for) hard enough.  OTOH trad Communism and related left thought has shot self in foot repeatedly by the opposite error of judgment, refusing to regard the individual and the exceptional and focussing exclusively and prescriptively on the mass, the demographic, and the group identity -- not to mention the persistent theme that "equality" can be created by brute force and conformity.  (but this I suspect has more than a little to do with the co-optation of left rhetoric as a stalking horse for the age-old human taste for power, control, micromanagement and humiliation of "lesser" folks).

If anything the ambiguity of hapa, mixte, metis persons helps to undermine both dysfunctional worldviews, by reminding us both of the power of demographic categories (how little melanin it takes to be defined as Nieblanke and to be regarded with suspicion as a potential shoplifter in a white store) and of how permeable and ambiguous are these apparently concrete taxonomies of race -- and gender too, the original hotly-defended dichotomy.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 02:48:26 PM EST
i'm half italian, half english, so i resonate with this discussion, which has been fascinating, btw. vintage ET.

props to afew for frontpaging it, and the many pithy, reasoned and highly intelligent comments that have added to it... in wales, the maturity and depth in marshalling your arguments is especially pleasurable to observe. valentin, while i don't agree with some of what you assert, you argue very well, and set up in wales beautifully!

growing up in england in the 50's and 60's with slightly more than the correct amount of melanin in my complexion to pass muster as a genuine fullblooded native, (too olive, sanguine and quick to respond to the all too occasional ray of sun!)....was a trip, into racism. back then immigrants were pretty few and far between compared to now especially. i clearly remember the shock i experienced the first time an obviously west indian ancestry bus conductor spoke to me in a brummy brogue that i would swear on a stack of tao te chings no immigrant could have picked up without being immersed in it from the gitgo.
it was a turning point, i know, because there was a chord that was struck deep inside me that moment, that still sounds.

britain had stopped being 'little england' and was joining the rest of the planet in the genetic shuffle cheaper world travel and rising population numbers was heralding.

it's funny how snapshot, individual incidents carry such symbolic valence, much greater than is suspected at the time, even though one could still be dimly aware how big a turning point it would prove...

shortly after that i became aware of the narrative of british workers being slothful with their tea-break mentality (probably from conservative party propaganda, or giles cartoons...both were in evidence at my very english wumbledown grandparents' house), and about the same time i became aware of a growing number of statuesque, dark skinned brothers working on the dirtier jobs, construction, road repair etc.

they were a revelation, they were very strong looking, and smiled a lot with many more white teeth, and actually made it look like the job wasn't really that taxing.

all this i took in with the eyes of a child, sucking in the data for later processing with an adult mind.

harvesting dots...

meanwhile at school the epithets of 'wog', 'eyetye', etc were coming thick and fast, along with the physical abuse from bullies, the bane of my life, (i seem to have the words 'abuse me' written on my forehead in invisible ink readable only by authoritarians, preferably uniformed).

conditioned early to unthinking obedience, backed up by physical force...

children are so incredibly cruel.

anyway, eventually i realised many brits were in their own hell, that had nothing to do with skin colour, and in fact the immigrants knew how to have fun a lot better than the natives, had better parties, great music (ska was breaking), great food, (indian restaurants were still rarish), and the best blues clubs, like the ramjam, where i saw eric clapton play with john mayall for 50c upstairs from the pub, were very mixed race, with even some inter-racial couples, tho that was still dodgy, as i discovered with my first serious, 3 year love affair, with an adorable french girl, 21 to my 18, who had a halfbreed story of her own.

her dad was a 60 year old aristocrat fallen on hard times, and her mother a guadeloupian dancer the old soldier had fallen in love with when she was dancing at a parisian boite at 16.

they divorced before i met my sweetheart, but i got to meet the dad...

he was rattling around in a moulding chateau, a sweet old codger, 'gateux' she'd fondly call him...such a great word for 'senile', implying too much cake along the years, lol!

and the mother was cooking in a guadeloupian restaurant in paris, throwing rice over her shoulder to placate the spirits if it ever burned, much as some throw salt in our culture...

'our'...where, to whom do i belong?

i recognise identity issues in myself, i try to name them with national characteristics..geographically the halfway point between italy and england lies in france, which maybe explains why french came easier to me than italian, and i always have a special feeling for french women, as they were the first to initiate me into the arts of love, and i bless them still for their tenderness, playful sensuality, and joie de vivre.

not characteristics i experienced often in my nation of origin, born as i was in wetminster!

my mum was neapolitan, actually from salerno, site of the first medical university in europe, i learned later, perhaps trying to understand why healing interested me from quite early on.

she had buckled down to the grim job of living in postwar, milk powder rationed england with will, an herculean work ethic and yet a growing resignation, which ground her down over the 25 years she tried to subscribe to the english way of doing things, especially with regard to parenting. a guide to the levels of her frustration could be found in her frequent, vesuvian eruptions of rage, followed by days of resentment, poor thing had had her family stripped of its assets in italy by the germans and her early teenage years blighted by that tragedy, amongst others.

still she had a good education and a kind heart, under the pain and tension she experienced trying to squeeze such a fiery, passionate nature into the chintz and aspidistra conformity of the british middle class of the time.  the anglo disease, perfectly incarnated in my adman dad's philosophy, or lack of it, stole her soul, as it does daily to millions, and it was not till three months before her death at 67 that she shed its symptoms, returning to the playful, naturally loving humanness she had subsumed under the crust of genteel living and the endless 'comme il faut's that nailed their existence to conformity, keeping up appearances for neighbours they never knew personally...

it is still difficult to reconcile the two halves of my character living in italy, yet always a foreigner, because it's not my mother tongue, because i grew up a stranger in a strange land, and therefore accepting it has been a process i undertook to understand, willy nilly, just as barack and those other cappucino guys, though obviously their challenge is a million times harder than mine was, i do have an inkling at leat from my experience.

not finding all your roots in one convenient place or set of mores, you look a little wider for an identity that embraces both, and since you're out in deeper waters by then and seeing possible benefits, why not go all the way, and seek identity as a human, without any national boundaries to define one, shoot for the moon, so to speak?

all the steps are interesting, after trying on american polynesia for a big chunk, i appreciate europe so much more than when i was raised here, because we've both changed!

thank god and evolution, because i was pretty happy to shake its dust off my feet in my early 20's, sensing the coming thatcher years in my bones as i surveyed the increasing dystopic direction the you-kay was heading in, and hit the road as hard and often as i could.

rambling on...ET is a perfect space to try and understand the de-nationalising (maybe para-nationalising) that is the positive side of globalism, a word i prefer much to 'globalisation', now that i stop and think about it..

sorta like the difference between dominion and domination. nuanced , but there.

viva ET, where cultures collide like waves in a bay, and where we can recognise each others' humanity even when speaking from the inherited and adopted divers matrices of our national emblems and beliefs!

mix it up baby! blur those lines! nations and their ideas are all veggies for the great minestrone of humankind.

now if we could make 'kind' a synonym of 'human'...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 07:33:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]