Lumping disparate people under one heading is never a good idea.
Identity politics is all the rage these days. Political analysts want to slice and dice us up into different groups based on geography, race, gender, or sexual orientation - among other things. However, these classifications of people are often wildly inaccurate.
Take for example, my Cuban friend. He'd be the first to tell you that he does not consider himself Latino
. Cuba, as he points out is a Caribbean Island, not part of Latin America or South America. Moreover, he claims it all his ancestors are one hundred percent of Spanish ancestry. And this is a sticky point when dealing with the Hispanic Community. Everyone will tell you that all of their ancestors are 100% Spanish. Most are 100% lying
I stepped in the dogshit with a friend of mine from Costa Rica when I told him he had a very noble face that looked like that of a Mayan God. I thought I was giving him a compliment, but basically I was calling him the N-word in his culture. In Latin America and South America, how white your skin is determines your social status. That's the reason why you see a lot of these guys working in lawn care business wearing elaborate scarves and hats - they are trying to preserve their fair skin.
Sadly this desire for whiteness is planet-wide. Why do you think those Chinese ladies wear those hats with enormous brims and also wear facial scarves? Racism is not confined to America
and Americans, but rather is a global phenomenon. We didn't invent this shit.
Taking racism aside, people in various Latino and Hispanic communities don't like to be lumped together. In Latin America alone, there is much competition and prejudice between people of different countries. I recounted before how we took our cleaning lady out to dinner at an El Salvadorian restaurant. She acted very strange and reserved, even though the food was very similar to what she had in her hometown. When I asked her what was making her uncomfortable, she said, "All these people there El Salvadorians!" In the hierarchy of Latin America, she felt that Mexicans were the top of the heap, and it went downhill from there as you went South.
Compounding this are the differences in politics among these various groups of people. Democrats assume that anybody who's Hispanic is a "person of color" and therefore must vote liberal. But again as I just noted, many Latinos don't consider them people selves "people of color," but rather as people of a Spanish background. The Democrats are reading this all wrong.
And in terms of racism, there is a very serious animosity between Hispanics and blacks. We went to try to find an apartment for our cleaning lady and we showed her a beautiful apartment in a nice house close to the Metro. However when we met the landlord, a nice black lady, she immediately stiffened and said we had to leave. I asked her what was wrong and she said, "Senor Robert, personas negros no es bueno!" She was really racist, which is ironic because many people would be racist against her, based on her background. Getting blacks and Hispanics to vote together as a bloc is a fantasy.
On the political side, people we might lump together as "Hispanic" or "Latino" are all over the map, from far-left liberal, to right-wing conservative. Many are devout Catholics and thus have very right-wing religious views, particular about things like gay marriage and abortion. Democrats assume that all Latinos are liberal and therefore are embracing of other minority groups such as the gays, when that may be far from the truth.
Among Cubans, the same is true. The old hardliners who came over from Havana after the revolution tend to vote Republican and are very conservative. Their political views are shaped by that revolution, and their number one demand as they get all of their stuff back that Castro took away from them. Of course, this is never going to happen, but Republicans pander to this anyway.
Younger Cubans are maybe less interested in going back to the home country and reclaiming lost property. They have a life here in America in are more interested in opening up relations with their parents' homeland. They may tend to vote Democratic but again, it's never good to make generalizations this way.
The Democrats are making great hay out of wooing the LBGTQ vote, which is an anagram of various sexual minorities which are entirely unrelated. Again, assuming that a group of people all vote or think the same way is a really bad idea.
When I was president of the Gay and Lesbian Student Association, I learned this firsthand. Back then we didn't have as many letters in the alphabet and it was basically limited to gays and lesbians. But in reality it really was the Gay Student Association, as the lesbians very rarely, if ever, showed up at our weekly parties. They were fabulous parties, too.
And the reason was, we had very little in common
. We didn't hang out together or go to the same bars or clubs or do the same things or have the same interests. And there was always this tension between the genders - some of the lesbians had many gender-based grievances, and saw us as the opposition. One of the early demands they made was that the name of the organization be changed from the Gay Student Association
to the Gay and Lesbian Student Association
. Then, that was considered inadequate because the gays were mentioned first, so we changed the name to the Lesbian and Gay Student Association
. This was in the early days of the absurdness of political correctness
Of course, it didn't matter at all. The lesbians still refused to show up at our weekly gatherings, even though we offered free beer. They didn't feel comfortable being around a bunch of chatty gay men, and I guess the feeling was mutual to some extent. More than one gay person expressed to me an irrational hostility they had toward lesbians. And yet Democrats assume that we are all chums - and all nice people.
That was 35 years ago. Since then, more letters have been added to the alphabet and more and more sexual minorities have been recognized, created, or invented. And we are told we are all supposed to think the same, even though our needs and interests are vastly different. And quite frankly, I don't understand what some of these sexual minorities are. What is the difference, for example, between gay and queer? I'm not sure, nor do I really care. It seems to me a lot of this is people slapping labels on themselves in order to be unique and special.
The latest letters added to the alphabet are for transgender people, this seems to be the burning issue du jour although this is even a smaller minority of people than gays in the population. I don't have anything against transgender people, that's their own thing. But it's not my thing, and it really doesn't interest me at all whatsoever. Not only that, it can be a little creepy at times. But of course, you can't say that. Whoops, I just did.
If you meet someone who is transgender, transsexual, or a crossdresser who's very good at it, you would never know you were dealing with someone of the opposite gender. Because they actually look like that gender and thus can easily pass for it. But when you see a guy wearing a dress and a beard, it's kind of jarring. And it's okay to say that, despite what other people tell you.
Just because transgender people or gay people make you uncomfortable doesn't mean you hate them or anything or want to cause them harm or whatever. And that doesn't mean you're homophobic or transphobic or whatever-phobic you want to put on that label. There are lots of ways that people can make you uncomfortable, just from odd behavior, to the way they look or dress.
People can creep you out any number of ways - too many facial tattoos or piercings, for example. It doesn't mean you hate them, only that it makes you uncomfortable. You get to know them, and they are nice people and after a while, you don't notice all the creepy tats and piercings. But that doesn't mean you are bad for being creeped out by it, initially. (Any why people disfigure themselves like this is beyond me
. I can only imagine what it all will look like when they are 70 years old - ugh!).
When I see some of these teenagers with weird tattoos and piercings wearing bizarre clothing, yes it makes me feel uncomfortable. That doesn't make me teen-phobic or tattoo-phobic or whatever, just that I'm not used to seeing that sort of thing. When I see people muttering things under their breath or screaming obscenities on the street it doesn't mean I hate crazy homeless people, only that that sort of behavior makes me very uncomfortable.
And this is a normal reaction, bred into us by the centuries. Blame Darwin. As tribal people, we learned eons ago to distrust people who don't look or act like us, speak the same language, dialect, or with the same accent, dress like us, or whatever. Because in those long-ago days, people from other tribes were often our enemies, and they of course made you nervous and anxious. Breaking free from that primal conditioning takes effort. We are all inclined to be racist or phobic, it takes conscious effort not to be. And that is the reality of it. Racists are just lazy.
But getting back to LGBTQ, not everything that everyone is doing is something I agree with or support. As I noted in an earlier posting
, my goal is to be left the hell alone
, not to force people to "accept" me or ask for government sanction or largess. But it seems others want more. They want people to be forced to attend their gay weddings, either as a photographer, caterer, or cake baker. They want to force religious groups to accept their orientation and even celebrate it in church. I think this is taking a good thing too far.
Lately, a lot of transgender people been making the news but for all the wrong reasons. The person who hacked into the Capital One database and stole millions of social security numbers and bank account numbers is apparently a transgender person who has a lot of mental health issues. The so-called "transgender hero," former private Bradley Manning
is pushing the transgender thing as somehow being related to stealing millions of government documents and posting them on the internet. I'm not sure how the two are related
, only that Ms. Manning is bringing disgrace to the transgender movement by tying the two non-related issues together.
There are some who argue that these are not anomalies, that many transgender people are maladjusted. I don't know if this is true or just merely a slur. Or it may be that growing up with a transgender identity tends to make one unstable due to the pressures of society.
But recent events have me wondering if I went to bed one night and woke up on another planet. I guess I haven't been following the whole "transgender" thing too closely, but the upshot is that some people believe this is some sort of illness that needs to be corrected with surgery. The penis is apparently some sort of tumor that needs to be removed - at government or insurance company expense - to preserve the health of the patient.
On National People's Radio Weekend Comrade is this story about a prisoner in jail in Idaho
who has sued to have a sex change. Only they don't call it a sex change anymore, or even "gender reassignment surgery" but "gender confirmation
surgery" - the PC police have been hard at work here. This is cosmetic surgery, people - something that is not necessary to keep you alive or healthy. After all, for eons, people lived perfectly well without having their genitals mutilated. Now that this type of surgery is available, it is now necessary?
Sorry, I don't buy it. This is cosmetic surgery - an elective procedure - and the government and insurance companies should not be forced to pay for it. But if you can find a friendly doctor that claims it is "medically necessary" for your health (how?) then you may be able to strong-arm the insurance company for this very, very expensive procedure. UPDATE: Some are claiming that "gender affirmation surgery" is medically necessary to save the life of the patient, as the patient would kill themselves, otherwise. This seems quite odd to me and a weird definition of "life-saving" surgery.
Funny thing, though. When I need a procedure, the doctors do everything in their power to keep me out of the operating room. Insurance won't cover my detached bicep or my convoluted lower intestine or my compressed disc in my neck. What's more, doctors correctly note that surgery is risky, and it should be a last resort - after all other remedies have been tried
- rather than a first option. So, I've wisely stayed away from hospitals. I think most people should, if they can all avoid it. It would bring down the cost of health care.
All that being said, this transgender fellow should be careful what he wishes for. Because if they go through with this, he will be reassigned to a woman's prison, in which case, he will have to transition again to Lesbian.
But again, this person is not really a good poster-child for the transgender movement. He/she is in prison for child molesting. Um. Yea. Again, what planet did I wake up on that child molesters get six-figure elective surgery in prison? This is the sort of shit that will re-elect Trump in 2020. We need to stop being wacky here, folks!
But I think the Supreme Court will overturn this decision. At least I hope so. People are decrying Idaho as being "unfair" by appealing the 9th circuit's decision in the matter - but filing an appeal is a matter of right (whether the Supreme Court takes it up is another matter). Moreover, as we learned in law school, any decisions coming out of California are not really binding anywhere else - the 9th Circuit is of course based in San Francisco, where this sort of reassignment or confirmation nonsense is thought to make more sense.
I mentioned this to Mark, and his only comment was "I thought confirmation was something Catholics did!" Touche.
But I guess what irks me more than idiotic things like this NPR article, is that people assume that I support that sort of nonsense, because, you know, identity politics. You can't have opinions of your own, you have to buy into the whole enchilada (is that racist? I don't even know anymore) - lock, stock, and barrel.
And a lot of people do just this - picking their political identity off-the-shelf
and signing up for a plethora of political views based on identity politics. Once you pick your political identity, you are not allowed to deviate from the party line one iota, regardless of whether you are a MAGA-hat wearing Trump supporter, or a Rachel-Maddow-watching "Democratic Socialist". You spend all your time talking to like-minded people and viewing everyone else as "the enemy."
Moderate Republicans and Moderate Democrats are not welcome anywhere, it seems - we have no "identity group" to define us by race, class, religion, or whatever. And maybe that is the problem - the "silent majority" as Nixon called it, is so disparate that they are not easy to identify and market to, so the political consultants instead focus on readily identifiable groups that will be receptive to a single message.