Blog 205 30 October 2019
Discrimination and Mind Sets
A human flaw, discrimination ranges from mild to deadly with millions humiliated, denied equality, persecuted, expelled, or murdered. We are one species with billions of co-operative members who are harassed by far too many groups of discriminators against parent-child, rich-poor, young-old, male-female, religious-agnostic, natives-immigrants, whites-non whites, bi-polar politics, straight-LGBT+, and numerous other categories.
We live in a confusing era of rapidly-changing, lingering, shallow, and deeply-rooted mind sets. Today, I am surprised and repelled by prejudices I thought we had outgrown.
Personal Background: Growing up in 5 towns and cities in Ontario, Canada, and attending co-educational schools that were Catholic, Protestant, and Agnostic oriented with both boys and girls sharing the top grades. My friends and associates were mixed with, in order of numbers, Irish, Scots, English, French, Italian, Jewish, Aboriginal, Negro, and German. There were likable Americans in there among all us Canucks but we disliked United Statesians hogging the term that actually belonged to all of us from Arctic Ellesmere Island to Antarctic Terra Del Fuego. Negro was, and still is to me, an innocent generic term. Talents, from brilliance to idleness, were evenly distributed.
Like most students in the early grades, I had to live with school bullies. One day my very Irish mother turned the hose on a bully chasing me home. Another older boy, when he found my younger brother and I playing alone in an empty field would attack us, sending both of us home crying. One day while in a large group of students walking a city street to school, he attacked us. I had never used force before but I plunged my fist into his jaw, expecting a hurtful retaliation. What a surprise when he simply walked away, never to bother us again. I learned that, sometimes, justified force was necessary. I was quite athletic but avoided contact sports in fear of bruising others, so I used my talents in track and field contests and basketball. I did like hockey but only when no body contact was allowed.
The groups I associated with saw only humor in such events as the annual 12 July Orange Protestant parade with the local Catholic parish priest tolling the funeral bell as it passed his church. The Orange Lodge still commemorated the 1690 victory of the Protestant Dutch William of Orange over the Catholic James II for the British throne at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland. We left such differences for parents and grandparents who still thought them important. My sister would boast that the 12 July parades were to celebrate her birthday.
There was never any friction among my associates because of the various religions to which they adhered. We knew Blacks as descendants of escapees from slavery in the USA and as very pleasant porters on Canadian trains. So it puzzles me today when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is forced to apologize and confess to alleged huge errors in judgment made during his school years simply for coloring his face just to play innocent racial roles. It is healthy, educational, and entertaining for us humans to make fun of each other in such a way as to inflict no harm. My numerous associates disagree with each other but never in harmful ways. A quick look at harmful discrimination:
Racial: Now in the USA I am troubled by the necessity for such as this essay:
Prejudice by Kayla Dickey. Colorado Springs;
“To the lady who held her purse a little tighter when my husband walked down the grocery aisle: What you did not know is he would be the first to help you pick up a pack of heavy water or grab an item from the top shelf for you. To the guy who got tense when my my husband was walking behind him in the store parking lot and kept looking back. What you failed to realize is he was parked next to you with his family in the car. Yes, that car that seems too nice for him to drive. To the cashier who assumed he would be paying with food stamps. Little did you know that he has a good job and works long days to support his family. At one point he had two jobs. That means two different shifts a day. To the guy who followed him around the store, down every aisle. He was just looking for band-aids for his daughter,
To the lady who did not grab her purse a little tighter when I walked down the grocery aisle. Did I
not come off as intimidating to you? To the guy who did not even care that I was walking behind him in the parking lot. Why did you not get tense? Am I not threatening enough? To the cashier who did not think I would be paying with food stamps. Is it because I am wearing scrubs? To the guy that did not follow me around the store: Why did you not assume I would be shoplifting? Because I am white!
I will never know what it feels like to be racially discriminated against. I only know how I feel when it happens to my husband. It is heart breaking and sickening. For anyone who says this is not true is in denial or has not seen it happen first hand.” . . . . .
It hurts me when I find from Blacks they still suffer resentment from old and new discrimination.
Discrimination remains part of the flawed US penal system. With 5% of world population, the United States has 25% of world’s prisoners: 2.3 million of which 19% are held in privately-owned-and- operated-for-profit jails. Incarceration rates are: Whites 1 in 17, Latino I in 6, Black 1 in 3 = more in prison today than were slaves in 1850. Discrimination, while declining, still infects associations, education, housing, employment, and remuneration. Consider a few areas:
Parenthood is a vital responsibility criminally neglected. Qualifications need to be taught and permits need to be established and enforced. Some schools have courses on the subject but much more is essential. Today enormous harm is being done to children born to girls with multiple ignorant and disinterested partners. We all require love and many girls offer sex hoping to get it only to find the father flees child responsibility. It has been a shock to me to find how widespread this harm is. Let me describe just one example. A caring nurse friend of mine learned of a couple who had 7 highly-neglected children. The parents constantly fought each other with blows and foul language. They used their money more on booze than food and child care, The father is now in jail for family abuse and the children farmed out to foster homes. My friend, in spite of many problems of her own, has accepted custody of the 9-year old diabetic daughter who is a talented, likable, caring, helpful, well behaved person desperately needing love and attention but so full of resentful 9-year anger that she erupts, usually monthly, screaming loudly, cursing and attacking her new benefactors, throwing things necessitating taking her to hospital hoping to find curing medications. These episodes can last 3 days after which she apologizes but only partially remembers them.
Domestic Violence: An unacceptable global crime, it is highest among low-income and indigenous groups. In the USA awareness usually starts in the 7th grade at ages of 11-13. From 10 to 20% of children witness abuse of a parent or caregiver. Both sexes are attacked, including same-sex marriages but women suffer the most serious wounds and deaths. Australia reports that an average of one wife a week is killed by her husband. In 2017 in the USA over 1,500 women were killed by their partners. The percentage of women who were ever physically assaulted by an intimate partner varies among and within countries, and is rated by one study as: South Africa 80, Nigeria 75, India 70, Turkey 42, New Zealand 35, Egypt 34, Canada 39, USA 33, Switzerland 21, Philippines 15. In 2016 in Diepsloot, South Africa, 56% of the men surveyed admitted to raping or beating a women in the past year. The rate of domestic violence on indigenous women in Australia may be 40 times the rate for non-Indigenous women. In Alaska it varies from 10 to 80. In Canada it is 7 times. Much of this is due to European colonists changing strong matriarchal tribes into patriarchal. Thousands of women have also been beaten during pregnancy.
Women: After a long history of discrimination and abuse, women today are taking over the world with high talent in many fields previously denied them except in wartime when their abilities were needed to replace the men being slaughtered in wars. During WWII, I watched women piloting aircraft from factories to squadrons in the UK. As a POW I mingled with Mongolian female soldiers captured in battle. Yet, women still complain that male employers hire women for their looks rather than their ability.
Blessed with a devoted mother and five wonderful, talented daughters, I have devoted efforts to promote female activities. It was so gratifying to rush home from school to tell a waiting mother all the happenings in my school day. When I achieved positions of authority I ensured that girls had equal access
with boys to team leagues, other sport and entertainment facilities, and employment slots.
Numerous employers were hesitant in hiring women as their retention could be temporary, giving way to Always burdened with the highly important and all-embracing chores of motherhood, employers were hesitant in hiring women. Charlotte Elizabeth Whitton, 1896-1975, and first female mayor of a major Canadian city (Ottawa 1951-56 and 1960-64) put it so well “To succeed in business a woman must be many times as capable as a man. Fortunately that is easy.”
Back in 1938 I was offered permanent employment in a bank, paying $400 a year, increased to $500 when they immediately transferred me to another branch 70 miles away where I would have to pay $7 a week for room and board, leaving me with $136 the first year to squander on girls, clothing, and entertainment, yet I enjoyed life. Remuneration increased at $100 annually with another $100 for passing a university course in accounting. I worked in or with 10 branches in 3 cities, all with only one female – the denied-promotions secretary who usually was the most informed person on the staff of 6 men. Several became pregnant, so had to leave as motherhood was a full time, more important job, so the prevailing mind set was that women would be far more tuned to home rather than world affairs and could not be efficient in such jobs as reporters, world news analysts, or editors. Today my top in-depth, honest reporters are female, but do share the role with several men. Women invented agriculture and for 25,000 years before the Christian era we were ruled by female Sun Goddesses, the majority quite good yet with two societies that used us men as studs continually replacing us for younger studs.
Several highly-talented women tell me they prefer working for men to avoid female cattiness.
Educational Discrimination: During my RCAF career that demanded frequent moves it seemed that every educational system was superior to and disdainful of all others. Many times I had to fight officials to avoid losing credits or having my daughters put back a grade. I succeeded and each time my daughters ended up leading their classes in the new schools. One example: When I was transferred from 426 Squadron near Montreal (among other chores it completed 600 Korean War Airlift flights minus a fatality) to NORAD HQ in Colorado Springs, the University of Colorado denied my oldest daughter’s application to transfer from McGill in Montreal as her grades were only 75%. I drove to Boulder but failed to convince the registrar that grade inflation had not infected McGill University so 75% was a high grade. I had to enlist my wartime buddy, the registrar at McGill, whose strong reaction got her accepted where she ended up leading her classes.
Similar set-backs still plague professionals moving from one state, province, or country to another. And then there are dangerous flaws among cheaply-recruited and inadequately-trained employees in the rapidly-expanding companies that provide services such as health care. Profits can prevail over care.
Ethnic Cleansing continues its long, bloody, cruel, and widespread criminal history. It has brought immense sufferings and death to millions, leaving strong retribution desires. Wikipedia’s descriptions of 125 worldwide incidents screams that humans have not earned survival. Where to start? The 3-year battle that saw Rome completely destroy Carthage, selling the 50,000 survivors into slavery 2,265 ya? The extermination 1,169 ya of the 200,000 Wu Hu by the Chinese? The numerous expulsions and executions of Jews initiated by Edward I in England in 1290 AD and spread to France, Spain, and German states to the Israeli expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians in 1948 and still continuing? The Turkish massacres of Greeks and Armenians? WWI when Germany planned to remove 3 million Poles and Jews, replacing them with German settlers? The forced repatriation of up to 2 million Mexican-Americans during the Great Depression 1929-1936?, The extermination of 8 million Ukrainians by Joseph Stalin’s deliberate famine, 1932-33?, The 100,000 whites who fled the Congo after Belgium granted independence in 1960?
We even have a case of ritual beheading including children.One shameful example is the current forceful expulsion by Turks of Kurds who were of vital help in the US fight to destroy Daesh in Syria. Some 250,000 Kurds hope to flee to Iraq from Syria where the US still protects the oil but has abandoned its effective allies. The 28 million Kurds are dispersed, 12 million in Turkey, 6 million in each of Iraq and Iran, and 1.8 million in Syria.
Today, we have numerous aspirants for top political office. We must select and support those most capable of promoting encouraging rhetoric into actions that will ensure a safer, kinder, more equitable planet.
Ye Olde Scribe