Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Race, Age, Class, And Gender Discrimination In The United States.

For most of our history, our businesses, government, and laws have all discriminated in favor of privileged white men and against everyone else. In particular, the discrimination favors white men with money, or born into privileged families, over everybody else. The boys taking the golf and tennis lessons at the country clubs this summer will be smiling for good reason, because they know that our country has things set up so that they will get way more than their fair share regardless of how lazy, stupid, and corrupt they are. The fix is in.

The best jobs in our country are almost exclusively held by white men. White men only represent around 35% of the population, but they hold about 98% of the best jobs, the jobs with the big paychecks and the life-long titles. Notice that men give themselves lifelong titles, like King, Prince. Senators (for life), Judge, Ambassador, Professor: even if they only held the job for a few years, they use the title forever. It's so silly. So pretentious. Women, who are over 50% of the population, are not only excluded from the better jobs, but they are viciously attacked when they try to move up in their professions. Blacks are excluded. Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, all excluded.

So white men get the best paying jobs. They also get the jobs with the most power. They get to control everything in our society, and they use their positions to enrich and protect themselves and other white men. For example, Congress (mostly white men) pass laws saying that Wall Street (mostly white males) cannot be sued or held liable for stealing money from the public. Cops (mostly white men) are never held liable for wrongful death of a citizen, even if they walked up to an unarmed, blind, 90-year-old grandma and shot her in the face, the media and the courts immediately label it a "Suicide-By-Cop." What a stupid term. It's like when women get raped, and the media says she asked for it. Same thing. Automatically blame the victim and excuse the (usually) white male.

And we now know that even when the white men engage in international war crimes, start wars of aggression, lie the nation into war, torture and murder people, loot and pillage and plunder the nation, even then they are not held accountable for their actions. They have permanent immunity. Privileges and immunities, like Princes or King. How creepy is that? Even when they kill people, they get away with it.

Certainly our entire nation and its laws have always given preference to whites and to males. For example, after the country gained its independence, it was decided that there should be some law saying how a new person can become a citizen. So a law was passed in 1790, and it said that any person who had lived in the U.S. for at least 2 years, and was free and white, could become a citizen.

Note that non-whites were excluded. Many blacks in this country were slaves and, even after they were freed, they were denied status as citizens by the southern states. Regardless of how many laws are passed, the Republican Party to this day continues to have an official organized policy dedicated to preventing black people from voting in our elections.

Of course voting was always reserved based on gender and race and class. Originally, only white male property owners could vote. At the time George Washington was elected our first President, in 1789, only 6% of the population of this country was allowed to vote -- white, male, property owners only. In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was executed at the end of the U.S. War Against Mexico, and provided that Mexicans residing within the then-claimed land of the United States would be citizens, although they were routinely denied civil rights based on a variety of tactics. In 1856, all states in the country had finally removed the requirement of property ownership for voting, but voting was still generally limited to white males. In 1870, blacks were given the right to vote, but were prevented from doing so by local vigilantes. In 1872, Susan B. Anthony decided to test the exclusion of women, so she tried to vote, and was arrested and tried for her "crime." Women were not legally given the right to vote nationwide until 1920, with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Our actual history doesn't quite live up to those patriotic songs. A little shoddy on closer examination.

I saw three stories today that made me think of this national, institutional, legal and historical bias in favor of white men and against everyone else in our society. The first, of course, was about Pat Buchanan and the drug addict from the radio, as well as their hangers-on, trying to incite hatred and violence among the population by hysterically screaming that Sonia Sotomayor was out to destroy white men, and that white men need to join together to defend themselves against their enemies -- I guess women? Hispanics?

Then I saw a story that Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia was back in the hospital again. He was just there a few weeks ago. He's 91 years old. White, male, and 91 years old, yet he's still allowed to hold one of only 100 seats in the Senate. God forbid anybody should tell this guy to go home, he's old enough to retire. Let somebody else have a chance. We see this same thing in judges -- sometimes suffering from dementia, peeing their pants on the bench, drooling, falling asleep, yet nobody will remove them from the position. See (rarely, the judicial commissions will remove a judge when they are completely disabled. Example: Justice Marshall McComb of the California Supreme Court was only removed from the bench when the state finally intervened. He was totally disabled by senile dementia, yet the other privileged white men on the California Supreme Court just turned his chair around during the hearings, and let him keep the job). So it is special treatment and privileges for the wealthy white men, and unemployment, no healthcare, no rights for anybody else. White men not only get all the good jobs, but they get to keep them long after they no longer are able to properly acquit their responsibilities.

Finally, I saw a story about a basketball player who allegedly cheated on his SAT exam. Apparently this young man is a terrific basketball player who is good enough to go pro right now. But the monopoly professional basketball team owners in this country, for some bizarre reasons, want to keep kids out of the profession until they are at least 19. That means that a kid gets out of high school, and has to get into college to play basketball there, for one year, in order to get picked up by the pros when they turn 19. I see no legitimate reason for this. None. Supposedly the white males who own the teams and run professional basketball don't want to have to pay these young men at 18, and can save a lot of money by blacklisting these young men for a year. Which is all it is -- blacklisting without any rational basis. The person who wrote the article noted that in effect (regardless of intent) this rule mostly discriminates against young black men. It seems like a really stupid rule to me. There's certainly no rule that prevents young people from getting professional contracts as singers, or actors, when they are under 19 years of age. What's the difference? See "The NBA's uncool rule - College Basketball -"

But again, when I put these together, it makes me think of how much things remain the same in our society. Most young black men are completely excluded from any opportunity in our society, which is why sports is such an attractive option. Many black families live in poor neighborhoods and their kids are sent to crumbling, unsafe, poorly staffed schools where they do not receive a decent education. Many of them, like most poor people in our country, are fed only high-starch low-protein and low-nutrition food which makes them fat, sluggish, unhealthy, and destined for diabetes and heart disease at a young age. These kids are screwed from the time they are born. But once in awhile, a sports star comes along, and he has a big ticket out. And the white-male professional basketball owners of America, who have a monopoly control of the sport, decide to park these kids somewhere for one year out of high school and prevent them from earning a living. How is that fair?

At the same time that these 18 year old kids are denied opportunity, we have a 91-year-old white man who's had way more than his fair share, but he will not let go.

And we have a woman who has done exactly what our society said she should do: work hard, go to school, get an education. Yet when she asked for the well-deserved promotion, she's attacked by a bunch of vile, threatening, racist old white men who seem dedicated to inciting violence among their followers -- "Defend The White Men Of America." They're crazy. And dangerous.

That's the thing about the privileged. It does not matter how much money they have, how many times they get to go to the "insider" dinners and bars and get-togethers and resorts, doesn't matter how many homes they have, how much art or stocks or shoes, doesn't matter that they will never live long enough to spend even a big chunk of what they already have -- they won't let go of a penny. I know quite a few people who are extremely wealthy by most people's standards, and they are cheap. The worst tippers, most resentful at having to fund public schools, nastiest about the unemployed (why don't they get a job), strongest opponents to public healthcare (that's socialism), least likely to pay a bonus to their employees.

I know a guy who is very wealthy, mostly because he's a privileged white country-club male, upper class, private schools, an insider from birth. Every year when a group of us go out for a holiday lunch, and invite all the office staff as well as the professionals -- he will not pay for his secretary's lunch. That's how cheap he is. I don't think there's a person in the world who likes him, and doubt he'll live long enough to spend all the money he has accumulated like a miser. But it doesn't matter -- he will not buy his secretary a sandwich at the Christmas/holiday lunch.

He's typical of people I know with money. There is no reason to try to appeal to them based on fairness or justice, because they don't believe in either. And, needless to say, most of these people are white men who use their accumulated wealth to try to get control over the people around them -- employees, wives, kids. They don't care if everyone hates them, as long as they feel like they have control. If they'd gone into politics, they would be starting wars to make themselves feel strong and powerful. It's a sickness.

When Bill Gates claims he's charitable, don't believe it. He, and Warren Buffett, and Bill Clinton, (all white males) all set up and fund private charities as a way to hold onto their money and avoid paying taxes. They can put up to 1/2 of their income into a private charity which they completely control, and keep all that money tax-free. Let's say they earned $200 million in a year, they put $100 million into a separate account, label it "charity," and don't pay $30-40 million in taxes that they otherwise would owe. It's all a tax fraud. As long as they pay out 5%/year of the money, they will never have to pay taxes. So guess how much they pay out every year? 5%. How much of that 5% goes to a kid, or relative, as compensation for them "managing" the charity? And they spend all their time going around telling the rest of us that they don't want the money for themselves -- they just want to help others. Warren Buffett keeps saying he's going to give away all his money when he dies. Don't bet on it. If they wanted to help, they would give their money away now, not hide it in private charity accounts in their own names. What's the problem? They don't think there's enough need, enough starving, enough suffering in the world already?

The politicians in Congress are mostly white men. I don't think putting privileged white women, or non-white women, into Congress, will change much. I'm not suggesting that other people are kind and honest, but white men are bad. Just that our society has built in a bias towards white men which is unfair to the great majority of the people in this country. 65% of the people are not white men. We need affirmative action to change that and try to bring about some equality.

And we need a serious change in our taxes to go back to when the tax system made sense. Stop these private charities and start taxing rich people again. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett should never have been allowed to accumulate so much wealth, because it should have been taken in taxes. And Microsoft should have been busted up as a monopoly decades ago. Bill Clinton should never have been allowed to leave office then go out and solicit close to a billion dollars from the corporations he benefitted while in office, and from foreign countries that he helped while he was the president. Politicians should be prohibited from taking so much as a penny from anybody for any reason when they leave office, other than reasonable compensation for an actual job.

A woman should be allowed to move up in her profession without being viciously attacked by an organized group of white men, publicly threatened and humiliated just because she wanted a better job. A 91 year old white man should step down, move out, and let somebody else get a chance, instead of holding onto power just because he can. And an 18 year old black kid should not be prevented from getting a job by a conglomerate of millionaire basketball-team owners who figure they can do whatever they want, because nobody ever listens to young black men in this society.

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