Differences between White Terrorists and Others

From Juan Cole. (Thanks, Mr Jender!)

1. White terrorists are called “gunmen.” What does that even mean? A person with a gun? Wouldn’t that be, like, everyone in the US? Other terrorists are called, like, “terrorists.”

2. White terrorists are “troubled loners.” Other terrorists are always suspected of being part of a global plot, even when they are obviously troubled loners.

3. Doing a study on the danger of white terrorists at the Department of Homeland Security will get you sidelined by angry white Congressmen. Doing studies on other kinds of terrorists is a guaranteed promotion.

4. The family of a white terrorist is interviewed, weeping as they wonder where he went wrong. The families of other terrorists are almost never interviewed.

5. White terrorists are part of a “fringe.” Other terrorists are apparently mainstream.

6. White terrorists are random events, like tornadoes. Other terrorists are long-running conspiracies.

7. White terrorists are never called “white.” But other terrorists are given ethnic affiliations.

8. Nobody thinks white terrorists are typical of white people. But other terrorists are considered paragons of their societies.

9. White terrorists are alcoholics, addicts or mentally ill. Other terrorists are apparently clean-living and perfectly sane.

10. There is nothing you can do about white terrorists. Gun control won’t stop them. No policy you could make, no government program, could possibly have an impact on them. But hundreds of billions of dollars must be spent on police and on the Department of Defense, and on TSA, which must virtually strip search 60 million people a year, to deal with other terrorists.

Let’s Say It Together: Patriarchy Hurts Men, Too (Airplane Edition)

The Consumerist has a story from a man (who–for extra irony–happens to be a nurse who already goes through background checks to make sure he can work around children) who was asked to switch seats on a plane because it’s the airline’s policy not to have men sit next to unaccompanied minors. …For the minor’s safety. (And it’s not just this airline with such a policy.)


This reminds me of Gloria Steinem’s quote,

“We know that we can do what men can do, but we still don’t know that men can do what women can do. That’s absolutely crucial. We can’t go on doing two jobs.”


Sometimes when I’m out walking and pass by a playground, I like to pause and watch the kids play because it brings back a lot of memories of the playgrounds I loved as a kid (especially this one big wooden one that almost looked like a castle).  It’s so sad though, to think about how for so many men, if they were to pause as I do and look wistfully out at kids scampering around, they would be viewed with suspicion and possibly even disgust.  I know I’m complacent in this, too: we get suspicious if a man takes any / too much of an interest in children.  (What is “just enough” interest in children?)
That is so messed up.

The Veil of Opulence

Nice analysis of an all-too common line of thought in public discourse.

…the veil of opulence operates only under the guise of fairness. It is rather a distortion of fairness, by virtue of the partiality that it smuggles in. It asks not whether a policy is fair given the huge range of advantages or hardships the universe might throw at a person but rather whether it is fair that a very fortunate person should shoulder the burdens of others. That is, the veil of opulence insists that people imagine that resources and opportunities and talents are freely available to all, that such goods are widely abundant, that there is no element of randomness or chance that may negatively impact those who struggle to succeed but sadly fail through no fault of their own. It blankets off the obstacles that impede the road to success. It turns a blind eye to the adversity that some people, let’s face it, are born into. By insisting that we consider public policy from the perspective of the most-advantaged, the veil of opulence obscures the vagaries of brute luck.

Non-traditional trans narratives

From here.

“As trans people become more visible, our stories have narrowed into a neat narrative arc: born in the wrong body, pushed to the brink of suicide/sanity/society, the agonized decision to begin hormone treatment/surgeries for the reward of ending up ourselves and looking “normal,” which ends in a lesson about the tenacity of the human spirit, triumph of believing in yourself.”

This “traditional” narrative is false for many (perhaps most) trans* people, including myself. But our, and their, stories aren’t typically told. Everyone’s transition story is markedly different, and I’d like our readers to understand that. So I hope that this article becomes widely shared, and deeply thought about.

The pervasiveness of the “traditional” narrative has health care implications for trans* persons. For example, doctors and mental health professionals (who are the primary gatekeepers to medical interventions) are often misinformed and expect to have patients tell them the “traditional narrative.” When the trans person tells an alternative narrative, “red flags” are raised. (Indeed, this happened in my case.) Many trans* persons are denied care and turned away form gender clinics for not being a “true transsexual” or not being “trans* enough.”

By increasing the visibility of narratives outside of the narrow “traditional” narrative, perhaps we can move a big step forward towards understanding trans* people.

Thanks, R!

Someone has actually studied stereotypes about philosophy!

How have we all missed this? Just came across this paper, which (at a quick skim) seems to show that people judge an older man to be more likely to be a philosopher than a young woman, and that they are likely to rate the same piece of writing more highly if they think it’s written by an older man than by a younger woman.

(Updated with new link, sadly just to abstract, unless your university subscribes.)

First Openly Pansexual US Politician

In Texas, of all places.

Mary Gonzalez

Mary Gonzalez broke barriers when she became her state’s only openly lesbian lawmaker when she was elected to the Texas House of Representatives.Now, however, Gonzalez is going even further, telling the Dallas Voice that she instead identifies herself as “pansexual.” As ThinkProgress notes, Gonzalez’s admission makes her perhaps the only openly pansexual elected U.S. official.

Though many might describe Gonzalez’s orientation as bisexual, pansexuals don’t believe in a “gender binary,” and hence can be attracted to all gender identities.

Gonzalez specified to the Voice that she doesn’t believe in a gender binary because “gender identity isn’t the defining part of my attraction,” and that she never fully embraced the term “lesbian.” Although she came out as bisexual at age 21, Gonzalez said she has also dated transgender and “gender-queer” people, in addition to women.