Anita Hill on the new allegations: thank you!

from CNN:

Anita Hill called on the federal government to implement a “fair and neutral” way to investigate sexual misconduct complaints after allegations surfaced against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh this week.

Hill, who accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of workplace sexual harassment during his confirmation hearing back in 1991, said she has seen “firsthand what happens when such a process is weaponized against an accuser and no one should have to endure that again.”
Then a law professor at the University of Oklahoma, Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that she had been sexually harassed by Thomas when she worked with him at the Education Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Thomas denied the allegations and he was confirmed to the bench.
is it possible that the guys/politicians will even have the sense that they’re just doing the same thing again?

The most and least sexist states

from an earlier report in the Washington Post;

The examples are useful.

Sexism in a woman’s state of birth and in her current state of residence both lower her wages and likelihood of labor force participation, and lead her to marry and bear her first child sooner,” they find. Even more striking, the prevalence of sexism in a woman’s birth state seems to affect her later earnings and outcomes even if she moves to a place with less sexism.

The article maintains that political views and state-based sexism can diverge, which is certainly true in my recent experience.  That is, liberal guys in sexist states can be less supportive or tolerant of female assertiveness and disagreement.  OR so it seems to me.

Would that people thinking of jobs had the luxury of thinking of a state’s sexism.

“Was She J.D. Salinger’s Predator or His Prey?”

I expect the title comes from an NYT editor, but the article is by aJoyce Manard, who llived with Salinger for close to a year starting when she as 18 and he VERY much older.


He dismssed her at the end.  She understood that she was expected to keep mum about the famous recluse.  And she did for 25 years, until she didn’t.  The sky fell on her.

That season, at a rare literary event to which I had been invited, an entire row of writers I respected greatly rose from their seats en masse and, as I took the stage, departed the room. I like to think that had they stayed and listened to me that day, they might have questioned their assumptions.
For 20 years, I’ve lived with the consequences of having told that forbidden story, and though I’ve since published nine novels and another memoir, none of which involves Salinger, few reviews of any book I write fail to mention that when I was 18 I slept with a great writer, and, more significantly, that I later committed the unpardonable offense of telling that story, or, as it is frequently stated, of writing a “tell-all” — language that aligns me with tabloid personalities.

Maynard asks if the #me too movent would have provied her a different reception.

i don’t know the answer.  At the same time I am horrified at my memories of a time when women ‘using’ their relationship with a famous man were treated as Maynard has been.

Don’t quit yet:

A useful section from an email by Sabrina Joy Stevens

And if these hearings are going to proceed, we’re going to be there every step of the way, checking every attempt to dodge tough questions and helping you hold your senators accountable for stopping Kavanaugh from dragging women’s rights back to the Dark Ages.

We need to figure some of this out.

Another woman, Asia Argento, has been identified as at least a onetime sexual harasser. And she is prominant in “#Me too” movement.

The details of what she did are actually relevant, and in some ways quite different. He was underage and they had had in the past something close to a mother-son relationship. These are far from exonerating facts. The result was a financial deal; she paid him over $300K.

The situation and the non-hysterical coverage it got was still upsetting and, in an obscure way, shaming. I think part of my guilt was that I was, despite all I know about these things and my colleague’s great post preceding this one, I was not pacing around and demanding the perp be treated as a criminal, never allowed in Hollywood again, etc.

The present case seems to me, at least given what I know so far, about morally worse actions than Al Franklyn’s was while much, much less awful than Weinstein’s.  But I didn’t really know how to react to it.  I conclude that we need to figure some things out, such as

  1.  The legitimacy of the “no due process” complaints.
  2. Is our demanding or approving retribution is part of a crowd constituted punishment?  Are we approving a punishment or actually participating in a shaming that is part of the punishment?   And perhaps leading to more serious things, such as a loss of a career.
  3. What is the significance of the fact that most of the perps are men?  Is it, as many have claimed, that power is behind harassment and in general women don’t have much of it?  Or is there something else that women tend to do that is nearly as bad?  Perhaps kinds of emotional bribery and blackmail from women are also destructive and too prevalent?  In some arenas women can behave as bad as men, even if differently; think of abusive parenting.  Does the bad behavior “me too” is pointing at have an equivalent where women lack obvious power.

No doubt there are other things we should be thinking about.  And you may have some answer to questions I asked above.  Let us know!!

“But I wasn’t being bigoted.”

Who’s a bigot?

I may have seen bias or prejudice defined many times in terms of an individual’s inclinations, beliefs, actions, etc. But recently I tried to explain to someone why I thought his views manifested sexism, and I ended up fairly surprised at the result.

It can be hepful to look at negative assertions.   When we consider the claim that someone is not being sexist or racist something surprising – to me at least – emerges.  Innocence in the land of bigots may be harder than we thought; it isn’t just a matter of having a pure heart.

My friend had tended to see aggressive women on the attack where I saw assertive women attempting to give explanations.  More importantly, I thought “she’s being aggressive and so she’s attacking’ as a sexist interpretation of an assertive women trying to explain something.

I ended up considering another example/inference; namely, “He’s an undocumented immigrant and so should be deported.” It seemed to me that there were a number of places where the question of racism may be appropriate.   I try to capture some of these at the end.  But what also seemed to me now revealing is whether the main interlocutor said he shouldn’t be considered racist. After all, he might say, he was just dealing with matters of fact and law.

In contrast, I thought, as I considered it, that in bringing to bear a mechanism arguably racist in origin and common use, the main interlocutor is really not innocent of racism. What matters is what he is doing with social forms of bigotry.

One upshot is that I think I’m clearer about why I think the murder of Treyvon Martin was racist even if the murderer was not acting out of racist animus.  And so with so much else happening now.

The possibly revealing questions:

  1. Why is the question of documentation being raised?
  2. Is the action just being mentioned or is it closer to being proposed?
  3. Taking action: In the real-life situation where people don’t bother to find anything else about the suspected immigrant, and just call to report the person, then we’ve got the possibility of racism. (If nothing else, causing such unpleasantness in someone’s life is pretty negative.)
  4. What is the status of the questioner? Is the questioner a white person, or is it a person from a minority group?





It’s Juneteenth

200 years ago:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” —General Orders, Number 3; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865


If you want to work for equality, try Racial Equity Here; it is a national movement to advance racial equity by dismantling structural racism, city by city, town by town.  Click here.