Allow me to mansplain the fallacy of ‘white male privilege’

For a while now I’ve heard about something called white male privilege. As a white male who has never felt especially privileged, I never quite understood what the term was trying to refer to.

Science fiction writer and social justice advocate John Scalzi.

I think I first heard about it when one of my favorite science fiction authors at the time, John Scalzi, wrote about it on his blog back in 2012. He wrote:

Dudes. Imagine life here in the US — or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world — is a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time. Let’s call it The Real World. You have installed The Real World on your computer and are about to start playing, but first you go to the settings tab to bind your keys, fiddle with your defaults, and choose the difficulty setting for the game. Got it?

Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.

I dare you to read the entire article.

Up until this time, I liked John Scalzi. Up until I read that post, I read every book he wrote. This was before I realized what a massive social justice warrior he was. At the time, I didn’t even know what a social justice warrior was. I only knew that unlike the words in his novels, the words on his blog bothered me. The words on his blog made me feel insulted.

Does any of the following sound privileged?

I may have been born white and male, but I assure you I am not privileged. When I was 19, I joined the military, the United States Air Force to be exact. Not because I had an unquenchable thirst for patriotism and aviation, but because I felt I had no other choice. I couldn’t find meaningful employment anywhere in Southern California, where I was born and raised.

California, the official land of my people.

The only jobs I could find were dead-end minimum wage jobs. I was even turned down for a job as a janitor at a convalescent home. I think that’s when you know you lack privilege when you cannot get hired to mop up old person pee.

My parents weren’t big on education. My father was kicked out of high school and earned a G.E.D. in the Marine Corps. My father thought college was a waste of time and money and at first refused to even allow me to attend classes at the nearby community college while I lived under his roof. I was supposed to just go out and get a job. He finally relented and I was allowed to start taking community college classes after the second semester under the stipulation that I also worked.

I couldn’t afford to go to a real college. Let’s just say my work in high school wasn’t the type that earned scholarships. I failed to qualify for any type of grant or student financial assistance. I do remember trying to fill out the paperwork for student assistance and it asked about my parent’s finances. When I asked my father about it, how much he made a year, he told me it was none of my business.

Does this sound at all like privilege? Having parents who not only refused to help you go to college but refused to even help fill out the financial aid paperwork?

So I joined the Air Force. They promised I would learn a skill in electronics that I then could turn around and use in civilian life. They even promised they would help me go to college in my time off so that I could earn an Associates degree.

After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, I was bused to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississipi.  Both basic training and tech school were hard for me. Nothing was handed to me because I was a white male. I had to work my ass off in tech school because going in I knew absolutely nothing about electronics.

A potato battery powering a clock.

I attended tech school with guys who grew up playing around with electronics, building batteries out of potatoes and stupid things like that. With most of the guys I was in class with, electronics was their hobby before joining the Air Force. It was their passion.

It certainly wasn’t mine.

When we went over Ohm’s Law, it was treated as a refresher. I was the only one in my class who didn’t already know what Ohm’s law was. Worse, I didn’t really understand it even after it was explained to me a number of times.

Electronics was not something I took to naturally. Why the Air Force decided to assign me to an electronics career field is a mystery to me. I know when I took the aptitude test to see what I was good at and what I was not good at, I scored lowest in electronics.

After barely passing basic electronics, I was sent off to electronic warfare systems technology training across the base. Electronic warfare is also called electronic countermeasures or ECM for short.

The Electronic Warfare/Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) Crow. You know your military career field is pretty important when it has its own cartoon mascot.

It has to do with the detection and countering of anti-aircraft radar. Essentially, it was the equipment that stopped aircraft from getting shot down. I was going to work on the electronic warfare or ECM equipment used on combat aircraft. At the time, it had one of the longest tech schools in the Air Force, 11 months.

Electronic warfare has zero civilian applications.

Work on jet engines in the Air Force and it’s completely possible to get a job with South West or American Airlines doing the same thing you did in the military. That’s not true with working on electronic warfare equipment.

Soviet built surface to air missile (SAM) SA-2.

People may dislike South West, but not enough to fire a Soviet-built ground-to-air missile at one of their planes.

In March of 1994, I got out of the Air Force armed with an Associates degree in avionics, specializing in a branch of avionics with no civilian application. I had already reenlisted once, but because the cold war was over and Bill and Hillary Clinton were the president, the military was being drawn down and budgets were being cut. I was offered money to get out early from my second enlistment.

To make matters even worse, my wife of eight months totally blindsided me the month before by announcing she wanted a divorce. I didn’t even know we had problems, let alone she wanted a divorce. Deciding to get out of the Air Force had a lot to do with getting married eight months prior. I was stationed at Griffiss Air Force Base, located in Upstate New York. She had a great job with a local company.

I didn’t have a job. My wife just left me. You might think, under those circumstances, my family in California would want me to return home. The complete opposite was true. My mother warned me about coming back to California unless I first had a job. She even recommended I try to reenlist in the Air Force. Granted, the Air Force could be stupid sometimes, but when they pay you to get out early, they don’t then turn around and allow you to reenlist.

How was I supposed to find a job in Southern California while I was living Upstate New York? I was truly alone. I was still living in the apartment close to my soon to be ex-wife’s job, but 32 miles away from Griffiss Air Force Base. My ex-wife moved in with her mother.

This was before the Internet became a thing. I was trying to find a job by physically mailing paper copies of my resume to prospective employers in California. I remember spending a lot of money on stamps, envelopes, and making copies of my resume at Kinkos.

Before the Internet was invented, you emailed someone by physically sending them paper made from dead trees.

Mailing my resume to companies and headhunter firms didn’t get me any potential job opportunities in California. It turned out there are so many people living in Southern California, employers there are able to find qualified job candidates without going through their mail.

My hard work with the U.S. Postal Service and Kinkos was not for naught. Mailing hundreds of copies of my resume did get me a job offer in Maryland, somewhere I had not even tried to find a job. Having spent close to three months looking for meaningful employment in the land of my birth without any success, I accepted the offer in Maryland when it was made. I figured I’d work in Maryland for a while and continue to try to find a job in California.

Maryland, my new home.

It’s now 24 years later and I’m still in Maryland. I met the woman I’m now happily married to shortly after moving here “temporarily.”

In time, I finally realized that if my family wanted me to return to California, they would have wanted me to return after completing my stint in the Air Force. They wouldn’t have discouraged me from returning.

I found out much later that nobody in my family wanted me to return to California because they were collectively afraid I would end up perpetually unemployed and sleeping on someone’s couch. They were also ashamed I was getting a divorce. My parent’s religion forbade divorce. I was brought up to believe divorced people were second-class citizens.

In the 24 years since moving to Maryland. I cannot count how many times I’ve gone back to California to visit my family. What I can do is count how many times a member of my family has come to Maryland to visit me: zero.

Nobody in my family has ever come to Maryland to visit me. Even when I was in intensive care for nine days and almost died, did a member of my family even try to come to see me.

Even as a “privileged” white male, my life often sucks

Since leaving the Air Force, I’ve had a string of jobs I didn’t like. Usually, the more they had to do with electronics, the more I hated them. I’ve worked on photofinishing equipment, both for Walmart Photo and for Fujicolor USA when they acquired Walmart Photo. It’s why I came to Maryland. I then took a position with Greytag, a company that manufactured photofinishing equipment. I traveled around the United State repairing Gretag equipment.

I’ve worked on electrostatic printers in a large printing plant. I worked for NCR repairing cash registers at Walmart, Food Lion, and other retailers. I worked up in Pennsylvania as a bench technician at a company that made three-phase motor controllers.

When I got laid off from that job, I spent a few months on Pennsylvania unemployment and thought a lot about what I wanted to do next. I took a job at First Data working as a call center eCommerce support agent. Finally, a job that didn’t have anything to do with electronics. Call center work is many things, but a privilege is not one of them.

At this point, I was heavily into WordPress. I enjoyed messing around with themes and plugins, teaching myself PHP, CSS, and HTML along the way. This self-taught knowledge allowed me to get the eCommerce support position with First Data.

After working for First Data for over seven years, I left and started my own web development business. While at First Data, I talked to a lot of people on the phone who identified themselves as web developers. I knew from speaking to them that I could do what they do.

When I was still working for First Data, in my off time I created a WordPress plugin that connected WordPress to First Data’s eCommerce gateway, Payeezy. It created a form that a cardholder filled out to make a payment or a donation. The plugin is hosted on WordPress.

I began modifying the basic plugin for clients on a case by case basis. I’ve since created three more WordPress plugins that I sell on my business website. I also take on custom work. Not only do I integrate WordPress with Payeezy, I also integrate Wix with Payeezy. I think I’m the only one offering that service.

When I’m not doing any of that, I drive for both Uber and Lyft. All combined I make a decent income. I wouldn’t say I’m privileged.

I imagine back in 1818 or 1918, white males had it pretty good. The thing is, it’s 2018. Time travels in only one direction. Men don’t wear top hats or use pocket watches anymore. Things change. Contrary to what some people might believe, things are not handed to white males because they are white males. I’ve had to fight and claw for everything I have. I assure you nothing was ever handed to me.

Tell me how privileged I am when I’m driving for Uber with someone who smells bad in the backseat. Tell me how privileged I am when someone spills some of their breakfast in the backseat of my car and they don’t bother to tell me about it or even try to clean it up.

To assume I’m privileged because I was born white and a male is not only racist and sexist, it’s completely wrong. It’s a gross generalization based solely on skin color and biological sex. Anyone who believes white male privilege exists today is dumb. Anyone who uses it to make judgments about people had better be prepared to be wrong most of the time.

I have been blocked by Steve Shives

I’ve joined thousands of other Twitter users and I’ve been blocked by Steve Shives. Who’s Steve Shives? He’s a guy who lives in nearby Sharpsburg, Maryland and maintains a YouTube channel dedicated to social justice, feminism, and atheism.

He’s pretty famous for blocking people on Twitter. Evidently, he has a bot that blocks people based on who else they follow on Twitter.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, block bots are evil, dumb, and I hate them.

Steve Shives

Back before Steve was on YouTube, I considered him an e-friend. We both lived here in the Hagerstown area, we both had blogs, and we both shared a dislike for our local newspaper, The Herald-Mail. We were also very similar in our political views until we weren’t.

I was a fan of Steve’s writing on his blog, Steve Likes to Curse. It was a daily read for me. Although the site is still up, he no longer writes blog posts. That’s too bad. I think he is a good writer. He probably writes scripts for YouTube, but listening to someone’s videos is not the same as reading someone’s written words. And to be honest, I don’t like Steve’s videos.

Here’s a recent video of his:

Steve Shives is such a polarizing figure on YouTube that he is often the subject of other YouTube creators. A good many YouTubers make videos about Steve Shives and the things he says. Some of them are quite funny.

I started having problems with Steve and his opinions even before he left LiveJournal for YouTube. Mostly it had to do with his inconsistency of atheism. Even though he gave the impression he was an atheist, when he and his wife married, they married in a local church. I know this because I saw the photos in The Herald-Mail. What kind of atheist gets married in a church?

That threw up a red flag for me.

And then there was Steve’s defense of the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. Atheist Steve was a vocal defender of building it. What kind of atheist supports building religious structures for any religious group? Here are some of the posts he wrote about the topic seven years ago:

If you can get through the above posts about the Ground Zero Mosque, give the following post a read and look at the inconsistencies. In it, Atheist Steve writes about a local church, the Emmanuel Baptist church spending an estimated $7 million on a new sanctuary and classrooms for a fundamentalist Christian private school.

I also found the title of the above post to be a little silly. How can you call any Christian church misogynist when there’s such a thing as Islam? Islam is the apex predator of misogyny. It’s not even close.

How can an atheist defend an Islamic group building a religious center, but criticize a Christian church for building a new sanctuary and new classrooms? Shouldn’t atheists be consistent in standing up against all religious groups?

And that’s when the wheels fell off for me with Steve Shives. He was a pro-Islam, anti-Christian atheist who when it came time to marry the love of his life, got married in a Christian church.

In comparison, when my wife and I got married nearly twenty years ago, we got married in the courthouse, like the honest, consistent atheists that we are.

Martin Luther King Jr. refused to stand for the National Anthem?

The January 15, 2018 cover of The New Yorker magazine.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It’s the federal holiday set aside to honor the man who did so much to end systemic racism for our country. He was killed making this country better for children of all color.

You know what he didn’t do? Kneel or show disrespect during the National Anthem.

The New Yorker magazine has a ginned up cover showing King doing just that. It shows King kneeling locking arms with Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The image indicates it’s on the sideline of an NFL game during the National Anthem.

If you want to exercise your First Amendment right and take a stand (or a knee) against perceived racial injustice, I will back you up one hundred percent. Just don’t do it when hundreds and thousands of our fellow Americans are standing to honor our flag and our anthem. When we stand for the National Anthem one of the people we are honoring is one of our greatest Americans, Martin Luther King Jr.

Seeing this cover of The New Yorker magazine makes me think a little less of Martin Luther King Jr. even though I know it never happened. That’s the power of propaganda. King deserves better. He was a great American. He doesn’t deserve to have his reputation misused like The New Yorker did.

Shame on them.

Jordan Chariton, fired ‘Young Turks’ reporter sues ‘HuffPost’

Jordan Chariton

From Politico:

A former reporter for the digital program “The Young Turks” is suing HuffPost for $23.5 million, alleging libel and defamation over a since-deleted post detailing allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against him.

The reporter is Jordan Chariton. I don’t know if he’s a creep or not. If he’s ever gone on the record as a male feminist, then I’d say the chances of him being a creepy pervert are fairly high.

I don’t trust anyone who claims to be a male feminist. It’s just a simple rule of thumb, but it’s one that’s served me well.

This story intrigues me on many levels. The Young Turks employs reporters? I thought they used unpaid interns to lift stories from the mainstream news and then their on-camera personalities offer their fresh perspective on the story. By that, I mean whatever Armenian holocaust denier Cenk Uygur, believes on the matter.

I truly wasn’t aware any real reporting went on over at The Young Turks, let alone they possessed paid journalists. Now I know.

 

The NFL could ban National Anthem protests if they wanted to

We’re currently in Week 9 of the National Football League 2017 schedule. It’s the ninth week in a row the league is allowing players to protest during the National Anthem. The only question at this point is why the NFL is allowing this stupid spectacle to continue.

The idea the league doesn’t have total control of what players can and cannot do while standing on the sidelines is a joke. The NFL expects us to believe there’s nothing they can do about players sitting, kneeling, or raising a fist in the air during the National Anthem?

I do not believe the NFL

The NFL bans players from wearing Beats headphones anywhere in the stadium. If a player wants to wear headphones before or after a game, they have to wear only Bose headphones. The NFL also specifies what kind of tablet device teams and players can use. They have to use a specific kind of fake iPad, the Microsoft Surface Pro, not a real iPad made by Apple.

The list of products players aren’t allowed to use on the field or the sidelines are extensive. It’s one of the things that makes the decision of the NFL not to stop players from protesting during the National Anthem so weird.

The NFL will only fine a player protesting the National Anthem if he’s wearing Beats headphones or using an iPad while doing it.

Why is it the National Basketball Association can require players to stand during the national anthem, but the NFL can not?

The NBA rulebook states:

2) Players, coaches, and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the National Anthem.

The NFL doesn’t have such a rule because it doesn’t want it. The question is why?

Is the NFL trying to lose money?

If I was a conspiracy theory guy, I’d think the NFL was purposely trying to damage its own product so it can then leverage the damage to its advantage. The amount of money the owners pay the players is based on how much revenue the league and teams make. The less money the NFL makes, the less money it will have to share with players.

Are they trying to decrease revenue so they can play players less?

My name is John Schnatter, but you can call me Papa.

TV ratings of NFL games are down compared to last year. Sponsors are threatening to pull their ads if the protests don’t stop. Papa John’s, the official crappy chain pizza sponsor of the NFL, posted lower than expected earnings for North America this past quarter. Papa John Schnatter, the founder, and CEO of Papa John’s is blaming National Anthem protests for weaker sales.  Schnatter said the following:

NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.

If he thinks this is true, how long until he decides Papa John’s needs to end its partnership with the NFL? It could happen sooner rather than later. Once the first big-time sponsor leaves, more will follow.

Almost all players in the NFL represent the privileged 1%

This whole National Anthem protest thing is so stupid. Maybe I’d feel differently if the people doing the protesting weren’t privileged members of the 1% and living large compared to the rest of us, the other 99%. When I was 19-years-old I had to join the Air Force, not because I wanted to, but because I had no other options. I couldn’t find a real job. I couldn’t afford to go to college. If I was going to make anything of my life, I had to enlist in the military.

In the military, you must respect the flag and the National Anthem

While in the military, I learned to respect the flag and the National Anthem. It was ingrained into my core. Every day, on every Air Force base I was ever at, the base flag was lowered before sunset. Before it was lowered, a bugle call was played over a loudspeaker. It alerted everyone to prepare for retreat, the lowering of the flag.

After the bugle call was complete, the National Anthem was played and the flag was lowered, removed, and folded up. While the National Anthem played, you were to stop whatever you were doing, turn to face the music, and stand at attention. You were required to salute if you were in uniform. You were required to salute or put your hand on your heart if you were in civilian clothes. You were required to pull off to the side of the when driving a motor vehicle.

The Air Force could court marshall someone for not standing at attention during retreat. You could go to jail for not honoring the flag and the National Anthem.

I think this is why I find these National Anthem protests so disgusting. They not only disrespect our country, they disrespect anyone who served in the military. It’s not about freedom of speech. When players are on the sideline before a game, they’re at work. Your employer puts expectations on you when you are on the job. Respecting the National Anthem should be one of those expectations.

NFL players can disrespect the country on their own time

If players want to disrespect the National Anthem on their own time, I have no problem with that. They can burn the American flag on their own time and I would not complain. My problem is when they protest while everyone in attendance is standing and showing respect to our country. Standing for the National Anthem is a something all Americans share together. The National Anthem protests shit all over that.

There is a time and place for everything. Before a game when everyone else is standing in respect is not the right time or the right place. It’s the wrong time and the wrong place.

 

 

Arthur Chu keeping it classy

Former Jeopardy champion Arthur Chu isn’t too happy about Donald Trump becoming president. Here is something he tweeted in response to the Trump win:

When I first saw a screenshot of this tweet on Reddit, I assumed it had to be fake. I went to Twitter and did a search for it. I couldn’t find it. I then logged out of Twitter and repeated the search. I found it right away.

This meant Arthur Chu has me blocked on Twitter. When I logged back in, this is what it showed:

Arthur Chu uses a Twitter block bot.

Arthur Chu is the gentleman on the left. The fellow on the right is Jeopardy host Alex Trebek.

I find it ridiculous and extremely unnecessary that Arthur Chu has me blocked on Twitter. I’ve had zero interactions with him on Twitter or anywhere else. I am not a troll. I use my own name on Twitter, a platform I’ve used since 2007.

Arthur Chu is a pathetic, racist little man. If I was the type of person who allowed myself to become offended (I’m not), getting blocked on Twitter by someone as important as Arthur Chu would offend me.