The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Streets Are Paved With Gold...stay home!

The following are ALL things I've heard:

When pointing out the imbalance of male and female Asian television news personel: "Maybe Asian males don't want to do television." (from white males and females)

The difference between male and female Asians in love scenes in American movies: "Maybe Asian males don't want to do love scenes." (from white males)

The lack of black SF authors and readers: "Maybe black people just aren't attracted to these ideas." (from a white female editor)

The poverty and degradation of black ghetto neighborhoods: "Maybe they just like living like that." (white males and females)

The lack of women in SF: "Maybe women just aren't attracted to technology." (white males)

The lack of women in technology and math: "Maybe women just aren't mentally suited to these disciplines" (white males)

The lack of women in politics: "Maybe women aren't interested in politics as much as men." (black and white males)

Lack of black male sexuality in film: "Maybe the actors don't want to do them." (White males, some females)

Lack of Y in regard to X. "Maybe the Y just don't like X" (Said by Z's)

If the presence of Y on the cover/poster of a comic book/book/film negatively affects box office: "that just isn't true." Or if it is true, a small group of executives/exhibiters/ promoters/ comic book store owners etc. are responsible. It could NOT be the public. Of course not.

Why said executives/exhibiters/ promoters/ owners/editors should be so different than "average" Americans is never explained.


Some of these things may have some truth to them. But here is the point: note that if the "other" performs poorly in some arena controlled (or influenced) by the speaker, the problem is never within the speaker's community. It is ALWAYS in the "other." "They" aren't as evolved, engaged, intelligent, curious, whatever. It is never because of economic or social pressure.

Note that black males side with white males if the issue is women's rights. White females side with white males if the issue is racial. The exact same logical formulations are used, just fill in the blanks. The most disappointing thing about my recent conversation with a prominent white female SF editor is that she said EXACTLY the same thing about blacks and Asians that white male editors said thirty years ago about women. When it is proven that members of group X do indeed want Y, "Z" response is to attempt to encapsulate the venom. It must be (some small group of editors. Publishers. Hollywood executives. Politicians. Liberal or Conservative investors. Etc.)

It simply can't be us. Why, I KNOW that I don't have a negative reaction to blacks/women/gays whatever. Of course not. In the same way that the average person is an above-average driver or lover. Of course.

If you want to know why the world is as it is, why our politics are what they are, you need look no further than the mirror.


Again: my core solution to illegal immigration: offer citizenship to any illegal who turns in employers to hire illegals. Make the State drivers' license your citizenship papers.

That should even out the pain a little.

Again, we own some responsibility here: for a century America has been saying "we're the best in the world. The streets are paved with gold." Animals migrate to where the goodies are. Human beings are animals. Nations are lines painted on maps, social fictions--they exist at the level of fifth or sixth Chakra (communication and concept) rather than the 1st-3rd Chakra (survival and power). Man oh man...this one is going to be a bitch kitty. I see no real way to deal with this other than to equalize the pleasure and/or misery on each side of the border.

NOTE: I am not, in ANY way, saying I like the situation. Or that I don't want America to have absolute choice in who we allow in. We have the exact same right to do that as any other nation. I always loathed it when Americans thought they could behave any way they want in Mexico. Clearly, there are some in the Anti-illegal crowd who are purely racist. And some in the pro-illegal crowd who would simply like to take America back.

What is necessary is a dialogue between those closer to the middle.


Pagan Topologist said...

Steve, I am afraid that rewarding illegals for turning in employers would just lead to more de facto slavery. Import workers and keep them locked up so they cannnot report anything to anybody. I was attracted to the idea at first, but this aspect of it troubles me a lot.

Pagan Topologist said...

It occurs to me that The Weather Channel has more racial and gender balance in its on-air staff than do many other venues on television. I don't know why.

Anonymous said...

"I see no real way to deal with this other than to equalize the pleasure and/or misery on each side of the border."

OK. So, Mexico et al. run themselves as a sovereign nation for 150 years, incompetently. We run ourselves during the same time period, competently. Therefore ... we're supposed to unilaterally allow anybody to immigrate from Mexico et al., whether or not they bring any discernable economic or intellectual benefits to the U.S.? Even though Mexico et al. themselves are not merely pretty strict about illegal immigrants, but aren't exactly eager to have legal immigrants from El Norte?

Yeah, that's a vote-winning idea. I hope the Dems run on that one in November 2010, hard!

If the rest of the human race envies us so badly that they need to migrate here, might they, perhaps, try emulating us evil gringo Americans, instead of just endlessly bitching that we won't do things according to whatever jackass "consensus" the rest of the world has dreamed up in the U.N., or the E.U., or Davos, or Kyoto, or Bedlam, about how countries should be run?

(That's just a purely rhetorical question, which I'm dropping out there to make people's heads explode like hydrogen bombs. I know as well as anybody here that such an idea is doubleplusungood crimethink. The politically correct way to solve the problem will be to bollux up the U.S. to the point where it's politically and economically indistinguishable from the countries that people are fleeing. That'll be a handy result of the whole multiculturalist idea that America isn't, and shouldn't be, an "exceptional nation" in any way. And it'll "equalize the pain". Immigration problem solved!)

--Erich Schwarz

Anonymous said...

"...Some of these things may have some truth to them. But here is the point: note that if the "other" performs poorly in some arena controlled (or influenced) by the speaker, the problem is never within the speaker's community. It is ALWAYS in the 'other.' 'They' aren't as evolved, engaged, intelligent, curious, whatever. It is never because of economic or social pressure..."

...and it is never as if "they" aren't separate people who disagree with each other on this stuff!

Kinda like this:

The domestic violence in some low-income immigrant neighborhoods: "Maybe they just like living like that, which means they're barbaric." (non-immigrant right-wing males and females) and/or "Maybe they just like living like that, which means the people getting beat up enjoy it and it's OK." (non-immigrant left-wing males and females)

As if the people in such a neighborhood dishing out the beatings *and* the people in those neighborhoods getting beaten up are a hive mind! IRL, obviously the thugs do just like living that way *and* the victims do NOT just like living that way and would appreciate more opportunities to get out from under the thugs' thumbs and fists!

Lobo said...

Somebody took too many hyperbole pills this morning.

Shady_Grady said...

As far as illegal immigration we are primarily discussing Mexico but the argument holds for any country. There is no short term method to raise Mexico's standard of living to the US.

Long term Mexico would have to have a complete change to its economic and political system so that opportunities were more evenly distributed, corruption was reduced, infrastructure, disease control, water cleanliness was brought up to US levels, etc.

That is the primary responsibility of the Mexican government and people. By acting as Mexico's safety valve for frustrated citizens and economic refugees, the US is making change less likely, not more likely in Mexico while importing millions of low wage, low skill workers at a time when the economy doesn't need them.

Mexico has pretty much always been behind the US economically so there's always been an incentive to migrate. What has changed over the past few decades IMO is a general loss of will on all sides of the political spectrum to enforce immigration law.

Marty S said...

Steve: Lets take a look at your first two items and see where they lead.

There is an imbalance of male and female Asian television news personnel and The difference between male and female Asians in love scenes in American movies.

Now we ask ourselves "Why is this?". Well lets look at the marriage statistics. Marriages between white men and Asian women are three times as prevalent as marriages between white women and Asian men. So we come to the conclusion that the entertainment industry is reflecting the behavior of our society in general. So the question becomes why does society in general act this way. One can come up with any number of reasons. One could read this as white women are more racist than white men, but this would probably reflect the speculator's tendency to see racism everywhere. To me it seems way more likely s women look for different things in a men than men do in women. Of course this exposes me to the charge of sexism. But assuming I'm right we then raise the question are the differences between men and women with respect to what they look for in a member of the opposite sex nature or nurture. So if your point is that the entertainment industry mostly reflects society, your correct. But, when you conclude that all those aspects of our society are a reflection of problems with our society, and that they all, can and need to be corrected, I think you are exhibit your own bias towards nurture over nature, when the degree to which each predominates is very different from case to case.

Steven Barnes said...

I definitely have a bias for nurture over nature when it comes to the treatment or status of different groups within a social context where one group holds most of the power. Saying that men and women want different things is sexist, but not chauvenistic. It merely says that women are right when they say men and women hold different things as valuable--it is a simple observable truth anywhere in the world.
Not ALL social differences are caused by social pressure. But I find that the assumption that most are is more often correct than the assumption that differences are intrinsic. And that was the broad assumption, socially, until the 50's. I know which side I'd rather err on.

Foxessa said...

Again, what good is this when NAFTA is destroying the economies of the other hemispheric nations, at least among the poor and the middle class?

I don't drive for health reasons -- thus no DL, so what good will this do?

Again, this is treating symptoms, not the causes.

Love, C.

Marty S said...

Most social differences are the result of nurture not nature. True. But the question is when is a difference social rather than the result of nature.

Here is some info taken from a post on boys versus girls with respect to math. The poster got his info from a college board report.

1. Girls are over-represented in the top 10% of high school students by GPA, which is 57% female and 43% male. Girl also outnumber boys in the second tenth of students by high school rank: 54% to 46%.

2. Girls outnumber boys for GPAs of A+ (60% vs. 40%), A (61% vs. 39%), A- (57% vs. 43%), etc.

3. The average number of years of math study is almost identical: 3.9 years for boys and 3.8 years for girls.

4. For students reporting more than four years of math study, the percentages are equal: 50% of boys and 50% of girls.

5. Both 50% of boys and 50% of girls report that calculus is the highest level of high school mathematics taken.

6. More girls than boys took AP Honors math courses, by a ratio of 117 girls for every 100 boys.

Therefore, it would seem that girls are equally prepared, if not more prepared (more AP math classes), than boys for the SAT math test, and yet boys outperform girls measured both by the difference in mean scores (35 point difference in favor of boys) and the over-representation of boys for scores on the high end (2.22 to 1 ratio for perfect scores), and these differences persist over time.

The link for this post is

If you go to that link you will find comments on the post that look for all sorts of social excuses for the difference in SAT scores or just call it balderdash. The fact is many people refuse to accept that any mental difference between men and women exist. It is possible, but defies logic since some of the physical differences between men and women are found in the brain.

Vern McGeorge said...

We cannot expect to hold back a tide pushed by a 5 to 1 wage differential across a 2,000 mile border.

We must however maintain the right to know who is in this country, to exclude the worst criminal elements, and to lift this whole segment of our economy out of the shadows.

This would benefit immigrant workers by making them less exploitable and benefit us by allowing for the collection of reasonable taxes.

I think a solution is possible as outlined here.

Anonymous said...

"... It merely says that women are right when they say men and women hold different things as valuable--it is a simple observable truth anywhere in the world..."

OTOH, does it also recognize that other women like me are right when we say many men and many women both hold a lot of the same things as valuable (things like not starving, not being homeless, not being raped, not being physically attacked any other way, not dying of STIs or other diseases, etc.) too?