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Posts Tagged ‘women’

The family is on a no-tech holiday, more on that later. As a result, the blog will be back next week. Here is what I have planned for the future: My No Tech Vacation, Emotion vs Logic: Battle of the Titans, and a multi part series on Wisconsin. So, stay tuned. In the mean time, here is a quote that I like:

“I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious views of anyone.” – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

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Welcome to Part 2 of my “I have no idea how may part” series on racism.  I know you are concerned about being a racist, and I am here to say that you are not racist.  No, seriously, you’re not racist.  However, you are biased.  As a matter of fact, we are all biased.  Whew, now don’t you feel better?  Well, you shouldn’t, because being biased can be just as damaging and in many ways, worse than being racist.

The problem with being biased is that it is pervasive and infects literally everything that we say and do.  The worse part is, we generally are not aware of our biases.  Actually, the worse, worse part is that we often don’t care about our biases and therefore make zero actions to improve our biases.  If you are reading this and thinking, I have no idea what you are talking about, then let me explain.  I mean, that’s why I am here.

It’s midnight, and you just left a friend’s house after a marathon game of Parcheesi (Google it).  You are walking down the street towards your car and you see three white kids sitting on the hood of your car.  They are looking at their phones and clearly playing Pokémon Go.  What do you do?  I am sure there are a variety of answers to this question, but I am sure most of you would respond in some form of “get them off my car and go home”.  If it were me, I would approach the car, and say, “Hey guys, this is my car.  You mind?”  And then I foresee that they would get off my car, I would get in, and drive home.  Simple.

Alternative:  It’s midnight, and you just left a friend’s house after a marathon game of Parcheesi (did you Google it yet?).  You are walking down the street towards your car and you see three black kids sitting on the hood of your car.  They are talking, loudly, and look like they just got done playing basketball.  You see that one of the kids has a basketball in his hands.  What do you do?

Before I continue, do me a favor.  Take a moment to think about the image of the two scenarios above.  How are they different?  How are they the same?  What is your reaction to the two scenarios above?

Here is my first honest truth of the blog; it never entered my head to write the two scenarios of BOTH sets of kids playing Pokémon Go.  I just can’t see three black kids playing Pokémon Go at midnight.  That’s my bias.  What’s yours?  In your mental image of the two scenarios, were both sets of kids the same age?  I bet they weren’t.  I bet the white kids were younger, maybe even in junior high.  I know, you think I biased you by making them playing Pokémon Go, but I also said it was midnight.  If young kids can play Pokémon Go at midnight, why can’t young kids play basketball at midnight?  What were the kids wearing?  Any wife beater t-shirts (Google it) in either scenario?  Or Nike gear?  Plaid shirts?  Welcome to the Brett Bias Show.  And finally, what about your reaction to the two scenarios?  Are you responding to both situations the same?  Here is my reaction, and it’s not the same:  “Hey fellas.  How’s it going?  Who won the game?  Cool.  I gotta run, you can come, but the ride might be bumpy from the hood of my car.  Thanks guys.”  I have no need to talk to the white kids, but I very much want to talk to the black kids.  It’s my bias.  It’s like I want to defuse a situation.  Or maybe I want to make sure the black kids know that I have nothing against them.  Or maybe I have a stronger desire to make a connection with the black kids.  I think any of the above reasons may be true, but it proves one thing, I have a bias in my reaction to the two scenarios.  What is your bias?

I know you might think this is silly, but I would guess that in many of your scenarios, your reaction to the black kids was more negative, more aggressive, or had more fear in its response.  At minimum, your image of the two scenarios was different based on your inherent bias.  What does this mean?  Well, it means that if you are a black kid, you have been reacted to in a certain way for most of your life.  And depending on how negative those reactions were will determine your attitude about life and how others perceive you.  I’m 45 years old and have a PhD, and my life experiences have shaped an image of myself that is not worthy of a PhD.  I attempt to shake it often, but it reveals itself more often than you would realize.

For example, several weeks ago, my wife, son and I went house hunting with our realtor.  While in a house, I heard a noise upstairs.  I was convinced that someone was in the house.  I assumed it was one of the owners that had not left the house before our arrival.  I asked our white female realtor to go upstairs to investigate.  I was not scared.  I was not trying to push her towards an intruder.  I was concerned that if whoever was upstairs ran into me, a big black man, the reaction would not be good.  It turned out to be the daughter of the owners who got her times wrong on the visit.  I stand by my decision of sending the realtor.  Let’s pretend our group had males and females, blacks and whites.  Here is the order I would have selected to go up those stairs, from least likely to most likely to scare the bejeesus of whoever was up there.  1.  Little white girl  2. Little black boy (because black boys are cute). 3 Little white boy 4. Little black girl  5. Adult white female. 6. Adult black female 7. Adult white male 8. Adult black male.  Do you agree with my order?  It’s based on bias and bias is real.  Bias determines whether you are more likely to call me Dr. Woods (which is my appropriate designation), whether or not I’m more likely to be pulled over by a policeman, or if you will be surprised when you find out what I do for a living.  Do you have any idea of what it feels like to be considered “lesser” by so many people on a regular basis for over 40 years?  Bias is a hell of a drug.

I was going to end it here, but than I had lunch with a friend.  She told me this story of how she has been grabbed by men so many times in her life that she has lost count.  It became so regular in her life, that if it happened during the day, when she got home, she saw no need to tell her husband.  This was not the first time I heard a story like this from a female.  Can you imagine, living your life in such a way that people grabbing you was so common place that you internalize it as normal?  You see, biases are so common place, that they make people believe things that they should never believe.  If you are reading this and you still don’t get it, then here is my advice:  Examine your actions and try to identify your own behaviors that might be adjusted because of who you are interacting with, males, females, black or white.  If that doesn’t help, ask your wife, or friend what biases you have, because they WILL know.


Insert bad transition here …

I dropped my kids off at daycare this morning.  The two high school? college? kids that were in “charge” could not have had a more disinterested look on their faces if they tried.  If they were in a corner smoking cigarettes, I would not have been surprised.  If there was an electric fence around the perimeter, I would not have been surprised.  They didn’t even try to look engaged upon my arrival.  Sheesh!  Oh well, my kids are safe and out of my hair.  Yeah, I’m disgusted with my self too.  Maybe I’ll catch Pikachu today.  That’ll make me feel better.  Ugh!

 

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So, my son was reading a book online about winter activities.  Keep in mind, we are not those kind of parents.  We don’t have a family where the son is reading a book online and the daughter is in her room playing with dolls.  Of course, at this time, that was exactly what was happening.  Even a blind squirrel finds a nut.  Anyhoo, my son reads a book online, then listens to the program narrator read the book, and then takes a quiz on the book.  I know.  Kind of nerdy, right?  He loves it!  He gets points for books read and quizzes correctly answered.  It is called Raz Kids.  I highly recommend it.  Besides, if you met my son, you would know, he is anything but a nerd, not that there is anything wrong with that.

In the book, the narrator kept referring to building a snow person.  A snow person?  You mean building a snowman?  I am not exactly anti political correctness, but sometimes I think we go a little overboard with being politically correct.  Are people truly offended by the term, snowman?  Are little girls not growing up to their full potential because of the lack of snowwomen examples in their lives?  Give me a freakin’ break!

I believe in gender issues.  I will be the first person to tell you that images on TV and movies are ridiculous.  I hate the fact that any girl clothing I buy for my daughter is pink.  My daughter doesn’t like pink, and that should be OK.  I think it is disappointing that the only images of women on TV are thin blonde, overly ethnic aggressive, or too jolly fat women.  The reality is that people like female stereotypes.  If you don’t believe me, look at the money made by movies in which women are not played as stereotypes, i.e., Princess and the Frog (see previous blog on this subject).  My three-year-old daughter wanted a doll house for Christmas.  The doll house options made me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit.  You know what I got her?  Scratch that.  You know what Santa brought to our house?  My daughter received a Doc McStuffins Clinic.

Best dollhouse EVER!

Best dollhouse EVER!

It looks just like a house, but it is really a doctor’s house with a female black doctor.  You can’t beat that!  My point is that I believe in gender equality, but I refuse to support the term, snow person.  Why?  Because of the simple fact that all snow beings are male.  How do I know?  Snow balls. I rest my case.

 

 

 

 

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Can you imagine if we take this to the next level?  Hey everyone, let’s go outside and have a snow genitals fight!  Talk about a sign of the apocalypse.  I’m just sayin’ …

Then again, maybe they are gender neutral.  Anatomically correct?

Then again, maybe they are gender neutral. Anatomically correct?  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

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So, let me begin this blog by stating that I am not a fan of Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker.  However, I have not signed any recall petitions.  I am actually against the recall.  This is how it should work: You do your research, you decide who is the best candidate, and then you vote.  If your candidate loses, then you support whomever is in office (support and agreement are not the same thing) and you move on.  Will I vote in the recall election?  I haven’t decided.

If you voted for Scott Walker, and now you are upset, whose fault is that?  Did you do your research?  Or did you just vote party line?  Well then, you made your bed, now lie in it.  If you didn’t vote for Scott Walker, what is the basis of the recall?  Is it because you didn’t get your way?  Childish.  I do not like this precedent.  But then …

Less than two weeks ago, the Equal Pay Enforcement Act was repealed, signed by Scott Walker.  The purpose of the law was to provide anyone who has been discriminated against to plead their case in circuit court rather than federal.  It also provided stronger enforcement mechanisms for violations of pay and workplace discrimination.

I have no idea why anyone would be against mechanisms to help prevent employers from discrimination.  Between Wisconsin’s Castle Doctrine (We too had a recent shooting.  The castle law allowed the shooter to kill within the law.  The victim was also a young black man), concealed carry, loss of bargaining rights, major education funding cuts, and now the repeal of equal pay enforcement act, maybe the recall isn’t such a bad idea.
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I don’t know if I’d call it a war on women, but it does appear as if the Republican party has shot a cannon across the bow.  I mean, it’s not like the War on Christmas (He wrote sarcastically).  I’m just sayin …

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Do NOT let your daughter watch this movie. Just say no!

So, I know what you are thinking, “How cute.  She’s a little mermaid.”  WRONG!  Not that mermaid.  Disney’s The Little Mermaid was possibly one of the most popular movies with little girls.  It was the classic story of a beautiful girl giving up everything to be with the man she loves and everything becomes perfect as a result.  Worst story for little women, EVER!   Tangled was also a popular movie.  A girl trapped in a tower so that an evil women can remain young and beautiful, (because this is most important to women), but she is saved by a scoundrel of a man and life is better.  This in spite of the worthlessness of the man.  You see, you can be a thief and a no-good, but you’re a man, so you still make a woman’s life better.  Don’t get me started.

Did you know that in the original Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, she dies?  In the original story by Andersen, mermaids differ from humans in two key aspects:  mermaids live up to 300 years and mermaids have no soul.  When mermaids die, they turn into sea-foam.  When the Little Mermaid requests that the Witch make her human, she is asking for more than just a boyfriend and to be anatomically correct, she wants love and a soul.  So, the Witch makes her human in exchange for her beautiful voice.  The Little Mermaid must make the prince fall in love with her or she will die.  The movie is pretty true to the story up until the Little Mermaid saves the prince from drowning, but then things change dramatically.  In the story, the prince is set to marry another princess.  Like the movie, he does not know that the Little Mermaid is the one that saved his life, because she can ‘t talk.  When he meets the princess, he is convinced that it is she that saved his life, and he falls in love with her immediately.  They are to be wed and the Little Mermaid is going to die.  Here is the cool part.  In the original story, the Little Mermaid’s sisters make a deal with the Witch.  They sell her their hair in exchange for the Little Mermaid’s life.  The Witch agrees, but the Little Mermaid must take the knife, that she provides to the sisters, and kill the prince.  The witch says that as the prince’s blood flows on her legs, they will combine to a mermaid tail again.  The sisters give the knife to the Little Mermaid.  But the Little Mermaid sees how happy the prince is with his new wife-to-be and can’t bare to kill him.  She turns to foam as the sunrises.  Isn’t Andersen’s story better?  It is way more realistic.  The book is always better.

You see, even Hans Christian Andersen knew that men do not solve all of women’s problems.  As matter of fact, they often make things worse.  The perpetuation of the idea that men solve everything for women needs to be squashed, but I have no idea how to make that happen.  This is why the Princess and the Frog did not do well with American audiences.  First of all, she was black, and second of all, she was independent.  She did not need a man.  As a matter of act, the man needed her.  From a Disney financial perspective, a bust.  Crazy.  It was an awesome movie.  As far as my daughter is concern, it will be the only female dominated Disney movie that exists.

A Disney female character I can support for my daughter.

So, why is my daughter a mermaid?  She is beautiful, manipulative, and will destroy me.

Mami Wata pictures almost always have her wearing a watch and with a snake.

A brief mermaid lesson:  Many cultures have a long history of water spirits, or mermaids.  One of the most popular water spirit from Africa is Mami Wata.  Mami Wata is often seen as a mermaid.  She is believed capable of healing the sick and bringing good luck.  However, she also has a temper, and will drown those that disobey her.  Her name actually comes from the English words “Mommy Water,” and is portrayed wearing foreign clothing and jewelry as her followers believe she is from another world.  In European lore, mermaids would lure sailors with their song and beauty.  Ships would crash into rocks as a result.  In Homer’s Odyssey, Ulysses ties himself to the mast of the ship in order to avoid the song of the mermaids.  The story of mermaids has been around for at least 3000 years and most agree, they are beautiful and dangerous.

That’s my Violet.  She is beautiful and dangerous.  She lures me in with her cuteness and makes me obey her every wish.  This morning, like many mornings, we ate breakfast together.  I fixed her breakfast (often blueberry waffles with peanut butter) and I make myself my usual, granola with berries and various other fruits.  Today it was blueberries and bananas.  When she is finished with her food, she wants to eat mine.  No, you don’t understand, she wants me to give her some of my food.  She wants me to share my food.  Me… Share…  MY food.

If you ask my wife what was our first issue as a couple, she will respond quickly and easily.  On one of our dates, she grabbed some food off of my plate.  I was shocked.  She will tell you in clear detail, as if it was yesterday, that I proceeded to explain to her that taking food off my plate was in no uncertain terms, unacceptable.  I do not share food.  The relationship almost died right then and there.  And here I am this morning, and multiple previous mornings, sharing food with my daughter.  There is no other explanation, she is a mermaid.

I don't stand a chance.

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Last night, I was watching a cable TV series called, Spartacus: Blood and Sand.  This is not an endorsement for the show, but let me just tell you that the title of the series is quite accurate.  It’s a TV show about gladiators and the  apparently crazy times surrounding the time of gladiator fighting in the arena.  I don’t know why I watched it, but I did.  It has Lucy Lawless in it.  Remember her?  Lawless used to play Xena in Xena the Warrior Princess.  That show was awesome.  Anyhoo, there was a scene in which one of the gladiators was ordered to disrobe and the guy was standing naked in front of some important woman.  It was full frontal nudity.  Remember when a penis flashed at the end of Fight Club, and that was kind of shocking?  When did it become OK for the penis to be hangin’ on cable TV?  I don’t care if you are a man or woman, homo- or heterosexual.  If a man is standing before you naked, you are sneaking a peek at his junk.  The thing is, I couldn’t NOT look at it.  What’s up with that?  Does that make me gay?  I’m just sayin …

Another female character I approve of for my daughter.

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So, about a year ago I wrote a blog called the Power of Words.  In that blog I discussed how words can be offensive to some and not to others.  Here is an excerpt from that blog:

“The response is also important in the power of words.  If I make a joke, or use a word that I do not think is offensive, but you are offended/hurt, does it really matter if I think you over-reacted?  This is a line you will have to draw for yourself, but for me it matters, especially for those I care about.  It is rarely my intention to offend, so yes, I think it matters a lot.  But, if you are easily offended, I would caution you to not GIVE power to so many things.  It is not a good life to lead.”

As a result of comments received on my previous blog “Mindreading 101”  I am inspired to write this blog.  It is interesting, because I am often surprised what elicits comments to my blogs.  Most people who comment on my blogs do so directly.  In other words, they do not use the comment box on the blog, but will post to me directly.  Overall comments are positive, but every so often, I get comments from readers that clearly did not like my blog.

The first blog to receive a negative comment was my blog where I discussed naked old dudes in the gym.  The negative response I received on that blog was shocking.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a discussion of naked fat old dudes at the Y would be offensive to anyone.  I was simply relaying an experience that I have on a regular basis at the gym.  An experience that I find humorous, but clearly not everyone thought it was funny.

The second blog to receive a surprising number of negative comments was my blog on how I believed it was wrong to poop in public.  As a matter of fact, this person in response to my blog called me a “moron”.  I was shocked!  I of course responded to his comment, and then read their blog, on … you guessed it, pooping and farting.  The blog is called, He Shat She Shat and I actually recommend it.  The positive thing that came out of this altercation, is that we actually discussed the disagreement in a civil manner, and although I still disagree with pooping in public, I would have a beer or coffee with this person anytime.  I would never share a bathroom with them, but coffee, yes.  The bottom line is that disagreements are healthy, and should never be shied away from.  It is how we grow as human beings.

The latest blog to receive negative comments was Mindreading 101.  Again, I was shocked.  I think I was shocked because in that blog (and I had to read it again to remember what I said) I did not say anything new or anything beyond what you would see or hear in a sitcom or comedy show.  As a matter of fact, one commenter compared it to race stereotypes, which I do not agree with, but you can read their commentary for yourself and decide.  The reality is that we all have our buttons.  As I tried to point out in the first Power of Words, and I reiterate here, is that we often find things offensive that are most personal to ourselves.  I will give you an example:  A person I know has a family member with severe autism.  This person used to listen and love the comedy of Carlos Mencia.  If you have never heard Carlos Mencia, I will tell you that this comedian has a lot of jokes about races.  Many of the jokes are quite offensive.  Now my friend, who is smart, a wonderful person, and is in my opinion NOT a racist, had no problem with the race jokes, but did have a problem with a joke told about an autistic person.  My friend now no longer listens to Carlos Mencia.  Why didn’t my friend stop listening to Mencia after the race jokes?  Simple, the race jokes were not a personal issue to them, autism was.

Mindreading 101 was never meant to be taken seriously.  Like most of my blogs, they are for entertainment purposes only.  It is a common thing that we do, play on stereotypes.  It is probably not a good thing, but it is common.  Chick flicks rarely paint men in positive lights.  And this brings me to a very SERIOUS point about selective offense.  I think we all have to be careful to what we openly complain or show uproar about.  I would bet every dime in my bank account, that if I had written the second blog (Mindreading 251 which is about men being stupid: Coming Soon)  first, I would not have received a single negative comment about making fun of men.  My point is this:  Pointing out the wrong in writing, or speech, or behavior as offensive is a good thing, and I truly appreciate it.  But don’t be selective, and overlook other offenses, such as race, sexual preference, religion, or political viewpoints.  Wouldn’t that be the definition of hypocrisy?  To be offended by a gender stereotype, but not be offended when someone calls a Democrat a Godless tree hugger or a Republican a racist.  Or even learning about the Indian race from the TV show, Outsourced on NBC.  Something to think about.

As side note, what does it mean for society when we can no longer laugh at ourselves?  Are we becoming too serious as society where everything must be politically correct and have zero offense to all people?  I don’t have the answer to these questions, but I do think about it a lot.

So, where does that leave us?  For me, it is a formal apology to all my readers that were offended by my last or any blog that I have written, maybe this one.  I am sorry.  As I stated before, I care about my readers, and have no desire to offend you.  And I thank you for commenting and speaking to me openly and honestly.  I can’t promise that you will never be offended again, but I can promise, I will continue to try to be sensitive to my audience.  Nonetheless, I am glad you are reading, I am glad you are thinking, and I hope you are growing.

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This blog was supposed to be Mindreading 251, but based on reading the latest comments, I felt the need to write this one.  So stay tuned for the next gender-biased blog.  Hopefully it will stir up laughter rather than anger, but you never know.  I will say this, I can’t wait until I am an old retired guy on the golf course.  Because if the guys I play with (most over 70) at my home course are any indication, I have a care-free, say-whatever-the-hell-I-feel-like life in store for me.  Awesome!  I’m just sayin …

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So, this blog is going to be shorter than I want, but I simply don’t have the time to give it the time it deserves.  But, nonetheless, I must give a short lesson on mind reading.  If you are a female, you do not need to read this blog.  For male readers only.

OK.  If you are a male and you are in a relationship with a woman, I have a quick lesson to give you.

Lesson #1:  Women change their minds.  Women are always changing their minds.  As a matter of fact, women can not stay on topic to save their lives.  This is not the real problem, however.  The real issue is that the woman will change their mind, but will neglect to tell you.  I am not exactly sure why this is, but it is true.  To add insult to injury, they will expect their male partner to realize that the mind has been changed and will get angry when the male does not realize it.  So, what do you do?  Simple.  When you find your self in a situation where it is clear to you that the rules have changed; take the following steps:

1.  Take two deep breaths

2.  Recognize that at some point your woman has changed her mind about something and hence the rules.

3.  Take a break.  This can be a short break, such as counting to three.  Or you can excuse yourself to the bathroom.  Or, better yet, run down to the local pub and grab a beer, and then rejoin the conversation.  Little known fact, beer makes women easier to understand.  You probably thought it was that beer makes women more attractive.  Not true, or at least not completely true.  Beer turns on the woman-understanding part of your brain.  Scientific fact.  Look it up.  Beer also causes men to say I love you to other men.  They are connected.

4.  If you had a beer, this step will be much easier, but if not, still possible, but a little more difficult.  Try to think about what insecurity, fear, or need of support is at the heart of your woman’s new rule change.  If it is insecurity, give her a hug, and no matter what the issue is, tell her that you will always be there for her.  If it is fear, look her in the eyes and tell her that everything is going to be alright.  If it is support, just listen and give her a big l’ hug and say I got your back.

Here is the crazy part, and if you are a male, you will definitely recognize this as crazy.  If you successfully complete step four, it will solve the problem, no matter what the problem is.  WHAT!?!?!?  That’s right.  But I know what you are thinking, Brett, step 4 doesn’t address or solve the problem.  You are right.  Unfortunately, you are dealing with a species that does not deal in logic, and that was your first mistake.

Is it mind reading? Of course, not, but she will think it is and that is all that matters.  Your welcome.

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When someone says, “Hey.  How are you doing?”  What they are really saying is “Hello”.  This is at least true in the US.  I don’t know when this happened, but it is true.  No one really wants to know how the other person is doing, which is sad.  If you don’t believe me, the next time someone asks you how you are doing, actually tell them.  And not a one word answer, but give them the details of how you are doing.  Watch how quickly their facial expression changes and they change the subject.  At least that is what I do.  Maybe it’s just me.  I’m just sayin …

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