This is getting rather sad… Just like last night, I thought I’d listen to one or two more songs before I go to bed, so I put on Take Pills. Of course, this means Bros comes on next (gotta listen to all that), then I’m Not (more like I’m Not turning this song off amiright?!), then Good Girl/Carrots (No fucking way I’m missing out on 12 mins of non-stop Panda Bear awesomeness), followed by Search For Delicious, which has made me feel seriously relaxed and sleepy as always; and finally Ponytail, which is only 2 minutes long so I’d be crazy not to listen to it right? Wrong. Because now I’ve listened to the whole album EXCEPT for Comfy In Nautica!
Said to myself that I was going to go to bed but then had a sudden urge to listen to Flesh Canoe. Of course, then The Purple Bottle came on, followed by Bees and then Banshee Beat, which there’s no chance of me turning off. So now half an hour later I’m actually going to bed. This will probably happen all over again in 5 minutes
I’ve spent the past hour defending myself from people who you would swear I had insulted. While I was perfectly happy to have a civilized argument over the whole discrimination thing, nearly every person opposing me has chosen to resort to bitter name-calling, snide remarks and the Gruber Retweet move I mentioned in the previous post. However, among the few people I have had proper discussions with, this circular argument has come up time and time again. I thought I had addressed this in my previous post but either I wasn’t clear enough or they didn’t bother reading it.
Anyway, this argument usually begins with something along the lines of “but they weren’t choosing between a black lesbian, who knows nothing about design; and a bunch of white guys with years of experience. They’re choosing between men and women”. Of course this is not the case! Of course they can choose anyone in the world, man or woman! But in this instance they have chosen male speakers only, more specifically white male speakers which people have an even bigger problem with. And what people have chosen to interpret this as is that they have chosen men because they are not women, which is false. The men have been chosen because they were the best speakers they found first, not because the conference organizers are involved in some sexist/racist government conspiracy or because they have political agenda.
The response I get to this every time is “they’re just being lazy”. No they’re not! If they need to find 10 speakers and they immediately see 10 great white male speakers standing right outside, the conference organizers are going to choose them if they are in any way rational! If they chose instead to only take 8 of them, leaving 2 perfectly good speakers there and tried to find 2 women to replace them, who could by all means be better or worse, they would be is positively discriminating, regardless of whether you think it is a bad thing or a good thing. They are not trying to find the very best speakers in the entire world (which would imply that they think men are better than women), they are trying to find some excellent speakers as quickly as possible, which a woman has just as big a chance of being part of.
At this stage I’ve explain this so many times that I feel like a broken record and if you still want to argue: I’m not interested, the only response you’ll get from me is that we have different opinions so I don’t want to discuss it further. However, while it’s true that I have received a lot of abuse today, I’ve also received some tremendous support, so I’d like to sincerely thank anyone that has, it means a lot.
Edit: Received a message on Twitter from Nate Abele (@nateabele) which sums up everything I was trying to say just perfectly: “Either race and gender are factors or they aren’t. You can’t have it both ways.”
Last night I got involved in a small debate over Twitter on the topic of racism and sexism in design conferences. The debate was started by a few tweets posted by Mike Monteiro (@Mike_FTW) which said, in essence, that if you are organizing a conference and all of the speakers are men, it is the conference organizer’s moral obligation to get rid of some men and replace them with women JUST because women are a minority. This then caused another twitter user, John O’Nolan (@JohnONolan), to get involved. John sent Mike this message which caused quite a bit of controversy:
Are you retarded? How many black swimmers do you know? How many white 100m sprint runners? How many female fighter pilots?
Many people misunderstood what John was saying here and naturally took it to mean “All black people are shit swimmers, all white people are shit 100m sprint runners and all women are shit fighter pilots”. This is not what John meant at all, what he means is that different people are good at different things (as he clarified later). Not all black people are bad swimmers, but it just so happens that white people are better at, however at the same time, black people are better 100m sprint runners. So should there be a law that in every olympic 100m sprint race there must be at least 1 white runner? Of course not, this would mean that more often than not, 1 black runner who had put in just as much work as the white runner, would not be allowed race despite having a better chance at winning.
I imagine many of you feel that this is not a realistic scenario. Bullshit. Lets go back to the conference scenario, many speakers from around the world will have asked to speak at the conference and many of them didn’t get the job. This being a tech related conference one can assume that there’s a lot more men applying than women, but apparently that’s sexist so lets pretend the number of men and women applying is the same. The reason all men were picked was not because the conference organizer’s decided that they didn’t wanted any women speaking at the conference, the reason was because the men were better. This is not say that there is no such thing as good female speaker you can sure a lot of them out there, but you can be pretty sure that not one of them would be happy to speak just because they are a woman because this is positive discrimination and is every bit as bad as negative discrimination. The thing that shocks me most about positive discrimination is that people don’t have a problem with it! A conference of all women speakers is something that Mike praised as ‘equal’ but this not equality and is the exact same as having a conference of all male speakers! It amazes me that when people think of equality they think of conferences of all black lesbians speakers or even with exactly the same amount of men as women because forced equality is not equality.
If you’re thinking that there are too many men speaking at a conference and that you should replace them with women, you’re being sexist and I think John phrased this perfectly: “Equal rights means just that - EQUAL. Not “favourable” or “better”, but equal”. An ‘equal’ conference is not one that has just as many black people, women, lesbians, gays or any other minority as men speaking at it, it’s one that picks speakers regardless of skin color, sexuality or gender.
Small bit of rebuttal:
So far I’ve only seen 1 actual argument against my opinions other than “you’re sexist just because”. Mike decided pretty early on to resort to non-arguement, by accusing many peoples’ points of being wrong and then refusing to back up any of his accusations, because he’s just so damn sure he’s ‘right’; and retweeting valid arguments for the same reason mentioned before, this was a trick coined by John Gruber during football games and has since become something that people with lots of followers do to show off how big their argue. Anyway the argument against me that I was referring to earlier was from Jeremy Sear (@jeremysear) who argued that positive discrimination was something that would work in the long run and mean that in the future women would be treated equal. I strongly disagree with this. Apart from the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that this would work even in the long run (which basically mean between now and when the world ends), in my opinion it’s just as likely that if we continue to give women and other minorities preference over white men, who seem to be the big bad wolf of world, we’ll end up in a situation where men are discriminated. If I still need to explain why that’s wrong then there’s no point in arguing with me.
Putting music I like on is the only way I get through dinner with my family these days. At the moment we’re listening to The Avalanches, next up is Teen Dream by Beach House, then Seven Swans by Sufjan Stevens and finally Campfire Songs by Animal Collective. I think they should mix well
Think I’m going to listen to Animal Collective’s discography. I’m not really in the mood for anything from Danse Manatee and Here Comes The Indian, but who knows maybe later. Just finished Sung Tongs and am now on to Feels :)
“Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence what so ever.”—Sam Harris (via tmblg)
So me and my friends (Michael, John and perhaps Sorcha, if she’s up for playing my synth!) have decided that we’re going to perform in the school concert this year together and the song we plan on playing is Desire Lines by Deerhunter. I spent the afternoon today figuring out how to play all of the guitar parts, as well as a few other added bits and bobs to make it a bit louder and more fun to play. I also figured out a cool way to fade the song out to noise in true Deerhunter fashion. So I have to say, I’m now feeling rather excited. So far I’ve only been practicing playing on my own but already it sounds great so it should sound even better with a full band. I reckon that the song is a pretty good choice too, as while I’m sure many people aren’t going to like it, it’s the kind of song that (provided we play it well) people will still feel made an entertaining performance. Also my Mum would very much like to the show so I’ll probably ask a friend to record it, in which case I’ll be uploading a video. But yeah, hopefully everything will go well, the concert is next Friday so we’ve got a few days to prepare it.