Ranting and raving and carrying on

Just a few random thoughts about random stuff. Warning - may contain profanity

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Location: Toronto-ish, Ontario, Canada

Just a guy... Bit of a geek, but who isn't these days?

Friday, October 08, 2004

And another thing...

Heh. Decided I wasn't finished talking yet. Don't you hate that? Particularly when people don't actually have anything to say, but insist on proving the point ad nauseam?

Ever heard the expression "a conversation is simply two people each waiting for the other to stop speaking so they can speak"? If not, try it for yourself. Watch two people talking, or even take a step back mentally and watch yourself talking to somebody. We spend so much effort working out what we're going to say next that we don't really hear what the other person says. "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

So I'm going to Rochester, Minnesota for three weeks in November - first posting in my new job. I've been looking on the web, and so far I can't see any reason why anybody would want to move there. Not exactly an exotic locale, is it? Oh, well.

I don't think I've fully grasped the blogging concept yet - either that, or some others have missed the boat. A lot of other blogs I read tend to be more, shall we say, open than mine - they reveal all sorts of inner details. Personally, I censor the really good bits out. Maybe I'm not quite so extroverted and exhibitionistic as others?

Okay, before I get into the next bit, I'm going to say something. I get called "white", not "Canadian of Anglo-Saxon descent". I don't mind. By the same token, however, I will call a "Canadian of African descent" (or is it "African-Canadian" now?) a "black". I don't mean any offense, it's not disparaging in any way. Consider it a "short form" for the purposes of this discussion. Don't take offense, and I won't take offense at being called "white". Even though I'm actually pink.

Racism. Kind of a strange thing. I've noticed that, if the nightly news is discussing someone wanted in an assault or robbery, they will discuss the person's clothing in excrutiating detail, give their height, weight, shoe size, hair length and style - everything except their dick size. But the one thing they will not give is the person's race/skin colour. So let me say something to the news people here: if a criminal is black or white or oriental, this is a pretty distinguishing characteristic. And I, for one, am not going to decide that all blacks or whites or orientals are criminals or rapists or whatever just because of some guy on the news. I am, in fact, capable of thinking for myself. I know it's a pretty novel idea, but there it is.

I honestly think that my generation (Gen X) is less likely (overall) to be racist than previous generations. And Generation Y will be even less racist than mine - in fact, I see lots of inter-racial couples younger than me, and only a very few older than me. Overall, my perception (and it is admittedly my perception) is that racism will eventually be beaten. It's just going to take a few more generations. Sexism was (largely) beaten within a couple of generations after WW II, so hopefully we can do the same with racism.

Some people are going to say there is still racism in the world. Yeah, unfortunately there is. There's still sexism, too. But neither one is state-sponsored, at least not to the extent it was 50 or 100 years ago. Things have gotten better - they just won't get perfect overnight.

There is still a pretty clear link between race and crime, unfortunately. Read this carefully - I am not saying that a certain race has criminal tendencies. There is a very strong correlation between poverty and crime, in both directions - if you are poor, you commit crimes, and if you are a criminal, you will find it harder to get out of poverty. It's a vicious cycle. Unfortunately, the way that the race struggle went in the 60s and 70s left a lot of people destitute, and so they turned to crime, and got into that cycle. Once in a cycle, it's pretty hard to break out of it. Is the answer to give them gobs of money in apology, as some people seem to think? No, I don't think it is. However, there is also a strong correlation between education and income, so I'd say that the best bet to overcome that cycle is to invest in educational opportunities for minorities. Not jobs for minorities, but education. "Affirmative action" created situations where "quotas" were set for visible minorities, and as a result the best person for a job could be passed over because they were white. On the other hand, I freely admit that without it some people could be passed over because they weren't white. I'd like to believe that (for the most part) the best-qualified person will win the job in this economy. But I just read something the other day which said that most job offers arising from job interviews result from illogical decision making - whichever candidate the interviewer liked best.

This is unfortunate, to say the least. Have you ever heard anyone say "I'm not racist, but..."? This always seems to precede an incredibly racist comment. The point is that everyone is a little bit xenophobic, and thus everyone is a little bit racist. Everyone. Not just the white guys. I've run into "reverse racism" a few times in my life, which is always pretty fun - not.

Generally, the best answer to a problem is the answer that raises the "have-nots" without significantly adversely impacting the "haves" - anything else is going to be fought tooth-and-nail by one side or the other. So, I'd propose (if anyone listened) that, in addition to improving educational opportunities for minorities, a special business-development fund should be set up to educate and encourage visible-minority entrepreneurs. Most new jobs are created by small businesses anyway, so this would probably boost our economy. Down sides? Well, due to the aforementioned rampant xenophobia there's a risk that if (say) a black person started a company it would be an "all-black" or "mostly-black" company. Not a big risk, except that it encourages the "enclave" (us-versus-them) mentality.

And that's a pretty interesting conclusion. Moreso because I didn't know where I was going when I started. But that's how a good essay should go - not like you were taught in high school.

Okay, I'm out of here for now!