Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Prefatory addendum: in case you don't read to the end, I reference Harvard's Implicit Association Test of unconscious biases.]

While I do not recall the specific age (I was young, though), I recall well my first instance of "language failure." I was in the woods with a friend and needed "to go the bathroom." I recall hesitating to express the urge, not because of any modesty, but because the language did not fit the situation. And it was not simply that we were nowhere near a bathroom; rather, the problem was that "go the bathroom" was a phrase used exactly as one would use "take a whiz" or simply "urinate," two options not yet available to my young self, linguistically. Clearly "the bathroom" was not a verb phrase; what did it mean? Where did it come from? Why was I at a loss?

Similary, I was thinking this morning about race. Liberals are free and easy with talk about racial gaps and racial inequality etc., etc. But as one who rejects race as a valid classification (a.k.a., a conservative), I am simply at a loss for how to explain things at all, much less explain them gracefully.

I have a good friend whom I like a lot. He is a good running partner, a good competitor, and is ahead of me in certain ways with regard to life goals (and behind me in others). That is to say, we have a lot in common, a lot to talk about, and a lot to share.

I am at a loss as to how to explain how utterly inconsequential are certain skin-tone based assumptions that some might care to apply to my friend (although I would guess that sunscreen is not as critical for him as it is for me). Even writing the previous sentence I am uncomfortable, as it implies that I am even aware of those factors. But, indeed, I am aware; why? Because Liberals, with their constant harping (seriously, can we get through a single freakin' newsday without more stories about rampant racism?), have made me super-sensitive to perceived inequality.

When I meet a man, I assess whether I have anything to share with him, often searching for visible clues:
Is he a runner?
Is he a suit (i.e., a business type)?
Is he reading anything related to finance?
Is he wearing a wedding band?
What is he drinking? (I'm a gin & tonic man, but tending toward wine as of late.)
Does he belong to any clubs?

Negative clues include:
Does he have a skateboard?
Piercings of any kind?
Does his hair need washing?
Are his clothes dirty?
Does he act/look more like a boy or like a man (as I define it, which I haven't yet, given that is what this blog is really all about, i.e., answering the question: what is a man? I am only in the evidence-gathering phase, i.e., seeking clues to the answer).

And while there are definitely cultural aspects that make some people "off limits" for me, they are definitely cultural and not inherent. That said, some (usually liberals) try to conflate the two: as if, say, hip-hop and rap music are the sole purview of those of a particular skin color. ("Bosh!" say I, as I equally disparage and dismiss any and all adherents to any culture of hopelessness, despair, and anger... In fact, I am more a misanthrope, disliking most people generally, and only liking a very few at all).

And it annoys me that my cultural preferences would be deemed by some (mostly liberals) as "racist" or "bigoted" or "intolerant" and so forth.

Look: if you are smart, clean, funny, and a runner, I probably like you. Better yet if you are a smart-ass.

In fact, as I was thinking about my stance, I realized that I need to delete a link or two (specifically some interesting statistical reviews based on so-called "racial" lines; race really is irrelevant and should be disregarded from an "outcomes" perspective).

Harking back to my military days: the most important factor of all is whether my battle buddy is going to cover my ass and get me to a medic if my leg gets blown off. Really, that's it.

Can I trust this man?

That is all. Trust/Untrust. So, what factors influence the decision (or, more likely, the gut reaction)? That is what I am trying to find out.

[ed. note: after harping on about how race is irrelevant, I was reminded how I scored on Harvard's Implicit Association Test of unconscious biases. To the chagrin of certain of my liberal acquaintances, my first time out of the box, I scored a big fat ZERO on this unbeatable, unfakeable test of unconscious biases. As a control, I took some other IATs and, unsurprisingly, I suffer a "moderate" bias against fat folk (duh!) and a slight automatic preference for young versus old.]

[ed. note the second: Reveal your "self-deception," "test yourself for hidden biases," a.k.a., THOUGHTCRIME!

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