the laid.back Buddhist has MOVED...back!

Wednesday, October 24

Boys & Girls

“I just don’t see how it’s supposed to be a good thing for girls to be like boys and boys to be like girls.”

Excuse me, SERIOUSLY?!

My fingers lifted from the keyboard (I was commenting on a blog, either Dicey’s Dice Six or Holly’s Menstrual Poetry, I forget) and I squinted towards the front of the lecture hall to see what person had the idiotic gall to say such a thing.

She has similar (basic) demographics as me, being female and attending college (in fact, the same freakin' university at that)...

It makes me embarrassed for her sake.

Not that I’m trying to make excuses for this student, but perhaps age has something to do with her narrow-mindedness? This is an entry-level (elective) class on child development, so odds are that she’s a freshman.

Yes, damn it, I am quite aware that I'm making an assumption despite the previous post's warnings on doing exactly that. However, that has got to be the fifth time this semester the same girl opened her mouth and something insipid has come out.

Can you believe it? Last week, in response to a diversity case study as part of a guest lecture, I believe she said something to the effect that the gay man should’ve kept his personal lifestyle separate from his professional life...

Well, NOT if the man’s boss is clearly discriminating against homosexuals by saying (to a man he assumed was not gay but actually was, ironically) that he’s uncomfortable having a gay man work for him! It’s unfortunate that the boss would feel that way, but people cannot go around saying such things--behind closed doors or not--and expect to get away with it!

GLBT individuals have enough stigma to courageously face, not to mention for them it's also a continually "coming-out" process.

But I'm veering off on to a tangent into a side rant.

Anyhow. I was just about to raise my hand to indirectly counter-reprimand her comment (I know, it totally would’ve been very unfairly passive-aggressive of me!) when my professor did so. She responded beautifully, and most likely, with more professionalism than I would’ve (as a fellow student in the heat of the moment)... I thanked her for that after class.

The fact that this student is voicing all these opinions in a child development course, I can’t help but worry somewhat about the kinds of kids she’ll likely raise.

What, are you going to harshly criticize your toddler son just because he was indulging in a curiosity with a doll instead of a truck? At that age, children have not yet fully developed any concept of our socially constructed gender roles! A new toy is just...well, a new toy!

When certain people patronizingly claim that our society has progressed to complete equality...that acts of racism, sexism, homophobia, and yes even ageism (specifically towards our elderly), are no longer current issues, that individuals today are making issues out of non-issues...I have to wonder not just where their brain has gone, but where the hell their eyes are.

But I guess sometimes people will see and remember only what they chose to.

For me, it breaks my heart to hear my Jamaican friend share a story that some girl last year refused to work on a project with her simply because she was uncomfortable with the color of her skin. Yes, in THIS day and age. Or that people express wonder at my good friend being President of the Asian American Student Union this year because he’s also openly gay (to friends, not yet to family). Or when I go downtown with the girls and some drunk guy thinks he’s successfully hitting on me by saying that I “look real good for an Asian.”

Yeah, and you look like just another somewhat good-looking schmuck who’s acting like a twat. Crash and burn, you’ve just screwed up the First Rule of Courtship.

With that said, I'm ending this on a freakin' excited note because my friend Tony is coming down for the Boston College game on Thursday!

This means I can finally have tiramisu!!!

(I'll explain why at another time, in another post)

18 Musing(s):

dcr said...

Or when I go downtown with the girls and some drunk guy thinks he’s successfully hitting on me by saying that I “look real good for an Asian.”

There's a blog post in that one that would cover the concepts of perception and stereotypes, primarily how three different possible environments play a role in your understanding and recognition of race and/or ethnicity.

Joanne said...

Dan: =)

dcr said...

I meant that there's a potential blog post in that one... Sorry for the confusion!

Lisa said...

That girl needs a good talking to. Being a freshman is not a good enough excuse for her. I only hope if/when she graduates, she'd have learned a thing or two.

And oh, how the you look real good for an Asian bit grated on my nerves. Vanity is obviously my favorite sin.

zesty said...

That post was very well-written (for an Asian).

I'm kidding, of course (sarcasm can be so hard to pull off in a text-only medium). I get so incredibly frustrated with stupid people in my classes always saying stupid things and asking stupid questions. Sometimes I can feel my eyeballs starting to roll back into my head in what is surely an effort by my retinas to not have to look at the person in question, lest I somehow become infected with their ignorance via an ocular channel. So I have to take a deep breath and roll them forward while trying to make sure I don't stand up and stab the person in question in the neck with my mechanical pencil. "YOU LIKE THAT?!" *click click click click click*

And I'm not even a violent person.

Chris C. said...

completely offtopic here, but I wanted to let you know I finally have lived up to my being tagged for blog promotion tips and the post will be up Friday. :)

On-topic: I think that while it is pretty odd for someone to say that, I think it is more surprising some people think the world is an equal place in 2007. Yah right.

Go BC! (Native New Englander and lover of all Boston sports teams. Hell even our soccer team is in the playoffs!)

mcgee said...

i can't believe that girl actually said that. it's sad the number of people out there that are so ignorant.

p.s. i haven't had tiramisu in ages...enjoy it!

Dermot said...

All the pc-ness in the world doesn't change the way people think, it just tries to stop them saying it in polite company (most of the time).

Changing people's attitudes takes time, decades, even generations...

In the meantime, we'll all have to suffer other people's smallmindedness.

(And you do look real good for an Asian, especially when compared to 80-year old Asian women, those octognenarians don't stand a chance!)

meleah rebeccah said...

Political Correctness, is just a way for people to mask what they are really thinking or or feeling.

I have to agree with dermot.

But that girl is an idiot.

Johnny Ong said...

some people just do not know when to speak, what to speak

abbagirl said...

equality and egalitarianism are all a big lie! i'm starting to think there is no way we all can be considered and treated equally at all because we all are different, whether because of age, sex, gender identity, or whatever. all of us are inherently unequal in some way or another.

so i've got no problems with being "different," per se. but it's only when others use these perceived "differences" as a basis for treating me differently than they would "normal" people and put the onus on me to prove that i'm as "american" or "white" as they are. like ugh! what a way to get on my bad side! :-P

anyway, enjoy the tiramisu -- and good luck on getting that blog award! i'll vote for you!


Kyla Bea said...

One of the best things that can come from university education is the ability to have articulate arguments for the things we believe in and against the things we believe should change.

By this post I'd say you're going to be doing really well this year! = )

People can harbor strange ideas - I'm glad she's in your class. That she says these things out loud puts them up for debate, and maybe her ideas will open themselves up to some self doubt by the end of the year.

cooper said...

She obviously has an agenda - many of us do and we carry it with us wherever we go.

I think people are naive but it is usually people who have never experienced racism, ageism, sexism, who tell us there is no such thing any longer.

Anonymous said...

Narrow-minded people makes this world a suffocating place to live.And they are only doing damage to themselves because in speaking out their narrow minded thoughts they are letting people know how limited their understanding of the world they live in really is.

Erina Hart said...

Classes always seem to have that one student that is oblivious to the world. Perhaps they go home, skipping the entire way, and craw into their watercolor painted dome where TVs only play fantasy and books are scribbled with chalk. If only there were a window to let in a bit of light. Or a front door, fastened with a cheese-grater screen, that allows the hum of helicopters and the scream of sirens to leak into their poppy pleasure utopia.

Joanne said...

Dan: No problem, I wasn’t quite sure so I asked =)

Lisa: Haha, yeah, age can sometimes be a flimsy excuse when there are people younger than her who come off as more mature.

Zesty: LOLs! Ohh, jeez that has got to be one of my favorite comments, ever. My pet peeve in class are people talking loudly in the row behind me with lots of “oh, my god!” and “like, really.” It gets so bad that I physically get up…and move 4 seats down (instead turning around and saying, “Just the tone of your voice makes my IQ drop 20 points!” I think the main reason it bothers me is because it’s in a classroom setting and I’m trying to focus on what my professor is saying.

Chris: Ooh, k. Will check it out. =) Yeah, I thought the first time it happened it was just some fluke, but the fact that more than one person subscribes to such an impression raises my eyebrow.

Mcgee: Tiramisu is right up there with cheesecake, pumpkin pie, and fruit tarts on my list of favorite cake desserts….mmm… Anyhow, I have the rest of the semester to see what other crazy things will come out of this girl’s mouth.

Dermot: Yeah, I think it’s that shift which has become the biggest battle. It’s natural for ever upcoming generation to break away from old, traditional ideals…but sometimes, biases are passed down and solidified through the generations. The going is slow and progress IS continuously made, but by no means would I call it equal for everyone, if even possible.

Meleah: Def. agreed. Unfortunately, unless that girl has an epiphany of sorts…political correctness will probably only serve to help her hide her true feelings better.

Johnny: Yeah, some parts of tactfulness is learned from experience and other parts depend on the individual.

Abbagirl: I LOVE the way you expressed your thinking! I always wonder at why people chose to view differences as a bad thing…I mean, in ALL other cases (team-work, evolutionary mating, competitive pricing), having differences is perceived as a GOOD things…so why don’t we apply it to ourselves, as people, you know? Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts =)

Kyla: I sure hope so as well! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and you’re right, an university setting is a great environment for a clashing and meshing of ideas and opinions.

Cooper: M’hm, that and people who chose to think above the reality. I can’t tell what her agenda is exactly or whether she is truly so naively dogmatic. Probably a bit of both. But I’m not out to make every person in my class or university agree with me (as I’m against doing anything remotely fascist myself), but I certainly will make my disapproval known when naivety borders on idiocy.

Thira: True, that reminds me of the cliché “ignorance is bliss.” Sometimes I wonder if that’s why people chose to remain that way because if they can’t confront the possibility of being wrong…?

Erina: Can I just say how much I adore your comments? Okay, I do. ADORE ‘em, completely.

Mike Goad said...

Political correctness hide what some people really think, in my view. Thats why some people may think that all of the old problems aren't "current issues."

In my view, the problems are not gone, though they may be not as bad, but are certainly in many instance hidden.

"look real good for an Asian" I don't understand how anyone could think that would be a compliment. Of course, you said he was drunk... but still.

There was a girl when I was going to college who had a knack for uttering profound stupidities. Your post has reminded me of her. I wrote one story about her last week:

Joanne said...

Mike: Yeah, I was pretty shocked when the guy expected me to take that as a compliment. It's tongue-in-cheek and an insult on multiple levels...though it did make me give pause to ethnic stereotypes and perceptions once again. Hiding does make it harder to confront, but when bias is expressed differently we just have to battle and break it down differently as well. Time's a'changing, many things, it's a double-edged sword. Off to check out that post!!! =)

Winston Churchill