Monday, September 22, 2014

Does spanking harm the black community? - Summary 2

In the September 18th article, "Does spanking harm the black community?" by Steven A. Holmes, from CNN Opinion, Holmes argues that "there is plenty of evidence "that the practice is harming"[black] children" and "[the black] community" (Paragraph 7). Holmes claims that this particular form of punishment "inhibits the learning process, causing children to do less well in school" and "leads to anger, depression, violence and alcohol and drug abuse" among other consequences (Paragraph 8). Throughout the article, the author refers to prominent African Americans --  like Whoopi Goldberg and Charles Barkley -- who are pro-spanking and used the evidence that they turned out alright. But Holmes' claims that they're the exception to the rule -- the lucky few. Despite his claim that he isn't "arguing that spanking... [is] the sole reason that many children turn out badly" his assertion seems to be that spanking is the dominant factor in producing delinquent kids (Paragraph 12). Holmes has created stereo-typical black adults "who menace their communities and beat their wives and girlfriends and, of course, their children", who "fathe[r] children out of wedlock and then leav[e] them to be raised by poorly educated, stressed-out single mothers", who may have had a chance in this world were it not for being spanked (Paragraph 9, 11). Holmes seems to regard the practice of spanking as a cyclical epidemic that produces damaged children who go on to damage the black community. What he does not seem to consider is the institutional and systemic odds that are stacked against African Americans. The care of black parents and the discipline they instill, so far as it does not approach the realm of abuse, cannot seriously be blamed for the production of underserved neighborhoods, crime, and immoral individuals. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sexism in the Senate - Summary 1

In the recent article, "Sexism in the Senate", from the Washington Post, author Ruth Marcus discusses a new book titled Off the Sidelines by Kirsten Gillibrand, which details Gillibrand's experiences of sexism and sexual harassment in the Senate. Marcus' opening point is perhaps her best: that reports of women experiencing sexism in the workplace are common place and unsurprising. Beyond that, this article simply feeds the notion of sexism being a bearable, ignorable institution, rather than a real, everyday experience that can only be solved by men keeping their thoughts to themselves. Marcus makes lots of excuses for the comments like "[d]on't loose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby", and "you're even pretty when you're fat" made by grown men. (Paragraph 4, 5). She posits that "Gillibrand's colleagues" aren't "intending to be demeaning", but rather, "[t]hey find themselves around a younger female colleague and... don't know how to handle it" (Marcus). This is the kind of nonsensical statement that excuses men for their inappropriate and prejudiced behavior. Would any of these "prestigious" men deign to say such things to their male counterparts? If a boy is young, he doesn't know better. If he is old, he simply grew up in a different way. And now? Perhaps he had a lapse in judgement. Until women stop justifying the hurtful and ignorant quips of others and begin to demand accountability and consequences, sexism will continue to thrive.