When it’s okay to discriminate

There are times when it is perfectly fine to discriminate. If you’re casting a movie about Abraham Lincoln, you have every right to not hire a short Asian woman for the part (unless you want to for some artistic reason). If you’re looking for someone to teach the Bible to students at a private religious school, you have every right to demand that person believe in the same religion as you. If you have started a private club for “Children of Italian-American immigrants” then you have every right to keep out anyone else. It’s not really discrimination when it’s a required qualification.

The preference of your customer base is not a “qualification.” Years ago, airlines only hired women to be flight attendants, pointing to surveys that showed their customers preferred to be served by women than by men. No, the court ruled, that’s not a “qualification.” Customer preference to be served only by women (or by white people or by Christians) doesn’t matter because rights are not voted on. A majority of Americans didn’t want schools integrated either when the courts ruled that they must, but that doesn’t mean the majority was right.cee2630f696668c25134c32dfabd4c73

You can’t create qualifications that are simply there to discriminate and don’t have a rational relationship to the position. For instance, groups like the Jaycees and the Rotary Club used to exclude women from joining. Why? No real reason. The Supreme Court saw through that, pointing out that the goals of the club had absolutely nothing to do with things that only applied to men.

While you have the right to start your own private club (Freedom of Association. It’s there in the 1st Amendment), you don’t have the right to discriminate in public accommodations. Hotels, clubs, stores, and restaurants and other places are not allowed to discriminate and that means your club meeting in these places can’t discriminate when there isn’t a qualification.  Having these groups meet on your own personal property? Probably fine.

Yeah, that’s a gray area, but in general, you can’t create a group that discriminates for no reason. “The Christian Men’s Group” could discriminate if indeed they are doing things that are applicable only to Christian men, but if they’re just a front for an organization whose real purpose is to provide business networking while keeping out non-Christians and women, then probably not.

What about private clubs that discriminate by having a bodyguard stand outside and decide who gets in? Perfectly fine so long as the reason for denying entrance isn’t based on race or sex or anything prohibited by the 14th Amendment. You technically don’t have a “right” to visit a club or shop in a store, which is why these places can deny service if you’re disruptive or don’t meet their dress code (no shoes, no shirt, no service) or have some other reasonable reason not related to things prohibited by the law.

Recently, a member of a group called the “Sad Puppies” — butthurt snowflake selfish white male Trumpites who whine about things like the 1% of female leads in science fiction — was barred from attending a major science fiction convention after he stated that he planned to take disruptive action at the convention, having done similar things in the past. So of course, he claimed he was being “discriminated against” because of his political views. But no, it’s not “discrimination.” A private organization has the right to deny entry to anyone they think will disrupt their group, including for political disruptions.

There’s also been a group of men who claim that they are being discriminated against by women who refuse to have sex with them. I am not making this up. These entitled jerks call themselves “incels” for “involuntarily celibate.”  (I know, sounds like an Onion satire, doesn’t it?) As if women owe them sex simply because they’re men. These guys have their own web pages and everything where they whine about how terrible it is that nobody wants to have sex with them. These idiots are not being discriminated against.

And just a few days ago, a judge ruled that it wasn’t discrimination for a bar to throw out a guy wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, especially because they didn’t want to have to deal with fights and arguments in their establishment.

Remember, you have every right to hold whatever terrible political viewpoints you want. That is guaranteed to you under the Constitution. You don’t have the right to demand that anyone else provide you with a place or a forum for you to express those opinions, nor do you have the right to demand that someone let you into their group when they believe you don’t meet their standards. No shirt no shoes no service.

If you choose to be the kind of guy people can’t stand to be around and they say they don’t want you near them, that’s not discrimination. You chose to be that person.

As Frank Zappa said, “It’s okay to discriminate against assholes, because nobody was born an asshole.”

Fighting Sexual Roles

I saw this meme on Facebook today and it made me think.24775259_1853122084730179_8114016821816398901_n

Our society pushes these stereotypes and it’s up to us to reject them as well as to protest when someone tries to force us into those roles or shame us for not following those roles.

Insulting men who cook or clean is common, and some men refuse to learn not because they are spoiled brats but because they’re giving in to peer pressure that calls them pussies for doing housework.

And women face the same problems, being insulted for not being “lady-like” when they enjoy fixing cars or building things.

My wife, award-winning artist Heidi Hooper, faced a lot of that in her past, especially when we were younger, growing up in the south, and dealing with long-held stereotypes. Being told women can’t do metalwork made her study metal sculpting. And there were many times when we’d go into a hardware store and this would happen:

Clerk: Good day, sir, can I help you find something?

Me: (points to Heidi)

Heidi: Yes, I need (obscure tool I know nothing about).

Clerk: (glances at me, concerned, turns back to Heidi): What do you need it for?

Heidi: I know exactly what I need it for. Now where is it?

Society pushes us and pressures us into these stereotypes and it’s up to us to refuse to be placed into these neat little boxes. But, depending on your family, religion, and other factors, it may be harder for some than others to break out of the mold.

So don’t necessarily insult men who fall into the stereotypes and don’t know how to do basic housework; instead, encourage them and let them know it’s all right to do these things.

Unless they really are spoiled brats who are just using it as an excuse. To Hell with those guys.

“Let me tell you how you feel”

“Why are most of the animals in ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ male?” asked a female reviewer.

I thought that was a good question. It’s not like there was a plot reason to have the characters male. petsSo I posted that article on a page devoted to animation, and immediately was attacked. “Oh, here go the feminists again!” they said. “This woman doesn’t know what she’s talking about” and so on.

All from men, of course.

I expected one to scream “All cartoons matter!”

I always try to listen to the experts. When the vast majority of scientists are telling me that climate change is real and vaccinations are good, I tend to listen. I don’t have any experience in that area.

Similarly, it is tremendously frustrating for me as a lawyer who once taught Constitutional Law to be lectured by some high school dropout about the meaning of the second amendment.

Everyone reading this is an expert in something. Your job, your hobbies, your life — how do you like it when someone tries to tell you you’re wrong about something you know better than anyone else?

So when women tell you that the lack of representation in a film is important to them, don’t go tell them they shouldn’t feel that way. If black people are telling you that they fear the police and are targeted by them often, don’t go saying that they are wrong.

Let’s assume they’re the experts here.

 

Supreme Court sees through Republican bullshit

One of the key strategies of Republicans lately has been to create a fake problem and then “solve it” in such a way that the real result takes away rights from people they don’t like.

There’s the fake “voting fraud” issue where their solution just happens to have the side effect of removing many Democrats from the voting rolls.

There’s the fake “transgender bathroom” issue where their solution just happens to take the rights away from people who merely want to pee in peace.

And of course, there are plenty of other fake issues they create, sometimes for the sole purpose of riling up their base and raising money. (War on Christmas, Benghazi, Obama is going to take all your guns, etc. etc.)

One of their more successful fake problems was the “protection of women” one. In many states, laws were passed to require clinics that provide abortions to meet standards that were completely unnecessary and which have nothing to do with the health of women. These restrictions made half of the clinics in Texas shut down.

The Supreme Court saw through all that today. The decision found that these restrictions “provide few if any health benefits for women, pose a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions and constitutes a, ‘undue burden’ on their constitutional right to do so.”

Cartoon by Ann Telnaes. Yes, I know Scalia isn’t there any more, but I just love this drawing.

Do not underestimate the importance of the Court on your life. They are a way to protect your rights against rabid legislatures. And that’s why it is so important that you vote for Democrats, not just for the presidency but for Senate (so the President can get her nominees approved).

 

The dead have more rights than women

by guest blogger Yvette d’Entremont (a/k/a “Science Babe“)

The buffer zone around funerals is three hundred feet, in a court battle that limited free speech of religious zealots.

The buffer zone of 35 feet around Planned Parenthood clinics was declared unconstitutional because of freedom of speech for religious zealots.

The takeaway from this is that dead bodies get more respect in the courts than women.   7171972292_02616f58e7_k

The decisions for these restrictions should be compared because, if these were just about where we are allowed to practice free speech, shouldn’t these buffer zones be the same? One would hope so. However, the behaviors of the two groups in question are entirely different.

Planned Parenthood is an organization that provides low cost OB/GYN care to women. This includes annual physicals, breast exams, and birth control. They do counsel women that abstinence is a way to avoid STDs and pregnancy, and they also counsel them on how to maintain your health in sexual relationships.  The organization fills a necessary role in the health care system.

About one percent of their services are for abortion. The other ninety-nine percent of women who go into their clinic are harassed by protesters for getting a breast exam.

Planned Parenthood protesters, allegedly aiming to protect life at all cost, have murdered in the name of their cause. These buffer zones were introduced after women were attacked not to limit the group’s speech, but to keep women and doctors from being killed.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote about the decision, “At each of the three Planned Parenthood clinics where petitioners attempt to counsel patients, the zones carve out a significant portion of the adjacent public sidewalks, pushing petitioners well back from the clinics’ entrances and driveways.”

How quickly Justice Roberts has forgotten the original intent of the laws, not to stop women from hearing a difference of opinion, but to stop them from being subject to harassment and violence that has come along with a lack of protection at these clinics. Given the current environment in which our senses have grown numb  with the news of weekly shootings, would we even bat an eyelash if a shooting happened at a Planned Parenthood?

Would Justice Roberts still want to protect free speech and give groups right to “counsel?”

Conversely, Westboro Baptist is guilty of spewing extraordinarily hateful and unpopular opinions, but they have never threatened or harmed somebody.  Given that the buffer zone has been declared unconstitutional at Planned Parenthood, a non-violent protest group has now legally been given an infinitely bigger buffer zone than the violent one.

Why are we giving a group that has a history of violent protest unfettered access to women who are trying to see a doctor?

As a woman who has been harassed en route into an annual doctor’s appointment because my doctor held some of her office hours at a Planned Parenthood, I thoroughly enjoy that my cozy OB/GYN’s office in Orange County comes with a koi pond and wifi. It’s a world removed from that cloudy day when protesters screamed at me in Boston.  Every woman should have that right to feel safe when walking to a doctor’s office.

And under law, shouldn’t there at least be as much protection granted to women as to a dead body?

Yvette d’Entremont is a forensic chemist and writer living in Southern California. She enjoys running, baking cupcakes with bacon in them, and cuddling her cat, Lexi (but really, she’s a dog person). She’s currently working on a crime novel in her free time and you can follow her antics on twitter @yvetteguinevere and on her Science Babe website.

Republicans know what them women folk want

A few weeks ago, Republicans in Colorado had a debate about “women’s issues” so their all-male slate of candidates could discuss the things women want. MichGOP They ran the debate like “The Dating Game” — including the theme music — because women clearly want their representatives to woo them like a suitor.

I am not making this up.

This week, Michigan Republicans wanted to show their solidarity with women by tweeting a picture of the all-male group reading “women’s magazines” with the text “Don’t say we don’t understand women.”

If I have to explain to you why this is wrong, you may be a Republican.