Let’s play a little game, shall we? Let’s call it time to expose all the guilty parties. Part of this game entails you not being so damn naive, kinda like being “this tall” to enjoy some rides at Disneyland.
Indiana’s cowardly governor, Mike Pence, recently signed a “religious freedom” statute into law that will take affect on 01 July 2015. He did this in private, away from the press and the public, in spite of mounting opposition to it. He is allowed to do this legally, in spite of claiming that his state has the “most effective, efficient and transparent state government in the U.S.”
The thing is, this queer (I do not like the word “gay”, as it is not how I self-identify) leatherman actually WELCOMES statutes of these types. If this sounds odd, think about this for a second: Would you shop at a store that was known to not serve people because of their skin color? For all the talk of last year’s film Selma, few of you have actually decided to take the message of the film home.
Don’t make it sound like discrimination already doesn’t exist in regards to the workplace.
- 29 states can still fire you just for being gay. (1)
- Women (and especially non-white women) still are not paid the same as men. (2)
- 19 other states already have similar religious freedom statutes that allow for this type of discrimination. (3)
- Age discrimination still exists and people are still being fired for being “old”. (4)
- Employment discrimination is so prevalent that the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) lists no less than a dozen different types. (5)
- There are many reasons people are being discriminated against that have everything to do with poor employer practices, including having their legal team think you are not worthy. (6)
- The disabled are discriminated in employment at all levels. (7)
Adding to this at the incredibly dismal numbers in our vaunted justice system for actual wins in discrimination cases of all types. According to the Wall Street Journal, 51% of all civil cases between 1979-2006 were won, but only 15% of all discrimination cases were won. (8)
The system is set up for anyone who doesn’t fit a particular mold to fail, based on a variety of factors. This is capitalism, people. It is a system of winners and losers, based solely around one thing: the accumulation of wealth, not the well-being of individuals in it. If you expected it to be different, think again. Link here for an online definition.
Here is the part that gets me the most: You expect it to be different. I expect haters to hate. I also expect the greedy to want to retain their status quo. It’s Aesop’s millennia-old tale of the frog and the scorpion all over again. I also expect many to do nothing that changes anything and to go about their day-to-day affairs, since for them, being “progressive” stops at some online post. If you really want to get someone’s attention in today’s environment, stop thinking that your Change.org petition is going to make any real headway. You have more power than you realize, and you won’t even have to get up out of your chair to do it.
The answer is simple: Boycott. Wake up everyone, this is the United States, where in God we trust, but everyone else must pay cash. It worked in Selma. It has worked for the LGBTQ community in many areas. Hell, we even made in work against South Africa. In fact, the link here takes you to a Wikipedia page that actually provides a handy checklist of boycotts that have worked.
Boycotting is a non-violent type of protest, and makes the biggest noise: in the pocketbook. But, in order to make it truly effective, it cannot be against just one state. In our global economy, you have to take that message to government and to employers that do business in places of hate, even if they are not based there. Think about how you are supporting this system of inequality when you go to Starbucks for your coffee, Home Depot for your lighting fixture or plan your summer vacation. And, since you are already online, go to their Twitter, Facebook or Google+ pages or to their websites AND TELL THEM WHY.
The biggest challenge facing us all is not wanting to give our money and time and energy to those who hate, it is identifying them openly. It was much easier when the focus was solely on skin color and segregation was rampant. Nowadays, it is much more murky, which may explain the dismal numbers in winning discrimination cases.
For those of you who think I might hate everything about our system, think again. Let me introduce you to Oklahoma Rep. Emily Virgin, the foxiest woman in politics right now. Why foxy? Because she is smart like one. She has proposed legislation that that would force businesses to post signs announcing their discriminatory policies. (9)
Would you or your friends be caught dead in a place that openly discriminated, especially in the era or instant worldwide availability of pictures of you or your friends visiting such establishments? Imagine perusing Pinterest and there you are right next to a large sign that says “No Faggots Allowed”. Yeah, made you think about that for a second, didn’t I?
I have said it before, and I will say it again: the internet is more than celebrity mugshots and UNILAD videos. Make the internet work for you, and better yet, make it work for real equality.
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner