Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Was the writer’s strike a blessing in disguise?

Was the writer’s strike a blessing in disguise?

As I sat down and looked through my depleted shows on my most coveted possession the “DVR,” I was wondering how I possibly made it through the winter season without new shows, and how I was going to make it through March with just the few shows that are left on the air.  I admit I had a tiny panic attack, but it was all okay, when I finally found the shows that have been saving me from complete boredom.  These shows are not glamorous and ritzy.  They don’t have huge stars appearing weekly.  Yet when I watch them I am completely engulfed and nothing can pull my attention away.  “What are they?”  You ask.  Well I’ll tell you.  They are programs on the Discovery networks, History Channels, National Geographic Channels, and even more surprising to me personally, is coverage of the Presidential Primaries.

Did the Writer’s Strike possibly save the Presidential Campaigns?  I believe in a way yes it did.  Without anything to watch on primetime, young people are tuning in and actually paying attention to what is going with their country.  It couldn’t have come a more pivotal time.  We are getting ready wave goodbye to president who seemed to have no handle on what was going on in the world, let alone his own country, and now we have a few extremely strong candidates who claim they can heal the nation with various stances on a wide variety of topics.  I think the young and old alike are more prepared and have more knowledge about their candidates and their views than ever before.  Even the celebrities figured out that, with the strike, the best way to get on television and on the front of magazines again is to support the only thing on, the elections.  Hopefully it will be a win/win situation for the future, the writer’s will be getting what they deserve for their hard work in entertaining us week in and week out, and more importantly the youth in this country will realize how important keeping up on world politics’ is and how important a single vote is for their future.  Like my mom always said, “If you don’t go out there and vote then you have no right to complain when something goes wrong!”

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Diverse Office

For me and my highly talented co-workers coming to work is something a little different than most people go through, and by that I mean that it’s probably the only time of our day where, I, the straight ally, is the minority in the office.  I think it’s a great feeling, and it should be the case in many more places of work.  For me coming to work is a learning experience, and I think that everyone should get to experience being in a diverse environment, not only at work, but in everyday life.

Diversity is what makes this country great, and I don’t think we should allow a few people to ruin the experience for others.  People who do not understand other cultures and lifestyles create ignorance and hate, and instead of opening their mind, they close it off, and to me that is boring.  I would not be the person I am today, if I didn’t get the opportunity to live in Saudi Arabia and be the minority.  I learned an incredible amount about many many cultures and religions, that I otherwise would not have had a chance to experience and I am grateful for it.  Being back in the U.S. now, everyday life is pretty average, until I go to work, and I’m excited to get up everyday and have a change.  But do my co-workers feel the same?

For me once work is done, I go outside and life is back to normal, I’m a Caucasian, straight, male.  Where as my co-workers and many other people around the U.S. go outside and have to go back out and deal with ignorance and hate filled people.  Never knowing where a hateful comment may or may not come from, whether it is on the street, at a convenience store or even in their apartment complex.  It disappoints me that this great country can do so much in so many areas, and yet it struggles tremendously with being comfortable in a diverse population. 

     What is the cause of it? 

Is it because we are in this “Uber Politically Correct” era that creates an uncomfortable silence for fear of saying something that can be taken the wrong way?  I believe that it is the opening cause of it.  I think people are curious by nature, and would like nothing more that to learn about their peers and office mates, but the fear of saying or asking something ignorant freezes people’s mouths for fear of being called a bigot or a racist.  I think if we toned down the finger pointing a little, and let things roll off your back then people would be more open and more conversation would happen.  When something does offend you, stop and tell that person without embarrassing them, and then explain why it is offensive, and how to correct their mistake.  It is all about educating people about your differences and living in harmony, not separating yourselves because of them.  Open communication is the only way to educate the people around you.

Friday, March 14, 2008

What is an ally?

When most people hear the word “ally” they often think of wartime, treaties and feuding countries.  That is not always the case.  An ally is a term that can be used in everyday life.  In my opinion an ally is a person who attaches their name and beliefs to a movement, which stands up for people and will help advance the rights of those less fortunate against a much larger force or power.  It is a way to protect and ensure that those being oppressed have a chance to make the best out of the opportunities given to them. 

Locally, people most often hear it attached to the LGBT movement towards equal rights for marriage, and protection against hate crimes.  A person can be an ally to anything and everything from animal cruelty to better health care coverage to civil rights movements.  As long as the person believes that it will further the well being of the community around them and a worthy cause to put their reputations on the line; and in worst case scenarios their physical and mental well being, cause not everyone will react the same way to new ideas as history has proven in the past.

As long as it is a movement you truly believe in; then you are an ally of that cause.  Allies are important, because they are not fighting for themselves; they are fighting for others and the advancement of the oppressed.  They fight because they believe it will make the community as a whole a better place to live.  These allies often face more ridicule and just as many dangers as the people they fight for and with.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Is it more important that gays and allies stand together unified without feeling compelled to say "I'm straight, but...", or is it a stronger message to say "You don’t have to be gay to support gay rights"? -- Australia Scott.


I think either way is effective.  During the African American civil rights movements, I think it created powerful messages to see people of different races standing together to support each other.  I was not around obviously, but I can imagine it must have been very energizing and amazing to see such powerful figures as Martin Luther King Jr. and the Kennedy’s standing together, it must have been inspiring to people of all races.  I think that in order to make people understand, you need people of different backgrounds to come together for one cause that both sides believe will enhance the value of the community. 

I think things have changed a little in the case of the LGBT and Straight Allies.  I believe that some people feel the need to let others know that they are straight for several reasons.  For some, it is simply because it makes them feel comfortable.  You have to understand, that a lot of these allies are new.  They are in the movement because they have close friends or family in the LGBT and they want to fight for those they love.  Since it is their first time in anything of this sort, most feel awkward, so identifying themselves might help get them past this stage and allow them to communicate openly.  Most are not very knowledgeable about the community and they just want to help.  So the first few meetings are an eye opening experience for them, and it takes a while to learn the different language and allow themselves to open up and take it all in.  The important thing is that they are actually there to help out in any way possible. 

There are also those who believe that allies shouldn’t identify themselves either.  Some believe it is a powerful message to just show up with an anonymous persona and help out with a cause.  It is like a random act of kindness, and they want to help, but they also want to remain unknown.

In my opinion it does not really matter which approach people take, because in the end they are all there to do the same thing, help out in any way.  Even a little help from someone goes a long way, no matter if or how they identify themselves