The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies. Both for the sheer silliness and for the best sword fight scene in all of movie-dom. Best. Ever. But in particular, there is this character, Vizzini, who is smart and logical. And he thinks he is the smartest dude around. Therefore, if something doesn't happen according to his plan and ideas, it is inconceivable. You can watch the clip above to see a montage of his inconceivable encounters.
I would like to put Vizzini forward as a representative of those people who have systemic privilege (i.e. primarily white, cis, het, men*) when they encounter equalizing factors that lift up non-white, non-cis, non-het, non-men.
...women want equal pay? Inconceivable!
...African Americans encounter system bias in the justice system? Inconceivable!
...Transgender folx just want to pee? Inconceivable!
The mind of folks that have this way of thinking just hasn't expanded to include the idea that there are actually systemic biases that prevent a "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality.
There are two ways to approach folks that are inconceivably trapped. Relationship building and storytelling (i.e. education) or creating a disruptive event (i.e. protest). But the force is strong in these ones. That is, the force of confirmation bias. So this will take a long and sustained effort. Or, as my former pastor put it, "You are just going to have to wait until all of us old farts die."
Well. That is not what I'd prefer to do!
I am not 100% sure what got me on this topic this day, but I'm going to go with Maxine Waters. I saw a tweet this morning from Rep. Waters that said:
Black women have traditionally worked harder for less money. Time is long overdue to correct this injustice.
I saw this hashtag briefly yesterday and wondered about it. After all, equal pay is or should be a quest of all of us. But then I had to check myself. Women, overall, earn 80 cents to every male dollar earned. But black women earn only 67 cents to every male dollar earned. Even after controlling for education, years of experience, and location (Forbes).
Inconceivable! The voices echo! If you work hard enough and get educated and make the same sacrifices, you will be paid the same! We are a meritocracy, after all.
I do not think it means what you think it means. Because this is just true. Factual. No spinning. For real.
We have devolved into such a state that opinions and analysis beats facts. Or rather, opinion and analysis beats facts into submission. We make them mean what we want them to mean. Side note: This is not property of the right or left. We have allowed our news writers to create fairytale analysis of every conceivable slight experienced at the hands of politicians. We all really need to rediscover the scientific method and nonattachment to outcome.
I would ask, given that if we control for education, experience, and geography, black women earn less than men, what would you say the reasons are? And think systemically. I certainly have some ideas! Aaah, I know, I'm in the echo chamber so most of you will probably agree with me when I say the reasons for systemic lack of earning power can be attributed to persistent occupational segregation. This occupational segregation begins in elementary schools when teachers expect boys to excel in math and science and girls to excel in language arts. Studies at Stanford has shown that boys and girls perform equally well on math tests but that in later years, girls do not have confidence in their math ability. This causes them to deselect from math and science classes. It would be the same for boys. They perform equally well on language tests but are taught that they are not as good at communicating.
This is a systemic problem that hits African-American girls the hardest. Taught that they are not good enough as girls, that they are not good enough as young women of color (do we have to argue that white people are treated better by everyone?), and that they simply are not good enough to aspire for high paying occupations, these girls grow into women where they participate in employment that has persistent occupational segregation. Sigh.
I am not a black woman. And yet, I want to amplify Rep. Waters comments in the house chamber the other day, "I'm reclaiming my time. I'm reclaiming my time. I'm reclaiming my time." I want you to reclaim your time. I don't want you to have to work an extra seven months to achieve the same pay a man achieves. That is what a 67% pay gap looks like. It means black women have to work an extra seven months, so one calendar year plus going to July 31 to achieve pay equity.
That sounds exhausting. It also sounds like a system that perpetuates itself. If you are exhausted, if you have a lower socio-economic status, if you are a person of color, you will be exhausted. And you will not have time to teach the system to fix itself.
That is our job. Let's help black women reclaim their time. It is inconceivable that we do anything else.
How will you help others today?
* white - Western European
* cis - cisgender, i.e. your gender identification matches your body parts you were born with
* het - heterosexual, i.e. you are attracted to people of the "opposite" gender
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--roar
Jewish Daily Reading: Daily Study from Chabad
Christian Daily Reading: Revised Common Lectionary Daily Reading
Muslim Daily Reading: Daily Verse from The Only Quran
Buddhist Daily Reading: Daily Zen
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, please share!
Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can. - John Wesley
Weekly prayer focus comes from the World Council of Churches prayer cycle. We know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. We focus on one set of countries per week with the same prayer, lifting them up. I encourage you to fill this in however you see it.
Let us pray.
We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while decrying the desecration of hope.
This week we pray for
For signs of hope and peace, we pray for ________________________
For the oppressed and weary, we pray for ________________________
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE
Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.