Cussedness Corner

"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane

Perception of Authority


Okay, having gotten trashed over at for sins I did not commitm I’m going back to my normal policy of posting things here.

I did a total of four posts yesterday, all but one provoked by the storm over at .

I suppose my greatest sin is being born white. It isn’t my fault that I failed to inherit my Mama’s coloring. But lets go from here.

Now it appears that I am not only NOT A FEMINIST, but I am a *GASP*

RACIST.

Maurice, if you’re watching could you give me a hand here?

In reading the books by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and the book on the tribal mind by David Berreby, I came across several facts that fed into my take on culture (please remember that my degree is in cultural anthropology). Among those there was a concept labeled “perceptions of authority” and how that creates a sense of license for atrocity (among other matters).

Perception of authority means that the people, right or wrong, recognize a certain group as the purveyors and possessors of true and ultimate authority — or power over our lives. They might be religious leaders, as in the case of Islam, or they might be the cop on the corner in the case of secular societies as in the case of most Western democracies.

We see many examples of this in our daily lives.

For instance (since I like to give anecdotes) people who read the Leisure horror authors might recognize those authors as the ultimate example of expertise in horror. Whether this is true or not is open to debate.

Depending on our culture or our sub-culture, we might give legitimacy to a large variety of people on varying levels.

I had a political science teacher tell me that what made America (and by extension England) great was our constitutional right to complain. And boy howdy do we do a lot of that. England and America came by those rights from different angles, but we both have them. theoretically in a democracy it is that right to complain that sets ultimate authority in those who vote. The voice of the people.

Ultimately, Perception of Authority originates out of a society’s willingness to recognize someone or something as having the power to direct our behaviors. It could be anything. But at some point we have given our consent to be governed, either directly or tacitly. This might even not be conscious, but ingrained or acquired through training.

In medieval Europe, this was granted primarily to the Catholic Church and later or secondarily to the ruling lord of the region. It was believed that we were stuck with our roles in society because “god” determined where we would be born. Upward mobility did not exist. Jews were required to wear a star of David and were considered the property of the lord of the area. They could be bought and sold as taxable commodities and required special permission to travel. Women could not inherit property or titles of nobility in their own right under the Salic Law in France and many of its scattered variations. (are you noticing the resemblence to modern Islam yet? If not you soon will be.)

Much like Medieval and pre-modern Christianity, Islam believes/teaches that the ultimate authority is god/allah. The interpreters of that law are the clergy/mullahs. Let’s face it. There is really no difference between fundamentalist Christianity and Islma except for who we recognize as the name of the authority figure. Both cultures cede extensive rights over daily life and often political life to religious authority.

The ultimate authority over daily life in the Middle Ages was the pope. The exercise of his right of control was excommunication. Under the terms of excommunication, a noble/lord/king/emperor could be cut off not only from going to church services and receiving Holy Communion, but his followers were released from service and loyalty to him. That boiled down to “if you want to chop his head, please bring him his head.” Oh, and have a good time while you’re at it.

Excommunication could result in a wide variety of things. In the case of Elizabeth the First of England, when the Pope excommunicated her it was to encourage the Catholics in England to chop off her head much like what later happened to King James, except that he got chopped by the protestants.

The protestants decided that god had more authority over them than the pope and set about proving it.

Authority is granted by those who choose to obey. Freedom is often gained by those who choose not to obey.

The world has gotten too small to simply ignore the dysfunctional aspects. Feminism and other forms of equal rights did not simply materialize in all western countries at the same time or in the same way. Feminists in various western countries interacted, supported each other, and tossed the gauntlet into the faces of the powers that be. American feminists exported feminism back to England and France after importing it in an earlier form. England and France reciprocated and interesting things happened. Back then there was no united western attitude and social network. Countries were far more autonomous and self-sufficient. There was far less interdependency than there is now.

Exporting feminism to other western countries a century ago was no different than exporting certain attitudes to non-western countries today. Feminism has no color. Feminism has no race. Feminism has no religion. I recommend checking out the writings of Sojourner Truth.

For my Mama’s generation and that before it, feminism meant equal rights. Complete equal rights. It did not come with a list of exemptions.

The Founding Mothers did not create a list of which women would get the vote and equality and which would not. Can you imagine Susan B. Anthony informing Sojourner Truth that the early campaigns for women’s votes excluded
black women because black men might become irritated with them?

Basic human rights are basic human rights.

In this country you see a growing trend toward taking a stand against fundamentalist christian groups that are attempting to remove many of the rights that women fought so hard here to gain, including contraception.

However, notice the same problems in Islam, and the PC apologists jump in and inform us that as “feminists” we must keep our mouths shut about it.

Why is it permissible to question Christian Authority, Jewish Authority, etc., but not Islamic Authority?

Why are we giving them an exemption? Why are we giving them a free pass?

I don’t believe in special privileges for anyone. Not whites, not blacks, not purple Martians. Certainly, not Christians, not Jews, not bahai’s, not buddhists, not any religion.

Because I have a problem with cultures that teach that oppression is a god given right, that their perceptions of authority is the only one allowed, and therefore they have some unique right to screw over their own minorities and women — because of that I’m accused of “white woman’s burden” and “special privilege.”

Does anyone see the illogic in that?

Am I supposed to keep my mouth shut about Islam because I was born white?
Am I only allowed to complain about the rest of the religions because I am the wrong color?
What has the color of my skin got to do with it?

AM I SUPPOSED TO KEEP A CHECK LIST OF WHICH CULTURES I AM ALLOWED TO CRITICIZE?
AM I SUPPOSED TO KEEP A CHECK LIST OF WHICH CULTURES IT IS NOT PC FOR A WHITE WOMAN TO CRITICIZE?

Double standard anyone?

I was proud to be a racial stewpot. A little black and a little Cherokee for seasoning. A lot of French, German, and Scottish as meat and potatoes.

I was raised to question all forms of authority, all perceptions of authority, and to make my judgements of who deserved to be acknowledged as legitimate authority on the basis of my own study and observations.

For the past few years I have been informed that speaking from my heart and conscience is not PC. That I am supposed to keep my mouth shut because I’m white.

I’m told that I must look the other way and pretend that I can’t see the myriad cultural inequalities that are rampant in this world, especially if it involves racial or religious groups that are not my own.

If I follow that little PC edict from the “feminists,” then I am only allowed to criticize the actions of white, lower class, transsexual gender queers who happen to be pagan.

That rather narrows my choices.

So-called Feminists should stop trying to shove a Scold’s Bridle between my teeth.

I’ll call them like I see them, just as so many of the Founding Mothers did.

I do so love to butcher sacred cows and toss their nice juicy steaks on the grill.

In math, one of the first things we are taught is: 2 + 3 = 5; 3 + 2 =5

If you reverse the two numbers, you still come up with five.

To restate this in cultural terms with the variable of X being the same action, C = Christian, and I = Islam:

If C does X to I, then X = bigotry and oppression; If I does X to the C, then X = bigotry.

The equation holds true no matter what value you choose to give to I and C. The true test of justice is in reversing those two variables and accepting that they are still equal.

PC attempts to corrupt the math and claim that while C + I =B; I + C is not equal to B.

*Professor Cussedness issues the PC Police a dunce cap and a big fat F on their report card.*

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This entry was posted on March 12, 2007 by in Janrae Frank.

Janrae Frank

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