In the past three months, there were 22 days when school in was out but work was in for professional workers. For people who don’t have the privilege, as I do, of paid holidays, there were 27 days when workers had to choose between working, paying for childcare, or leaving their kids home alone. I am also lucky (for an American) to have paid sick days and vacation days, yet just this three-month stretch required me to either use up more than my annual vacation allotment, or make arrangements (and pay) for childcare. The ensuing scramble reminded me how societal structures—employment expectations, health insurance, the tax code, the gender pay gap, and school schedules—are still quietly built on the assumption of one full-time worker and one full-time caregiver. This persistent, yet increasingly inaccurate, assumption leaves families with two full-time workers in the lurch. And even in an egalitarian relationship like mine, the lurch usually leads to big cognitive loads for women.
And of course scrambling for child care is a stressor but not a breaker; for many Portlanders the snow and ice cause dire emergencies such as how to get food.
A good explanation of how inter-generational, white, male privilege can help you become wealthy, and a nice perspective on how to respond:
My privilege is something that was given to me, that I did not deserve, and that not everyone gets. You don’t feel guilty when someone gives you a beautiful gift; you feel thankful. Maybe even loved. In an ideal world, those with privilege would have such a strong response of gratefulness that it would move them to kindness toward others. It certainly motivates me to work to make the world a better place — not out of guilt, but out of thankfulness for the undeserved blessings in my life.
Eric Maskin and Amartya Sen wrote an excellent critique of America’s plurality voting problems.
I’m fired up and ready to go (ohhhh, I’ll miss you Obama) to the the Womxn’s March in Seattle this Saturday. Stressing over your sign making? Here are a few ideas. Also, if you’re marching in Seattle, please consider shopping/eating in the Chinatown-International District after. Saturday is one of the biggest shopping days for local stores in Little Saigon to prep for Lunar New Year, and the march is going to disrupt business big time. Oh, and here’s a guide on where to pee in Seattle during the march. You’re welcome.
In addition to Radiohead tickets going on sale for Portland and Seattle today, the other band tied for my “favorite band of all time,” Arcade Fire, just came out with a new song yesterday titled, “I Give You Power” featuring Mavis Staples. Just in time for the inauguration.
And here’s an amazing poetic war cry by local poet Elisa Chavez. And yes, it includes lines like “anxious America, you brought your fists to a glitter fight” and “These walls do not have genders and they all think you suck.” Check it out.