Monthly Archives: May 2016

Forced Diversity

And the Oscar goes to…nobody Black (not this year anyway)…and that’s okay. I’m well aware some would disagree with my assessment based on what took place immediately after the 2016 Academy Award nominees were announced. The topic of diversity, or rather the alleged lack thereof, took center stage leading up to the ceremony, and the all too familiar “race card” was played by many ethnic minority celebrities. A few of their White colleagues joined in, and the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite began trending on Twitter in response to the Academy’s perceived failure to diversify. Some of Hollywood’s finest even promised to boycott the annual event.

Then came a statement from Academy President, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who said, “I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion.” She went on to explain the Academy had already been implementing changes in order to diversify, yet there was more work to be done. I think boycotting this past February’s prestigious awards show, and even the industry’s insistence on “needing” to have a serious discussion about race, due to the supposed lack of diversity, was disgraceful. In actuality, this year’s Oscar winners, of the five major categories: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Director, were a Brit, a Swede, a Mexican, and two Americans (of different descents). Now that’s diversity!

Diversity is a wonderful thing. Life would be pretty boring if everybody mirrored one another. Imagine living in a world where everyone was exactly like yours truly. Perhaps the world would be a better place, but boring nonetheless. However, forced diversity is not a wonderful thing, yet the unsound practice appears to be spreading throughout the land like an aggressive cancer. Nowadays, there always seems to be some individual or organization trying to make a case for increased ethnic diversity where none is really warranted.

For example, I recently came across a story in USA TODAY, written by correspondent Bill Theobald, about the Centennial Initiative (a partnership consisting of numerous conservation, civil rights, and environmental-justice groups) whose members are very concerned about the lack of diversity at our national parks. The coalition’s main objective is to raise the percentage of minorities using the National Park System. Additionally, the alliance would like to see more minorities employed by national parks and an increase in the number of parks emphasizing the role of minorities in American History. The partnership (named for this year’s 100th anniversary of the National Park Service) is worried about a 2008-09 study which found that those visiting national parks were disproportionately White. Carolyn Finney, a member of the coalition, says, “The face of America is rapidly changing, yet our public lands do not reflect this demographic and ethnic diversity.”

So what? The same 2008-09 study, the Centennial Initiative is referring to, also cited explanations as to why minorities weren’t visiting national parks. The main reason was they simply didn’t know much about them. Neither do I – and I’m White. The minorities surveyed also viewed parks as being unsafe and unpleasant. If people, regardless of their skin color, desire not to embrace the National Park System then that’s their choice. It looks as though the Centennial Initiative is fighting an uphill battle, in attempting to force diversity at national parks, since the Asians, Hispanics, and African-Americans surveyed have apparently already made the decision to stay away.

An even more outrageous article, concerning so-called lack of diversity, comes from Bob Nightengale. The USA TODAY sports writer is troubled because he thinks there aren’t currently enough Black pitchers in Major League Baseball (MLB) and that true diversity is still only a dream. The columnist wrote, “There’s an alarming trend that mystifies the industry. It’s the dearth of African-American pitchers.” First of all, I think there are numerous other things of greater importance to worry about than the color of pitchers playing professional baseball.

Secondly, the USA TODAY story offers a few different reasons as to why the percentage of MLB’s Black pitchers may have declined over the years. The list does include stereotyping and hints of racism, but Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President, Bob Kendrick, says, “Maybe it’s simply a case of parents not wanting their kids growing up to be pitchers. People don’t really view athleticism transcending onto the pitcher’s mound as you would an outfielder or a shortstop. It’s really the last choice of the parents.” Choice!

There’s really no good reason for trying to force diversity because it’s already amongst us. It may not be equally proportioned, but rarely in life is anything 50/50. The fact is there are more Whites in this country than any other nationality, so simply alluding to a percentage as an indicator of some sort of injustice is extremely misguided. Forced diversity is nothing less than counterproductive. Elevating any race at the expense of another (e.g. Affirmative Action) only amounts to reversed discrimination. We do not need more people of color in the entertainment industry, or an increase of minorities to visit our national parks, or more Black pitchers in professional baseball – just for the sake of diversity.


Friday The 13th

Don’t look now, but the calendar shows today is Friday the 13th. Some people become overly cautious, while others actually expect something bad will happen to them, whenever the thirteenth day of the month falls on a Friday. The sporadic occurrence is considered to be unlucky, but I can’t recall ever having a bad experience on a Friday the 13th, so I don’t subscribe to that pessimistic notion. Of course, I wouldn’t be caught dead wandering about Camp Crystal Lake today. Not even Superman has a chance against famed serial killer, Jason Voorhees, on Friday the 13th.

Many people are not only afraid of Friday the 13th, but they’re also fearful of the number 13 itself. That’s why some hotels and customer oriented businesses omit the thirteenth floor in their buildings. Try telling Kurt Warner that the number 13 is unlucky. I’m sure the former NFL quarterback and future Hall-of-Famer would disagree. The four-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl 34 champion (and MVP) wore the “cursed” number throughout his entire football career with abundant success. The number 13 also represents a baker’s dozen. How can receiving an extra cookie or doughnut, for the same price of a dozen, ever be a bad thing?

There’s really not too many things I am frightened of – not even a Trump presidency. I don’t believe in karma, coincidences, or superstitions. I’ve been known to walk under a ladder just to prove superstitions are a bunch of nonsense. Black cats and broken mirrors don’t bother me one bit. However, I’m definitely not a fan of most reptiles, and ducks simply give me the heebie-jeebies. Any living creature lacking a pair of arms is just plain creepy. God certainly showed us His sense of humor when He created our feathered “friends.”

I must admit that in the past I used to be a little superstitious when it came to sports.  I thought I could lead my favorite football team to victory by the clothes I wore during the game. If my team came away with a win then I’d try to duplicate what I had worn for the next game. Sometimes they’d win and sometimes they’d lose, so really what was the point? To think I could somehow be partially responsible for my team’s performance out on the football field, by donning a specific outfit in the comfort of my home, was a tad egotistical. Life just happens, but it’s up to us how we deal with the circumstances of the lower story. I know the upper story (God’s plan) is flawless, so regardless of what may or may not transpire today, I’ll be fine this Friday the 13th.

Door Number One Or Door Number Two?

When did going to the bathroom become so complicated? It shouldn’t be, but transgenders have made the simple act of using a public restroom about as confusing as algebra. North Carolina’s General Assembly recently passed a law requiring individuals to use the restroom that corresponds with the sex listed on their birth certificate, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community is up in arms and claiming discrimination. A few businesses and celebrities are now boycotting the Tar Heel State in response to the passage of the “Bathroom Bill.” I think boycotting an entire state in protest of a new policy enacted by a few lawmakers is utter nonsense.

At first glance I thought the “Bathroom Bill” was a common sense law, but after looking at the new mandate a little closer I realized there is a slight problem with North Carolina’s new ordinance. I think transgenders who have completed the transitioning process should be permitted to use the marked facility coinciding with their new body. In fact, that’s the only restroom they should be able to use. Transgenders who have not yet transitioned (and possibly never will) should absolutely be forced to use the restroom matching their birth certificate. Occupying a gender-specific facility should be a biological matter rather than an emotional issue.

Allowing transgenders the right to choose either restroom, based on their feelings, discriminates against heterosexuals because we don’t have a choice. I am not against the LGBT having the same rights as everybody else. I don’t think a bakery should be allowed to deny an unconventional couple a wedding cake simply by exploiting “religious freedom.” That’s blatant discrimination and just bad business. However, I am opposed to the LGBT community maintaining additional liberties. I can’t help but think some members of the LGBT have acquired a sense of entitlement somewhere along the way. Transgender people make up only a miniscule portion of our society, yet it appears as if they want our nation’s majority to cater to them. It’s not as though they’re being denied the use of public restrooms in North Carolina.

Complaining about something is useless without offering any solutions; therefore, I propose the following possible alternatives to ponder. The all-inclusive solution, for proper public restroom etiquette, in all seriousness would be to segregate all sexual orientations. Every public building would need to provide a private facility for each type of sexual identity: gays, lesbians, heterosexual men, heterosexual women, bisexual men, bisexual women, male transgenders, and female transgenders. Of course, with some transgender people still in the transitioning phase there’d also have to be an additional couple of restrooms for the two kinds of “half and half’s.” Every business would need 10 separate restrooms to even be considered an all-inclusive organization. Too costly!

Another solution that’s probably more politically correct would be to remove all urinals from public restrooms thus converting them into gender-neutral facilities. Everybody would then be entitled to the same privacy as everyone else behind their own stall door. That certainly makes some sense, but I’m quite sure it would take ample time getting use to having every sexual identity in one restroom all at the same time. Too uncomfortable! Admittedly, at times I’ve had to deal with women coming into the men’s restroom especially during Rock concerts (beer and long lines for the ladies’ room tends to make some women impatient) and fathers bringing their young daughters in with them (I suppose for safety reasons), so maybe eventually we’d all adapt.

Neither of the aforementioned solutions are very feasible, so maybe we should just leave the public restroom protocol well enough alone. That’s not to say there aren’t a few flaws with the current system that’s already in place. Some businesses especially restaurants think it’s cute using vague images and “clever” names to separate the men’s and the women’s restrooms. Choosing the correct door to enter can sometimes be a crapshoot unless a person is well-versed in solving puzzles. Then there’s our local eatery, Uncle Sam’s, where the restroom doors are marked “President” and “First Lady.” I wonder what the pizza chain will do if a woman just so happens to get elected into the Oval Office come November. Yes, I think the best option is to leave our imperfect system alone and forget about pandering to a minute group of people who are making a lot of noise over nothing. I don’t think it’s asking too much for a person to use the marked facility that matches the individual’s lower body part.