Tag Archives: race

Oregon Militia: Peaceful Protesters or Terrorists?

4 Jan

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted something political. I bet you’re absolutely giddy!

If you aren’t up to date on what’s going on in Oregon, here is basically what is happening:

Some ranchers set some fires in the early 2000s that ended up burning federal land on a wildlife refuge. They served time in prison for it, but now the judge says that they were supposed to serve more time than they did, and is sending them back. Cue militia. Some other folks with some guns went onto the refuge, and have taken up shop in the buildings. They say they won’t leave until the judge reverses the decision for the ranchers to be sent back to prison and the wildlife refuge land is returned to ranchers.

If you would like to read something other than that brief, extremely vague, synopsis you can get more info here and here.

From this, we’ve seen several meme-like pictures pop up, including this one:

Now then, I’m all for protesting. I’ve always wanted to protest for some cause or other, but haven’t really had the chance (apparently I don’t know anyone that passionate about anything). But when protesting, peaceful protesting and sit-ins are the only way to go. Peaceful protests don’t involve guns. That is where the Oregon militia becomes confusing, and why we are having such a hard time classifying what we are looking at.

First, while this militia group has guns, we have no record that they have used them to take over the buildings they are in, we have no record of hostages, and we have no record that they have forced entry or broken any property. For all it’s worth, that is pretty peaceful, and it points that they only plan to use their guns for defense. Now, according to the Oregonian, the man heading this protest has said they would “not rule out violence” if police tried to remove them (read). I couldn’t find a direct quote, and so I’m a tad skeptical. Assuming our sources are credible, this is a direct move away from peaceful protest. You know…the great part about sit-ins is if you sit and refuse to move, the people being rough trying to get you to move look like assholes and you become the hero. If you pull a gun, you become portrayed differently and as we know…violence begets violence.

We also have to wonder if they have the right to protest. They are trespassing on government property and they aren’t even part of this county. Bundy is from Nevada! Even the Hammonds, who are the people imprisoned for arson, aren’t supporting their actions. Really, one could argue that this isn’t even Bundy’s fight to fight.

Then, looking at this meme, we are drawn to compare minority protests to this apparently white militia. Again, I bring you back to the idea of peaceful protest. If a protest begins without violence, it is no longer peaceful when violence begins. As the protesting group becomes larger, the danger of the group becoming violent increases. From what I’ve read (and as always…please tell me if I’m wrong!), at least Ferguson protests began peacefully enough, and the goal was never to stray from that. But, as I’ve said, when your group becomes larger you see higher likelihood of violence, and once the scale tips, group dynamics cause it to continue. Then, actions like looting are only a step away. That is where these protests have differed from what we are seeing. Oregon appears to be a smaller group, and we haven’t any reports of violence yet. Yet.

Finally, we seem to be ignoring the real issue here. It isn’t whether they should or should not be protesting, it isn’t whether they are terrorists or peaceful protestors, and it isn’t about race. It is however about whether or not the Hammonds should be facing more time in jail, and if this area should be ranched or used as a wildlife refuge. This is a pretty classic and decades-old issue. We are highly dependent on agriculture, and to produce crops and meat we have to have land to do it on. That free-range cow of yours takes a lot more space than a cow housed in a feed-lot (this is not a position statement on cattle). In the same breath, humans are sucking the life out of the planet. We are killing things, and destroying land, and in order to help preserve what we can and fix what we’ve destroyed (habitat fragmentation, anyone?) we have to preserve land, too. It seems that the reasons the Hammonds are headed back to prison is because of a domestic terrorism law. Do I think that their fires were domestic terrorism? No, I really don’t. Do I think they should head back to prison for a sentence that is several years old? No, especially because it was an oversight of our judicial system. I can really, actually, get behind the protesting aspect. I did already say I’m pro-protesting. That will change, however, if violence ensues. As a zoologist, I also struggle with letting go of a wildlife refuge. They are so important for preservation and conservation, that while I don’t think there should be more jail time for the Hammonds, I do think that the wildlife refuge should stay a refuge.

Bundy’s message has been heard. I just hope that it rings true and rises above the race and gun issue, because if it has, and they leave peacefully, then I can see real change happening then.

What is your position on the Oregon militia protest? What do you think the real issue is here? 


It’s Not Your Fault, I’m Just Not Attracted to You

5 Sep


Attraction is everything when it come to relationships. If that guy or girl approaches you, and you don’t think they are attractive, the chances he or she has are near zero. If one is lucky enough to still get you into a conversation, there is still a shot at winning you over – that is, unless their personality is unattractive, too.

I haven’t “rejected” a vast number of men, but those I have were because I just wasn’t attracted to them. It isn’t something any of us can control, but I still feel bad about it. If you tell someone that is the reason you don’t want to date them, they feel bad too (even though its out of everyone’s control).

I won’t go into it, but there are certain things I just don’t find attractive. Nothing is ever 100%, but most of the time these things hold. I think it is unfair to expect everyone to be attracted to everyone else, but let me make it clear that it doesn’t mean that you are ugly, just because I’m not attracted to you. I base it in biology, because sexuality and attraction are definitely physiologically based. It is along the same principles of why some men naturally smell great, and other men naturally smell like they woke up in a garbage can. Those same garbage can men smell great to other people.

Why do you think people seem so hurt when you aren’t attracted to them? Do you think we could stop feeling so hurt if we just thought about the basis of attraction more? What are you not attracted to?

Why I Don’t Use the Term African-American

8 May


As I sat here watching TV, potentially blogging or studying, I heard a recount of someone’s interaction with a criminal. When the investigator asked them for a physical description, the person replied that they looked European. That caught my attention.

How do you look European?

And for that matter, why do we call black people African-American or Hispanic people Mexican or Mexican-American?

First, there are so many countries in Europe, and such a variety of people, that I don’t think someone can look European, just like I don’t think its possible to look American. Then, there is the term African-American. I’ve had several discussions about the term, and some people prefer to be called African-American, some prefer to be called black, and others prefer whatever comes naturally. I hear its also “politically correct”.

I don’t like it. I don’t use it. The people we usually refer to as African-American aren’t actually from Africa; They are from the United States.  The people who are from Africa, aren’t necessarily black, either. Ever seen The Color of Friendship? The girl gets a foreign exchange student from Africa, who ends up being white, much to the dismay of the host sister. For all we know, the child on the left in the picture was born in the US, and the child on the right was born in Africa. The same goes with the term Mexican, or Mexican-American. I am not from Mexico. My grandparents were, yes, but I amnot. The only people who should rightfully be called Mexican are people who live in Mexico, and the only people who should rightfully be called Mexican-American are people who have moved from Mexico to the US (even though Mexico is part of America – I’ll not discuss this now). Future note – don’t call me Mexican, I prefer Hispanic (I’m actually a halfer, so I prefer to be called a halfer, but whatever).

Another point I’d like to make is on the use of the terms ‘black’ and ‘white’. Another situation I was overhearing or reading (I don’t remember) involved a father telling someone about a person – lets say Joe. The person the father was talking to didn’t remember who Joe was, so the father said something along the lines of “the black man that was over here the other day” to which the person became somewhat offended, and asked why it was necessary to say ‘the black man’ and that it was racist.

My theory on this is that it all depends on the context and variety of company of which normally visits the household. If the family normally has non-black visitors, then it would be easiest to say that Joe was the black visitor. If a family normally has black visitors, it would be just as easy to say Joe was the white visitor (assuming that Joe was white). Its a means to contrast the normal with the novel. If there were multiple races of visitors, however, it would become necessary to use other means. Say there are two black men, two white men, and two hispanic men visiting. It wouldn’t make sense to say that Joe was the black visitor, because that doesn’t help the person understand who Joe is. This is when you would say Joe was the tall oneJoe was the short one, or Joe was the really skinny one. Its just the same as if Joe was actually a woman, when most visitors are men. It is acceptable to say “she was the woman”, so why would it not be acceptable to say that “he was the black man”?

Which terms do you use? Do you have a preference for what people refer to you as? Do you agree with me about the use of contrast when describing people?