Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Equal is bi-directional

So, today I am officially sorry I advocated for equal rights for gay marriage. To be fair, I didn't really advocate exactly for that as much as I told all the haters to mind their own damn business and let the gay community do whatever they want. I have always had a bit of a chip on my shoulder toward all minority groups when it comes to one specific thing - solidarity within the group. As a middle class, white male I'm constantly told in a Voltaire like fashion that I live in the best of all possible worlds and everyone else has it rough. Yet as I poke around for jobs I find that my choices for ethnicity are often preceded by a question that simply answers "hispanic/latino or not hispanic/latino."And by answering the latter, I'm automatically not in some preferred group. The only preferred group I get is veteran status, but I had to give 10 years of my life to that cause by choice and hardship, and it doesn't really count for much with employers. Hispanics were born into their preferential treatment. And I get that that everyone is thinking that it's this way because of the hardship they endured. Well as I always say, it's really hard to say both, "Look at me; pay attention to me; give me what I want" and "leave me alone so I can be equal to everyone else" at the exact same time.

Today, however, there is the other part of the solidarity clause that really lights my fire. There is Black Entertainment Television, Telemundo and channels in native languages that I can't pronounce, but Heaven help me if I made a "middle class, white male channel." People would scream about segregation and discrimination, right? Don't even pretend it is any other way.

Before I even tell you what has me rowdy, I want to talk about the equals sign. We've seen a lot of that lately, haven't we? Red equals signs on even redder backgrounds adorned the profiles of people all over Facebook, Twitter and every other social network imaginable. Here is some history. Equals comes from the Latin word "aequalis"which means "uniform or even" and that comes from the word "aequus," which means "level, even, just." By all rights we are talking about two things on seemingly opposing sides that bear no difference to one another.

Now, in 1557 a Welsh mathematician named Robert Recorde used the symbol for the first time (although the lines were much wider). He called them "Gemowe lines" which meant "Twin lines" from the Latin word "gemellus," for twin). The point of those lines is to indicate not a difference, but rather specifically no difference.

When the red equals signs began appearing all over the digital landscape, it was not about gay marriage, was it? No, it was about marriage equality. For the first time, progress had been made in the mission and it was not "me, me, me" or "I want" anymore. It was "we all deserve because we are all people, not to be labeled or identified." Equals. Twins. Level. Uniform. Just.

Today, the gay community has launched its first ever gay-only social networking app. It started in China and is preparing to make its way around the globe, if the creator has his way. That sounds fairly discriminatory to me. I am on Facebook where you can be gay or straight. I am on Twitter where you can be gay or straight. Now, "Zank" is a place for gays only. It is not dating. I support dating sites that cater to these demographics as gay, straight, fetish, etc and that's purely from a mathematical algorithm reason. It makes sense to keep it separate for simplicity's and function's sakes. This network, however, is just about social networking, no different than the people you meet on Facebook or how you sync up with folks on any other network.

Can I make a straight-only network or will I be labeled as the 2nd coming of Hitler? Why can't that just be my target demographic? Because to exclude someone is discriminatory? Is that what Zank does to straight people?

Most importantly, it's not about whether we open the gates to other groups or not. It is about them (any group) saying "existing social networks aren't targeted toward us." Why? Do you go to movies differently from straight people? Do you cook differently? Is there some special way that gay people throw a bowling ball or read a book? Do you feel different about the cliffhangers of your favorite shows simply because you are gay? If it is just about meeting people then sexuality matters not, my friends.

So, if you want equality, then be equal. Do not lock yourself behind digital walls for "gays only" and then complain when you're not part of the rest of the party. Do not scream you just want to be same as everyone else by letting us know how different you are. And do not play play the hypocrisy game so far to the hilt that you do the same thing you railed against. I think even Napoleon the pig would say that's just a little too Orwellian of you.

It is bi-directional. It goes both ways. (Please pardon the word choice. I am using them as they are defined, not colloquially as they apply to sexual preference). And to think that just a month or so ago I began to think that we were making real progress on our approach to healthy integration and loving one another as humans and voiced out against the conservatives in favor of harmonic resolution and just a 4 weeks later the offenders of the treaties are the ones lobbying for them the hardest.

Just act equal and you'll be equal. Distinguish yourself and we'll know you're different.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

say this all the time, you cant/wont be considered as "Equal" until you consider others as "Equals". These people who go out of their way to not fit in or be different or be non conformists have no right to cry foul when it comes to not being treated "equally" by society. If someone wants to be different, fine but don't they dare cry foul when they Are treated as such! Its the same thing with all the special interest groups, they all cry unequality when it gets them what they want, after that, they can care less what anyone thinks of them.
-zacker-