Diversity Training – Apples vs. Oranges PT II


So yet another way that the “Diverse Origins” training irritated me:

During the training the facilitator discussed stereotypes.  All around the room she posted large post it papers and gave each participant a marker.  One the top of each page was one category of “disadvantaged” people.  She asked each participant to write one stereotype that is known about each.  So she elected to go over a few, and oh how I wish she would have chosen Alaskan Natives, since I was the only obviously native person there (that doesn’t mean I was the only one mind you)… but she did not.  She chose a few and People on Public Assistance  was one of them.  She asked the people who had ever been on public assistance or had a family member on public assistance to stand up.  Oh heck, let’s continue with the orange analogy…

Here is the poor disadvantaged orange, who accepted public assistance at one point their life.

The stereotypes and assumptions made by society could have been wrong about this orange.

Now the orange did not feel bad about having been on food stamps for a few months in it’s life, never even worried about it.  But… along comes this apple, who realizes that all these stereotypes exist and really must do something about it!

So the apple tells the orange.  I really am sorry that anyone might have ever felt any of these horrible stereotypes about you and I personally apologize for that.

WHAT????

The poor disadvantaged orange really needed to hear that (why??) so they could feel good about being an orange on public assistance at one point in their life.  Without it, they might have never felt good about themselves and would probably carry on this feeling of pain knowing that the others thought this of them.  They really were disadvantaged you know and thank goodness the apple came along to set things right for them or they might always feel terrible.

Oh please!  The minute this exercise was over I am sure my one eyebrow was raised and my hand shot up in the air.

First of all, unless the facilitator did something directly to me (was she the one spreading all those stereotypes?) I honestly don’t expect an apology from her.  Nor do I expect one from anyone at all.  I said that I did not feel an apology was necessary, not from her since she has personally never wronged me (aside from the assault of her left-wing thinking all day long).  And I do not expect an apology from society who might be perpetrating that stereotype.  Life’s NOT fair, not everyone will adore you, not everyone will think you are the Belle of the Ball!  GET OVER IT!  That doesn’t mean I excuse bad behavior.  If someone is treating me badly, you can be rest assured I will let them know. It’s my job to let them know that, if I fall short on that, I could choose to be a disadvantaged orange for the rest of my days or NOT.

I really don’t care what others think of me based on my race, fruit type, skin type, size, social class, age, color of my hair, my political views.  That in all honesty is THEIR PROBLEM, not mine.  I choose not to own that.  Some people I encounter might be prejudiced towards me because I am Alaskan Native *gasp*!  Now for example I went to the Capital City Republican Women’s meeting the yesterday and one couple at the table would not smile at me, and had a cold appearance and demeanor towards me.  Now, if I was feeling like the disadvantaged orange, the only Alaskan Native at the event and woe is me, they might not like me, I might have wanted to leave.  But… I did not.  I sat, I smiled and sure for a second I felt uncomfortable.  But I made the decision, it is them who really don’t feel good about something (I don’t know if it is me, who knows maybe they always look like they have just sucked on some lemons and aren’t warm and engaging to everyone) but I am not going to take on ownership of how they appear to feel.  If it is me, well then the heck with them.  I might choose to sit next to them at the next meeting too.  I will smile, be cordial and be myself.  Secure in myself.  If they move, well they look like the idiots.

So the next thing that really perturbed me was this glass ceiling and women’s salaries.  The facilitator talked about the disparity in womens salaries compared to mens, asked for the rate in Alaska.  I looked it up and reported it to be .74 on the dollar.  And my mind was not as quick as I would have liked it to be.  I didn’t say this but thought about it later.  (Mind you I had a bunch of disadvantaged orange bs all dang day and I really was on overload!)   Now that is really just not fair said the disadvantaged orange to the apple.  You make .26 cents more than me for every dollar!  I am hurt and ANGRY!!!

This is numbers spinning at it’s finest.  I had spent the past few hours opening my mouth and wish I had opened my mouth on this one.

Let’s just look at these:

Now I have lived in Alaska most of my life.  Sure there are women on the fishing grounds, in the oil fields, loggers, miners, construction etc.  However I’d be a dolt to say that a lot of women just are itchin to get out there and do the work that a lot of Alaskan (and some non-Alaskan) men do.  It’s not sexist, it’s not the world treating me in an inequitable fashion.  I (and I am sure other women) just don’t want to stand on the top of a tree, bottom of a mine or on the heaving, waved hammered deck of a boat.  Plain and simple.  Do I harbor ill will against the  men that do, because they are making more money than I am???  Please… A  lot of Alaskans have families that benefit from these high paying jobs.  All of these are not single men who run around waving their paycheck in the air in front of women, just to taunt them “Nanner nanner na nooo… I make more money than you do!”  Get real.  They are men with families. and a lot of families depend on these incomes, and for those that don’t have families, they often spend the money in our state (good for the state’s economy and good for me).  Get over this glass ceiling nonsense and quit spinning numbers!  It’s people like this that spin the numbers for the CBO and keep building this fire underneath the inequity pot.  Oh you poor disadvantaged oranges….

Bottom line, I am tired of the baloney that is constantly perpetuated.  The more energy we give the travesty and tragedy of the plight of the orange, the more oranges will be in despair.  See, the more in despair–someone can come in and rescue them and look like the good guys, (when all along tee hee they don’t realize it but they were carefully herded into despair mode) and then the plan to treat them the way they need to be treated will look really great!!!

Whose fruit stand do you want to be in?  Who do you want to drive the market for oranges?  I’d suggest you read the Cloward-Piven Strategy.  Placating the masses while you create a crisis and using it to your advantage!

Until Next Time!

Marcy Sowers

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